Musette’s Musings: on Love, Friends… and pull-out shelves

Buckle up, PosseCups!  This is gonna be a rambler – but there’ll be a giveaway at the end (because I’m not a savage).

So.  awhile ago (okay – TWO YEARS! dagNABBIT!) I wrote about my Back Porch Dreams.  I’d just talked with my Cranky Contractor, sent over the drawings… asked to get on his schedule… GOT on his schedule…



welp!  We’re now 18 months behind and while I still adore him (he may be LATE but when the chips are down (as when I clogged my kitchen drain and had to do the kitchen version of a sitz bath) he has always come through for me.  So.  But I was getting increasingly downhearted, especially when (not surprisingly) he somehow conflated his moving me to Very Early Spring with me having just got on his schedule!  LOL!  as if…

but he’s the Absolute Best carpenter, his work is stellar and… he does actually SHOW UP (there are several others in town who are nowhere near his quality of work and… they do NOT show up.  At All.

So I wait.  and wait.  And with each day/week/etc… I … I dunno.  I kinda lost interest.

Now.  I cannot completely lose interest because there is now a 15′ x 30′ HOLE in my garden (I’m nothing if not efficient – when my friend* Kevin rode by on his Kubota I got him to excavate because I reallllly don’t like the idea of grass growing under my porch.  Alas, that was 2 seasons and several loads of cardboard ago – but I ain’t mad.  Not much, anyway)

Here’s the deal, though.  I am not called Action Girl for nothing – and I needed a project.  The Universe, smartass that it is, came through with a Project. all right.. sigh.  My bathroom.  Sigh.  It is THE mankiest bathroom on this earth, with a 30+ year old cheap tub surround, etc… but that’s not the worst of it.  The plumbing is… ridiculous.  It sits, uninsulated, just below the floor (in an unheated ‘box’ atop … ???  The ‘drop’ (which is what allows a drain to drain efficiently) is almost nonexistent.  There’s no basement below it – O, the Plumbing Nightmares – it freezes and clogs and omg.  So… I put that on the Scope of Work schedule, thinking I/we’d get to it in a year.  But!  While awaiting the porch I had an epiphany:  if he’s that busy (and he is – I saw him scoring concrete, by himself, on a Saturday – no PPE, all that particulate blasting into his sinuses and lungs – I figure I should get my work done before he wrecks himself) – so when he came to unclog the drain (the same day I called – he stopped here after he was finished roofing somebody’s house for the day – see why I adore him?) I wriggled a little Guilt Proposal:  since he contracts out plumbing and electrical anyway and since I already have a plumberand electrician (a MASTER Electrician, thankyouverymuch) – and since he’s absurdly behind in his projects – AND I WANT MY BATHROOM! why don’t I do demo* and all he has to do is come frame it?  I’ve seen that man construct a 10′ x 30′ framing wall in under an hour, so I know this is a cakewalk for him and once he’s done I can get the rest of the job done and everybody goes away happy.  To my surprise, he agreed (That Guilt, don’tchaknow – had I been combative, maybe not.  But that gentle hint (!) of disappointment… lol!  BOOOM!shakalaka)

ew. eeeewww!

So I’ve been pulling out All the Stuff from the bathroom… and this is where the Story (sort of) ends – I realized that I do NOT need a 4’x7′ shower (omg!  The glass doors alone are over $4K!) – but what I DO NEED are cabinets… with pull-out shelves!  That, my Posse, is where my extremely limited simoleans will be going.

8! bottles of rubbing alcohol

4 bottles of peroxide

15 tubes of toothpaste (TO BE FAIR… this was one of those El O things where, when he went to Sam’s he would buy 3-pack toothpaste.  I now have enough toothpaste for at least … forever?)

Body wash.  SO MUCH BODY WASH.

Body lotion.  Which I don’t even use (why do I have all that? Blame El O (?)

