The Unfortunate Master Bath

The Unfortunate Master Bath is actually not the worst bathroom I, personally, have ever lived with. Far from it. My entire adult life, I’ve lived in dormitories and apartments – a good number of which might reasonably rate someplace high on the “shitty” scale, so in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not all that bad.

Therefore, to begin on a positive note: The UMB is a rather large bathroom (relative to my experience); it is open and clean, with Jack-and-Jill sinks; everything is in good working order, with no mold, mildew, or rust to be seen; it is adequately lit and ventilated, and conveniently connects to the master bedroom.

But compared to the rest of the house, it is inexcusably ugly.

To the best of our knowledge, the UMB was last updated in the late eighties – and all the fixtures, bulbous Flashdance vanity lighting, and color scheme strongly support that sad speculation.* And as it turns out, the 1980s clash painfully with the 19-teens.

Behold, my real estate agent Andy Bond** – gazing with abject horror into the prison-tiled abyss. It was pretty much the last room we saw – and well played, sellers … well played.


But here. Let me give you a guided tour, starting with the bathroom entrance.

What happened is this – sometime in the early 1930s, the back porch was closed in and the bathroom + another bedroom were added. That sick putty-colored wall that looks like it’s covered in exterior siding … is in fact covered with exterior siding.

By the way: LOOK UPON OUR FESTIVE DISCO PARQUET. There’s only a few square feet of it; the rest of the place has proper oak flooring. It really IS as if the fug in this bathroom managed to contaminate everything for a couple of yards in any direction.


(You’ll also see our alarm system in that photo. I’m trying to teach it not to freak out like a giant digital cricket when it spies motion in the den area at 3:00 a.m. We have a cat. She makes motion. We would prefer to sleep through it. When I log off in a few minutes, I’m going to sit down and study that system’s manual like I have a test on it. And I do. Every night around 3:00 a.m.)

Right. So.

Upon opening the door you’ll see the following – tricked out with all our own belongings, and not those of the sellers. All subsequent trashiness is ours and ours alone.


I’ll start with the small things.

How small? This small: scads of empty holes. In everything. At some point, I assume these holes held toothbrush holders or drawer pulls or cabinet hardware … but they’ve been empty as long as anybody knows, and it drives me crazy.



I suppose I could find hardware to fill the miniature voids, but since I want to rip the whole room out and set it on fire, that seems like a waste of perfectly good energy.

Now here.
Come in a little closer.

How close? FLOOR CLOSE. Jesus H. Christ in a chicken basket, you guys. I know it’s supposed to look like “marble,” but all I can think is “prosciutto.”



Are we all done trembling?
Okay, good.

Because immediately beside the patch of floor where I captured the HAM FLOOR picture … you’ll find an unassuming white closet with double doors. “Linen closet,” one might think. “Broom closet,” one might guess. Mais non.



Okay, switch boxes – which I mostly don’t show in that shot. Because honestly, the boxes are not the ugliest thing hiding in that-there closet. See that old siding? Peeling, graying, and undoubtedly chock full of tasty, tasty lead-based paint? Yeah. That used to be the outer wall of the house.

I suppose if the power goes out while I’m peeing at night, I’ll know just what to do. Hm. On second thought, maybe I should stick a flashlight by the toilet.

Then again, it might not help; after all, one of the switches is labeled “WTF.”


I know, I know. Someone has crappy handwriting, and it’s probably short for “water heater.” But I kind of like the idea that there’s a MYSTERY SWITCH that if I flip it then NO ONE KNOWS what the hell will happen. CTHULHU MAY RISE.

I bet the Old Ones could really heat up water like nobody’s business. If those who sleep beneath R’lyeh can save us money on our energy bill, maybe we could strike some kind of deal. Or maybe I’ve had enough of these tasty hard ciders for one night, and should not open yet another one before I continue.

Hang on. Gotta get … uh … something. From the kitchen.

Okay, I’m back.

Next to the Cabinet of Electrical Mystery we have the actual linen closet. It is mirrored. I like mirrors. There is no other point to the image below.


