Saturday, January 2, 2010

late-night post on decorating

The least pleasant aspect of my apartment is the plumbing.  The water itself is highly temperamental, i.e. hates me; the pressure is wimpy in the sinks and aggressive in the shower while the temperature is unpredictable throughout.  Also, did you know that water could mold?  Because that is apparently what is happening under both my sinks (kitchen and bathroom), judging from the smell.  I cleaned them when I moved in, to the extent one can clean particleboard, and nothing that I've put there (mostly cleaning supplies bought in the last two months) has the ability to smell that way.  So it is the water, I guess, molding.

The bathroom sink is my particular peeve.  Actually, the whole bathroom.  I know I should count myself lucky because the bathroom is not actually in the same room as the kitchen (a scarily common arrangement in the other studios I saw; sometimes there is a little half-door like in a caricature of a saloon to block off the toilet; other times it's just right there next to the stove), and actually all the broader points are fine.  There's a toilet and a sink and a shower/tub.  There's a door to the rest of the apartment, and as the crow flies it's a whole four feet from the bathroom to where everyone else in the building walks past on their way in and out.  So it's fine.

But it's not... nice.  There's a medicine cabinet, which I initially only glanced out, but when I moved in and went to put my stuff in, I noticed it had not been cleaned.  In this century, by the look of it.  I wiped off all the shelves and then spent half an hour digging grossness out of the door-grooves with q-tips.  Also, the shower is about an inch from the vanity/sink.  This is a gap not wide enough to fit anything, including my swiffer, but wide enough for me to look into.  I did this once, and screamed, and then sprayed about half a bottle of lysol disenfectant (which I only use for special circumstances such as this and not for ordinary cleaning, because it is poisonous) in the gap.  I'm sure that accomplished nothing whatsoever but I don't know what else to do.

But, yes, the sink.  So the sink, unlike the door-grooves of the medicine cabinet and the space between the shower and sink, is in visual range at all times.  The counter is yucky; not so much ugly (it's a sort of generic speckly formica-stuff) as just really old; it has sort of brownish water stains that don't come out.  Worse, the handles of the sink... well, they appear to have rotted.  I know that isn't actually possible because they are made of metal, but it's like the top part has come off and the inside has rotted or rusted or mildewed.  I spray cleaning fluid on all this stuff regularly, but it has absolutely no effect; I assume I am not going to die of sink-rot, but it still doesn't look pretty.

When I moved in, I set about improving the place.  The bathroom does have a couple points of character: a delightful seashell-and-seahorse toilet seat and a moon-and-stars mobile above the toilet (the apartment in general is full of character-bits; sometimes that is one of its positive features).  I decided to riff on this and create an acquatic theme with bright, cool colors; I devised a complicated layering of shower curtains (clear bubbles over blue cloth over a liner) and bought a blue pebble shower mat and a blue plunger and a toilet brush with its own little stand (I'm very proud of this, because my first post-college roommate had to explain to me that there was such a thing as a toilet brush, and I feel like it's specialized knowledge... I'm pretty sure my parents do not have any such thing).  I'm still using my crappy old rugs (someday I will get a nice fluffy new one, perhaps in peach) and towels I bought in... okay, that's not the point, they are old... but on the whole I think I did okay.

Except not, because there was still the yucky sink.  I decided over the last couple of days that the problem is that there isn't enough else to look at.  I mean, no, the problem is that the sink is gross, but I can't fix that.  If this were my apartment, I could rip out the whole vanity and get a new one, but it isn't, and the faucet is too close to functional to count on its being replaced while I'm living here.  So given the constraints, the problem is a lack of distractions.  The walls of the bathroom are white tile, which is rather pretty and probably quite sanitary, but it really makes the gross, speckly sink stand out.  

So this morning when I took down my 2009 calendar - I don't remember where I got it or why, but it's a bunch of landscapes - I cut out the pages that I liked and taped them up on the tile.  They fit in well with the color scheme because there's so much blue, and between the seashells and the moon-and-stars it was already nature-y, and they liven up the room quite a bit.  I don't know if they distract from the sink on an objective level, but they are new, so I look at them when I go in there, so I don't look at the sink as much.


  1. I can't get the image of the toilet next to the stove out of my head. It's hard to imagine how that doesn't violate all sorts of health codes.


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