Tuesday, December 6, 2011

notes from the field

I totally left you all hanging there, and I know it was very unfair. No one could achieve any rest or relaxation all weekend, so concerned were they over the status of the misfits' toilet.

Well, wait no longer: the toilet is re-installed, and, as I told my husband Saturday morning, fully operational. (He would have known this firsthand, but for the fact that he was banished from the bathroom after claiming that I had incorrectly affixed the bolts under the flange reinforcement ring, meaning that the toilet would never be bolted securely to the floor, and consequently that his 75-year-old father would fall off said toilet and die while visiting us.)

On the other hand - there is always another hand, with me - the leak resumed almost instantly upon the toilet's reinstallation. Apparently, all the time, the leak was coming from the connection between the toilet and the tank. This explains the lack of sewage smell. And the fact that the leaking water was clean. And the fact that I didn't previously see the leak (it apparently comes and goes, probably depending on whether the tank has been bumped). And the fact that I saw a puddle on the first floor for the first time recently - and yet enough water has made its way below the toilet to warp the bathroom's wood floor and rot the subflooring.

I have now purchased a replacement gasket, and I intend to shut the water off again and do this repair (which will be a lot easier and less gross than the prior one) - but I want a break from toilet-related home improvement projects for, say, a week. (In the meantime, I have deployed buckets. Although the drip has now stopped. Arrghhh.)

This freed up my time for some other things. First I caulked the crown molding I installed in the living room. I turn out to be quite poor at installing molding, and it took a lot longer than I expected. But the caulk really does help - still not perfect, but much better. Of course, the caulking floundered as well, because it did not occur to me that I'd need more than one tube, so I had to go back to the store. Still to do: finish caulking.

And then, by far my favorite project this week (possibly my favorite so far): the wallpaper in the bedroom. You may recall that I decided that I needed to have one "accent wall" of wallpaper in each bedroom, and then proceeded to agonize for months and months over which papers to use. And then I finally settled on several and then, before I got to the point of buying them, scrapped almost all of those decisions and started over.

Well, here's where I am with that. After the sample of my first choice turned out to be a terrible disappointment, I chose this paper for the master bedroom:

Then I color-matched some super-light gray paint to that. It was the second room I painted. Then I pulled the trigger and bought the paper for that room. I also bought the same print, in this colorway, for the dining room above the chair rail (have already painted the wall below that white):

I figured that I would do the master bedroom first, because that's just one wall (and not such a tricky one - just one doorway), and I need to learn something about hanging wallpaper before I attempt the dining room, which has three doorways, a double-wide window, a curved wall, and a mantelpiece. And nine-foot ceilings. But I had no idea my efforts would be stupendously blessed by an offer of assistance from a delightful friend. Those of you who attended the last of the meetings of the DC infertile coffee before its demise may remember a certain lovely young lady, not a blogger herself but the friend of another blogger who kindly put us in touch, who attended. Since she does not have a pseudonym, I shall dub her The Lark. (You're welcome :D.)

Anyway, apparently she wanted to see the insanity in action, and I hate to disappoint - I needed to tackle a suitably insane project. Happily, it turns out that she knows a lot more about hanging wallpaper than I do (plus she read the instructions). So this weekend, we covered the room in tarps and gooey, paste-filled water and got to work. My DH made me go to bed on Sunday night when I had just one section left to hang, because he has some notion about sleep being useful, so I finished last night. And I have this to say. First of all, a huge and hearty thank you to The Lark (should I keep capitalizing the "the"?) for delightful company and timely aid in need. (Also, for mature and wise thoughts on living a full and valuable life with infertility. You really need to start a blog, OK? Then you can choose your own name...)

Second, I am beyond delighted by how it turned out. Yes, I made a mess of the installation by hacking at the edges of the seams and leaving gaps (you don't notice if you don't look too closely - pictures to come when the room is finished), but in theory, the paper looks just perfect for the room, and I am over the moon about it. Even my husband said he really thought it was perfect for the wall. I found this particularly gratifying because originally, he thought that putting paper on just one wall would look inadvertent and peculiar; I then tried to find designer photos in which this was done, and he got tired of looking at them and told me to do whatever I wanted. And then today I saw this ideabook on houzz. Do I get to take credit for thinking of it first-ish?

*Do not ask.


  1. Is it a relief to get to the bottom of the toilet problem? We've had our share our share of toilet issues in our house, so I always feel like celebrating when the issue is solved!

    Can't wait to see the finished room!

  2. Hm - blogger did not like my openid but I will try again. I have been checking frequently for the toilet update, though I admit that pictures of wallpaper are a bit more aesthetically pleasing :) I am just in admiration of all that you tackle, and how much and how well you accomplish it all. YOu are an amazing woman!

  3. I am in awe that you are a DIY genius.
    I once tried to fix our running toilet and it took me hours and hours and talking out loud to my dead plumber grandfather.
    In the end I gave up and called a man in...only to find that some idiot (HUSBAND) had turned the tap thingy on.



  4. The wallpaper looks lovely. Wonderful pattern. I don't know why, but wallpapering intimidates me. I'm afraid our walls will need to be satisfied with simple paint. Kudos on discovering the toilet problem, but bummer on having to tackle the toilet again to fix it.

  5. Wow!! I can't wait to see the pics when it's all done. Haha every time I see an updated post from you, I always think, "Maybe she will post after pictures this time!" :) PS your wallpaper is really nice, and so much better than the outdated hideousness that covered EVERY room in our house! :) If only my walls had your wallpaper!

  6. I can't wait to see the final pics! You have me in suspense!!!