Monday, August 7, 2017

Nobody Knows The Rubble I've Seen

stilton’s place, stilton, political, humor, conservative, cartoons, jokes, hope n’ change, north korea, nukes, missiles, remodeling, demolition, toilets

Okay, we'll admit it - we're just using the story of Kim Jung Un's latest threat to "end the USA" as a segue into our talking about the renovations on the Jarlsberg mansion which are beginning today with the disconcertingly named "demolition phase."

The overall plan for our home renovation will involve destroying and rebuilding pretty much everything except the master bedroom (giving us a place to live for the next couple of months). So today, workmen are destroying the master bathroom so that it can be rebuilt first - thereby giving the Jarlsberg family a place to pee, poop, and shower (hopefully not all at the same moment) while the rest of the house is getting the wrecking ball.

We've already been inundated by a million little choices - each one of which strikes us as offering infinite room for error. Faucets, shower hardware, senior grab bars, tiles, granite slabs, light fixtures and toilets to name just a few things. And by the way, even picking out toilets is harder than we would have thought: it seems that besides all of the other features toilets now boast (pee vs. poop power flush options, heated bidet jets, self-closing "no slam" seats, LED lights, bluetooth speakers and wi-fi) they come in two basic shapes: an extended oval bowl, or a tinier circular bowl.

This is not an inconsequential difference for those of us who appreciate the extra space afforded by the larger bowl (we have metaphorically referred to this as wanting all of our fishing tackle to fit in the boat) yet we have been informed in no uncertain terms that of the three toilets being replaced, only one can be man-sized. Although any of the three would still work for Obama.

But enough about that - we mainly just wanted to make the official announcement that over the coming weeks Stilton's Place is likely to contain a significant amount of personal venting about the questionable joys of remodeling along with our usual sporadic commentary on whatever is passing for news.

We hope you'll enjoy the ride!

By the way, they HATE it when you do this in the toilet showrooms.


Dan said...

Grab bars -- you'll really like them. We had two put in each of the bathrooms. I'm looking at getting a third on the side wall above the tub enclosure, as another safety grab point when getting in or out.

Slow-drop toilet seats -- Never knew how much I'd appreciate them before we got them.

Oval toilet -- Yes.

And good luck with the renovation.

(Who's doing your kitchen? Big box, or are you going for full-on custom cabinetry?)

Jim Lane said...

Stilt, hold firm on the tall, oval toilet! The women in your life may not appreciate them NOW, but once they try that style for a while...they'll be hooked! I speak from repeated experience, both personal and with friends and relatives. They're great! Shower/tub grab bars are crucial to keep an "aging" bathroom clientele safe. One thing to remember, too, is *no sharp edges or corners* anywhere near the tub/shower! One off-balance fall and such things become terribly damaging, if not lethal. Again, painful experience! Round edges rule! ps: Having an "assist bar" near the toilet, while not possibly needed *now*, can pay big dividends in the future, especially if someone in the family winds up with a knee, hip or back injury. (Broke a leg several years ago, and without *recently installed* grab/assist bars, I'd have gone straight to a nursing home.) And don't forget the non-skid strips in the bottom of the tub/shower! Hotels that don't have 'em scare me silly!

REM1875 said...

We replaced our commodes recently and after I went with Mrs Rem to check out the first one at Home Depot she had to shop for the second one by herself as I am not allowed back in the store.
As I tried to check out how it felt- for the first time in my life Home Dept employees were actually running towards me and not away like usual ... and more that one! (had I known this was how to get their attention I might have tried it decades earlier.....)

I mean how are ya supposed to know if it is the right one and if you are gonna like it - cause at my age you are going to spending some quality time there.....Ya want to make sure ya know....

REM1875 said...

Indoor plumbing is a real blessing- especially on cold nights

Rod said...

You were a cute kid, Stilton.

Fred Ciampi said...

Stilt, the major difference between the destruction o'bammy caused and your renovation crew is you are getting something for your money. And yes, go for the tall oval toilets. Did you say that only one toilet can be big and tall> Doncha just love when gubbermint dictates your toilet preferences? First thing I did when we bought this place was to have big & tall johns put in both bathrooms with side bars and grab bars as well. Of course, out here in hillbillyland the gubbermint pretty much stays out of our business. Good luck and keep those dust masks close by.