Here’s the thing:  if it’s in the back of a deep cabinet (or, if we’re really honest, ANY cabinet) it’s out of sight/out of mind.  and more and more keeps getting bought and you think ‘oh, I have WAY too much of this/that – I won’t need to buy it again for XXX – except you do (I have bought at least 6 tubes of toothpaste in the past months, completely forgetting about those 15 tubes in the back of that 36″ deep cabinet)

The solution (as I see it) : cabinets with pull-out shelves.  Originally designed for kitchens (and you can betcherbippy I’m splurging on those for the kitchen reno), it’s an excellent way to keep track of what you already have.  Going to the grocery?  Check your pantry.  Check your bathroom.  If you already have 6 bottles of X you probably don’t need another.  Ain’t NOBODY need 8 bottles of alcohol (unless it’s the imbibing kind, in which case have at it!).  But if you have to dig through (and risk dropping) a squickton of stuff in a cabinet… eh… just figure you might not have it and get another one.  Until you end up with 8.  (and don’t talk to me about Planning Ahead, checking and making a list.  Shut up.  (insert Crazed emoji)

I’ve contemplated adding them to the Messy Armoire, since nothing terrifies me more than the thought of dropping a bottle of, say, Aromatics Elixir.  Or Opium.  But I’ve downsized my collection and the Messy Armoire is on carpet and I have limited simoleans at this time so … (insert shrug emoji).  But that bathroom haul was just ridiculous.  I don’t overindulge in perfume but I do, apparently, overindulge in Vanicream (I have 6 jars of it scattered around my house and several in the cabinet.  TO BE FAIR… I do use that on the daily.  But those impulse purchases of Cheap and Cheerful Italian bodywash that reminds me of my time on Lido?  Um..

So pull out shelves it is (they call them shelves because I guess, by definition, any drawer is pull-out.

Do any of you have them?  Do any of you just… LOSE stuff in the back of cabinets?   5 totes of ‘stuff’ is just embarrassing.  ‘Fess up!  I’ll have to pull a winner since M. Jacques is laughing at me from above (I had a mouse nest land on me (it had made the nest in the ceiling above the light fixture – ew) and an earwig got stuck in my cleavage.

And btw * = Friends (hence the title).  I love my contractor.  I do.  But I love my friends more – my electrician is the husband of my very good friend here and he (and his assistant, also now a friend) rewired my house for DINNER! because they were so terrified that the insane wiring (an El O Special – he’d ‘temporarily’ run the wires… and it stayed thus until Mary (my friend) saw it and told her husband to come look – and he nearly had a heart attack!  Next week they were here, rewiring that box.

My plumber is my sister’s son-in-law and he ain’t letting no old lady lived with a backed-up bathtub.  So … friend.


I am blessed.  Happy.  Tired AF because I’m doing a lot of the heavy lifting  (again, though, FRIEND!  Mary is helping me demo!  Tonight we’re going rip those tiles out of the ceiling.  Luckily I have all the PPE and, unlike my Cranky Contractor, I ain’t afraid to wear it!  Goggles, dust masks, protective suits!)

  • Portia says:

    MUSETTE! Your stories are hilarious and terrifying.
    Good luck with it all and thank everything for tradesfriends. The minute Jin told me he was in his last year reschooling as an electrician I was NEVER letting him go. Sadly our trusty plumber just became a multimillionaire, moved to 40 acres over an hour away and now we have to find a new one.
    Portia xx

  • VerbenaLuvvr says:

    So wonderful you have connections, very difficult these days to procure any quality contracted service. We have had the worst time trying to get a plumber and painters, almost a year and still waiting. I am attempting to use up stockpiled body washes/shampoos/soaps/lotions cluttering my shared bathroom closet and limiting purchases to what fits in a product specific bin on one shelf. Some of the older stuff has gone off and I feel guilty for having wasted money. It is difficult to walk away from good sales but I do enjoy seeing the excess disappear. Good luck on your demo and love your idea!

  • Tom says:

    I do love pull-out drawers and no, sadly don’t have any. In the kitchen they’re great but in the bathroom? Brilliant! My vanity has four deep drawers that are like the twilight zone. So much fun when you’re looking for a band–aid or a tylenol.

    I would be thrilled with them in the hall closet.

    Keep your good contractors and workmen well appreciated and well fed. They are key. I’ve had ones save my butt more than once.

    • Musette says:

      Hi, yus! I treat them like gold -my suppliers, too! My jobs are rarely YUUUUGE! so …
      And you’re right – they are key – to pretty much everything. I’ve always wondered why folks tend to denigrate them…

  • March says:

    Bahaha as I type this the plumbers have finally showed up to finish the job they started … three weeks ago? Although to BE FAIR they fixed the crucial (leak) part then. I can hear them swearing in the crawlspace so I figure it’s coming along lol. I do not have endless totes of stuff, probably because I keep moving? I definitely did in the house we were in for 8 years.

