At some point some ancestor of my husband installed bathrooms in my house. If that ancestor inspected the back bathroom today, he would not find much different.
It still has the old footed tub, the same pedestal sink, three doors, the same towel racks and hardwood floors. It does have a new toilet, much to my husband's disgust. (Remember, this is the man who would rather spend $100 to fix something old than spend $50 to buy something new.) He spent at least six months and who knows how much money trying to fix the old toilet. Insides that fit it could not be found, and new insides, no matter how much he tried, did not adapt well to the old machinery. But most importantly, rubber gaskets and things that keep it from leaking could not be found to fit the old pipes. He finally gave up and installed a new one, complaining bitterly that new low-flow toilets would not be acceptable.
But we have made other changes. The bathroom suffered from the usual problems of an old house. No storage space. Limited electrical outlets. And those existing outlets usually in strange places. But we managed fine until my two daughters reached the age when they spent at least an hour putting on make up and arranging hair styles before going to school. Two daughters in the same bathroom for the same hour.
My first priority, despite my daughters' pleas for the electricity needed for their beauty routine, was storage.
The only place I had to store linens was in a wardrobe in the bathroom. It was adequate, but it left me no place to store other things, most importantly my vacuum cleaner which I had to hide behind a door. One of the three bathroom doors led to the back porch. We built a closet using part of the back porch. The door now opened into a closet. Voila. I had a space for my vacuum cleaner and my linens. The old wardrobe was off to the barn. The only problem was that the part of the porch we enclosed had a window. So for a while instead of a room with a view I had a closet with a view. My husband did take out the window and put up siding sometime later.
The missing wardrobe left space for a dressing table with a mirror and lots of lights above the mirror to accommodate my daughters' beauty routines. When my daughters were in high school, big hair was in style. I mean really big hair, Farrah Fawcett hair. To achieve the suitable coiffure, my daughters needed hot rollers, curling irons, straightening irons (I don't know why you need both) and large amounts of hair spray. And two of everything.
So while the new dressing table was nice and offered a place to put all the necessary accoutrements, there was the problem of electrical outlets. The bathroom had only one and it was on the baseboard next to the toilet. Don't ask me why. We had not one, not two, but three outlets, enough to plug in six things, put next to that dressing table.
Now with my daughters gone, I plug in my toothbrush and my phone and two of the outlets are empty.
With the remodel, you would think everyone was happy. But no. Apparently Farrah Fawcett hair requires not only the front to look a certain way, but also the back as well. To get a good view of her hair in the back, my older daughter figured out that if she angled to the door of the medicine cabinet (which was mirrored) just the right way, she could see the front of her hair in the mirror over the dressing table as well as the back reflected from the medicine cabinet.
The problem was she never remembered to shut the medicine cabinet door. It was metal and mirrored and probably weighed 5 pounds. After years of being left hanging half open, the door to the medicine cabinet just fell off. Now I had another problem. I couldn't replace the medicine cabinet as it was sunk into the plaster wall and any repairs or disturbances would likely take out part of the wall. I couldn't put the door back on; it was mangled too much to be used again. I finally bought a cheap mirror the size of the cabinet and glued it up there. I can't use the medicine cabinet, but I have the nifty dressing table.
I'm thinking of putting a plaque on the bathroom door in memory of Farrah Fawcett. After all, the changes were done because of her.
Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.