Master Bath: Master of Me, and Nothing Else

(I wrote this post one month ago, nearly finished it, then deliberately ignored it because I feel guilty about my complaints despite completely believing that my complaints are valid. My brain is sometimes the see-saw partner that this only child always wishes that she had. I'm finally posting this now simply so I can move on.)

What does it take to get me to finally write about my stupid bathroom? The stupid fire alarm that apparently misses my presence here in the living room. "Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Oh, there's no fire. I'm just making a piercing noise without cause. Remember how I did it once before? I'll do it again in 15 minutes, so don't get too comfortable."

It's okay, though. I got two hours of sleep last night, an hour in the middle of the night, and two hours after Mike left for work this morning. I'll be grand. (Coming off of school holidays is hard.)

I've been reluctant to write about the ensuite, as master baths are called here, because I'm mature enough to be grateful for running water and indoor plumbing. Also, I've been married long enough to be grateful to finally have a second bathroom. So, let's just pretend I'm some sort of paid bathroom critic and all of my income goes to charity... perhaps to pay veterinary expenses for Japan's Bunny Island.

(Japan has a cat island and a bunny island? Now who is ridiculously overentitled?)

In no particular order, below is what offends me about our bathroom that is actually a bathroom. (As opposed to the second bathroom mentioned above, which is actually what Australians would just call a toilet - with zero sensitivity for how that sounds a shade away from "shitter" to my delicate American ears - and what I would call "a semi-half-bath featuring a shower and a strange, strange door between the actual toilet and the sink, which means that people must touch the door handle after pooping without washing their hands, which drives me insane, but apparently no one in Australia thinks twice about this since this design is everywhere, what the hell, Aussies?")

Problem 1: The Bathroom Is Married To The Wrong Bedroom

Fictional Architect A: "Okay, we have two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Which bathroom should be the ensuite?"

Fictional Architect B: "Well, both bathrooms are on the other side of the living room walls."

FAA: "That doesn't matter because we're not going to make a direct entrance to the non-ensuite one. You'll have to walk around through the laundry to get to it."

FAB: "Oh, right. Okay, then... let's see, the bedrooms are about the same size, right?"

FAA: "Right."

FAB: "Both have depressing "feature walls" in corporate boardroom grey?"

FAA: "Yeah. Too dark to be neutral and beachy; too light to be rich and striking."

FAB: "Which bedroom has the walk-in closet?"

(The two men - for no woman would design a kitchen with one single cupboard that a 5'6" person can barely reach - laugh heartily. Walk-in closet! Good one!)

FAA: "I guess the only real difference between the bedrooms is that one has sliding doors to the balcony with the terrific view, and the other one doesn't."

FAB: "So I guess we'll put the ensuite in the other bedroom."

True story. I think.

Problem 2: I Miss Vegas

When I rented our apartment in Las Vegas, I cared about seven things, in this order: location, security features, not being on the ground floor, online reviews, the bathtub, built-in bookshelves, and an interior stairwell.

So many of the apartments I looked at advertised a "garden tub" or "Roman tub" that to choose a home with a traditional coffin-like tub would be silliness. I was not disappointed.

Maudine Takes a Bath

This video still was taken after a huge Bath & Body Works sale, but I do love bath goodies. Scrubs, gels, washes... it's my one retail experience where I feel like a girl.

(Speaking of girls, that's the lovely Maudine modeling in her wheel.)

This was a great tub. The width! All those shelves! The stylized arm rests! Really, is it so different from the one I took of Liberace's tub with my old cell phone?

Liberace's Famous Bathtub


My tub in Vegas was beautiful. So beautiful that I let myself believe this was the way things were headed in rental bathroom architecture, and that if I moved into an even more posh apartment later, the bathtub would be at least as lovely and large.

Ha. Ha.


Problem 3: The Bathtub Is An Ill-Designed Deathtrap

It looks nice enough at first glance, yeah? I mean, put aside the shock at losing the Roman/garden tub and you might think, "Oh, that's quite nice." (And then tell yourself that it will be an inspiration to lose weight.)

"Look," you might say, "it even has a little shelf where you can sit and moisturize your legs afterward, or something."

Yes, I do like the little shelf. I'll give you that.

However, it's a stupid tub. Not just because I'm spoiled and not skinny enough to have a leisurely flop-out in it, but because of the shower door.

Let's say you want to fold the door back so that the tub is a little less claustrophobic. Obviously you can't fold it on the hinge and let it swing outward, or it will slam against the toilet. (Note the reflection of said commode in first photo.) So, you fold it inward to be flush against the far wall.... or not.

Yeah, be careful, or it will bang into the porcelain soap dish that could have been placed pretty much anywhere else in the tub without incident, but for some reason it has been placed here. Since we've already had to replace an identical soap dish in the half-bath (which required two visits from the "tradie," four days of not being able to use the shower, and a very bad smell, plus a new crack in the tile underneath), I don't risk folding the door back.

If you're not convinced that the door is stupid, then let's talk about how it only covers half of the tub's length.

Okay, I do miss my shower curtain a little bit (pretty colours, easier to clean), but I like glass doors, and in a normal shower/tub combo, enclosing only half the tub doesn't really change much, so who cares?

Me. I care. The person with the shower head in the middle of the tub. (Scroll back. Look at it. Pick up your jaw.) I care.

