Unlike those home design make-over shows you see on TV, real home renovations never get completed in 48 hours or two weeks or whatever deadline they claim to have to meet to add drama to their shows. For instance, it has taken me all week to finish the new paint job in the WC. The trim needed sanding and priming and two coats of paint. The walls and ceiling needed some repair and two coats. In between, we have lives. Most renovations take waaaaay longer and shows like that set unrealistic expectations. I already knew this going in, but even with all my years of experience in this business, even I imagine it will happen faster than it does.
The water closet (toilet) is not complete yet, so there will not be a big reveal shot here today, however, I am happy with the progress. It was one step forward, two steps back this weekend here for Decomama Downunder. The throne that we chose (OK, that "I" chose) was all about the design. I wanted a clean lined, modern commode that would give an instant sense of current to the crap cave. The original toilet was curvy and much to my surprise, the cistern was not even made of vitreous china. It was plastic.. PLASTIC?! Wow, that was new to me. I did not even know they made toilets that were half and half. The pan (bowl) was solid, so I just assumed it was all made of the same material. That is what I discovered when shopping for the new one as well. They still make some that way. I liken that to fake flowers. I abhor fake flowers and turns out I feel the same way about plastic toilet cisterns. Ain't happenin. Not now, not ever.
We sprung from our bed with the kookaburras on Saturday morning fresh-faced and ready to tackle the installation of the new dunny (yup, that's Australian for toilet). There was an immediate problem with the position of the hole to hell and the position of the exit pipe on the underside of the new latrine. It would make short work of whatever needed to pass through it, but maybe too short. However, after much measuring and re-measuring and hopeful expectation, Tim the Tool Man here said he reckoned we could make it work. Whew! Then I heard a bit of cursing as he emerged from the WC, measuring tape in hand, and announced that the water pipe was in the wrong position too. This design was just not working and creating far too much grief. Ready to admit defeat, I said, pack it back in the box. Clearly we needed to choose another style. Both a bit deflated, we headed out to look at other options. Nothing we saw compared or excited Decomama. The day was a bust. The only thing to do now was go home and drown in our sorrows. It was beer o'clock.
Weekend days are prime renovating days when my handyman is available. We were down to one day. Sunday dawned and once again the kookaburras laughed as we tried to sleep. One thing about my handyman is he is determined and he likes to solve problems. He arose refreshed and as I was making coffee, he was out on the patio unpacking the doomed design of a toilet. He was wielding his measuring tape again. He looked hopeful. I could see this installation was on. He had an idea. We took one last pee before the water was turned off and filled some buckets with water...just in case. We would either have to install a new piece of pipe outside and drill a new hole in the wall to move it over a couple inches, or see if we could just cut a hole in the internal wall and coax the pipe to the right a bit.
Of course, that required a trip to Bunnings (the Home Depot of Oz) to purchase a less bulky tap, adding another hour of "toilet out of service" to the day. By now I had decided to curb my water consumption and began to think about setting up a temporary pee pot in the garage. Our small house only has one toilet. It is only a disadvantage at times like this. It is also the reason that the toilet has a room of it's own. I can luxuriate in my bath and not have to worry about being evicted for poop emergencies.
So, those issues behind us now, we got to a point where we could actually put the bowl in place. We read the directions, and read them again and again. If you think Ikea assembly is confusing, have a look at dunny assembly instructions from China. One missed step sends you backwards and we took at least two steps backward with each step forward. By now my anxiety level was escalating. As I was really just like Vanna the calm and lovely assistant - pass me that spanner, pass me that screwdriver, pass me a hammer...I kept my fear of toilet installation failure at bay by cooking. Afterall, I figured that a well-fed plumber was better than a cranky hungry one. So, as the smell of nutty cinnamon granola and banana bread wafted through the house, slowly but surely we got closer to the moment when we could christen the new crapper.
The moment arrived (6 hrs later) to try the first flush and we stood, holding our breath and peering into the bowl. We watched the water disappear and then reappear and then waited to see if anything was leaking around the bottom on the floor. I exhaled, relieved there were no signs of moisture anywhere but inside the bowl. Do it again. Still good. One more time - this time with the full flush, not the half. Woo Hoo! Success! And it only took two days!
Tim looked at me and asked if I wanted to try it out first. Naw, you go, I said - you're faster. I took my turn next and wiggled and adjusted my bottom noticing how it felt so much different from the old seat, a bit harder perhaps and less contoured. We had not tested it with paper yet, so I stood and turned and watched to see if it was going to perform well with this addition. It has less water force than the old model but I am happy to report still does the job.
Three bums up!