The Year of the Toilet

Since the summer of 2021, Sam and I have gone to the bathroom more times outside than we have inside a restroom. Not anymore! 2023 is officially the year of the toilet! This may not seem exciting to some of you, but for a female who does not enjoy exposing her bum to rain and snow, I can’t think of anything more exciting. No more finding creative ways to squat so I don’t aggravate my injured knee. No more searching for a hiding space among the neatly pruned trees when we have people working with us. Not only do we have a functioning toilet now, but we have a cardboard door, toilet paper, and a bidet!

The throne!

Sam also has his very own urinal!

The shop bathroom is still a work in progress, but it’s almost fully functional (with the exception of the shower). The tiny space is home to a toilet, urinal, shower/tub, and “manity”. 

It was quite a challenge to fit all of these fixtures into a 5′ x 9.5′ room. Plus we had to follow the code by maintaining a minimal distance between certain things. Everything fit though, and it doesn’t seem too cramped.

Our first guests to enjoy the toilet were Jackson and Lauren. They celebrated the New Year with us and helped with some projects.

The big project at the time was the attic hatch in the shop ceiling. We built the 12′ x 8′ hatch door earlier in the month with some help from Carlos. It is framed with 2×10’s (to match the surrounding floor joists). The top of the hatch is covered with plywood. After we stuff the door with insulation, the underside will be covered with drywall to match the shop ceiling.

Sam installed rubber seals (meant for garage doors) around the bottom of the hatch. The seals slide into metal channels that Sam screwed into the wood perimeter. Since the attic won’t be insulated, we want make sure that the hatch is well-sealed. We don’t want to lose heated or conditioned air to the attic!

Jackson arrived just in time to install the motor and lifting system.

The door is very heavy. 2×10’s weren’t the best choice, but we had an extra stack of them. We didn’t calculate the exact weight of the door, so we designed the opener system to lift 1100 lbs. We don’t want the door slamming down on anyone!

The hatch pivots about a big piano hinge that runs along one of the long sides.

The opposite side has two green yarding blocks (pulleys) attached to pivoting lifting eyes at the corner brackets. We even let Jackson weld them, and he managed not to set the pile of 500 cardboard boxes on fire.

The red pivots are welded to the corner brackets. Note- the yarding blocks are not hooked up to anything yet.

The lifting mechanism is a small Chinese electric lifting hoist. (See tiny red thing with a cable in the background.) Hopefully its price is not an indication of useful life. We mounted the hoist to the steel frame of the building. It was a bit tricky finding a mounting location that was both efficient for lifting and somewhat out of the way.

The motor has a remote, so we can open the hatch from the ground floor. Then we can use a separate remote to operate the orange chain hoist (see above) to lift things up into the attic.

Now the attic is all sealed up.

The four of us wrapped up some less blog-worthy tasks like caulking around can lights and grinding concrete. Then we took the rest of the week off and went skiing!

Nice view of Mt. Hood from the cross country ski trail

Cheers to the year of the toilet!

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