I didn’t know that it is unwise to have a carpeted bathroom until Kathy pointed it out. I went to the internet to confirm the objections. The consensus in the computer world is carpeting is an ideal environment for mold and mildew production.
The research removed any resistance to removing the carpet and replacing it with linoleum. The flooring professionals were scheduled to arrive on Thursday, but panic set in a day before that.
“You have to remove the toilet,’’ Kathy said.
What caused bad vibes was my convoluted commode backstory. It began in the pre-teens when the youngest boy in the family was responsible for transporting the chamber pot to the outhouse. More bad things than good could and did happen on the perilous journey through the snow.
Worse happened when, as a married couple, we purchased our first home. The children’s bathroom was in a decrepit state. It was necessary to move the toilet and replace its innards.
The hardware store owner provided the necessary do-dads, a whatchamacallit or two, and a can of penetrating oil to remove twin rusty bolts. He sensed that I was frustrated and would become more so.
The purchase of a ballpeen hammer heightened his concern.
Don’t, he cautioned, under any circumstance use the hammer to loosen the anchor bolts. Hammering and porcelain do not mix, but frustration clouds judgment. Dreams of a successful repair project were as shattered as the porcelain.
The nightmare, which plays in a loop in my mind whenever home repair projects are discussed, led to asking Brian for help. He would have provided it, but his back was bothering him. However, he offered advice and encouragement.
“It’s easy,’’ he said.
As we all know, nothing involving home repair activity is ever easy. Brian said a crescent wrench, a pail, a turkey baster, and large sponge was all that was needed to be successful.
The baster seemed an odd choice, but proved to be highly effective in removing the last water from the bowl.
The success or the failure of the removal was the top topic during Thursday’s coffee fest. I conned the small crowd with a tale of woe. The news that the commode had shattered, and water flooded the floor held rapt attention. Bad news, it seems, holds sway over good. Besides, I wanted to make Brian feel so guilty that he would, out of pity, buy me breakfast.
The successful relocation of the toilet had an anticipated downside. Kathy eagerly expanded her already grandiose plans for the basement, which include but are not limited to, new lighting, a shower, a pool table and now, a new bathroom.
Funds always dissipate long before dreams do.
I seem to recall years ago that families well above mine in wealth gained indoor plumbing long before we did. It was, Dad insisted, nothing to be ashamed of. He recalled there was a time the wealthiest families in the neighborhood were rightly proud of their three-hole outhouses.
He said those who had indoor running water and real bathtubs weren’t any cleaner than his own children when they bathed in the tin tub that Mother carried up from the basement where it was used to wash clothes.
That technically wasn’t true. Heating the water on the wood-burning stove was a chore, which meant baths were limited to Christmas, Easter, weddings and a few other grand occasions. Girls went in first, followed by boys based on age. When it was my turn, the water was cold and inky. However, as if by magic, I emerged clean.
With the project completed, recliner rest briefly came easily until Kathy -- filled with newly found and false confidence in her husband’s ability -- alluded to the basement beautification.
If we wait to see what grows first -- the funds to pay for the work to be done or my confidence to take on the tasks -- the basement's condition will stay as is for a long time.