Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Water Closet Report

Hello World! Anybody still remember me?

Well, on the off chance that you do, I figured I'd write and give you an update.

So, I finally got to a good stopping place with the bathroom, and... well... I stopped. At least for now.



The tub still needs to be refinished, It needs a coat of paint on the walls, and I have to decide what to do about the tub surround. But honestly, I sorta got tired of living in a construction zone, plus, I wanted to give it a few months to see if my shower fix was gonna hold.

This is a long story, but for the 20-some-odd years that I've lived in this house, the shower has never worked. There was a problem with the diverter valve that points the water to either the tub or the shower. I replaced it several times, but it just didn't work right, and after a few turns, water would come out of both the tub and shower, making it really hard to use either one. Soo... I had given up and just figured that I had to choose either having a tub or a shower, and being a fan of long hot baths, I chose tub.

But, given the fact that I'm planning on replacing the tub surround, I decided it was time to either fix it, or tear out the wall and replace the entire fixture. I honestly wasn't hopeful about fixing it, but in my online journeys, I happened upon someone with a similar problem. Turned out that the faucet was made by Delta, and that the valve was a replacement made by a different company... which, while it looked exactly the same, was slightly bigger in diameter, and thus it didn't fit properly. So, I ordered the genuine replacement part from Delta and... voila!

I had to replace the shower head, but the results are sort of amazing. I feel a bit like I've jumped ahead a few centuries in terms of bathroom technology. Honestly, having a functioning shower is sort of life altering. I'm not giving up my hot baths, but having the ability to take a quick shower is really, really nice.

Anyhow, I decided to wait on dealing with the tub surround just to be sure that this fix is gonna hold, and also because I'm finding that what works for baths does not necessarily work as well for showers when it comes to things like shelf position, towel storage and the like. So I figured it would be good to sort out exactly what I want before I delve into replacing it.

That's my excuse, at any rate.

So here's part two of the water closet report...

Meet my other water closet!

As part of my efforts to be prepared for whatever, I decided that in addition to having surplus food on hand, I ought to stock up on water. So, whenever I end up with a glass bottle with a screw top, instead of tossing it in the recycling, I wash it out, fill it with water, and store it in a closet in the basement. I also have some commercial bottled water, and an emergency filter called a "life straw" but, it seems silly to pay for water and/or containers, when you can get both practically for free.

So tell me, do any of you have an emergency supply of water on hand? I'm curious what method you use.

In other news... we've had insanely warm weather here in Denver, so CatMan and I have been riding up a storm. It was 81 degrees yesterday (27C) and we took full advantage of the weather for a long bike ride to the top of the Bear Creek Dam.

The sun setting fast... just enough time to race home before it got completely dark!

I hope you're all having a wonderful holiday season. Would love to hear what you've been up to in the comments!


  1. I was just wondering the other day how your bathroom was coming along. Showers are great, aren't they? As to what we're up to. Presently, we're dealing with a cat who is not eating. We're trying different things with diminishing returns. Still a few things to explore with the vet, but this may be the beginning of the end for Lucky, our 17 year old cat. Sad, but a part of life.

    1. I'm so sorry about Lucky. You probably know this, but hyperthyroid can lead to kidney problems, so it's worth doing bloodwork. In any case, 17 is quite a long life for a cat, but it still just totally sucks. I know you're filling little Lucky with as much as possible. Hugs to you...

    2. He is being treated for hyperthyroidism and is being followed closely. So far, all of his blood work has been fine in all areas, but they did some more today. Apparently, a cat's kidney decline doesn't show up in the blood work until it's around 65%.

      We are thrilled that we've had him for 17 years. That's the oldest we've ever had a cat live. I hope we can get some more.

    3. I knew you'd be on top of it. Lucky is very lucky to have you! And 17 would be a record for me to... I haven't yet been so fortunate.

  2. Oh, congratulations! Out of the construction zone, into the shower! So glad that googling showed you the way to a real solution!

    We don't really save emergency water, but my boyfriend has two crates, each filled with six one-gallon water containers. He waits until they are all completely empty before refilling them, but a good system would be to refill one crate at a time as soon as it got emptied.

    I'm fascinated by your sentence "The tub still needs to be refinished." From what I've been able to figure out, it sounds like most refinishing jobs are not re-applying enamel, a glass which needs to be melted, but just a paint job, and then the paint chips or wears away or flakes off or something and your tub is all terrible again, so it sounds like a bad idea. But if you know of some process that I don't, I'd love to hear it!

