DIY The Bathroom project - Part 1

I've always heard of people referring to DIY as meaning, "Destroy it yourself". What I didn't realise until last week, however, was that it could quite possibly be referring to my marriage. It began over a week ago. One of my friends had kindly donated us a bathroom suite and it had been residing in her garage for a good few months now, awaiting my husband's collection. My husband felt I should have collected it. As much as I would have loved to cart my three kids around the corner and bestow upon their backs a full size whirlpool bath, tottering along resembling some kind of giant, upper-class tortoise, it had not yet fitted into my schedule. So off he begrudgingly went.

When we moved into our house last year, we had known it was going to be a project but we just felt lucky to be on the housing ladder in the current financial climate.  We acquired the house with a stunning, peach-coloured, shell-shaped bathroom suite, lined with dark varnished wood cladding stealing a good 10 inches of the already small room.

 I am pleased to say that, that bathroom is no more and I think my husband managed to take out some of his bath-collecting anger on 'said wood cladding'. We'd decided that my Husband, with the guidance of my self-taught plumber Dad would attempt to change over the bath suite to save us a lot of money. I have to add at this point, the pondering question of where would we be without Dad? No matter what it is, my Dad has a tool for the job, a screw for the wood or a way to fix it for you. Not like Jimmy Saville of course. It takes me back to the last time we called upon my Dad for a 'plumbing' issue. After a good while of head scratching from the husband trying to sort out the buzzing sound coming from our shower pipe, convinced it was an air lock, we eventually admitted defeat and decided it was time to 'call Dad'. Down he came complete with his Mary Poppins bag of wonder and tranklements and tried to help us track down the air bubble in the pipes. Forty minutes it took them both, and I, to discover that I had, albeit, accidentally, left my battery-powered Venus razor in the shower rack and it was just sat there happily vibrating against the shower pole, causing quite a noise.  A perfect example of my Fathers plumbing expertise.

So, just like child birth, I had forgotten all about previous experience and allowed my Father and Husband to team up and enter my bathroom once again. The whole day of fitting the bath, was like an extended episode of the chuckle brothers, or 'Only Fools and Horses', particularly the episode where they pretend to be chandelier maintenance men, and we all know how that one ended up! Like Dick and Dom, but without the Dom!
I kid you not, eight whole hours of shenanigans it took to replace that bath. Numerous trips to B&Q, cups of tea, a cheese toastie and bathroom banter between the pair of them and I had a bath. I had kept our darling children out of the house and out of the way for eight whole hours and I didn't even come back to a toilet to piss in. Gritting my teeth, I managed to praise them for their efforts as they re-told the difficult tale of what they had endured that day. I can only imagine what they went through, linking one piece of plastic piping to another and finding out it was the wrong size, having to traipse back down to B&Q and back up again. I'm still keeping an eye on them for post traumatic stress disorder but so far they seem to have survived unscathed. What troopers they both are.

My toilet and sink were to take over the following weekend. Not one, but two whole days of bathroom bliss. Like star-crossed lovers my Husband and Father battled the elements of my vintage plumbing system together. By the end there was a lot of cursing coming from the Husband's mouth and he had decided that a plumbing career was not for him. I do believe that had my procrastinating husband not been helping my Dad, then the job would have taken half the time to complete. I am pleased to say though, that it is now fully installed and working, with a little assistance from a qualified plumber when the sink turned into a colander.

As I sit on my brand spanking new toilet seat, admiring my new budget bathroom, one of my spontaneous ideas pops into my head. Wait for it, "I, Bridget Jones, could tile the bathroom myself!". Just think of the money I would save! I could stick some tiles on a wall. How hard can it be? So off I go, complete with baby in tow, down to the local Wickes. I may be known as Bridget, but Bridget is going to own this. I fall at the first hurdle as I scour the car park for a baby seat trolley. There isn't one. In this day and age what sort of store doesn't have a baby seat trolley? A builders merchant, that's what. Shame on you Wickes. I stick the baby and the Cath Kidston nappy bag into a standard trolley, leaving little room for my impending tiling supplies. The baby thinks sitting in the trolley is fantastic, she greets the random workmen with a gruff "Ello!" as she passes in her royal carriage. I have the most gorgeous looking little baby girl, with big blue eyes and yet she has developed a deep, broad Yorkshire accent from out of nowhere, fitting in nicely with the local builders on their tea break.
I find the tiles I want, nice and big so I can cover more surface area in one go and realise I can't fit more than one pack in Her Royal Highness' trolley. Not to worry, someone will help this poor damsel in distress I'm sure. I throw in a scraper and some other bits and pieces from the tiling area for good measure. I buy a sponge, everyone needs a sponge, don't they?
We trundle off to the till, still confident that I've got this all under control. The woman at the till decides to coo over the baby and finds it hilarious that she's sat 'in' the trolley. I don't. I find it bloody annoying that she's taking up necessary space because they can't be arsed to provide a child friendly trolley! To add insult to injury, she now picks up the Tannoy and calls across the store for 'Dave' to come and assist the lady with the baby at the checkout. Of course there was a 'Dave' working here, I should have just shouted Dave down the aisle and I'm sure about 20 of them would have looked up. I see him approaching from across the store and I quickly realise that Wickes operate an equal opportunities employment system. According to his badge Dave is 'Happy to help' but his face and general demeanour say otherwise. Dave doesn't even seem to know where he is, let alone ready to happily help. He looks genuinely horrified that I want, not one, but seven boxes of tiles in addition to the one box I've fit into the baby-filled trolley. The baby is starting to get a little restless now, she's getting a bit pissed off with the cashier, Sheila, stroking her face and touching her shoes too. She's also 'Happy to help'. I notice the baby is eating something and hope that 'Happy to help,' slightly annoying Sheila hasn't sneaked her a sweet. She hasn't. The delightful looking child has devoured the soddin' sponge! How on earth am I going to get my tiling done without that sponge? I refuse to buy another one, it was three quid. Three bloody quid and it didn't even make it out of the store. The baby isn't phased, just a little angry that I've removed the remainder of her mid-morning snack when she hadn't quite finished. Dave arrives just in time to distract her. He's definitely broken out in a sweat collecting those tiles, I smell him before I see him. The type of B.O. you can taste on the tip of you're tongue. I feel I should offer to help him help me, but I figure that just defeats the object. I also don't want to leave my sponge-eating baby sat in a trolley with Sheila.
Miraculously the tiles make it to my car. Dave looks as surprised as I do that they made it over here in one piece. I genuinely thank him for his help. He can't get away quick enough from the mad lady with a baby in a trolley holding a half eaten sponge in her hand like she'd just thoroughly enjoyed it. Bridget is back.

To be continued ........

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  1. It’s so nice when a room is transformed, and I know what you mean about Dads having every single tool. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

    1. Where would we be without Dads! Thank you! x