Press "Enter" to skip to content

I’ll Drink to That

This insane remodeling project has been one step forward, two steps back, but I think we’re finally making progress. The plumbing is mostly done – still some little tweaks, like replacing the $10 flush mechanism on the toilet. We still need to replace the water heater but we already pretty much knew that, and have someone lined up to swap it out.

I was cringing when I looked at the bathroom and worried over what it was going to take to rip out several layers of atrocious wallpaper. I started to pull it out and it was taking the wall with it. Luckily looks like that issue turned out to be a lot less scary than I thought, and the fix should be pretty simple. I’m going to need to clean up a ton of crusted lime from where the old faucet sat, and in all the other fixtures.

The water here is among the hardest in the world. The muddy cow ponds in the middle of Africa don’t carry as much crud in their water as the local water supply here. It’s ostensibly clean crud, but still crud. Calcium, iron, and God knows how many other minerals mean a scrubbing marathon at least once a month for sinks and faucets, and a vinegar bath for clothes and dishes on the same frequency. It’s bad closer in to Phoenix, but this little corner of the world is worse. I used to think bottled water was the ultimate in bourgeois posing. Then we moved here and invested in a water dispenser in the house, which is the only water you can actually drink. We replenish those three-gallon bottles at a brisk clip, because they’re a necessary evil.

Now we’re only talking drinking water. For bathing and such this stuff is safe. You just crack off a hard shell every now and then. That’s really what snakes shedding their skin is about – it’s sloughing off the accumulated hard water deposits around here.

To be fair, I’m kind of a water snob. When I was a kid growing up in northeastern Iowa, we had our own well. We lived a few blocks from the Cedar River, a tributary of the Mississippi. I thought everyone could get water from the faucet that was cold without ice, and that tasted like – well, water. I thought there was something seriously wrong with the water at my grandma’s house in the next town. She had city water rather than her own well, but I didn’t know that until I was 8-ish or thereabouts. Her water tasted funny, and it wasn’t super cold, but it was drinkable.

Fast forward to 2016 and I’ve become a connoisseur of fine H2O. I know, for example, that Aquafina is the best bottled stuff you can get from the drug store. I know that whenever we go traipsing across town we take along something liquid and cold year-round, because carrying water is what you do. There are no public drinking fountains in the vicinity, and even if there were, you wouldn’t want to drink from them unless they were attached to one big ol’ honking filtration system.

Hubby promised to get a picture of the new sink today. I live such an exciting life. (Read that in the deadpan voice in which it was written.) He’s painting whilst I do laundry and dishes. I finally gave up and bought curtain rods from the Big Box Devil, because I refuse to pay $30 for a single curtain rod. Yeah, I know I’m cheap, and I don’t care who else knows it. We’re buying curtains online because we want something specific that will cost us an arm and a leg if we can even find it locally. It costs entirely too much for you to cover up your windows, but in this part of the world it’s also a necessary evil.

Once the painting is done, we’re going to tackle flooring. In theory we might even move in someday, but I’m not holding my breath.

This is the same series of pictures I posted on Facebook, give or take a few, so feel free to ignore them if you like.

Painting the monster
That gridwork there? That thing looked like crap no matter what we did to it. I told my husband to rip it out, right off the bat, but he didn’t want to. Then we painted. Suffice to say it’s now gone.

And it’s gone! I was so glad to see that thing removed. It literally disintegrated as hubby was trying to rip it out. It was supposedly porous wood but I think it might also have been cork wannabe.

Into Hallway
This is another view, one that includes the tools and such. That box across the top of the bar is coming out, as well as the bar itself. We’re putting in a double-sided bookcase and a small desk.

Kitchen after partial paint
The paint is about a thousand times cleaner looking than the gray and blue wallpaper you can still see in the back corner. The ceiling fixture is being replaced. The lighting now is a mishmash, we’re shooting for consistency

Just a reminder: this is where we started. Kind of a wee bit of difference, isn't there?
Just a reminder: this is where we started. The upper cabinets are going to be white, the lowers a dark navy blue. Flooring will be largely gray tones. We’ll be patriotic once everything’s there, with our red small appliances

And this is where we REALLY started - complete with god-awful gold high-low carpet and cheap 1970's furniture
And this is where we REALLY started – complete with god-awful gold high-low carpet and cheap 1970’s furniture. the furniture went straight to the dumpster, though some of the workers decided to keep the dishes.


  1. Terri Tinkel Terri Tinkel August 28, 2016

    Good progress. I think you are going to be very happy very soon. Looks much better already.

    • leilani leilani Post author | August 29, 2016

      I’m glad we’re finally making progress. Hubby said the kitchen is the part that’ll take the longest to paint, and we’re working on it now. Turns out the white paint we got for the cabinets is the color of fresh cream – just slightly off of bright white, and absolutely gorgeous. We still have a lot of work to do but we’re making progress, thank goodness.

  2. cocoabean cocoabean August 28, 2016

    Water in San Diego tastes horrible. There are water stations at every grocery store and mini mart that dispense RO or filtered water. I bought two five gallon jugs and refill them. I introduced those stations to my sister who visits Green Valley about two years ago.. now she drinks filtered water, too!

    • leilani leilani Post author | August 29, 2016

      Same here with all the grocery stores and such that dispense water. We refill our water jugs but had to trade the five-gallon ones for three-gallon ones because we’ve gotten to the point we can’t handle the bigger ones. It’s the desert – everything’s alkaline as heck.

  3. goatbarnwitch goatbarnwitch August 28, 2016

    Your project reminds me a bit of the first house we bought. It was a 1929 kit house that we bought in 1994 complete with thousands of layers of wallpaper over plaster walls. The house didn’t have electricity when it was built but rather gas lights so the outlets were on the baseboard and we had wall sconce lights. It was a wonderful house once it was rehabilitated a bit but ugh, the work to get it there. If I never see a wallpaper steamer again I can die in peace. I won’t go into the bathroom… let’s just say we had to gut it

    • leilani leilani Post author | August 29, 2016

      Then yes, you understand our pain, though I’m sure we had it easier than what you described. I was hoping we’d have been moved two weeks ago and obviously that didn’t happen. Now I’m hoping within another two weeks tops – and hoping it’s not longer than that, because while I’m grateful for a place to stay while we’re working on the new place, it’s driving us nuts to be sleeping less than a foot from the front door and to have to deal with the daily drama. I’m so ready to be moved that it’s not funny.

  4. Poola Boola Poola Boola August 29, 2016

    Looking good! I am so glad for your new nest!

    • leilani leilani Post author | August 30, 2016

      Thanks, Poolie. We’re glad it’s finally moving along!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *