Sunday, January 2, 2011

MacGyver Returns

One thing that can be said about human beings is that we are resourceful creatures. When confronted with a problem, we puzzle with our puzzler until we either find a solution, or give up and tell everyone we could have solved the problem if we really wanted to.

It's about pride to some extent. When something blocks our way, we decide that wall is gonna come down no matter what. No problem is too big. We're not going to let some silly little problem beat us at the game. We'll come up with a solution even if we have to change the rules.

For those of you who've read my recent posts, you've heard me talking about my little expedition into the crawlspace, or the down-underverse as I like to call it. After yesterdays foray, I ended the day by discovering a number of issues the previous home owners created during their “hatchet job” remodeling. As I retired for the evening, I pondered on how I would go about attacking the issues at hand.

Waking periodically throughout the night, my brain occasionally came up with different ideas for approaching the problem. With the sub-floor beneath the existing tub needing attention, I recognized the fact that once I start the repairs, my shower will be out of commission for a number of days. The thought of using the kitchen sink to take sponge bathes simply doesn't appeal to me. What's more, keeping the floor dry while sponge bathing would be problematic. My brain attacked the problem indirectly as it usually does. My thoughts turned from how to fix the sub-floor and began to focus on how to obtain a shower. I could always purchase a gym membership for a month or two and use the facilities, but it would be a poor investment if I'm too busy with my job and the remodeling project to make use of the exercise equipment.

Then my brain happened upon another idea. I recalled seeing someone fabricate a temporary shower with a limited budget. The memory of purchasing a 20 gallon storage bin several years ago popped into my mind. Hmm, With a frame around it to hang shower curtains from, I could make a place to at least soap up and scrub down within. And if I placed it next to the kitchen sink, I might even be able to rig up a shower head to the faucet if I could find the right adapters. I thought to myself, “Sounds like a plan.” as I watched a home improvement series on the TV.

As morning arrived, I set about locating everything I needed. Roaming around in one of the local hardware stores, I began my search for the necessary parts. After several hours of looking around, I spotted a shower head that looked usable as it allowed turning off the water flow. And some PVC pipe along with a handful of Tee connectors and 90 degree elbows could probably be used to make a frame for a free standing shower-tub. A couple of cheap shower curtains and rings should fit over the PVC pipe. By the time I rounded up all the necessary parts, the sunlight was beginning to vanish.

Grabbing a PVC pipe cutter, I set about making the frame for my PVC shower stall. Taking a few measurements from the storage bin, I quickly cut up some pipe and fitted the pieces together. While the frame wouldn't withstand a typhoon, it proved it could hold up a couple of shower curtains. After spending a few minutes applying Teflon tape to some fittings, I hooked up the shower head to the kitchen sink. With the shower head attached to the faucet, I turned on the water pressure. A couple of leaks presented themselves but they were easy enough to seal. Tomorrow, I'll connect up a couple of short garden hoses to a cheap power drill operated water pump. This should allow me to pump the residual bath water out of the tub and back into the sink. I'll have to wait another day before I can give it a test run.

While it's nothing spectacular, I bet MacGyver would find some level of pride in my little contraption. While I'm not looking forward to using this contraption, at least I'll be able to keep clean even if it is awkward to use. One problem down, only a couple hundred more to go on the Sisyphean bathroom project. Oh, the joys of remodeling a bathroom!

*** Update Note ***: I ended up using this portable shower for over four months. Let me tell ya, my kitchen is a cold place to take a shower but this little contraption was worth its weight in gold.