Bathroom Reno Part 2

It seems I am blogging about this bathroom renovation project at a rate that is proportionally slow to the progress I’m making on it. So as a reminder here are a couple “before” pictures:

And here’s the post about the destruction of this beaut (in case you missed it).

When I was looking ahead, tiling the floor appeared to be the most challenging and intimidating aspect of this endeavor, well, that and sawing. It turns out it was the most fun.

I had to start with a layer of thin set/mortar (they’re the same thing..Hey, it was news to me.) and cement backer board. My brother-in-law came over and helped with the cutting and manhandling of the backer board. Once we got it all cut and ready we headed back to his house to celebrate my niece’s birthday; later that night I had my first experience with mortar. It was fun. There’s something sort of zen about raking even lines through some smooth, grey mortar and then squishing it all down with a board. Joint tape is pretty fun too.


Even with only the backer board down it’s an improvement.

And then, of course, that had to set for twenty-four hours. Almost everything does, turns out home improvement is yet another provider of lessons about patience.

During the destruction of the bathroom I saw that my toilet flange was broken around one edge. My brother-in-law none too gently hacked out the rest of it and, in the process, notices what looked like a crack in the drain pipe beneath it.


I spent a morning stressing, Googling, and phoning a friend over those little lines down in that pipe. After assessing how difficult it would be to cut the pipe out and replace it but before actually starting to cut I decided to take a step back and apply a classic mantra: Keep it simple, stupid! (One of the very few things I retained from high school math.) After one more assessment and some basic reasoning I realized the pipe was not in fact busted, those were just seams. Crisis averted…but morning wasted. Doh! At least the flange was easy to replace. I got one with a built in rubber gasket that just slides inside the existing drain pipe.

By this time it was Wednesday evening (week one). I’ve got class until mid afternoon Thursday and the kids come back from their dad’s Thursday evening. It was becoming obvious that I was not going to have the bathroom back together by then. Ah well, onward and upward right?

Because my bathroom is on the small side I laid out all the tiles to see how they’d fit. I took some helpful YouTube video’s advice and measured the center of the room, laid a line of vertical and then another of horizontal tiles, adjusting as needed to fit before filling in the rest. I preferred the look of the tiles flush with the tub on one side which left about a two and a half inch gap on the other. There was a matching gap on the short wall that’s perpendicular to the door. I have a random assortment of smaller tiles in my basement, my first instinct was to see if any would fit. The closest I got was some 1×1 inch green tiles but they were thicker than the main ones and there wasn’t even close to enough for both spaces. Obviously a no-go but I liked the idea of a smaller tile mosaic border.

But first things first, I needed to cut some tiles to fit around the toilet opening, along the back wall, and around the floor vent space. I done mentioned my saw intimidation, turns out it was a non issue. My nice neighbor has a tile saw and was happy to lend it to me/teach me how to use it. Cutting the few tiles was really no big deal at all! I got that finished and the tiles refit Thursday just in time to pause and go pick up the kids. Little did they know it was going to be a frozen pizza, not even sit down together, dinner night. I had tiles to set!

Again with the thin set.

I was a little worried that I hadn’t used enough thin set with the backer boards (time will tell I guess) so maybe I overcompensated when I was laying the tile. At first I was making a giant mess but after a few I got the hang of spreading an even layer of mortar, raking it, and applying the tiles and spacers in an orderly fashion. My youngest thought the process was pretty cool and “helped” some. Mostly he watched but I did let him press a few tiles into place.

And then it was time to wait for the materials to set. Again. Friday and Saturday were both busy days and (I was working Friday night) so other than pulling the spacers out, nothing happened until Sunday…

On Sunday morning I got up early (for me), made my coffee and tried out some edging layouts with the glass/stone mosaic tile sheets I had picked up.


These things are not cheap but I only needed two sheets. Also they’re apparently mostly used for back splashes and wall tiling but I found at least one website that talked about doing mosaic tiling on floors and the sides of the room are little to no traffic areas. Plus they’re the same thickness as the other tiles which, from what I could tell, was a key factor.

They were a little messy to put down and I definitely used a little too much thin set in a couple areas making them less than even but all in all the results aren’t too bad.


I definitely like the what they add to the aesthetic of the bathroom..

Yes, I know, the walls are terrible. That’s something to take care of later in the process. After all the edging tiles were down I left them alone for a while and later that afternoon we grouted. BTW grout is Not the same as thin set. It also takes a lot of water to a little powder. My fifteen year old was roped into helping me with the grouting and we learned that the hard way. Let’s just say we had some extra grout mixed when all was said and done.


Also, grouting is a messy, messy process. It cleaned up a little better than what you see there. After a day or two of letting the grout set, I applied a sealer. It was really not too exciting and didn’t change the appearance at all so I took zero pictures of that. I did take some of the purple paint on the back wall.


Not the finished painting, obvs.

With the floor done and some paint on the wall it was time to start putting this thing back together. Well, at least get the toilet back in. It’s still not quite back together…but I’ll tell you more about the details of that another time.

Changes Needed…or Not

Lately I’ve been feeling edgy and restless. Bored. I hate bored!

