Everything In This Post Could Be Wrong

The Gingerbread Diaries

Does anyone else remember those sorts of disclaimers in tech manuals?

Direct link for the feed readers: Gingerbread Diaries 2.5: Downstairs Bath Renovation, Week 3

That was the lesson we learned as we took up the first half of the bathroom floor bright and early on Saturday morning. Turns out that the joist we were basing everything on, the one we uncovered as we opened up the 10″x8′ gap in our back hall, the one that had been “supporting” the existing bathroom wall, that one? Was the lowest point in all the bathroom joists.


Todd’s Wreck-It-Ralph overalls are getting some real use this week!

So, yes, that whole conversation about what level we were going to build up to, etc. was next to useless and the rest of the room is already that high. Okay then!

The new plan became to pick the most level joist in the bathroom itself and work to that. With said joist identified, we then had to adjust 3 others–one was too high, one was too low, and one was even lower than that! For the two low ones we bought 2″x1/4″ slats (for lack of a better term) to sit on top of the joists–one needed one, the other needed 2 stacked on top of each other, and for the third we would “take it down” about a quarter of an inch.

Take it down you say? Why, yes, we needed to remove some of the wood, and I was concerned that the method Todd first mentioned (planing) would have us in a too much, build it back up, too much again, etc. loop. So I asked if sanding would be a decent alternative (figuring it would make for less drastic changes per pass compared to a planer).

And that’s how we ended up with a belt sander.

Week 3, tool 3… I sense a trend, here.

Our Lowe's Haul (Week 3, trip 4)

Our Lowe’s Haul (Week 3, trip 4)

After a trip to Lowe’s for said sander and half the store’s complement of PVC elbow joints, Todd started in on the sanding. Even with the added power, it was still a tough, tedious job. I haven’t tried the sander for myself (I will when we get to the next half of the floor which will need similar treatment), but I did get to use the reciprocating saw this week!

We needed to build up the joist we’d put in the previous week, a task easily accomplished with a spare 2″x4″x8′, but there was a small section at the end that needed fitting in. I took it upon myself to notch out the bottom of the stud that was in the way (the sawzall is pretty cool!), trim an offcut of 2×4 to the right length (with the hand saw), and nail it into place.

My handiwork! (Considering the thought of powered blades sends chills down my spine, this is actually a pretty big accomplishment for me!)

My handiwork! (Considering the thought of powered blades sends chills down my spine, this is actually a pretty big accomplishment for me!)


Todd cut down the first sheet of plywood (3/4″, I believe) for the floor and I suggested going ahead and cutting both but we were a) losing the light fast and b) losing Todd–he was pretty wiped out by this point so we stuck with the single, got it into place, and called it a night.

The double box on the right will be for the lights and the fan vent. The single box on the left is for a GFI outlet.

The double box on the right will be for the lights (what is currently hanging in the middle of the room) and the fan vent. The single box on the left is for a GFI outlet.

Sunday brought with it a revision of our plumbing plan of attack (the new toilet location will be set up and hooked up before we remove the other half of the floor) and an overwhelming urge to nap. Not super productive, but super needed. The rest of the changes for this week are small by comparison.

  • Filled in some gaps in the clapboards and where the walls meet (from the original, inadequate build) with spray-foam. That stuff is awesome.
  • The removal of a kajillion square nails from the studs as well as removing the braces that once were–we’ll replace them with our own.
  • The building up of two exterior wall studs–they installed them flat to the wall rather than perpendicular, then placed a brace across them, rather than between.
  • Sistering the guide-joist of the bathroom after I noticed it had a crack radiating from a knot that became more visible when Todd leaned on it.
  • Determining the height of the light switch and outlets and installing the boxes for their eventual wiring-in.

Last night Todd tackled actually attaching the floor to the joists (couldn’t be done until the wall studs were in place, so I’m not ragging on him for the delay) and was employing a 2×4 as a lever to scootch it up as close to the wall as it could go, when I asked “Oh, is it raining again?”

Y’all, I wish I’d been recording that, because this would have been a scene just perfect for Renovation Reality (did anyone else see that show?). The lever had shifted a pipe under the house and what I heard as rain was actually it draining. Now, in Todd’s defense, he didn’t hit the pipe, he hit the cinder block-and-brick rigging that was holding it in place because the braintrust that last fixed it didn’t use the correct coupler to keep it in place on its own. And it’s one of the pipes that we’ll be moving soon, anyway, but still. Not something you want to do, much less have to rectify, at almost 10 pm!

