« May 18, 2020 | Main | May 20, 2020 »

May 19, 2020

At home with Roz Chast

May 19, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Three things I've learned about bathrooms over the years


1) If at all possible when remodeling or building, put a drain in the floor.

Because the question is not if but when your toilet will overflow.

Trust me on this.

And even if your toilet never, ever overflows, it'll be a lot easier to just hose down your bathroom floor every now and again to get it spiffy, eat-off-it clean than getting down on your hands and knees once in a blue moon to scrub it as best you can until you get tired and disgusted with the whole project.

That's when you're glad to have a small bathroom.

But I digress.

2) If you choose a tile enclosure for your shower/tub, make the tiles as large as you can tolerate esthetically.

Consider that 12" x 12" tiles have only 1/3 the seams to get grungy-looking compared to 4" x 4" tiles.

I wish I could redo my shower tiles.

The people who rebuilt it from the rotted wood framing in did a spectacular job: I've got no quarrel with their very fine workmanship, twenty-two years later.

Cost me about $2,500 for the job, as I recall.

Money well spent, considering the miserable state it was in previously.

But scrubbing those myriad grouted lines gets oh so old very quickly, besides which my arms get really tired, and the whole thing becomes totally annoying.

3) When you're remodeling or building, make certain to put in a ceiling vent fan, even if the bathroom has a window(s).

Because guess what?

Sometimes it gets really cold or hot outside and you don't want to open the window after you've steamed up the bathroom.

And make sure to put the fan right above the shower/tub.

Think about it: Where does the bulk of the steam want to go?

Straight up — so help it.

And while you're making plans for that fan, make certain it's really powerful and that the vent pipe is plenty large, not some dinky broomstick-sized thing that can't carry jack.

Put a cover on the top of the vent pipe so large creatures don't make their way down to join you in the tub.

Don't even think about venting it into the attic.

And that's all I have to say about bathrooms.

May 19, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Shades of Gray

May 19, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Not Photoshop: Gilbert Hill

Screen Shot 2020-05-16 at 2.07.35 PM

Above, Gilbert Hill in Mumbai, India.

From Atlas Obscura:

In the middle of Andheri, Mumbai, India stands a 66-million-year-old, two-hundred-foot-high monolithic column made entirely of black basalt.

Known as Gilbert Hill, "the Hill" was formed during a volcanic lava spread during in the Mesozoic era in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

It is said that this basalt rock spread over 19,000 square miles, while Gilbert Hill is part of a ridge remnant extending through the state.

This almost vertical column is similar to Devil's Tower National Monument and Devil's Postpile National Monument in Wyoming and California, respectively, due to similarities in its sheer rock face and basalt-rock composition.

Screen Shot 2020-05-18 at 1.37.29 PM

Most Mumbai city lovers consider "the Hill" a well-kept secret in the middle of the urban sprawl, eons older than the trees and vegetation surrounding it.

For years, Gilbert Hill's vertical columns — much like the Jogeshwari caves — were subject to quarrying as well as being encroached on by housing built close to its base.

In 1952, the Indian central government declared Gilbert Hill a national monument, protecting it from further quarrying and housing development.

Know before you go

Today, Gilbert Hill offers an excellent view of Mumbai city for travelers. At its top, Gilbert Hill is home to two ornate Hindu Temples — the Gaodevi and Durgamata — which can be accessed by a staircase built into the basalt rock.

May 19, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Outdoor Shower


Back when I first moved to Virginia, the house we rented for a summer had an outdoor shower, first I'd ever heard of such a thing.

It was wonderfully refreshing on hot summer days to go out there and stand under the cool spray for a few seconds every couple hours.

I got to thinking about that shower recently after I'd laid out my 0.1-mile long running trail around my house.

I do 50 laps/5 miles most days, reversing direction every five laps if I can remember to do so.

After 1-2 miles I'm soaking wet, sweating like all get out, and wishing I could run through a sprinkler every mile or so.

I had my Crack Research Team©® look into outdoor showers and they found all manner of setups, ranging from a standpipe attached to a garden hose to really fancy and expensive affairs costing thousands of dollars.

What I wanted: cheap, functional, and capable of throwing out mist rather than just a conventional shower spray.

The best one from my point of view was the Gardena Tripod Outdoor Shower, not least because I've used and liked Gardena hose attachments and lawn sprinklers over the years.

I bought one of their showers and even though it didn't come with a manual, I was able to put it together correctly using the photos on the box.

It works great, just what I wanted: I put it out on the lawn next to my running trail and every mile or so I turn it on and stand under the cool mist for 15-20 seconds.

Screen Shot 2020-05-18 at 4.51.43 PM

Lagniappe: it's super-light.


I paid $82.99 at Amazon in late April, but when I checked just now they were out of stock.

$94.99 at Walmart, likewise out of stock.

May 19, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

« May 18, 2020 | Main | May 20, 2020 »