Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A new week, a new project...

So last week, I busied myself with installing a new rain head in the shower. To anyone who has ever installed a shower head, I'm betting you're thinking to yourself, "Why on earth would that take someone a week to do?" Well, I'll tell you...

I initially found the aforementioned rain head while actually out shopping for other things... (Namely, a vacuum cleaner that actually sucked things up and didn't overheat in the process of doing said sucking, and thus didn't end up causing my house to smell like a slaughterhouse populated solely by dust and death.) So while I was perusing the aisles, I happened upon a rain head that was drastically marked down. (I assume that most of you have never priced rain heads; I assure you that they don't typically sell for anything near what my tight budget would normally allow.) So, having found this bargain, I snatched it up without a second thought. (I also got a new vacuum, and I have to admit, it is kind of badass since it winds it's own cord up when you're done!) Anyway, back to the reason my project took as long as it did. Upon getting home with my new treasures, I immediately went into the bathroom to install the new shower head. I was excited to give it a whirl!

Upon completion of the installation process which took a mere 5 minutes of my precious time, I remembered what I discovered the last time I installed a shower head in this particular bathroom. (I installed my other shower head pretty much as soon as I moved in because the grandparents were still using an unsightly variable spray head that looked like it had just stepped out of 1976, and based on the calcium deposits that made it spray every direction except onto the person standing below it, I found it likely that it had not been properly cared for or cleaned since it was installed all those years ago. But I digress... The lesson I learned upon installing the predecessor of the rain head was that apparently when this house was originally built, Midwesterners were considerably shorter than they are today. I figured this out because the shower arm, (the bit that pokes out of the wall through all the original tile that I don't want to go to the trouble or expense of ripping out and/or replacing,) sticks out through said tile at about 6 feet in height. If it stuck straight out, relying on a shower head to provide an angle, that would be fine by me. I'm shorter... and if I were to have tall overnight guests, they would have to be content to bend down to get their hair wet or pay for a hotel stay... entirely up to them. But the shower arm doesn't just stick straight out. It sticks straight out for about 6 inches, and then it has an unreasonably steep bend so that the end of the pipe comes out around 5'8" which is more problematic. Furthermore, if you add the drop of a couple inches so that a shower head can occupy actual space once attached to the end of the pipe, we end up right around 5'5"-ish, give or take. At 5'5"-ish, we're low enough that EVEN I would have to duck under it to get my hair wet, which is wholly unacceptable. (Especially when you want to get the full effect of showering under a rain head.)

So, I did a little homework. I figured out exactly what I needed to do to remedy this situation. (I even asked a plumber friend of mine about my options!) Upon completion of my research, I determined that a simple solution could be found at my local home improvement store in the form of an adjustable shower arm extender which affords me the opportunity to change up the height and angle of the original fittings.

Unfortunately we had a 2 day break in the action due to inclement weather and shoddy road conditions... Upon determining that the roads were sufficiently passable, I ventured to the same poorly organized home improvement store mentioned in previous posts. I found the part that I needed with relative ease. (Nothing like the tape and toilet seat debacle!) So I purchased the item at a reasonable price and went back home where I promptly installed it.

You would think that would be the end of the story, wouldn't you?

Yeah, you would be wrong.

After completing the installation (roughly a 10 minute process,) I turned the knobs on the extender to adjust the angle of the arm... And though I am not typically possessed of super-human strength, I managed to turn the knob so hard that it just flat out broke off. Knowing that I just bought the damn thing, and that for all I knew it was a freak occurrence due to a flaw in the metal, I returned to the store and exchanged it for a new one. Upon returning home, I installed the second one. I adjusted it, and had no problem. I then showed my mother how I had spent my day, and her inspection yielded a nod of approval. She then wanted to see it work, so she attempted to adjust it. And then SHE twisted a handle off.

Clearly this was a design flaw and poor manufacturing. So I took it back to the store, got my money back, and looked at a different home improvement store only to find the same poorly made brand. At that point, I said to myself, "I'm not operating on the 'third time is a charm method' I am going to look at reviews online and purchase one that is built to do the job right." And that's what I did.

Then I was abducted for three days worth of "we're going to improve your sour jobless mood with some sponsored retail therapy" shopping trips and lunches with momma, so yeah, the shower head was my only project last week.

This week's project: the office and all the horror that that entails! (The office has become a scary catch-all kind of room during my other projects, and was densely populated with odds and ends even before my other projects began.) So this week will be dedicated to clearing out the nonsense, repainting the white walls a far more interesting shade, and then putting the items back into the room in a more amusing and functional fashion.

You know what they say about idle hands!

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