Bill Moore said...


When my son and I are doing bethrooms, the toilet height is important to him.

He opts for the toilets that are designed to be about 4" higher. I like them also.

Bill Moore

Tots said...

Hold strong on the toilet. It is the last safe place a father can spend his quality quiet time. The only refuge from the daily toils.

Plus if your junk sits on the toilet seat you'll be peeing in your pants.

Geoff King said...

As an electrician, I highly recommend installing LED lighting. While initially more expensive, they use far less energy than their incandescent counterparts and last basically forever.
Avoid CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lighting - those cute curly-Q bulbs). Although also energy efficient, they contain toxic levels of mercury, and will not work on dimmers, while both incandescents and LEDs will.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking the one large potty limit is from the most local of governances, the Mrs. Surely the Feds, loans & insurance companies have not ruled on this yet? If the lady takes over on this; she also owns the toilets when there are problems.

And if the plumbing drain has been located very close to the corner of the room so it's sits square" but is too close to the side wall; consider setting toilet at a bit of an angle to give yourself some spread space.

Stan da Man said...

This is almost frightening...

Emmentaler Limburger said...

...Stilton's Place is likely to contain a significant amount of personal venting about the questionable joys of remodeling

Those of us who have been through similar will understand. Send all small firearms, garrotes, throwing, Bowie, SOG, K-bar, and similar knives; basically anything that could be used to kill the contractors or yourself - far out of reach. And keep the blood well-alcoholed. This will keep you alive and out of prison through the ordeal.

I made the mistake of installing a slow-close lid on one of the four toilets. Should have done all of them, since they are now all just pushed over, rather than the cautious drop we used to employ. Pooping has never been so loud.

The prohibition on the other oval anti-cereal bowls is likely due to clearances than the Gummint actually treating them like a component of Ă˜bamacare. They don't work out too well in small bathrooms where they oppose a wall.

And ditto Geoff King's recommendation on the lighting. Not only is LED better, and more durable, but they are superior in the realm of dimming than are CFLs. I have found GE LED screw-in bulbs to be junk - they run much hotter than their competitors (there's a power supply in the base), they die extraordinarily fast compared to others, and their low-range dimming, frankly, sucks (anything less than 20% is off). I've tried MANY different makes and configurations, and, in almost all categories, rely on Cree.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Dan- The grab bars will be a necessity as my knees and hips give out (which they're already hinting at). And I thought the slow-drop toilet seats sounded silly, but with your endorsement I'll reconsider. I guess it could mean less bending - which becomes an increasingly good thing with age.

@Jim Lane- I think I scored a victory this morning when our contractor, who happens to be female, strongly recommended the larger oval toilets. I'll keep the "sharp edges" thing in mind too, as the granite guys are doing countertops. In the past, we've sometimes put rubber cushions on the corners, but it's not really a prestigious look.

@REM1875- How the seat "feels" is important. Visiting other homes, I've discovered that many modern toilet seats have sort of a funnel shape (raised outer edges) rather than a flat surface. This does not lead to a merrier derriere.

@Rod- I still am! I think it's the stocking cap that makes me so adorable.

@Fred Ciampi- Oh, the government didn't make that rule about toilets; it was a negotiation with Mrs. J. As I mentioned above, I think she's coming around to my point of view.

And fortunately, we've got dozens of dust masks available because I stocked up after the anthrax scare in 2001.

@Bill Moore- Yeah, we're getting the taller ones too. Makes it easier to stand up if you've been reading so long your legs have fallen asleep.

@Tots- There's no question what seat my "throne" is in this house. So yes, that one is non-negotiable.

@Geoff King- We'll be putting LED lighting into the kitchen when we get to that part of the fun. The mercury-filled "Dairy Queen" bulbs are a pain - they don't last long and you're supposed to call a hazmat team if one breaks. For now, I'm experimenting with LED bulbs here and there and like them fine.

@Anonymous- You're right about who was giving the instructions. Although I was surprised when picking out shower hardware that the government won't let you buy a showerhead combo with separate hot and cold water controls. Apparently those create too great a scalding risk, so we're now mandated to buy those stupid controls that look like a one-handled chrome joystick with which finding the right temperature and pressure becomes a process of pure guesswork.

