The Tub

By Dominic Vautier

Bathrooms are part of the great American dream.  What would life be like without our customary 2 1/2 or 2 2/3 or 3 7/8 baths.  Horrible I imagine, or at least most inconvenient.  Of course did you ever realize how hard it is to keep 2 3/4 bathrooms or so supplied with towels, soap, shampoo, and of course, the customary TP?  We are always running out of TP.  I think the dogs and cats eat TP or some evil demon comes in the middle of the night and steals it.  Oftentimes my son from the apartment does come up and raid one of the bathrooms of its precious TP and then all hall breaks loose because I'm the TP supply guy.  I have a special cabinet that's kept locked.  It contains scarce and valuable things like petty cash, beer, wine and emergency TP.

Our downstairs bathroom was a mess because the tub used to back up.  It was too low and the plumbing system was never designed to handle a dishwasher and washing machine at the same time.  throw in a good flush or two and nobody wanted to go near the downstairs tub, let alone ever use it--yuck.  So I put a stopper in the drain and used the tub for storage.  It made great storage but every once in awhile the stopper would come out and I really had a mess on my hands.

Three years ago I took the tub out, sealed off the drain, and used the space for storage.  It made great storage, but constant pressure from the family finally convinced me that I had to get a tub in there. This would require that I cut a hole in the basement cement for a drain, install another drain, and lay new ceramic tile.  In that way there would be no backup because the new drain would tie into the main at a point well below the tub.  This entire project sounded scary as hell, not to mention like an immense amount of work.   But last summer I received a little encouragement.


Cyn came home one day with a big smile and wanted to talk to me.  I immediately suspected serious trouble.  We had been looking at new tubs for the bathroom and she was quite interested in one of those cast iron claw foot jobbies.  I was not at all excited about the idea.  They cost too much and they were way too heavy.

Cyn:  Boy will you be surprised.  I bought something.

Dominic:  I, er, gosh, hun, I can hardly wait.

Cyn:  Well you know those big cast-iron claw foot tubs we were looking at in Home Depot. 

Dominic (in terrified desperation and almost abject horror).  Don’t tell me you bought one of those big ol’ huge tubs!

Cyn:  Well no, not exactly.

Dominic:  Boy that’s a relief.  Do you know how heavy those babies are?  Do you know how hard they are to move around?......

...Er, what do you mean “no, not exactly”?

Cyn:  I bought two.

Eventually I was able to wrestle one of these 250 lb. monsters into Cyn's office right next to the piano where it remained for some time and the cats used it to sleep in.  I had two other huge problems to do before I could install it. 


First of all I had to install a sewer line from the bathroom to a point outside the house.  This involved cutting a 3 inch grove into the basement floor with this big noisy cement cutter.  Then I rented a jackhammer to remove all the extremely hard cement between the cuts, lay the drain pipe and finally pour new cement over the pipe.


I then covered that area of the basement with tile.  The rest of the utility room is another project which will be done at some unspecified time in the future.
Here is the completed bathroom with new sink, floor tile and bathtub.  I haven't been able to paint the walls yet.

Everybody wants to use the new bathroom.  I suppose it is nice having three of them again.

Maybe that's the great American dream?