But it wasn’t all sandpaper and rusty nails! While at Lowe’s we accomplished a couple of side quests by confirming what tile we’ll be using (the same one I snapped on my Pinterest board) and picked out our grout (a dark grey to coordinate with the faucet, etc. and it even has some glittery flecks in it to look shiny, not just dull and grey. Also, while browsing the lighting aisles to try and get an idea what we might want (because I seriously had no clue on this so far), we ended up finding and purchasing the most perfect light for this room–it echos the details on the sink and toilet we’ve picked out, came in brushed nickel, and was only $25 in store (website shows a higher price). Score!

Anyone want to place bets on what the week 4 tool purchase will be? I have a strong feeling a nail gun and compressor are now on the short list, but will we bite that bullet this week or wait a bit? Hmmm….


Not So Spooky Bathroom Mini-Makeover

Just for Fun

There’s one more room we decorated for Halloween that I haven’t shown you, yet!

If you watched my Boots, Boots, Boots Shopping Haul video, you saw the cute Halloween bathroom textiles I ordered from Kohl’s.

With such a small space to work with, adding decorations didn’t sound like a great idea. Instead, I replaced the items that would otherwise be there with seasonally appropriate awesomeness.

Yes, the shower curtain really does glow in the dark!

Slipping on a new shower curtain might be a tiny bit tedious, but I think it’s worth it to liven up the space a bit. And can I just give some kudos to my new DSLR that allowed me to actually get a picture of the glow in the dark shower curtain details?!


That cute little spider soap dispenser sits so prettily on our narrow sink ledge and also glows in the dark. Unfortunately it’s slightly more pretty than functional–more soap comes out of the neck of the bottle than the dispenser tip! Next year it’ll probably be relegated to a pretty shelf decoration (unless I figure out a way to fix the seal on the cap!).


As much as I’m not a fan of spiders in real life, they seem to be a natural fit for Halloween–same with the bats. We already had the bat hand towels from a previous year (and some are carrying little spiders through the air), but I think they go pretty well with the new curtain and mats.

This was such a simple way to dress up a small room for the holiday, I’m tempted to keep doing it. I’m not sure there’s a lot of call for Thanksgiving shower curtains, but I’m sure I can find some for Christmas!

Have you ever (or would you ever) swapped the everyday bathroom bits for seasonal ones?

Singing in the Shower

64 Arts

Why do so many of us sing in the shower? Because we sound better in there!

Of course, most of us know that it’s because of the acoustics in the room that we sound a bit better than, say, on that karaoke stage. As I understand it, these are the factors that make bathroom-singing so popular:

  1. The size of the room. Most bathrooms are small and relatively bare. We’re not talking the massive bathroom suites with couches and carpeting and all that–most bathrooms are simple. This lets sound bounce around but in a confined space. You get less echo in your standard home bath than, say, an empty room or a large locker room.
  2. The materials on the wall. Bathroom walls tend to be concrete and tile, both of which add a bit of reverb (echo echo echo…) to your voice which produces a fuller sound, overall, making even a squeak sound large and robust. Generally speaking, a good thing. Even if, again generally speaking, a bit misleading…
  3. The steam as you bathe/shower. Apparently steam acts as sound-sinks, dampening (hah!) the reverb coming off the walls to smooth it out as opposed to just echoing a lot. Which is why your voice probably sounds different while showering as opposed to just singing in the bathroom. Go ahead, try it, I’ll wait.
  4. Steam’s effect on our body. Heat relaxes, water lubricates. Steam, therefore, loosens up our muscles (it takes a lot of them to sing) and smooths our throats, allowing the words to glide forth.
  5. Getting clean is good, clean fun! A lot of “Woo-Woo New Agers” (of which I suppose I count myself) see the positive benefits of sluicing the mental and metaphysical accumulation of the day away along with the physical dirt and grime. Lighter spirits are just more prone to lift voices in song!

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that we tend to be alone while showering and between the sound of the shower, the closed bathroom door and the thicker walls (thanks again, tiles!), we can let our hair down and really belt out a torch song or two without those pesky afflictions of shyness or self-consciousness.

What’s your favorite shower song of the moment? Does it change whether you shower in the morning versus at night?