Putting Our Heads Together Without Knocking Them Together

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The bathroom remodel began with ideas texted and emailed back and forth between Mike and me. When he and Jenny arrived at our house nine days ago, Mike finally got his first look at the job he was about to tackle.

What we are actually trying to do is to turn two rooms into three. Two spaces that once served as a bathroom and a bathroom/laundry room combination are being transformed into a laundry room, a bathroom, and a half bath–a challenge for sure, but Mike keeps telling me it’s doable.

One of my top priorities is for the bathroom to have room for a simple stand-up shower, a sink, a commode (the nice Southern way to say toilet), and the claw-footed tub that I took a bath in when I was a little girl. The place where our house once stood is now a bank parking lot, but my Aunt Emily rescued the claw-footed tub.

Claw-Footed Tub Library of Congress cropped
Wouldn’t it be cool if I could find a faucet like this one? Hey, look! There are even swans on the walls just like there used to be in our bathroom! (Library of Congress Photo Taken in Key West, Florida–No Date Given)

For years our family’s old claw-footed tub sat incongruously in my pink grandmother’s back yard. The yard was beautiful and immaculate, but for some reason she allowed that tub to sit behind the garage. Later it was moved to the basement.

When we cleaned out my grandparents’ house a few years ago, the tub was up for grabs; and I brought it home (Thanks, Nate, for your work helping to get it up those basement steps!). We put it in our shed out back and there it waited for “someday” when we could find it a home in this old house.

Strong winds blew the shed down last February, so the heavy tub has continued in its same spot in our back yard, which is okay, but certainly not immaculate like Mama Sue’s.

I know the project would be easier if an antique porcelain tub didn’t need a rather large home. Mike, Ray, and I have been batting around ideas about where to put the dryer (it can’t be too far from an outside entrance or the exhaust has to have a booster fan), the washer, the freezer, the water heater, and all that stuff. Night before last Mike said basically, “Okay, it’s time. The plumbing is going in. We have to know exactly where everything is going.” Jenny joined in the discussion.

The bugaboo was the water heater. To make room for the tub, we had to move the water heater from its ancestral home to someplace new. To fit in the footed tub, the water heater can no longer go in the laundry room as originally planned. Night before last we all thought it had to go in the full bath, but how could we hide it in there? On and on we talked until we came up with a plan that none of us were jumping up and down about.

Then yesterday morning, Jenny had the wonderful idea that the water heater could go in the half bath. No one had thought of that. Maybe that could work, but still it wasn’t perfect. We couldn’t think of a good way to access it for repairs.

I’ve been daydreaming about this remodel for years. An old idea popped back into my head. I had often wondered if we could put an additional door into the half-bath so we could have access from the room that is behind it. I had given up on that idea, but there is room for a door. We could put an access door to the water heater in that spot. Eureka! We had a perfect plan!

The solution we came up with when we all worked together was better than anything that one of us had thought of by ourselves. Cooperation is one of those skills that is crucial in many areas of life. In order for cooperation to happen, everyone needs to respect the ideas of other people. That is a skill best learned at home.

Two are better than one
because they have a good return for their labor.
Ecclesiastes 4:9



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