@Stan da Man- "Almost" frightening...?

@Emmentaler Limburger- My primary job during all of this will be uncomplicated if not simple: "Don't Freak Out." I've made my peace with spending too much money by telling myself it's good for the economy, and will be included in tallies showing a healthy Trump economy which will annoy liberals.

I also am keeping the bar well stocked, new age music playing, and occasionally engaging in FPS games (first person shooters) to work out stress. Better still, Mrs. J is great dealing with these things, so she's doing the heavy lifting here. Except when there's actual heavy lifting to be done.

And thanks for the recommendation on the LED bulbs. I'll look for some Cree units on Amazon.

Sodagrrl said...

Having gone through bathroom renovations within the past 18 months I thought I'd share a bit of knowledge with you.

In regards to toilet choosing -- as a member of the human species who came equipped with fewer bits of external tackle, the toilet shape & size don't affect me personally.

My husband, being somewhat in the upper tier of years, had to consider one additional factor you may have overlooked. That is the level of the water in relationship to the seat. The oblong bowl generally has less distance between seat & water than the round bowl. If you don't want to dunk your munchkins in your coffee you may wish to do some further research on your options! It may be that taller potties don't have this issue.

Hope this helps.

Alfonso Bedoya said...

So.....when is the big OPEN HOUSE? And.....are we all invited? I'll bring some good California wine (I live in the Valley-of-the-Moon wine country). Heck, just to get out of this liberal looneyland for even a short period, I'll bring a CASE of the stuff!

Unknown said...

Hah, friend of mine in Colorado found his young son doing his business in a display toilet in a Sears. Happened so long ago, there are no pictures.

Walter L. Stafford said...

As has been said and shown so many job, big or small is done until the paperwork is complete! Remember to always flush your CLINTON after you wipe your OBAMA or empty your HOLDER!

Unknown said...

I once asked a cousin how long her house project took, and she replied, "We explored every obstacle."

Colby Muenster said...

One of my favorite things (OK... maybe not FAVORITE exactly), is to go to home improvement store, sit down on a display toilet, then holler "Can I get a little privacy here!" to anyone walking by. Try it, it's fun and I'm sure Lowes will let me go back there someday.

I wonder if the "single handle shower control law" is a Texas thing?? I just installed new shower faucets and both Lowes & Home Depot had a fair amount of dual control units to pick from. Of course, that was a few months ago... I can't imagine Texas having more stringent "protect idiots from themselves" laws than NC. It could be your plumber is just skittish?

And I have a gruesome story to share concerning those joystick shower handles. The wife of a guy at work was giving their St. Bernard a bath a while back. The dog was still a pup (only 120 pounds at that time), wasn't used to baths, jumped up and knocked the poor lady over, she fell and put her eye out on the faucet handle! I'm betting the FFHR (Federal Faucet Handle Regulators) never thought of THAT scenario. If you are forced into the single control thing, I'd suggest the type with a knob, not a handle to impale yourself on.

Unknown said...

Bidet! Bidet! Bidet!

Pete (Detroit) said...

Sodagrrl - EXCELLENT point about the seat / water height.
Last office I worked at, had to go upstairs and use the commode to avoid playing 'dunk your junk'.

MAJ Arkay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MAJ Arkay said...

Having just installed grab bars in Mom's house, then her Independent Living apartment bathroom, then our own house, I highly recommend the white bars at Home Depot or Lowes, instead of the industrial metal look. Made Mom a whole lot happier, since they now appear to be part of the overall decor.

As for thrones, females who have extra padding in backside and thighs will invariably find the larger toilet to be much more conducive to proper cleanup (personal experience). Those tiny round toilets don't have enough room to complete one's business in a somewhat sanitary fashion.

Definitely go with taller toilets; your aging knees and backs will thank you, plus you won't have to flush halfway through your business to avoid a backup (also personal experience). The smaller the toilet, the more likely for a nice splash when you drop the big ones, making cleanup even more fun (not). From Spousal Unit's howls of outrage, dipping one's hand in the product during wipe up is the number one reason why round toilets are a bad, bad, bad idea...

