1.01.2010

Fueling my Obsession with the Medicine Cabinet

One whole day ago during our 50th trip to Home Depot this week S and I "looked" at bathroom medicine cabinets for what I said three days ago is a project that we'll tackle "sometime in the future." What happened next is a perfect example of how S and I have perfectly matched project styles: the obsessive project master.

Me: "look, that one matches the vanity and the little cabinet the sellers put in our bathroom."
S: "cool. Will it fit?"
Me: "sure, let's get it."
S: "ok."
Me: "oh wait, it's not recessed mounted. This one is, I want this one."
S: "that's definitely too long."
Me: "oh don't worry about that, we have a sawzall, we can make it fit."
S: "do you know how to do that?"
Me: "yeah, sure, let's get it."

We didn't leave with the medicine cabinet, but this morning while I made breakfast I suggested that S go upstairs and chip away at the 25 layers of paint covering the mounting screws inside our original-to-the-house medicine cabinet. A few minutes later S hollered down for me to come up and check out what he found behind and below the cabinet: hundreds of used Gillette razor blades.
It was absolutely fascinating. I have never seen anything like this before. The old man who lived in the house before our sellers must have been sticking his blades in the disposal slot since 1941 without any thought as to where his trash "went."
We found a horizontal 2x4 in place below the cabinet to catch all the blades. S attacked it with a hammer and mock-chisel (keep in mind that this was just an exploratory project at this point since we still didn't have the new medicine cabinet, and Home Depot wasn't even open yet).

Just as I finished making breakfast, S smashed through the remaining portion of the 2x4. We peered down the hole, confirmed that the (3 year old, never used) sawzall would probably (hopefully) make the desired cabinet fit, ate breakfast, and left, just in time to be among the first shoppers at Home Depot today.

Thirty minutes later I was marking cutting lines on the wall with a quilter's square while S unwrapped his sawzall that came with his cordless drill/circular saw/light/dust buster/sawzall Ryobi set that he bought when he purchased his first home three years ago.
 
The thick, rock-like plaster destroyed the blades. But, blades are cheap and a few cuts later we had a much longer opening, but unfortunately the width was 1/4" too narrow for the medicine cabinet now patiently waiting on our bed.
Neither S nor I were fazed by this development. "Quick, go get the circular saw and set it as deep as possible," I said. If we had professional tools that would have been a good solution. However, our 5.5" saw only cuts 1.5" deep, max. Soooooo, S attacked the 1" layer of plaster with the circular saw while I zipped off to Home Depot to get a chisel.

I was somewhat peturbed that our local hardware store was closed for the holiday so my unplanned trip was to take 20 minutes rather than five. But S reminded me that it's not really a project until we've been to Home Depot at least three times. So true. Plus I bought the two short, fat, 50 cent screw drivers that caught my eye earlier in the day, and had several keys made to hide outside for when I lock myself out of the house.

Back in the bathroom the chisel did the trick in no time at all. And while S cleaned up the mess:
I used some joint compound to smooth out the years of chipping (lead) paint:
We removed the old light fixture while I was smoothing on the compound, and added "replace light fixture (again)" to the day's to-do list. With only 45 minutes until we were due for an early New Year's dinner with S's family, I called the nearest Pottery Barn and asked them to put a light fixture I've been lusting after for four or five whole days on hold for us.

We were disappointed to find that the joint compound had not fully cured by the time we returned home this evening. So instead of sitting back to relax, we decided to raise the exiting shower curtain to the ceiling and I added compound to the holes left in its place.

Tomorrow I'll sand the compound and paint in the morning before we go to Ikea. And hopefully in the afternoon we'll have our new vanity and light permanently in place.
So that's how a typical project goes from start to finish at the Bee Hive. Idea-plan-do-improvise-finish, all in the blink of an eye. It amuses me that "sometime in the future" really meant two days later for this project. I love that S and I don't mull over a project for months or years before tackling it; short of burning the house down, there's really nothing we can't repair. Our let's-just-figure-it-out-and-do-it-now approach works well with our (my) personalities and keeps us (me) entertained.

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