Friday, May 12, 2017

A Cottage Update

My adorable niece, Maggie, received her First Communion on Saturday morning.  Unfortunately, it was raining, which always puts a damper on festivities.  It was mild though, so not all was not lost.  Maggie is my brother Pat's daughter.  My brother Dan had agreed to assist us with the water situation at the cottage.  He's a graduate of Mass Maritime and in his professional life, has been responsible for keeping systems up and running.  For example, large ferries and power plants.  So while not a plumber by trade, he knows how to fix these types of problems.  After celebrating at Pat's house (chicken parm and cake, yum!), we returned home to change out of our nice church clothes.  We had brought one of Dan's girls with us and I was pleasantly surprised when all the girls took it upon themselves to pack up a few bags of entertainment for the afternoon without any prompts from the adults.  They even asked if it was okay to bring toys.  Uh, yeah!

The rain was starting to break up when we reached the cottage.  My brother determined that the leak was in the hot water line and he was able to turn on just the cold water into the house so we could assess if there were any other problems while he worked on the hot water line.  There's only one bathroom and the kitchen so Rich and I quickly checked things out.  All seemed fine.  I hastily cleaned the toilet and we told the kids it was ready for use.

I really wonder how much life that cottage has seen in the past ten years.  The owners were 90 and 91 when they passed away and while someone had quickly surface cleaned and staged the cottage, the more time I spend in it, I really does appear that it was mostly unused for many years.

We are beginning to see more people on our street and the area is losing its post-apocalyptic vibe.  We spotted the neighbors across the street (NY plates) and I fear that they may dislike us already.  I only saw the man briefly getting something from his car; otherwise, I would have said hello.  If you remember, we learned that their friends had planned to put in an offer but decided to wait until after the inspection of the septic system.  We took a chance and snuck our offer in before the septic was inspected.  They did put in a back-up offer.  So instead of their friends, they got us.  And the big, ugly dumpster out front during renovations.  And the six kids we had in tow.

One of my girls was the first one to use the bathroom.  When cleaning, I had noticed that the toilet seat had been a bit unstable.  My first thought was we are never going to be able to find a replacement for this 1980s toilet.  So Allie yells from the bathroom, "Ah, the toilet is moving!  Should the toilet be moving?"

"It's just the seat, sweetie.  Try not to move."

"It's not the seat.  The toilet is wobbly."

What the.

So I investigate and yes, the toilet moves front to back and side to side.  How did no one notice this?  Rich ventured into the crawl space underneath and to his untrained eye, the seal looked secure.  I can't figure out how it happened.  Visibly, the toilet is not pressed against the tile floor and the tile near the bolts that should hold the toilet in place are cracked and lifted.  It almost looks like the toilet was lifted up somehow.  Due to the salt air (we are a half mile from the ocean) and our humid summers, the bolts are completely corroded.  A quick repair is not possible, but wedging blocks of wood around the toilet is a very short term solution.

I have a photo of the bathroom taken before the septic was updated and if I zoom in, the toilet doesn't look like it was lifted up as much as it is now.  I asked my brother if the septic work could have disrupted the toilet and he said he was a possibility.  Rich keeps saying that it doesn't matter.  What's done is done and there's nothing we can do about it.  Honestly, whenever we looked at the house, I had avoided the bathroom because I had thought we were just going to rip everything out.  Rich and I started going back and forth on what to do with the bathroom last month.  The only bright spot in the chilly, rainy weather we've been having is that we don't feel like we're missing out on staying down there.  That's going to change soon.  Around here, summer hits and it usually hits hard.

I did think that I could survive the season with the bathroom after a super deep cleaning and then we could find someone to update it during the offseason.  We are taking the practical approach of does it really matter what it looks like?  We have a place on the Cape!  Of course, there are easy fixes such as painting and new curtains.  But this cottage certainly doesn't need a $5,000 bathroom.

My brother was able to fix the hot water line and get the hot water tank up and running.  Thank goodness!

Due to the snowball effect, we will be updating the bathroom this month.  We need a new toilet.  That was obvious.  The metal components on the current one are simply too corroded to repair.  We could simply install a new toilet in the old bathroom but now you've got broken tile around the toilet so you really should install new tile.  And if you're going to do that, why not replace the extremely outdated vanity?

Rich had taken Tuesday off from work for appointments so after his eye appointment, he and I drove down there to purchase a new toilet and tile.  We also needed to leave a key for a guy taking care of the roof issues.  This week, we were able to make contact with a contractor (seriously never thought it would happen) who checked out the bathroom and gave us a reasonable quote.  His guys won't be able to start until the week after next, which is fine.  I actually would have been concerned if he had said they could start right away.  We've witnessed it first hand and heard from others - it is difficult to find available, reliable contractors.  We've meet quite a few dead ends already.  The roof guy knows my brother-in-law - that's how that happened.

Bye, bye bathroom.


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