19 April 2007

Bathtub Lungs

I refinished the bathtub. Incredible that they now make porcelain that comes in a can. Unbelievable. However, the "porcelain" material is completely evil. It is made out of 900 known carcinogens, is banned in california, etc, etc.
The bathtub looks freaking awesome, though, if I do say so myself. Nice and white and glossy. I think someone might actually want to take a bath in there.
So, the story of the bathtub is that two years ago Billy and I found it on cleanup week. It was very dirty and somewhat rusty on the outside, but I could *see* the potential. I am very good at seeing potential--it is one of my gifts (and also a curse, I think Billy would argue). So, the two of us, with some unknown incredible hulkish amount of strength managed to haul the incredibly heavy tub into the back of our pick up. It felt like Christmas! It was so exciting.
Aside: incidentally, our friends, Matt and Dana, also found an antique piano that same night for free which was also Christmasish. Except now that don't want the piano anymore. That's cleanup week for you--hard to turn down junk that's free and full of "potential."
Anyway, the tub lived in our backyard through a winter where it continued to rust. It was a sad tub, feeling all abandoned in its new home, being jumped on by one small, white dog, and ignored by the homeowners. Until one day, the tub went to live at the sandblaster's.
The sandblaster, if you remember from the tales of our home remodel, horded said bathtub for 3 months, promising every week that he "would get to it next." And what would have been a 10-minute tasks for him turned into a 3 month long agonizing wait for me.
In the meantime, Billy and Gion managed to haul out the disgusting hulk of the tub that was in our heretofore completely disgusting bathroom.
Eventually, we wrestled and conned our bathtub back from the sandblaster to the tune of $10. We spend about $20 on primer and spray paint for the outside. And Billy also cleaned up the claw feet (that's a funny thing to say--claw feet). In the end, we had a really cute, practically free copper tub.
I was thinking I could get the stains out of the porcelain, so we didn't bother to have that refinished. I have tried every cleaning product known to man, and a lot of elbow grease, and I could not get off whatever was on the thing.
After many months, I finally gave up. And I decided to spend an additional $29.99 on a kit to refinish the bathtub.
And tah-dah, it is done. So, when it is all said and done, we paid around $60 for a tub that is "practically" brand new. At least, it is definately good enough for the average person to wash in.
The thing is, the porcelain-in-a-can is like hell-for-your-lungs. The directions did say to wear a respirator/ventilator thingy when you used the stuff. But, to be frank, everything has excessive warnings these days due to people being so sue-happy, so I decided to ignore it, thinking it couldn't be much worse than spray paint.
Oh yes, it could.
It was the worst smell I could ever tell you about. A combination of garbage and oil and chemicals. And it had a stickiness--even in the air, that immediately got into my lungs.
I am a paranoid person. Everyone knows this. I am afraid of being abducted by aliens (yes, I am onto that again....see www.crowdedskies.com)
Anyway, after the entire ordeal of the first coat of the porcelain evilness, I was lying in bed, wondering how long it would be before the porcelain started to harden, my lungs would crack, and I would die. I lay there--for literally hours--imagining what it would be like to die like that--how much it was going to hurt, and that I couldn't die until at least Billy was home so that he could at least attempt to take me to MeritCare. I could imagine the porcelain lining the inside of my nose, my throat, all the way down into my poor little delicate lung sacks. I imagined all of the chemicals leaching into my bloodstream, being stored in fatty deposits, giving me instantaneous cancer. I imaged my future children (none planned or wanted, by the way) having two heads. It was bad. When I am tired, I have a way of talking myself into these types of hysterical episodes.
In the end, the porcelain did not crack my lungs, I am still alive, and the bathroom looks amazing, though I would recommend to anyone else willing to try this that you HAVE to wear some kind of respiratory protection.
I will post pictures of the bathtub once it is done going through the five-day "curing process" (by the way, what is this--sausage? It has to cure??!!)
In other news I actually did get my official acceptance letter from NDSU's graduate program a few days ago. The only thing I have yet to hear about is if I was offerred a graduate assistantship. Hopefully I will hear something soon because all of this waiting is literally getting close to killing me b/c I am enduring the waiting by doing projects--and we can all see how that is going by the last few posts.


Blogger Heather said...

Welcome to my world...waiting is the name of the game.
I am captivated by the account of said bathtub, especially because I know how anti-chemical you are. You were very brave. And frankly, I would have had the exact same thoughts about the porcelain hardening in my lungs. I have a mental picture of it as I type this...
I do hope you get your assistantship. That would be fabuloso.
Au revoir.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget to add in the cost of the eloborate plumbing fixtures required to hook up the tub!

5:06 PM  
Blogger Kiersten H. said...

Lots of exciting with bathtubs and porcelain lungs and opera. YEA!!! Congrats (on the acceptance letter as well as the lovely bathtub) and I can't wait to see pics of it.

11:51 PM  

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