Soap Scum As Archaeological Expression

Let's be clear: If it weren't for several key factors, we wouldn't have been able to live out the American Dream at Kawama.

One, the housing market had cooled. It wasn't that there was a deal to be had in Astoria but prices weren't as ridiculous as they could have been. Housing prices had stabilized and flattened out, meaning they were barely in the ballpark for us.

The market being what it was, it meant that we didn't have any competing bidders. We couldn't have gotten into a bidding war. We couldn't have paid the listed price. In a hotter market, we wouldn't be in the mix.

The market being what it was, our skimpy down payment and FHA loan sufficed. The realtor said that the seller was nervous about it, but he convinced him that this was what it took these days.

An interesting note about FHA loans: At the beginning of April, political fighting over the government spending bill was threatening to shut down the federal government. I was reading about it on the way to the closing. It wouldn't have affected our loan, since a commitment was already issued and the bank indicated that they weren't going to stop those, just new loans, but it still got me thinking how lucky we were (again).

As soon as we were done with the major painting projects, I set out to work on the bathtub. Jen's impression of the bathtub made it sound like we'd have to completely renovate the bathroom, but I wanted to try to clean it first. So I went to work doing that.

Kawama, Astoria, Queens

I don't quite understand what people see in those sliding bathtub doors, but both our apartment and Michael's apartment upstairs had them. You get the feeling that somewhere down the line it was seen as some kind of major technological advance to never have to use shower curtains or something. I don't much like them. They make a small bathroom seem that much smaller. They create a tropical micro-climate that makes it hard to clean. Half the time the damn things fall off the track.

Kawama, Astoria, Queens

Anyway, so I started by scrubbing the tiles. I don't know if what I was scrubbing off was an extra layer of grout or fifteen years of tenant scum, but I got a lot of it off and it ended up looking halfway decent. Decent enough to forestall a major renovation at least.

Kawama, Astoria, Queens

Kawama, Astoria, Queens

Kawama, Astoria, Queens

Sometimes when you clean stuff you get to a point when cleaning turns into a minor repair project. Kind of like that Viagra ad where the supermarket produce aisle morphs into an orchard, except not as wonderful, and with considerably less certainty.

Which is to say, I started scrubbing at the moldy caulking where the sliding doors met the tub and after seeing that pull away, decided to take down those fucking doors altogether.

Now this could go two ways. It could be a really inspired idea, and turn out great, or all the tile could fall off the wall and shatter and the plumbing would explode or something horrible like that.

Actually, it turns out that it's pretty easy to take off those sliding doors. Our frame was bolted to the tile in three places on either side and held to the tub with caulk. So it came out pretty easily. Inspired! I just had to grout in some holes where the bolts were and put up a curtain rod.

Kawama, Astoria, Queens

I grouted the holes and spaces in the tile on Friday, just before we left to visit my parents. We got in to Phoenix late that night. The next day Jen took a home test and found out she was pregnant.

Posted: January 9th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: The Cult Of Domesticity | Tags: , , ,

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