    • Musette says:

      lol! ‘3 Weeks’ is CC’s default response… and it’s his ‘tell’ – when he says that I know I probably won’t see him for 6 months!

  • Dina C. says:

    Best of luck with your demo job, Musette. Be ever so careful not to tweak your shoulder, back, neck, etc. due to enthusiasm. I say this because I’ve done just exactly that so many times. It’s the lure of a Project. So glad you’ve got great plumber and electrician friends lined up. My bathroom is 40 years old and could use a major face-lift, too!

    • Musette says:

      oh, yeah – I spend an hour on the mat in the AM (prior to haulage/demo/etc) and an hour at night – do you remember me talking about the character in ‘Killers of a Certain Age’ who, after killing a much younger man in hand-to-hand combat, has to do Cat/Cow before she races out of the stateroom (ahead of a bomb going off) lest her back seize up and she can’t move? that would be me! 😉

  • Shiva-woman says:

    Our house needs so much work I don’t know where to start! We need to rip down walls in the bathroom, deal with something that looks like…mold, new wall paper, new floor and then in the kitchen– actual desirable moulding which my cats have used now as scratching posts. New floor in kitchen too, and new doors…it goes on. The thought of moving stuff in and out, lifting, cleaning… blech. But it’s all on the menu for us this next year. How you have enlisted friends! And guilt! Way to go. I agree with you about the cupboards too. For us, it’s old light bulbs tucked in the way back. Good luck with your reno(s).

    • Musette says:

      Omg! on the mold. I was stunned (and relieved) to find NO mold – also, we were totally suited-up, with safety glasses, masks and dust suits/gloves. I’m OSHA 30 certified so it would be mortifying to be caught with no PPE.

  • AnnnieA says:

    I have a linen closet and that limits my stockpiling. Sometimes I have to dig in the back to double check. Everything at a glance sounds perfect.

  • alityke says:

    Urgh! Refurb of any kind makes me shudder. Our first house was a complete doer upper. All the refurb, walls down the lot. All whilst we were living in it & producing two babies. We gave up, sold on for a reasonable profit & bought new.
    Pull out shelves would be bliss. We tried a carousel as Cinnamon has as a retrofitting. Didn’t work.
    Mouse nest & earwigs. You need working cats!

    • Musette says:

      Except these were in the ceiling! I’m not sure the Cat Union allows their members to climb in the ceiling (though I could check their contract 😉

      • alityke says:

        Cats Union is ok with them attacking from the floor above I’m sure.
        Actually I doubt Cats have a union. Too difficult to muster. There will be a rogue Tom out there ready to negotiate for a good warm sleeping space & sardines

  • cinnamon says:

    Sigh, house stuff. The never ending saga. My refurb was done almost four years ago now. I am sure there is a pipe leak somewhere. Finding it is going to be fun. Pull out shelves … I have a corner unit in the kitchen where the shelves pivot out. The system has a name I can’t recall at the moment. I love my kitchen. After years of a really small, badly designed galley kitchen and then a shoe box sized one in the rental during the refurb having a big open room where I can reach things (plus a pull out larder — not to be confused with the corner uni) I am one happy bunny. Best wishes with all your work. Remember to stop and drink water periodically 🙂

    • Musette says:

      Yikes! on the leak – hope that is resolved quickly.

      and I’m so glad you’re happy with your new kitchen! I hope to be happy with my new bathroom, though I suspect pretty much anything will be an improvement over the existing drama.

  • Kathleen says:

    Best wishes with your demo and renovations! Thank goodness for knowing all the good people to help you. No doubt pull out drawers will help you organize and see/use what you have. I have been on project use what I have for the past year and have much more space in bathroom cabinets.

    • Musette says:

      This is a very ‘handy’ area (so many farmers, et al, who need to know how to do that stuff) – I feel very fortunate to have made friends who are both lovely and handy!

  • Maggiecat says:

    I have a very large under the sink cabinet in my bathroom. I occasionally get inspired and try to clear out/organize/ tidy the space. I quickly become embarrassed at the sheer quantity of lotions, shower gels, soaps, etc. That embarrassment, however, doesn’t seem to stop me from buying more…. Perhaps pull out shelves would help!

  • Janet in Ca says:

    I love demo-ing! Very cathartic. I am afraid to look in the back of my bathroom cabinets, or my pantry, or my closet!

  • Tara C says:

    I have pull out shelves in my kitchen and they are essential if you have deep cabinets. Good call!