That Sinking Feeling

The cold water in the guest bathroom sink hadn’t worked for at least 23 years.

Only the hot water worked. Which was fine, as long as we told the guests to wash their hands quickly while the “hot” water was still “cold” enough to do so comfortably. With the hot water heater located only a few feet away in the garage, that window of time wasn’t very long. But the cold water in the shower worked fine, so we knew it had to be the pipes to the sink. We just never got around to getting it fixed.

One year, in a desperate attempt to make that ugly bathroom “cuter”, I put some whimsical borders and decals on top of the dull brown wallpaper that I believed would be too hard to ever take off. I had read that it wasn’t the best idea to paint over existing wall paper, so I was essentially “stuck”. It was up to me to make do with what I had.

I got a whimsical clock and put a whimsical dragonfly from Michael’s Crafts on it.

I put a whimsical ladybug and turtle above the towel rack and bought whimsically bright hand towels.

I even took the drawers out of the vanity and replaced them with a whimsical curtain.

Around five years ago my grandson and I decided to make the door whimsical. You can read about this project in “A Whimsical Door”.

But, alas, the border and decals eventually began peeling off. And the sink started leaking. And the cold water still didn’t work.

This is pretty bad, but because of the slow leak under the sink, a few weeks ago I began to smell a very moldy, musty, smell. No problem, I thought. I’ll just get bleach and clean underneath the sink. Unfortunately, the particle board on the bottom of the cabinet was warped and wet. I realized I was going to have to take the whole thing out.

Since I already knew how to disconnect a faucet (see “Don’t Try This at Home”), and since the vanity itself wasn’t attached to the actual wall, this proved to be pretty easy.

Okay, we got this far…

Right now it’s outside, waiting to see if it’s going to become a piece of yard art like its counterpart, the old toilet. (Remember, “It Was Going to be a Birdbath”!)

When I left the drain like this, it crossed my mind that maybe a cockroach or something might try to climb in at night. I wasn’t too worried about it though, and directed my attention to the wallpaper. I discovered it had torn a little when I took off one of the whimsical insects that were stuck on there.

Maybe…yes, I was right! The wall paper glue was so old and dry that I could peel big pieces of it right off the wall. Eager to be rid of the despised brown wall paper, I began work at once.

There were spots where I had to spray vinegar and water on the wall and scrape the paper off, but I was making progress!

I’ll spare you (most of) the details, but you’ll notice now that by the next day there was a rag affixed over the drain pipe with a rubber band. Suffice it to say I had been right about the possibility of not one, but two (did I say gigantic?) cockroaches inviting themselves in to look around. And yes, I did take a picture, but this is a family friendly blog and I didn’t want any little kids to have nightmares. I’m surprised I didn’t myself! Fortunately, being the Big Girl that I am, I managed to spray them with Raid and they soon met their demise.

So when I had most of the wall paper off in that spot, I decided to see if I could figure out why the cold water wouldn’t work. Just an ever so little bit of dirty water dripped out.

I managed to get this part off, and I could see that the cold water pipe looked pretty clogged up. Maybe I could poke something in there and dislodge the sediment or whatever it was.

I couldn’t find a long enough screwdriver so I had to use a paintbrush. It would only go in this far. I didn’t know if that was because the pipe had a bend in it or if it was just that severely clogged. Okay, so I wasn’t going to be able to do this by myself.

After a bit of research, I discovered that all the bathroom vanities I could afford were made of particle board. It goes without saying that there will be no more particle board in my bathroom! So I decided to look at pedestal sinks on Pinterest instead.

Once I found the sink I wanted, I ordered it from Home Dept. They have free delivery, so I can’t really complain, but this isn’t where most 63 year old ladies want their sinks left. Just an FYI in case a Home Depot delivery person happens to read this.

But, again being Big Girl, I managed to at least get them up on the porch. I would let whoever came to install the sink worry about how to get them into the house.

I had already contacted a local plumbing company, who sent Cody out to assess the situation. Cody was very knowledgeable and took measurements of everything. He explained that they would need to move the hot and cold water pipes a little bit, or they would show on either side of the pedestal sink. That would cost a bit more, but it was worth it to me. And he assured me that they would be able to find the problem with the cold water.

Enter Larry and Carlos, who came out a few days later to do the installation. (They said it was okay if I put them in the blog.) Here they are measuring to see where the back of the sink was because they were going to have to access the pipes from the garage. (And yes, that is a piece of purple drywall in my garage, which is from an entirely different sink story, the half of which has not been told.)

The water pipes, before and after.

And they found the cold water problem! This section of the cold water pipe was rusted all the way closed. You couldn’t even see from one end to the other.

Yay! The sink is installed and the cold water works! Now all I need to do is finish taking off the rest of the wall paper and figure out what color to paint the room. That project will have to be a post of its own.

And don’t worry, the whimsical door stays! You can see that it’s actually not quite finished.

You may have wondered where my trusty assistant was this whole time. Believe me, he was there!

14 thoughts on “That Sinking Feeling

  1. I read this post a couple weeks ago on my phone, but never logged in to comment. I had to laugh, so sorry that the delivery guys just dropped it off w/out any warning. Glad you finally got the pipes fixed and everything installed. I had to look a couple of times at the photos to notice the difference, but I could finally see (need to get my eyes checked) where the new pipes were retrofitted.

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