Archives for posts with tag: Bathrooms

One of the things that sold us on our current home when we took our first tour of it almost six years ago was the downstairs full bath and guest bedroom. My mother doesn’t navigate stairs well, and we knew that, as she was rapidly approaching retirement, long grandparent visits would be in our very near future. A downstairs suite was ideal for us and our extended family. But the “full bath” that excited us so much in theory was small, dark, tight, and depressingly pink and flowered in reality. Even a petite woman like me couldn’t wash my hair in the afterthought of a shower stall without smacking my elbows against the walls every time I raised my arms. After finishing our kitchen remodel three and a half years ago, we knew that our next big project would have to be the bathroom. Starting on Labor Day Weekend this year, and finishing on my birthday, November 17th, here is our entire renovation, from beginning to end. In pictures. (Because that’s what everyone wants to see anyway, right?)

BEFORE: A pink, brown, and gold disaster

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Our budget: Two years’ worth of garage sales, plus birthday and Christmas money. My underwear drawer was RICH for, like, 6 months!

THE BEGINNING: Demolition, Labor Day Weekend 2018

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CLEANING, PLUMBING, AND ELECTRICAL: September 3-17th

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Note to Self: Don’t turn the water back on until you are CERTAIN that all of your pipes have caps! (Just a mini-flood.)

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FINDING THE FINISHES

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Our very first tile-shopping trip, and we fell in love with geometrics.

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Stuck in the Longest. Ikea line. Ever.

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Recessed lighting! New fan! Drywall!

PAUSE: My husband had to have kidney stone surgery on September 18th. He had to have multiple procedures, and the bathroom was on hold until October 14th.

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BACK AT IT! Tile for DAYZ.

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FINISHING: After all of that work, installing the glass shower walls, the vanity, light, and toilet took only a long afternoon. Suddenly, the bathroom was done. We have just a few more days to wait for the grout to cure, then we get to shower in the new, gorgeous, downstairs bathroom! I need to buy new towels, because, frankly, my old towels are just too unimpressive to place in here!

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The Squatty Potty® has ruined my “me” time.

Okay, so to be fair, I don’t actually own a Squatty Potty. But I do own about 8,000 step stools. And most of them are strategically scattered throughout my bathrooms, and, really, a toddler stool works just as well as the Squatty Potty for a portion of the cost—and a fraction of the embarrassment. (Let’s face it, explaining an Elmo stool sitting in front of your toilet is a lot easier than walking around, hugging the very recognizable dookie enhancer that is the Squatty Potty.)

She's HUGGING it.

She’s hugging it, you guys. HUGGING it.

You see, according to the makers of the Squatty Potty (and now backed by some serious scientists as well), when we sit on a traditional Western indoor toilet with our hips bent at a 90° angle, we create a huge kink in our sigmoid colons (that’s the last 6-10 inches or so of your large intestine). This kink makes it harder to poop. Imagine a full tube of toothpaste, pinched in the middle by a tight wire tie. If you keep the tube straight, you can squeeze all the toothpaste out through the wire tie, right? Now, bend the tube at the wire tie, and try to squeeze it all out. It takes a lot longer, and it’s a lot harder. Think about the tube as your sigmoid colon. The wire tie is your puborectalis muscle (a muscle that wraps around your colon by your anus to help keep it snapped shut). And the toothpaste is . . . well, you get it. You see, our digestive systems evolved as the result of dropping deuces in nature: by squatting. When we squat, the tube gets pulled straight through the wire tie, and the toothpaste just slides out in one, curly, minty pile of oral hygiene goodness (or something like that). About 1.2 billion people in the world still squat, without the use of modern toilets. And, here’s the real kick in the sigmoid: they’re healthier than we are.

Poop is one of my favorite topics of conversation, and a bit of an obsession of mine. You see, for years, I lived with the diagnosis of “chronic constipation.” I only pooed about 3, maybe 4 times a week. It runs in the family, and I’ve always been healthy, so nobody ever thought anything about it. I even had a few people tell me that my sluggish system sounded very “European” (the theory being that only Americans are as obsessed with poop as we are, and that only we care about pooping every day. I say that, if that’s true, Europeans don’t know what they’re missing!). Studies are now coming out, however, showing that my slow system, my repeated straining, and my inability to ever feel fully finished on the toilet was hurting my digestive tract. Diverticulitis, polyps, inflammation, IBS, ulcerative colitis, all colon conditions and diseases that run rampant around the developed world (Canada boasts #1 in cases of Crohn’s Disease, while Denmark and Iceland are vying for the top spot for Ulcerative Colitis diagnoses). These are also conditions that are nearly unheard of in the undeveloped world. No shit. Why? Diets? Activity levels? Genetic quirks dating back to our collective trek across the Bering Strait? Maybe a little bit of all of these things.

And maybe part of it is the way we’re all presenting our tushies for evacuation. Maybe we tried too hard to fancy up our experiences of baking stink brownies. Maybe we applied too much technology to something that just didn’t need to be improved upon.

What the hell? Worth a try, right?

For a week, I’ve been using my daughter’s step stools anytime I’ve felt like the kids needed to be dropped off at the pool.

Holy. God.

For the first time in my life (without medicinal intervention—a daily stool softener), I’ve been able to dook every day.

For the first time in my life.

And they’re all things of beauty. The first time I tried it, I ran to my husband afterwards. “I can’t believe this poop I just had! It was a ninja poop. I was sitting there, and I realized that I had already gone. I barely even felt it! And when I looked down? Three logs! Three! Logs! Not rabbit turds. L.O.G.S.”

Every time is like that now. I sit down with my feet propped up, open my tablet, and before I can even fire up my Sudoku game, I’m done.

(I’ve clogged the toilet twice this last week alone. You don’t actually need to know that. I just wanted to brag a little.)

It’s so complete. It’s so easy. It’s so satisfying.

It’s so . . . fast.

So I obviously can’t keep doing it. I need those five solid minutes of alone time. Where’s my Rachel time? Where’s my excuse to lock the door on my children? Didn’t you think about that, Squatty Potty, before you started teaching us all about your incredible butt voodoo?

I mean, yeah, it’s great that I can get off the toilet, and actually feel emptied out. That I know things aren’t slowly calcifying inside my guts. That my pants fit better. That I feel lighter. It’s awesome. It’s impressive. It’s efficient.

But where’s the struggle? Where’s the sweat? Where’s the work? The strain? Where’s the feeling of having conquered the unconquerable?

Where’s the love?

I used to have such a great reason to sit quietly, by myself, and surf Facebook while I did something disgusting that nobody else wanted to get near.

Hmmm . . . maybe this means I need to take up smoking again?

On a serious note: Clogged it twice in one week. Twice! If you want some impressive numbers too, I highly recommend trying the elevated/squatting position. It really is surprisingly satisfying. That joy alone is enough to keep me doing it, even if it eventually comes out that the reported “health” benefits are bogus.