I decided to just dive right in with the installation. There was a time we were going to wait until Jeremy's dad was in town to switch out the faucet - he has tons of experience in house building and fixing. But I convinced myself that it was something I could handle. After all, even Stan Palmer had a first time, right?
I opened the box containing the fixture and all its parts (it included a pop-up drain, as well). That's where the trouble started. While I was perusing the instructions, Miriam was grabbing at sundry nuts and bolts and tiny wrenches and scattering them all over the place. This was to be a recurring theme throughout the project.
I managed to collect everything again, and we moved into the bathroom. I emptied the vanity cabinets of all their contents, which Miriam started spreading around the house with wild glee. After a few minutes, our bathroom looked something like this:
In fact, now that I think about it, after a couple of hours most of the entire house looked something like this. Bathroom items were trotted out of the bathroom, and non-bathroom items (like toys and blankies and snacks (!)) were brought right in.
In the meantime, I was making pretty good progress. I detached the water supply lines with absolute success and I was so proud of myself. But when it came time to unscrew the old fixture from underneath, I hit a wall. They were stuck, and I was in such an odd position (halfway under the sink, on my back, with Miriam jumping all over my legs and tummy) that I couldn't muster the strength to get them free.
So I had to do something I really dislike: leave a project unfinished and move on to something else. We went outside and cleaned the inside of the car while we waited for Jeremy to get home. I could hardly handle being inside the house when it was such a disaster area, and yet there was no point in cleaning it up since the job wasn't done.
Jeremy came home and with his brute strength was able to unstick the faucet screws.
The rest of the job proceeded as well as can be expected under the circumstances. I'd wedge myself into the cabinet only to discover that the wrench had wandered off. Then, before I could wriggle out again, Miriam would start loading up the cabinet with various items strewn around the bathroom.
Finally, we reached the point where I put her in the tub to give her a bath and finished up the job while she was playing in the water. Although it took me long enough that near the end, she was practically begging to get out of the tub (repeating, "Mama wash youuuuuuuuuuuu!" over and over again).
And that's how a job that should have taken "about an hour" according to several sources I checked ahead of time took an entire afternoon and evening, not counting the time it took me to clean up the house, which was strewn with a bizarre mixture of toilet paper rolls, wrenches, washers, cleaning supplies, plumber's tape (unstrung from the roll, of course), and bars of soap.
Also, Jeremy insisted that I mention that he was the one who fine-tuned the pop-up drain connection, and also used his brute strength again to tighten things up when I was done.
But even with all those caveats, I still accomplished the installation of a new faucet. If I could do it over again, I would definitely choose a time when Miriam was not my responsibility. The problem is, such times are so rare that when they do arise, the last thing I want to do is replace a faucet.
We'll see if I get a chance. There's still the master bathroom faucet to go...
(Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four)