I am mostly kidding with that title. Not to mention being slightly hyperbolic by my use of the words “chic” and “adversity.” Okay, maybe “adversity” is not such a huge exaggeration. But chic certainly is. I perhaps should have said “staying clean, tidy, and reasonably normal-looking in the face of adversity.” But that would have made the title way too long. And not as interesting. Ha.
Let me explain. We are in the middle of a major bathroom renovation. On our only bathroom. So we will be without a bathroom for up to three weeks. Or so we’ve been told. No bathroom, toilet, or shower for three weeks. Hence my use of the word adversity.
I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Who exists with only one bathroom these days?” Well… that would be us. At times over the years we’ve considered adding a second bathroom. Perhaps an ensuite? But an ensuite would be right beside the “family” bathroom, which sits between the two bedrooms, and that seemed like overkill when there are just the two of us in our small bungalow. We’ve also considered adding an extension, pushing the back wall of the house out into the backyard and making a much bigger main bedroom with an ensuite. But the cost and the mess and the bother of punching through the outerwall, of our “Boyd Block” bungalow seemed not worth the effort.
Boyd Block buildings are made from a special type of concrete blocks and are quite common in our local area. The blocks were manufactured in Osgoode, only a few kilometres from us, and many, many homes built, like ours, in the early and mid-twentieth century were made of Boyd Blocks. You can read a bit about the company history here. Sometimes when we ride our bikes around Osgoode we try to count the number of Boyd Block houses. There are a lot.
Anyway we ditched the bedroom extension idea. Instead we removed the tiny front porch and built a sunroom with a cathedral ceiling, windows overlooking the river, and a deck. Now that was money well-spent.
Besides, if we’d renovated to make a bigger bedroom, we’d probably have eschewed adding an ensuite and simply made the existing bathroom bigger. In which case we’d be in the same boat we are right now. From one bathroom down to none. Well, except for the blue one in the driveway. Yep. Our contractor has rented us a port-a-potty. Now you know what I mean by “adversity.”
Any kind of reno in any size house is disruptive. But for us, we’ve lost the use of most of our house during the day.
The sunroom is now useless since we had no other areas to store supplies and fixtures as they were delivered. And the workmen come and go through the sunroom door, meaning that funny blue padded runner they use to protect floors and carpets runs right through our living room. And the installer and the plumber and electrician trudge in and out that way. The bathroom shares a small hallway with the two bedrooms, which we can’t really use during the day now, except to dodge through the sheet of plastic over the archway and into the bedroom to get clothes or makeup or whatever.
Living room furniture that might block passage for the workers carrying old fixtures and debris out and new fixtures, boards, drywall, tiles, and cabinets in now sits in the dining room. The dining room table is covered with a sheet and holds everything we emptied from our bathroom that we might need, including towels, shampoo, and the contents of the medicine chest. All my face creams and makeup supplies are on a dresser in one bedroom. And my clothes are in the other bedroom.
All this disruption means that I usually can’t remember where anything is, and since I’m always in a hurry to gather together what I need for the day before the workmen get started in the morning, I frequently make mistakes. And instead of interrupting their work and crawling over tool kits or some piece of machinery sitting in the small hallway to reach my closet and change one pair of boots or jeans for another, I just wear whatever I’ve grabbed at seven-thirty that morning. Resulting in outfit combinations that are okay, but not what I want to be wearing.
So it seems that now is not the time to resurrect outfits I liked three years ago, like the burgundy one above. Or to try to figure out which boots or shoes go best with my new wide-leg jeans. See above. I guess I could get up and try on outfits at seven-thirty in the morning instead of enjoying my second cup of tea and my book in peace before the workmen arrive. But you and I both know the tea and book will win everytime.
I have hit on a good going-to-physio, or for my Covid booster shot, or to a friend’s house for a shower outfit. My Everlane white tee, Adidas sweatpants, Veja sneakers, and my old Vince charcoal coat sweater. I’m really liking this outfit. It may become my go-to leaving-the-house-during-renovation outfit.
In fact this outfit prompted me to do some online shopping for sweatpants and cardigans during my spare time this week. And I confess to ordering this sweater from Everlane. Blame it on the reno, folks.
Maintaining my hair and makeup in order to look reasonably normal has also been a challenge this past week.
I wash my hair when I take a shower at the neighbour’s or at my friend Marina’s a few minutes away. But I’ve pretty much given up worrying how it looks the next day. And just like during lockdown when we all had bad hair, strategically placed sunglasses or a hat hide a multitude of fly-away flatness or oddly shaped hair bumps. We do what we have to do, people.
Makeup has also been problematic. The only well-lighted areas with access to a mirror in our house are off-limits. So the morning I had to go for my Covid vaccine my mascara was clumped, my tinted moisturiser was streaky and there was too much of it, and I stuck my tight-liner brush into my eye, making me tear up so all the liner ran off into my eye. Seriously, it was time to rethink things. After that I simply wore eyebrow groomer, a dusting of my Bobbi Brown bronzer, and put my mascara on in the car. Next week, I plan to make myself a traveller cup of tea, pop on my audio book, and sit in the car to do all my makeup. Too bad I don’t have a portable straightening iron.
So minimalism will triumph for the next few weeks. It seems minimal makeup, athleisure dressing, and good-enough hair are the way to go. I laughed when I arrived at physio the other day. I found my outfit coordinated with the pavement in the parking lot. So at least I was matching something. Ha.
Hair, makeup, and outfits aside, there’s just one more adverse element to our current bathroom renovation situation. That little blue portable bathroom in the driveway.
But you know, I shouldn’t grumble. And mostly I haven’t been. The weather has been gorgeous. Cool at night, but in that lovely refreshingly brisk fall way. With a gorgeous moon each night. A couple of evenings after my last journey of the night before bed, I sat on the steps of our deck with the neighbour’s cat purring and keeping me company and just breathed.
I must add, though, that when Thursday dawned rainy and blowy I wasn’t quite so sanguine. And I may have sighed a few times as I pulled on my sneakers and rain jacket to journey outside when nature called.
Still, just like with camping, into every bathroom renovation, when one has a port-a-potty in the driveway, a little rain must fall. Or that’s what I keep telling myself.
P.S. Sorry that you didn’t receive this post via the usual Sunday morning email. My email delivery service is malfunctioning, and they don’t know why yet. Hopefully it will be cleared up soon.
P.P.S. There are a few affiliate links in this post, my friends. If you make a purchase after clicking my link I will earn a commision which helps to pay for the blog.