So please, please have your contractor convince the Mrs. that bigger and taller is the way to go. She'll muchly appreciate it in the long run.

We're tossing both our "cute" little round ones just as soon as we can find the bigger ones to fit our small toilet spaces. Yep, "cute" was the word used when previous owner waxed eloquent about her potty renovations. Sigh.

Rod said...

All this reminds me of story from long ago in mid-winter Alaska. Friend & co-worker who had a trailer home failed to refill the propane tank or pay the gas bill (I forget which.) The heat shut down while he was gone to do fieldwork; the toilet water & some other things froze and broke the porcelain stool. For some reason when a replacement was installed they just moved the broken one over out of the way. A few days later We all nearly died laughing when he told us he had made a mess; he came home a bit too buzzed, got up in the middle of the night and pissed in the wrong toilet. RIP our old, dear & very entertaining friend.

Rod said...

Stilt! Just remembered: WE have bathroom renovations on the To-Do as well and if you make it worth my while I can accelerate part of it. We can supply you with a fine high quality perfect early 60's American Standard SMALL OVAL commode in PINK. Right after a hot bath or shower it will match your ass.

Shelly said...

I am beyond grateful the bathrooms were recently remodeled before I bought my house. I did some kitchen remodeling, painting and replaced all the floors except the bathrooms. I was also grateful I could do all this before I moved in. The floors I replaced were tile and I am still finding that tile dust in strange places. It goes everywhere!

Mike_C said...

>inundated by a million little choices.

Hmm. Lemme leave this little snippet (from John Ringo's Islands of Rage and Hope):
"Choice, Sergeant, [said Lt. Colonel Hamilton] is a terrible thing, did you know that?”

“No, sir,” Hoag said.

“It is,” Hamilton said. “The French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre said that all of life is choice. Since his general view of life was fairly nihilistic, that makes sense. Every choice requires decision. Every decision is a stress. Therefore, every choice is a stress. As you may have been told in leadership training, stress is not just cumulative, it is multiplicative. That is, each stress, small or large, multiplies the previous stress. Americans and Westerners in general, before the Plague, had a multitude of choices in their life. Decisions to be made every moment. Just stop or go on a yellow light was a stress, not to mention when to brake or accelerate. I read a ‘weird news’ report one time about a man who had killed his brother fighting over who shared the remote. To most, this looked like insanity. To me, it was a sign of the problems of choice and stress in American society. Do you get my meaning, Sergeant?”

“Sort of, sir,” Hoag said. “But it still sounds insane.”

“Clinically,” Hamilton said. “At the point that the one brother killed the other, he was functionally insane. Due to stress. I don’t know what other stressors were on him—did he not handle stress well?—but choice had brought him to making the choice to kill his brother. Over which show they were going to watch. If he was being forced to watch Oprah, I suppose it was less insane.”
We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

American Cowboy said...

@Colby Muenster said...One of my favorite things (OK... maybe not FAVORITE exactly), is to go to home improvement store, sit down on a display toilet, then holler "Can I get a little privacy here!" to anyone walking by.

Sounds like fun. Mine many moons ago was to go into the local Walmart, close the door to one of the fitting rooms and then yell out, "Can someone please bring a roll of toilet paper? There isn't any in this stall!"

M. Mitchell Marmel said...

I prefer oval to circle, myself.

LED bulbs give nice light and little heat. This time last year, my bedroom was nearly unlivable during summer weather; after I replaced the ceiling bulbs with LED jobbies, it's cool and comfy and bright!

John the Econ said...

Well, considering the vast success of Bill Clinton's policy regarding North Korea, today's cartoon should probably only be held half in jest. It's estimated that within months, a better part of the western half of the US will be within range of a North Korean nuke. With the exception of the first 20 miles of the left coast, that mostly consists of Blue flyover country. I wonder if the issue will get taken any more seriously when that range extends to the rest of the country.

It's getting more an more likely that allot more of us will be faced with rebuilding allot more than just our bathrooms.

In the meantime, I recommend Cat-6 wire everywhere.

Mrs. Econ & I had plans drawn up for a new bathroom. Included is a urinal, which will add to wedded bliss by eliminating the whole "toilet seat up" thing. Also eliminates the need for the "no slam" seat.

Geoff King said...

Here we go: The world's most expensive toilets.

