Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Leak The Remodel

According to my husband, it all started when I decided to take a shower one afternoon...

Friday afternoon I jumped at an opportunity to get in the shower before we went out to eat with some family. Just afterward, Jeremy went downstairs and noticed a puddle underneath our ancient hot water heater. We know it's only a matter of time before it does finally die a slow and painful death in our basement, but that ended up not being the problem. Somewhere in the plumbing between the basement and behind the shower, the cold water had a leak.
Now, if you don't know us personally, or you haven't been to our house before, you need to know that back when Jeremy and I were newlyweds and ambitious, we bought a "fixer-upper" in hopes of putting in a little time and some money and turning a profit someday. Fast forward 7 years (yes, we've been married 7 years now!!), and we still own that house, without the work done on it that we had planned. That means plaster walls, goofy plumbing (think a combination of galvanized, PVC, copper, and a jumbled mess), old electric work (knob and tube to brand new wiring and everything in between), etc. Naturally, there was no shut off to the shower, and there was no easy access to the plumbing behind the shower. Which is how we ended up in this mess....
I have to admit, I love having a husband that is willing to tackle many (most?) of the problems that happen to befall us with our old house and finicky cars. What he doesn't immediately know what to do (which isn't much), he looks up and researches or contacts a friend that does. I don't know if it's the inborn "cheap" side of him that doesn't want to pay for repairs that he could potentially do himself, the fact that he watched his dad do the same thing for years, or the fact that we didn't have the money for a weekend plumber's bill, but Jeremy decided to fix this mess himself.
Slowly but surely, this "quick fix" has turned into a full-out bathroom remodel. As it turns out, we never did find the "reason" for the leak, but we did find all kinds of strange plumbing behind our shower. So much so that Jeremy decided to tear it all out and run new Pex lines to ensure we would not end up with problems again.
Jeremy found some oddities during his demolition. Things like old knob and tube wiring ran directly behind the shower, in the same wall as the water.... Again, I'm thankful for family who's been so willing to help out. My brother-in-law was willing to come over and help determine the validity of this old wiring. As it turns out, it runs electricity to all of the lights on our main floor, so it had to stay. However, he was able to advise Jeremy on how to keep it in a safe manner.
It hasn't been exactly easy to have our one and only bathroom under construction for 4 days. I'll admit to having to jump over 3 tool boxes, a shop vac, various tools, and other paraphernalia to use the bath room one night.
Of course, (I apologize now for the TMI, but this is a part of our story - if you don't appreciate gross stories, skip ahead) our children decided to get sick during this remodel adventure. Monday morning (our anniversary), both boys woke up with diarrhea. Grayson's was mostly contained by his diaper, but Jayce was covered from his armpits to his toes. As a mother, your first instinct it to clean him up and get him in the bath... but we didn't have one. We got out our baby tub and bathed him in the kitchen. Thankfully, Jeremy's mom has been very cooperative in allowing us time to shower at her house (and watching the kids while we do!), so we haven't had to come to that yet.
Grayson even wanted to get in on the action, but with out it being necessary it didn't happen. He did have fun playing in the tub until it got put away.
Last night (our anniversary), I went to my bible study while Jeremy was working on the bathroom and some of his family was here to help handle the kids. When I came home, this is what I saw! The faucet, handle, and shower head were installed!!
Today Jeremy has been working on checking the plumbing work for leaks (none!), and installing new drywall. When all this ends, we should have new plumbing, a new tub surround, a new tub faucet and handle, and, if I have my way, a new floor and toilet also! A full remodel.


Sara said...

Too bad it's so cold out. You could have just taken everyone outside and sprayed them down with the hose. Sorry you guys have to deal with all of that! Hope everything is back in working order asap. Including the kiddos! :)

Kim M said...

Most any "fix it" job we've ever done has lead to more fixing or remodeling! Isn't it fun to be homeowners!!! So glad Jeremy is not afraid to tackle it.

Does this give new meaning when I say your boys are "so stinkin' cute"!!!

pex said...

I also encountered the same problem this summer ... leaking plumbing took me all day