As much as I genuinely like the adjustable height of the shower head (perfect for when you want to wash yourself but not your hair, which used to mean bathtime for me) and the detachable head, I would gladly swap both for a shower head at one end of the tub and not in the middle.

Even if the flappy rubber seal at the bottom of the door was perfect (it's not), this is crazy sauce. I have to twist the shower head to point into the enclosed end of the tub to avoid spraying water onto the floor, which means that I have to huddle into the glassed-in corner for the duration of my shower experience. Worse, water still gets out. Which leads us to...

Problem 4: Island Hopping Is Not Always Fun

Can you see all the water on the floor? Here's a closer look:


Ignore the ugly drain in the middle of the floor. I've learned to do so despite all thoughts of Pennywise. (I should not be able to look down into a murky concrete pipe from the middle of my allegedly swankyish apartment bathroom.) I think the drain is ornamental because that water on the floor? Some of it was still there the day after I took this photo.

So, if I want to shower in this bathroom, we have to step around pools of water for the rest of the day. I'm considering a second bathmat, but I swear that some of the water sprays over the mat zone. Also, a second mat so close to the toilet might bring to light certain truths about my husband's aim that neither of us wishes to address. Okay, so I could only put out the second mat when showering... or someone could have just used logic when designing this bathroom. 

In the last section, I forgot to elaborate on why the tub is a deathtrap. I call it that because stepping out of it feels really unstable. Maybe I'm just skittish because my post-fracture ankle is still a bit wonky, but what do you hold onto? Not the wobbling and foldable glass door. Not the towel rack that's somewhat out of reach because of the cute little shelf/seat at the left side of the tub.

Problem 5: Towel Rack Is Only Cool In Theory

Actually it is the towel rack that I bend over to grab when I gingerly step out of the tub. Here's another look at it:

It's heated, clearly. I could (and do) overlook the big old cord bundled up there, and I like the S-shape, but in reality? The heat sucks and the design is impractical.

The heater works, but you know what it heats? The bit where the towel is folded over the bar. Nothing else. If I'm on the last towel (as in this photo), then I can put the towel over a couple of bars and get a couple of skinny horizontal stripes of warmth. Whoop-de-doo.

And as much as I like staring at the "S" (for Shari!) when on the potty, it's not as good as a long towel rack that will let you spread out one or even two towels for airy drying.

The wall to the left of the towel rack is a big hunk of empty space that can't be used for shelves or anything because the door opens against it. (Another problem.) It would be perfect to have a standard towel rack here. Then I could have the heated rack for towel display (and theoretical toasting) and the long rack for towel drying.

Problem 6: The Toilet Itself

The toilet has two issues. The first is probably just me mischanneling my Howard Hughes tendencies. (I.e., I demonstrate crazy germophobe tics. I don't develop billion-dollar empires. Alas.) I just dislike how the seat, when raised, fits inside of the lid. This is probably a clever style feature to other people, but when I have to put the seat down, I feel like I have to touch more of the seat's underside, like I have to consciously pinch my fingers into a grody space to pull the seat down. No matter how recently I've cleaned the toilet, this feels all eww.

Poor Mike. Previously he had a gem of a wife who didn't care whether the seat was up or down. Now he has me cross-legged and hopping, yelling for him to come put the seat down so I can pee. So attractive. If we ever divorce, I'm bringing the property developers in as a contributing party.

The real problem with the toilet, though, is actually the toilet paper holder.

(See how the lid is totally going to enclose the seat and its grabbable edges? OCD shudder.)

Okay, the toilet paper holder and its metal cover. The cover is maddening because it seems to actively work against reaching the toilet paper. Both toilet zones have these noisy, belligerent covers, but this bathroom is worse because of how awkwardly the roll holder is placed. Accessing the toilet paper requires a strong torso twist and slow, careful unfurling or else the dastardly cover will only let you tear off two squares at a time - MAYBE.

So, to really increase the odds of getting three, maybe four squares on the first attempt, you have to thread the toilet paper under instead of over, which we all know is an abomination, but what can I do? Worse, I've considered becoming one of those people who stands to wipe. I can't help but think that things really are upside-down in the southern hemisphere.

(Note: obviously we tried to dismantle the metal covers right away, but there doesn't seem to be a way to do it then easily put it back together for the rent inspections that happen every 90 days.)

* * *

Writing from the present now. (As in 22 August. Heaven only knows when I'll actually press "Publish.") 

Problem 6: The Sink

This photo is blurry, but it's 2:20 a.m. so I can't take another one. (After a tiring week - visa medical visits and three days without a refrigerator and it's only just come to Thursday - I'm letting myself stay up late.) 

When your eyes adjust from the pleasing glare of all that cute soap, you may notice that the sink's design means that there's all this counter space (shaded in brown) where you'd expect drawers underneath, but no. That's not the case. The drawers are further down. Underneath the sink, pipes are everywhere, meaning there's enough room for some extra soap and that's about it.

But the real problem with this sink is that it sticks soooo far out that you can't casually lean over to the mirror and pop a pimple. Or check a mole. Yes, that's what I meant to say. The sink causes cancer.


I could go on (how about that triangle-shaped medicine cabinet?), but I'm really tired, and it would be nifty cool to wake up and find out that I finally posted this post. So, shhhh, don't ruin the surprise. Time for zonks...

22 August 2013 |

Previously: Takeaway
Next: August So Far






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