Chapter 68: Tub Love

July 12, 2012 • Written by Christina Berry

If you’ve ever spoken to me for more than thirty seconds, then you’ve likely heard me whine that I haven’t taken a bath in six¬†years. It’s true. I’m filthy. Okay, not really, I’ve been showering for all those years, but I haven’t been happy about it. Because, you see, I’m a bath person. And just as a cat person can learn to love dogs, they would still rather be sniffing a cat’s ears than getting licked in the face by a dog. Well, I showered, but my heart just wasn’t in it. I felt like Darryl Hannah in Tom Hanks’ apartment in Splash. Gimme water to float in, dammit, I was born to soak!

Sadly, for the past many months, the tub was completely unusable. Sad face.

And the space where the tub was supposed to go, well that served as our guest room. Amused face.

But no more. It was finally time for us to tackle plumbing, which meant that come hell or high water, we would have…well…high water in the tub soon(ish). But first, we had a whole lot of copper pipes that needed to be sweated together under the house and covered in pipe insulation. So Errek took to the crawlspace on a mission to bring water to his people.

He would come up for air now and then to sweat a joint.

But mostly, he was down under.

Also, we finally moved the hot water heater to its new and permanent (Man, I love that word. Permanent. *sigh* It’s a good word to use.) location.

Just to give you an idea of what a huge step up this plumbing is. Check out the new hose bib (green handled dohicky attached to the steel) compared to the old hose bib tied to the old gas line with a piece of electrical wire and propped up on the cinder blocks so it doesn’t fall on the ground. Night & day difference!

Look at those clean lines! This house is becoming the perfect perfectionist’s home.

Once the underside was mostly done, he took to the house, installing new copper lines for the kitchen…

The fridge ice maker.

The laundry.

The dishwasher.

The pot filler.

And then it was time to plumb the depths of the bathroom. That’s the “lavatory” also known as a sink faucet to normal people.

And next was our steam punk shower. If only we could leave that pressure gauge on it, then it’d be truly steam punk, but that gauge is where the cold water comes in, and since scald scars are not trendy at all, we will just have to settle for a plain-jane safe shower.

And speaking of that gauge, that’s an important part of copper plumbing. See all the elbows and t-junctions involved in getting those valves connected? Well Errek had to solder/sweat every one of those connections, and he had to test that every one of those connections was solid and will never ever leak. To test this, you attach a gauge, close all the valves, fill the thing with air and watch the gauge to see if it moves. If it does, then you have a leak. Sometimes particularly stubborn, hard-to-find leaks need to be submerged in water before you can locate them.

Finally, no leaks! Woot. Woot.

Once he had the leaks fixed, and the valve set was done, he started to assemble the rest of the shower in place. “You don’t want to see this,” Errek tells me as flames lick up the 2×4 stud. “Holy crap!” I exclaim and I hustle for the camera. This photo totally does not do it justice.

But voila, the shower valves and the body jets are in place.

Next came the rain shower head. Question: What’s the hottest thing in this photo — is it Errek or is it Billy Crudup on the TV?

Trick question, it’s the recently sweated rain shower head…and Errek, of course!

Don’t look up now, but that’s a mighty fine rain shower way, way up there.

Then Errek put the Durarock in at the floor level and fashioned a slightly angled threshold so that when water hits the door and dribbles down, it will fall toward the drain rather than collect on the bathroom floor.

Then to make the shower water tight, we hired back the dudes who fiberglassed our first shower to make a mud base and fiberglass pan. Sweet headband, dude!

This is the sloped mud base which slopes down to our trench drain.

And now the fiberglass pan.

Someday, when it’s all tiled and finished, the trench drain will look like this.

Pretty, right?

But, wait? I thought this chapter was all about tub love and mermaids and stuff? What gives?

Oh, never fear, the tub love is coming in 3…2…1…

Tub love!

Hey, let’s dry fit the tub into its cubby hole. Okay, and I’ll go ahead and dry fit myself¬†into the tub, too, while we’re at it. Perfect fit!

Next in, gotta get the drain attached. Check!

And check! Drain is attached.

Now, what happens if something leaks. There are a lot of hoses and stuff. Oh, I know, says Errek, I’m going to line the tub cubby like a shower and put a drain in it.

Uh, okay.

And now, with the shower liner in, we put the tub in her forever home. Squeeeee!

Now, those little foam footies underneath, it’s important that they are level, so the manufacturer recommends putting self leveler around them so that they can hold the weight of the tub when it’s full. Two buckets of self leveler coming up!

Fast-forward 24 hours! So, baby, is the self-leveler dry yet? Yes. We are a go for bathing. Squeeeee!

Let there be water! Squeeee! That a temp faucet Errek fashioned out of copper pipe, by the way, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Now, it’s time to test everything. Hope it all works, considering it’s been many months since we bought it, and we’re probably way past the window of return.

Panel – check! Chromatherapy lights – check!

Air bubbles – check! Massage jets – check!

Mermaid in her water – CHECK! Squeeee!!!!

Uh, okay, Imma need you to go away now. Imma soak in my tub until I’m hyperthermic and my fingers are permanently pruned.

It will look something like this!

A nice image to leave you with until next time when we will be flipping out because we suddenly have insulation.

Actually, wait, before you go I just want to say thanks to everyone who has lent us physical and emotional support through all of this. We could not do this without you. We thank our lucky stars to have such amazing friends and family.

Free baths for everyone!