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Hello people of the world!

A lot has been happening at Casa Jee lately (Casa Jee doesn’t sound right. Chateau de Jee? Maison de Jee? The Jeepod? Jeepad? Hmm. I’ll keep working on it). If you recall, we borrowed a little bit more money from our banking overlords to enable us to build me a working studio in the backyard, go on the creative retreat to Bali, re-concrete our driveway so we can drive frontways out into the 70km/hr traffic on our road instead of backing into it (not for the fainthearted). The last thing we are doing is renovating our bathroom.

To have a bathroom while the main bathroom was being worked on, I had hoped to put in a little ensuite in the studio, but the money didn’t stretch that far. I investigated more of an ‘off grid’ solution in the form of waterless toilets – not the horrible hippie toilets with a giant pit underneath that made you feel like you were sitting on the edge of a noisome cavern. These ones are much more civilised and are a good green solution – they don’t use any water but are odourless (apparently), they don’t put anything into the sewer, they eventually turn everything into compost, and seem pretty easy to deal with in terms of maintenance and cleaning.

Mum wasn’t too keen initially but came around to the idea, as long as I was the one who cleaned it, etc (she’s always been happy for me to do my worm farming/composting as long as she didn’t have to deal with it). It seemed like this would be a good solution while the main bathroom was getting done and I could install it myself, so we ordered the package. Unfortunately, the timing didn’t quite work out (the shipment was delayed at customs) and it won’t arrive til Friday. And the bathroom got ripped out on Monday. Hmm.

So it’s our little bathroom adventure time at the moment. I’ve rigged up quite a good shower in our outdoor laundry, with this camp shower. We drop the pump into the half filled washing machine, and the flow is actually pretty decent, good enough to wash your hair with. Toileting is a little more indelicate and involves a bucket. And holding on til we get to work. But that’s okay. Only a couple more days of that.

We’ve got the excellent Davies Carpentry and Renovations working on our bathroom. Ash is the boss (I work with Desleigh, his wife), and has a crew of very friendly and efficient guys working with him. It’s so nice to have guys on a worksite who are pleasant, polite and don’t swear their heads off. And I love being able to give business to people we know and trust, and who I know will do a good job. The whole thing is going to take 10 business days, so by the end of next week our brand new bathroom should be ready.

Day 1 – left: beginning of the day, right: 7 hours later

In layout, it will be the same as the old bathroom, except without a bath. The bath was too small to be worthwhile, and was awkward to climb in and out of (particularly for mum with her sore knees). We wanted to try and change the layout but after consulting with Ash realised that this was really the only way things could fit in a very small space.

It’s also interesting listening to the guys as they look at the tiles and products we’ve bought, mutter an inevitable “hmmm” and then try and work out how to make it all work. Everything fits, it’s just the finer details of what side is the power point on and what kind of tap mixer will work and discovering large floor tiles aren’t as easy to work with in terms of working out where the water runs if the floor gets wet and things like that. We just picked things we liked the look of, not knowing about the logistics side of things! And that’s why you hire people rather than doing it yourself – so they sort out all the details of how to make it work.

Renovating isn’t the most relaxing thing to do, of course, but I’m still enjoying the novelty of being able to do stuff to a house. Being able to say “I want to change that” and changing it. I think that’s the best part of owning a house (or owning whatever meagre percentage we’ve paid off).