    1. Hmmm... your boyfriend's system sounds intriguing. So he fills these containers and then just uses them for drinking water and the like?

      In terms of bathtub refinishing, the do it yourself options are basically a paint and you're right, the reviews are terrible. But there's a commercial system called Miracle Method that is very well received. I'm not exactly sure what the coating is - it's not enamel because, you're right, you would need to melt it to make that work. But I've known half a dozen people who've used it and been very happy with the results. It's supposed to last 15 years or more.

      The other option would be an acrylic tub liner like Bathfitter - I don't know anyone who's gone that route, but I may explore that option too.

      BTW - I'm still reading your blog, I just can't figure out how to comment since you moved it. Anyhow, just wanted you to know that I'm still reading and enjoying your thoughts.

    2. Yes, my boyfriend likes the filtered water and thinks it's cheaper to refill bottles from store machines than to buy filters for our house or for bottles. He especially likes the fancy kind (de-ionization?), which maybe you can't get for your house? I don't know. He doesn't notice the taste of plastic, though.

      Interesting about the bathtub options.

      On my blog, under each entry I think you should see another box which, in the bottom right-hand corner, has the word "Reply" that you can click on to comment. Sorry it's so confusing. Or if you already tried it and it didn't work--that sucks! And now I'm not sure if I've gotten comments from people who aren't using the same blog system. But I'm glad you're reading because I think you're the main one who appreciates my posts on learning Spanish (though I do also have one other interested reader).

    3. OK, now your boyfriend's system makes sense. I was thinking he was filling them with tap water.

      Anyhow, on your blog, I think the deal is that I don't have the right kind of account. I tried once to sign up for whatever it is that I need, but it failed. Perhaps I shall try again. In either case, keep blogging, because I am reading! :-)

    4. Ugh, the default is not to accept comments from just anybody. But I want to, so I changed that. Yea! So maybe it will work now. :-)

    5. Yay! I'm looking forward to commenting again! :-)

  3. Your bathroom looks amazing. The tile is such a nice addition. Congratulations on figuring out the shower issue and getting it operating again. Your persistence paid off!

    I had a company put an acrylic liner over an old tub two houses ago. (It might have been Bathfitter, but I no longer have the records.) The old tub was aqua blue porcelain with pits and rust stains. They topped it with a glossy white liner that fit like a glove. The liner covered the tub only, not the walls, because the tile surrounding the tub was fine. He came to measure and did the install a couple weeks later, which took a few hours. I, too, love to take baths and the only difference I noticed was that it was no longer cold to lean back against the back of the tub. I didn't notice any difference in the tub's ability to keep the water warm. The grouting was done neatly and we never had any leaks. Overall, I was very happy with the job.

    I love your updates and hope you'll continue to share your progress on the bathroom. And enjoy another beautiful Colorado day today! xo

    1. Oooo... thank you so much for sharing your experience with the tub liner. I have to admit, that it does sound like it would be less disruptive overall - plus, if I go the refinishing route I'll have to deal with the tub surround myself, while if I did the liner they could do the surround simultaneously. Hmmm... thoughts to ponder.

      Hope you and yours are happy and well and enjoying our insane weather. I can't help but worry that we're gonna pay for all this with a nasty reality check at some point. But I am enjoying it while it lasts!

    2. Add me to your list of acrylic liner customers. I love it. We had the tub as well as the surround covered. We did this project early on in our home-owning, as there was leakage behind the original tub surround walls. I don't think we used Bathfitter, but I'm sure they are all pretty much the same. I agree with Eliza--if you like to take baths (not my thing usually!), the acrylic is much warmer against your skin. I do notice that we get more soap scum buildup on the acrylic, but nothing a scrub brush won't take out. My hubby repairs the caulking by the faucet area yearly, but again, not really a game-changer. I LOVED the installation time--if I recall correctly, they came to measure the tub to get the pieces to fit correctly. They returned a different day for the install, and we had to avoid using it on installation day plus the next day. Minimal hassle, minimal loss of the use of the bathroom. If you prefer the traditional look of tiles, this is not the way to go, but I think it looks neat and tidy and it has held up well for over 10 years for us.

      So this is a stupid question, but do you have to treat your water for storage?

      For whatever it's worth, when you get around to painting your walls, consider painting your door, as well. We must have homes of a similar vintage--we have yet to paint some of our closet doors (which are about the same color as yours) but what we have painted, we like sooo much better. It brightens the space, makes it look larger, and I think it looks more updated as well, and while it's a hassle, it's a cheap fix.

