Monday, March 31, 2008

Notes from Inside My Bathroom Vanity

I listened to Michael’s unhappiness increase from grumbling to roaring, with a liberal helping of swearing heaped on. The faucet on his side of the bathroom vanity started leaking a few days earlier and had created quite a mess, so we had a hot date at Home Depot and picked up two new faucets. (The general intention at the time was that we can't upgrade his without upgrading mine.) Michael’s temper arose from his attempt - apparently futile - to install the first faucet.

When the noise level became alarming, I checked in with him to see if I could help in any way. His exasperation showed through quite clearly when he told me no. The man practically rolled his eyes.

Aside: A little history is in order here. Michael knows how to do handyman stuff, but he does not accomplish those types of tasks elegantly. It always takes much longer than anticipated; it always requires at least one trip to the hardware store in the middle of the project; and it always generates a mess of epic proportions. On the other hand, I don't necessarily know how to do all the tasks, but I have an intuitive understanding of the mechanics of things. I can look at them and unravel the puzzle of how they go together, figure out what the problem is, and make at least a good start at fixing them. The way I see it, Michael works the brute strength and training aspect while I work the problem solving and finesse aspect. Together, we make a great team.

Okay, we make a great team, but only if Michael lets me be on his team. And when his team is losing, he apparently doesn't want his wife coming in and saving the day. At least, that is how it seemed on Saturday.

I'll spare you the details, but bottom line, it turned out that Michael needed to get inside the vanity cabinet and he did not fit. (I think the not fitting made him as angry as any of it.) So I crawled in and, haltingly, did the work. Of course, all the fittings were over tightened and wouldn't come off. While I fit in the cabinet, my brute strength quotient is fairly low and therefore the struggle went on for hours.

I know many of my readers can't help but ask what it feels like to crawl inside a bathroom vanity. In a word - lousy. The vanity opening (Michael removed the doors) is a generous 21 inches wide; however, that 21 inches is divided by a 3 inch upright board, leaving 9 actual inches on either side to squeeze ones body through watching out for the door hinges all the while.

Michael couldn't manage it because his upper body parts are not flexible, like mine. So, picture this: I thrust my head and shoulders into a very dim, dank, hole and then I flatten my breasts out to get them through. Once I have accomplished Operation Booby Trap, I pull my bottom arm in. If I have to - and mostly I did have to - I can flip myself a little sideways and manage to squash my other arm in. At this point, dear reader, I must rely on my lower ribs to support my body. My lower ribs are, of course, resting directly on a narrow, raised, piece of wood.

The vanity is 21 inches deep. I'm pretty sure my body is longer than 21 inches from head to waist. Heck, I was 21 inches long when I was born! So, once thrust inside the sink, I must become a contortionist. A contortionist with tools, albeit the wrong tools for most of the time. Periodically, I would simply have to get out. Under-the-sink makes in-the-MRI seem like a walk in the park. The reverse of wedging oneself in requires a whole other level of commitment. First slide out the top arm, then pull out the top breast. Then scoot backwards and pull out the second breast. Finally, more scooting to release the shoulders, bottom arm, and head. And don't lift your body up - kind of a natural action when exiting - because you will hit your head on the sink bottom.

While inside, I faced other challenges as well, most notably UFOs settling on my cheek or neck with a ticklish, creepy sensation. But what really grossed me out when the UFOs landed in my mouth. The very worst UFO event occurred when a tiny piece broke off a large plastic nut I was trying to wrestle into submission and landed in my eye.

All I could think of was imminent blindness or at least a trip to the hospital. I desperately wanted out from under the sink and that is exactly when my chances of getting out seemed most hopeless. I panicked. I hit my head on the underside of the sink. I scraped my arm (the top one) trying to withdraw it. Once I had my arm out, my breasts got caught in a vise grip that had not existed until that very moment. With one arm inside and one arm outside, my head and shoulders inside, and my lower trunk and legs akimbo outside, I tried to smash my ample bosom flat enough to pop it out. Yes, I did escape and, with Michael's help, located the eyewash cup in under a minute. The piece of plastic washed out without any trouble, although my eye felt gritty for the rest of the day.

At this point, I thought to ask Michael for safety glasses (of which we have several sets in our garage). Note to self: put safety glasses before sticking head in small opening and banging away on things that are stuck.

By Saturday evening, we had the new faucet installed and I just needed to crawl back inside to do the final quarter-turn tightening on the water lines. Which I did. Except, according to Michael, the hot water leaks and I have to go back to retighten that one. Oh, and put in the new faucet on MY side of the vanity. Now, all I have to do is decide if I'd rather crawl under my sink and install the matching faucet or stay safely away from the vanity cabinet and live with mismatched faucets.

What do you think?


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