Who'd a thought you could have the toilet from the ISS for a mere $19 million?

Mark Matis said...

One sincerely hopes that you will do any of your "personal venting" in a room properly equipped with either a sincere exhaust fan or overpowering air freshener, and that you will remember to wipe when complete...

One does prefer that you do NOT reprise the scene from "Ace Ventura, Pet Detective":

Valvenator said...

"I also am keeping the bar well stocked, new age music playing"

The well stocked bar is a great idea, but watch that 'new age music', it can get sour on you at just the wrong moment.

Emmentaler Limburger said...

And don't forget to wash your hands.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Sodagrrl- I hadn't really thought much about the munchkin dunking factor. I will research further (grin).

@Alfonso Bedoya- Our contractor said this process would take about 2 months, so I'm guessing it'll be done in about twice that time. And I should definitely throw an open house (you did say a CASE of wine, right?)

@Tracy Evans- Wow, that would be Internet gold these days! In fact, maybe I should try it...

@Walter L Stafford- I am sooooooo trying to come up with a Hillary joke to add to the list...

@Unknown- Hopefully I won't need to use that quote, but I'll keep it handy just in case. It's a thing of beauty!

@Colby Muenster- We were told that "it's code" to have only the single handle models. Perhaps hardware stores, offering replacement parts for older units, have access to the tried and true models.

And Holy Crap - thanks for giving me something new to worry about every time I face down (no pun intended) that new shower handle. YIKES!

@William Smart- This is as good a time as any for me to come out of the (water) closet. Yes, I'm a bidet man! Only I don't call it that because, you know, testosterone. No sirree, I call it the "ass-blaster" and enjoy a powerful backdoor shower after making my deliveries. Toilet paper is now only for dabbing instead of more vigorous activities.

Seriously, you can buy an add-on for $40 or so, it's easy to install, and they're great. Just don't call it a bidet. If you don't like "ass-blaster," I suppose it could also be called a Liberal drinking fountain...

@Pete (Detroit)- I hope you went upstairs because they had a better toilet, as opposed to you just needing an additional 12 feet of pendulum space.

@MAJ Arkay- The white bars are a nice idea. And good advice on the little round toilets!

@Rod- Thanks for sharing that story! And thanks for the offer of the pink toilet but it would make me think of a giant clam.

@Shelly- There will be NO part of our home left completely untouched, so I'm guessing we'll be hacking up different kinds of dust for years to come.

@Mike_C- That was wonderful!

@American Cowboy- Brilliant!

@M. Mitchell Marmel- I hadn't really given much thought to the heat from old-style bulbs, but considering what I pay for air conditioning that's actually a pretty relevant factoid!

@John the Econ- Believe me, I only WAS half in jest with the cartoon. And things aren't getting any better now that we've just found out that North Korea has managed to miniaturize nukes to fit in their ICBMs to the shock of our (ahem) "experts." The same ones advising us on Iran's progress, no doubt.

The Cat-6 wire makes sense, but I may not bother. It seems like the more technology becomes available, the less it does anything I actually want. And wow - a personal urinal? What a country!

@Geoff King- You'll note that this list was compiled before we've gotten our bill...

@Mark Matis- I'm a big believer in exhaust fans. For that matter, I'm supported in this matter by everyone else in the house (grin).

@valvenator- I mostly said "new age" music to paint a picture. Oh, I DO listen to some from time to time, but for real relaxation it's more likely to be rock, classical, or (as I've said here before) an hour-long recording of a loud vacuum cleaner. Don't judge me.

@Emmentaler Limburger- What, do it myself? And put an immigrant out of work?

4sleiborg said...

We were on a cruise ship that had the "ez-down no slam" toilet seat. I thought that was cool.

4sleiborg said...

Also, I agree that you should try to avoid sharp corners. We have one too close to the toilet in two out of three bathrooms. But for future reference the worst sharp corner in the house is the one on the oven that's right next to the corner of the kitchen where I make sandwiches.

TarnishedCopper said...

" Music to Poo By " Wait till the pneumatic closers on the lid wear out and you have to go to the local auto parts store to try to find replacements.

Years ago I was in Lowes and someone had made a deposit in one of the "water Closets (toilets) there on display......