BC bored

I’m pretty sure this particular brand of boredom is really avoidance in disguise. True there hasn’t been any New and Exciting in my life for what seems like a while now but I’m more than busy enough not to be bored. My life is challenging and engaging. Boredom has no excuse to be here!

Besides my regular level of crazy busy there are a few things that are on the cusp of changing in my life…maybe big changing. Which is why this boredom is more like that jittery feeling you get at the starting line of a race right before the gun goes off. You know you’re about to go. You’ve worked for this, trained, prepped, warmed up and now you’re just standing around waiting. All that energy ready to be released; the rock at the top of the hill just waiting for that bit of force to tip it over the edge. Potential energy. Energy wasted, well, stored in the sitting. Except the gun is not about to go off right now. I’ve got months of preparation before taking those big steps (applying for dental school for one), months of work. I need to put my nose to the grindstone so to speak and get shit done. Knowing that makes me want to balk and shy away. It makes me distracted. It makes me want a change.

In the spirit of said boredom I have recently contemplated rejoining the world of online dating. I almost did it this past weekend. I’ve scrolled through profiles anonymously like the creeper I just might be and even contemplated sending a message or two. (Seriously, there was this professor of neuroscience at a nearby medical school…he wore a bow tie and a sweater with a skull on it. Swoon!). I even updated the pictures on my profile and tweaked the write up just in case I did decide to send anyone a message (ahem, neuroscience guy). But I stopped short of taking the plunge and unhiding my profile. I still don’t have time in my life for dating, even casually, and I really don’t want to make time. I just want the distraction of talking to someone new, the fun of a few first dates, the rush of it all and maybe some company once in a while. But distraction is the last thing I need right now. Must. Focus.

Possibly also in said spirit of said boredom I am thinking about signing up for a half marathon this spring. I’ve only done fall half marathons and both times I realized just weeks before the race that I was stretching myself pretty thin to get those long runs in. I was shorting other things like school to fit in the training I needed. Maybe a spring half would be different. Plus then I’d be in killer shape going into the summer. And, being right at the beginning of the usual “race season” (though one could hardly call my meager few 5 & 10K’s a race season), maybe I’d avoid that post-big race slump. I’d like to find out and the lure of something shiny and new to work towards is tugging on the edge of my mind. It’s playing with my current state of boredom like a cat batting around a marble. I might succumb. I might do it. Or maybe I should just move furniture around, paint a room or something. But bloody hell, I don’t even have time for that!
Still though there’s that itchy, irritating restlessness. That craving for something but I just don’t know what. Maybe if I keep moving I can outrun it. I’m not very fast but I’m persistent. I’ve got endurance on my side. Maybe I can outlast it. The pressure is on, I want to run away. It’s what I do, my favorite brand of self-sabotage. Get close to something big then pull back, find fifty other things to do, excuses as to why I can’t succeed. Wash, rinse, repeat.

In 2014 right around this time my divorce was finalized. Finally. The couple years before and since that have been spent transitioning and adapting. Constantly fluxing into something new and different. Changing. Even though changes can be scary so can not changing. Maybe I feel like I need a change because I’m so used to things changing regularly. There’s no status quot. Maybe that’s what this is: adapting to not changing.

What is Possibly the Worst Piece of Knittery Ever

… Okay so it’s probably not the worst piece of knittery EVER.
I usually try to avoid superlatives but thought I’d throw one in there for dramatic effect. And, yes, I do know that knittery is not actually a word but I’m not quite ready to be counted among the ranks of real knitters who make actual knit work.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was learning to knit. As I knit and purled rows back and forth I thought “This should count for something.”
So instead of making a random swatch that I would later either frog or cast aside I decided I’d make a little I-pod cover.
Taking the time to find a simple knitting pattern for such a cover and then learning how to actually read said pattern did not appeal to my impulsive nature and random sense of urgency so I made something up. I figured I could make a rectangle as wide as the I-pod and then build up until it was long enough to wrap around it height wise. At that point I’d practice my yet to be acquired decreasing skills and taper it into a point at the end. Connect it along the sides, add a loop and button, ba-da-bing, ba-da-bang…I-pod cover!

It did sort of work that way….sort of.

The first problem was that the first stitch at the beginning of each row was loose. I can’t quite figure out why.


I got bored and practiced cable knitting about two thirds of the way through.

Then my decreasing stitches were a little bumpy and I go confused about which row was knitting and which one was purling. That wasn’t too bad though.

Finally I had a pointy rectangle that was the size and relative shape I guestimated it should be.
I held it up and snickered.

“Ummm, this might be a little inappropriate.” I giggled to my co-blogger, channeling my inner adolescent.
“Oh my gosh. It does not look like a penis!” she replied.
I swear sometimes she can read my mind. That’s a little scary.

Then I showed her this picture:

inapp knitting

And she snickered too!

To make the…err, shape (yeah, let’s call it a shape) I had into an actual thing I crocheted the two sides together, crocheted around the opening and top edge, and chain stitched a little loop. Yes, I know, I could have done that with knitting but I was running out of time and wanted to finish it that day.
All in all it turned out to be about what I expected.

knitting fin fr

knitting fin sd

knitting fin b

Next step: find a real first knitting pattern and figure out how to read it.
Any suggestions?