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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Interestingly, Ensuite Ablution Hellhole Is the Name of My Plasmatics Tribute Band

Okay, so now we’ve got a second bathroom in working order. We can turn our attention to the existing, sorta-master-basically-en-suite ablution hellhole. Interestingly, Ensuite Ablution Hellhole is the name of my Plasmatics tribute band. But I digress.

So, how bad was it? Is ol’ Sippican exaggerating again, like he’s done a billion times? Or is that hyperbole? I forget. But am I lying? You decide. This was our only bathroom when we moved here:

Hmm. Rustic charm, n’est-ce pas?

Rustic, spastic, whatever. I love the scorch marks from cigarettes on the plastic sink. It’s a mark of the breed for the former occupants: Putting lit cigarettes down momentarily no matter where you are or what you’re doing. There was also a voluminous series of ciggie scorchmarks in a semicircle on the floor surrounding the toilet. That one was a new one for me.

The tub might have been the worst feature in the room. It’s a one-piece fiberglass job that was popular about fifty years ago in the real world, so in Maine it’s probably part of a twenty-five-year-old fad. Maine gets everything last, and never starts trends. By the time ideas arrive here from California or New York, filtered through the sieve of Massachusetts, they’re pretty much over everywhere else.

The floor, a birch tongue and groove strip, like most of the rest of the house, was rotting away where the shower spray overshot onto the wall for decades.

This was an especially annoying version of the single piece tub/surround animal. It was designed to fit through skinny doorways, so while it was the standard 5-feet long, it was only about 2-feet wide overall. Subtract the dimensions for the tub rails and the surround thicknesses, and there wasn’t even 18″ to stand in. A normal male human is 18″ wide at the shoulder. I’m not normal, but I am male. I had to stand like a bullet in a box to shower in there, with the shower curtain scrubbing at me like a car wash the whole time. The former occupants bought the wrong one, too, or hired the wrong plumber, or some concatenation of multiple errors. The faucets are on the right, but the drain is on the left. The drain was on old, brass affair that accumulated a muskrat in it every fortnight or so. I was constantly standing ankle-deep in dirty water in there.

The worst part of the whole equation was that only one of this bathroom’s two doors was skinny. The other was a big, wide, solid birch door, and a regular single piece tub/surround would have fit right through it. It gives me a popsicle headache trying to figure out the thought processes of these people, so I’ve given it up entirely. You can have a go if you like. Marijuana is legal in Maine now, so you can set up your think tank here and properly approximate the decision trees that come up with this sort of idea. Just desolating the aisles at the liquor store won’t be enough.

Hey, look! It’s the toilet tank top. It’s in the ersatz closet, covered with shelf paper instead of on top of the toilet for some reason I’d rather not puzzle that one out, if you don’t mind.

I’ve mentioned this before, and at the risk of sounding like some sort of scold, remember, friends don’t let friends drink and decorative paint.

That light switch was a like a slot machine. You could pull the little lever, and every once in a while you’d hit some sort of electrical tumblers just right and the overhead light would go on. We stopped trying after a short while, because we wondered where the electricity went when the light didn’t come on, which was most of the time.

Ye Olde Accesse Doore was a hoot. You really needed it, because the plumbing was strictly tenth-century, and leaked all the time. The door was held on with standard cabinet hinges, with the 3/8″ long wood screws simply driven into the drywall. If you pulled the colonial strap handle, the whole thing would come off in your hand. If the cat brushed up against the door, or you looked at it funny, it would simply fall off the wall onto the floor. I didn’t know any other way to look at it, other than funny, so it spent most of its life off the hinges.

So, whaddya think? Can we do something other than move out to make our lives incrementally better? Can we make something of this bathroom? Stay tuned. The Ensuite Ablution Hellhole is getting a makeover.

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4 Responses

  1. “By the time ideas arrive here from California or New York, filtered through the sieve of Massachusetts, they’re pretty much over everywhere else.”

    Looking at that vintage bathroom, I’d say Massachusetts is a pretty lousy filter.

  2. Ooh, lemme guess. That particular bathroom switch was part of the old knob-and-tube wiring that didn’t get removed? They faked you out by putting Romex on the visible part, and then just hooked it up to the old wiring? Been there, done that, got zapped when I uncovered it.

    Enquiring (aka, nosy) minds want to know where all of those electrons went when they weren’t going to the light bulb?

    As a retiree on a very fixed income I’m fascinated by your basic recycling of stuff, including a closet that is now a workbench (I also wish I was able to hit your tip jar, but…sorry). I just turned a bunch of scrap lumber salvaged from the neighborhood dumpster into a fine sawbuck for cutting up firewood, but now I find I built it about 6″ too tall (which is better than too short, to be sure…I never DID find the wood-stretcher my dad used to send me to get for him) so I’ll trim it down, but I’m still proud of it. What else ya gonna do with a bunch of five foot long 2″x4″s? It folds flat (well, 3-1/2″ thick) and will hold tree trunks much bigger than I can lift to put on it. I paid cash money for the 3/8″ bolts that make up the “hinges” and for the wood screws, but everything else was somebody else’s junk.

    I apologize if I’m incoherent but I just finished cutting down a forty-foot aspen in the back yard that died of some weird fungus that choked it to death. I figure I saved five hundred bucks or so doing it myself, but at age 65 that kind of thing is getting a little…old. But it does mean we can eat well for the next few months, and I’ll get a few good pieces of firewood out of the straight pieces of trunk once it’s cut, split and dried. And I didn’t even drop the trunk on the deck, although with the dry rot through that I might have been doing myself a favor.

    Our big piece of entertainment tonight was going outside after dark to watch a Starlink satellite train go overhead. It’s somehow reassuring to know that humanity can throw objects into the air SO HARD they never comes down.

    1. Hi Blackwing- Thanks for reading and commenting and guessing.

      That was a superb guess, of course, about the wiring. But you’re way off, because you’re not crazier that a outhouse rat like the former occupants of our house. You can’t imagine what these people might have been up to, because you’re intelligent.

      The overhead light was on knob and tube wiring, it’s true, so you’re halfway home. But they decided they wanted a switch by both doors in the bathroom. They wired a double pole switch to one end, and kept the single pole switch at the other. There was one combination of on/off on the two switches that turned the light on, which I’m sure they considered a big win.

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