    3. Thanks Kris,

      I never considered the idea that acrylic would be warmer, buy you're making me think I should definitely consider the liner option. While I like the look of tile for a tub surround - I don't like the idea of cleaning all that caulk!

      In terms of water storage, I haven't added anything to it - but instead of filtering the water like I normally do for drinking, I just put straight tap water, which still has the chlorine in it. I've read differing views about how long you can store water, and whether you should add a bit of bleach or not. For the moment, my plan is to just dump the water every few years and refill the bottles - but probably more research is warranted.

      And I'm glad to know that you like the look of the painted door. I'll probably try that if I can find a way to patch the holes smoothly. I think the former resident of this home had some... um... "anger issues" because it looks like the door was kicked and punched. Anyhow, if I can't patch the holes decently, I was thinking I'd just replace the door. :-)

    4. I meant cleaning all that grout... not caulk - apparently I'm experiencing word salad again! :-)

    5. So I had this thought earlier today that we have 4 times the number of regular shower users than you ... so I bet your need to re-caulk would be minimal. :)

    6. Having never re-caulked in the 22 years I've lived here... I think that's likely! :-)

  4. I've just counted up my supplies (for 1 person) of bottled water - over 30litres, in plastic bottles from the supermarket and renewed every 6-12 months.
    Bought, because it's sealed and safe quality; plastic because it's lightweight and less damaging if broken; stored at floor-level so it won't cause harm if it falls over; in two areas of the house in case I can't access one of them.
    I usually have more, never have less than that quantity on hand, in case of interruption of safe water supply for whatever reason. - Valerie

    1. Thanks Valerie! That sounds like a very well thought out system. Storing it on the floor is definitely a good idea - as is having it in separate locations. I do actually have two cases of water on the floor (wine bottles filled with water) but it's probably worth finding a way to minimize the breakage risk for all of that glass.

      As you note, there are many good reasons for choosing plastic - I just hate the idea of having to drink that much bottled water on a regular basis... partly because of environmental guilt, and partly because I just HATE the taste of water in plastic bottles. Everyone says I'm totally crazy, but I swear I can taste the plastic! Maybe I need a stainless steel tank or something, but that sorta strikes me as going off the deep end in the prepper sense - but who knows... in for a penny, in for a pound as they say! :-)

  5. Your floor looks really nice, and I love the new shower head.

    It is really nice to have a tub and shower. I don't think you ever realize how much you're going to miss the one you don't have until you have to live without it. When we first bought our house we didn't have a tub, just a walk-in shower. We didn't think it was a big deal since we both usually shower, but we really missed having a tub. It was so nice to finally get one a few years ago.

    I'm jealous of your weather. We've been warmer than usual, but not as warm as you.

    1. I could NEVER live in a place without a bathtub. Well, I could, of course... but I wouldn't want to. I love looking at tiny houses, but my I always come back to the same thought... no bathtub?

      Anyhow, the weather has just been crazy warm here. It's in the low 60s right now. La Nina years generally bring us warm, dry winters, but this is remarkable. We had NO measurable snow for the entire month of November, and we've been setting records right and left. It leaves me feeling conflicted. The bike rider in me is LOVING it... the environmentalist is concerned.

  6. You've done nice work on the bathroom, Cat. And that's so awesome that you could fix the shower, too.

    I also keep bottles of water. Whenever I have a half-gallon size bottle that will fit in the door of a fridge I fill it with tap water and store in the garage fridge. I think I only have about a gallon per person at this point. I've read the same thing about using tap water vs filtered, so even though we do have a filtering system through our fridge, I just use the tap for the benefit of the chlorine. In an emergency, we can put up with tap water taste for a day or two.
    Good to hear what you've been up to.

    1. Keeping them in the fridge is an interesting idea. I guess you don't have to worry about anything growing in it that way, plus I think it makes the fridge operate more efficiently.

  7. We have no spare water whatsoever and that's probably a bad thing. Time to come up with a system. I do like your re-using of glass bottles!

    And kudos for getting the shower fixed. I guess sometimes true OEM parts really are worth the price.

    Again, really like that tile you picked in the bathroom. I think a trial run for a while is a good idea. Gives you a chance to see what you think still needs to be done.

    1. Sort of an amazing difference. And the diverter valve cost a whopping $7.99. I'm thinking maybe I should buy a dozen of them just in case! :-)


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