I am Shiva the Destroyer

Of home demolition, male strippers, broken toilets, and "hooker baths"

October 27, 2008

The ladyfriend has a new bathroom picked out for the house that will surely make showering and shaving a truly otherworldly experience. It will also likely land us on the bread line.

So, to save a few extra dollars we told the contractor we’d tear down the bathroom ourselves. Great idea in theory…questionable play calling in practice. If the floor I recently built in the basement (with its slopes, creaks, pointy nails, and lack of artistry) was any evidence of my handiwork, this was going to be a disaster.

So this weekend—with help from her dad, Bob—we spent the better part of two days tearing the holy hell out of our water closet. We took it, as the professionals says, "down to the studs." (Sidenote: wouldn’t that be a great name for an all-male striptease troupe? And now, appearing tonight at the Triple Nickel…"Down to the Studs!")

Truth be told it was kind of awesome. It’s quite amazing the amount of destruction one can do with a single crowbar. In fact, the wood and plaster of the walls came down rather easily. But once we reached the ceiling, where the original builders had installed "blown in" insulation in the attic, things got nasty. As we ripped down boards, gray stuffing rained down on us…in our goggles and masks we looked like snowmen from a post-apocalyptic nuclear winter. The bathtub was a bit of a female-dog, too. Too heavy to move and still connected to the pipes, we had to take it out chunk by chunk with a few hundred swings of the sledge hammer. And then there was the toilet…it’s bad enough that this noxious hole has to be dealt with in the first place, but when we were removing the floor tiles with crow bars and hammers, we accidentally bent the lip of the (how do you say?) "evacuation tube?" It meant we had to take out the "throne," re-set it with some awful donut of wax, and spend a couple hours nose to nose with a truly unspeakable stench.

But by 3 p.m. yesterday (after about four trips to Portland’s magical public dump) we were done. Smelly, dirty, bloody, and sore….but we were done.

So this week (until we take up a more permanent residence in Beaverton for the duration of the three-week remodel) will be a series of "hooker showers" in the kitchen sink and frigid visits to a solitary hole in the ground that used to be our toilet.

I feel sorry for my officemate, John Chandler.

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