Premarital Counseling? Remodel a Bathroom Together Instead.

It started off more as a joke than anything.  The topic of marriage had come up with my Significant Other.  I quipped, “Before two people can talk about marriage, they have to wallpaper a bathroom and take a long road trip together.”  My reasoning:  you don’t really know who you’re dealing with until you’ve both been worn thin and have to come to agreements about how to handle the inevitable problems that WILL arise.  That’s when the masks come off and you get to see who they REALLY are.

I was stunned when David enthusiastically responded, “What about remodeling your  daughter’s bathroom?”

I immediately replied, “Sure.  Are you sure you want to help me with that?”  I was stunned, not stupid.  I love my house, but the cabinets and fixtures were cheap when they were installed 30 years ago.  It was reminiscent of truck stop bathroom, but with slightly better lighting.  The shower stall had mold that could not be removed without power tools.

And so we began.

Now I will add here that David was unemployed when he agreed to this adventure.  One week in, he was hired and expected to start immediately.  Add to that the joy of single parenting and every-other-weekend parenting time schedules.  Our time together was limited and now we were wrestling with an ornery pedestal sink and badly-designed faucet to boot.  I agreed to handle much of the work on my own in his absence.

We had torn out and installed the new floor tile together with amazing teamwork.   We put up the new drywall after the plumber was finished and David left on Sunday night exhausted but proud of our progress.  It was agreed that I would use my texture gun to apply the knock-down to the walls and paint before he returned in 2 weeks.  Simple enough.

The following Saturday morning, I had everything in the bathroom taped off and ready to go.  I hooked up the gun, pulled the trigger and… it puked an enormous blob of mud on the floor.  Home Depot did not have a part to fix it and a new gun was $80.  I went to the tool rental department.  I could RENT an awesome texture gun with a hopper the size of a curbside garbage can at a rate of $18 for 4 hours.  How I was going to lift this bad boy once it was full of mud was not a consideration.    I was on a mission.

Now, I need to explain that I am a compulsive diy maniac.  3 years ago, I couldn’t take looking at the flap of popcorn texture that was slowly peeling away from the ceiling over my entryway.  I pulled up a chair and began to pick at it like an 8-year-old boy on a scab.  An hour later, I awoke from my trance halfway across my living room, popcorn ceiling flakes and dust covering EVERYTHING.  Due to other complications at the time (I got distracted by something shiny), I never finished the job.  So for the last 3 years, I had been living under an expanse of raw drywall.  Fixing it was yet another item on my never-ending list of “Stuff I Gotta Deal With”.

So I arrived home with this uzi-sized texture gun and naturally, I looked up on my way to the bathroom.

You see where I’m going with this, don’t you?

“Hey, I’ve got this thing for 4 hours.  I could knock out the ceiling in no time and get it off my list.  Brilliant!”

Don’t you judge me.  You would have thought the same thing and you know it.

So I took my remaining drop cloths and covered my furniture and the walls.  I fired up the compressor and blasted the bathroom in about 5 minutes.  Now I’m thinking, “Heck yeah!  I can TOTALLY get ‘er done today! I.  Am.  Awesome.”

So here’s where the breakdown occurred.  You see, my old texture gun was not very powerful and had a very small range.  Using this rental gun in  my living room was like trying to water flower pots with a fire hose.  I blasted EVERYTHING in the living room, the dining room, into the kitchen and down the hall.  I don’t know how it got UNDER the drop cloths, but somehow it did.  It happened in a matter of minutes.  And when it was over, I stood there thinking, “Oh……shoot.”  Or something very similar to that but spelled slightly differently.  I could have accomplished the same results by dropping a cherry bomb into a 5-gallon bucket of watered down joint compound.

So now I am NOT thinking that I am so awesome.  My kids are mortified and angry, because now THEY have to play FEMA and help me clean up this disaster.

It took 2 weeks.

In the middle of the clean up (remember that shooting the texture is just 1/3 of the project; now I had to prime and paint the ceiling), David came by.  His eyes widened.

How much did it cost to rent the texture gun for 4 hours?” he asked.  The implication stung.  Yeah, yeah.  I get it.

“$20.”  I lied.  Like an extra $2 would justify the catastrophe I had created.  I gave him the crooked smile, “You can’t kill me, I’m too cute” look, shrugging.

He began to laugh, shaking his head.

He went to work on the bathroom.  “I’m never going to let  you live this down. It’s like an episode of “I Love Lucy”.

Two weeks later and after I had restored everything back to what I call normal, he came back to help me finish the bathroom.  We still had the shower stall to install  and the sink wouldn’t stop leaking.  It was Superbowl Sunday.  Now I am proud to say that  I am rarely an insecure, self-loathing disaster.  It’s about one day out of every 28 at the very, very most.  But that was the day.  So there we were, trying to install a shower stall with really badly written directions and highly toxic adhesives.  The walls weren’t square and I was PMSing out of my mind.  My daughter was in the next room glued to the most-watched Superbowl of all time and making all the “OH!” and “YEA!” noises to compound his agony.  This must be what hell is like for men.  That and really, really hot.  And no beer.

By 10:00 that night, we got it done.  Shocking, but we did, and it didn’t even leak.  And even more shocking, on Monday morning… he was still in love with me.

I know.  Hard to believe.

He’s a keeper.

My book, Dating, Sex, & Jesus is now available at Please “like” the Dating, Sex, & Jesus Facebook page at: for fun and interesting content and book excerpts in your feed. Thanks!


About howhardcoulditbe

While this started as a chronicle of my many (sometimes ill-conceived) "Do It Yourself" projects, it has morphed into a journal of my 9-year journey as a single Christian woman striving to live by God's design.
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4 Responses to Premarital Counseling? Remodel a Bathroom Together Instead.

  1. TopCat2x2 says:

    The title of your article caught my eye because I’ve been working up the courage to remodel my own bathroom. I enjoyed your post and definitely agree that you don’t really know your significant other until you’ve done work on the house or put together an entertainment unit from scratch LOL. After the dust settles it’s a great feeling knowing you still like/love each other. 🙂

  2. Dewey says:

    Well Cathleen, you certainly can write and I love your sense of humor. 🙂 I’m glad it all turned out.

  3. And to think that you could have hire a pro like me to do it for $300 and it would have all been done and cleaned up.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

  4. Pingback: Traveling With Teenage Girls: A Cautionary Tale | howhardcoulditbe

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