Now in this next shot, you can see the poor attempt at linoleum camouflage I call a rug, plus a handful of Aubrey Beardsley prints I thought might class up the joint … and the aforementioned sinks.

Jack and Jill. Hard molded plastic. Shaped like shells. With wee little ledges upon which to rest one’s soap.


Or, wee little ledges upon which to whack one’s forehead while trying to wash one’s face, if one is as catastrophically nearsighted as yours truly. Cough cough.


Perhaps right about now you’re thinking to yourself, “Self, that’s not so weird and/or bad. That Cherie sure has a talent for exaggeration.”

But wait.
There’s more.

What if I told you … that these sinks … LIGHT THE FUCK UP!!???




I, for one, am trying to look on the bright side. Or perhaps the somewhat drunk side. Which is to say, in lieu of a bathroom flashlight for making ridiculous spooooooky faces, one can simply TURN ON THE SINKS.

The Unfortunate Master Bath

The Unfortunate Master Bath

The Unfortunate Master Bath

The Unfortunate Master Bath

The Unfortunate Master Bath

And on that note, I suppose I’d better hit “post” and call myself done for the night.

[:: waves cheerfully ::]
[:: and spooookily ::]
[:: goes looking for the alarm manual ::]


* Our home is place of Batman memorabilia, monster action figures, and a mantle tableau of a zombie apocalypse. Our down-home tackiness takes a different form, that’s all I’m saying.
* Who I totally recommend, by the way. If you’re looking to move in – or to – the Chattanooga area, ping me for details. I’ll be happy to put you in touch with him.

26 thoughts on “The Unfortunate Master Bath

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-124385">

    Hah, always able to make me laugh. I appreciate that.

    At the very least, you’ll be able to renovate this someday. It’s not like you’ve been given a limited or unusable space.

    li class="comment byuser comment-author-cherie bypostauthor odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-124386">

    Oh believe me, there will be remodeling. It may have to wait a bit, though. We blew through most of our budget just getting here, and getting furniture. But such is life. Until then … me and the fugly bathroom will reach some sort of truce, I’m sure.

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-124388">

    The last bathroom I had in Chattanooga was infested with brown recluses. This in no way demeans the hilarity of your description, but rather suggests that your realtor is not in cahoots with hell-spawn.

    li class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-124389">
    Nick Valentino

    The sinks kick ass!!! I want lights in the sinks!!

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-124390">

    Bahahahaha! Oh. My. GAWD. I want light up shell sinks! I really really do! Hahahaha! So magnificent in their hideousness! :D

    li class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-124391">

    Oh dear god, I have never laughed so hard at one of your posts then I did at this one. It started with a giggle at the WTF and full blown laughter with the lighted sinks.

    And as someone who grew up in the 80’s, I remember when friends were remodeling their homes and their parents were getting their bathrooms just like this with the lighted sinks. Hours of entertainment for us when we had sleepovers.

    I think I will stop complaining about my lose tile in my bathroom.

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-124393">

    When you told me about the fugly bathroom, you did not mention the prosciutto floors. I laughed so out loud that I startled the cat.

    li class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-124394">
    Kendra Leonard

    Too, too funny! Please tell me the bathroom from hell (along with the WTF light switch that summons Cthulhu) will appear in one of your books. That tile is just too awful not to memorialize in solid, hard-copy print.

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-124395">

    Holy cow! Those floors do look like prosciutto. And the sinks… I’ve never seen shell-shaped sinks before- much less ones that light up. And I grew up in the 80’s. I can’t imagine when those would have seemed like a good idea. But then I also remember a 60’s-themed home we once lived in that involved mermaid murals- so bad ideas abound in home decor.

    li class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-124397">

    Wow, I was just at the deli counter, and that flooring really does look like luncheon meat. And I have never heard of light-up sinks.

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-124398">

    Whoa, ok I gotta say Cherie the light up sinks are kinda boss. I mean some people put candles in their bathroom to illuminate the lavatory during parties, but not you. You can light up your awesome glowing shell sinks of doom!DOOM!

    Now you need a third seashell in between the sinks so you can make random Demolition Man jokes about not knowing how to use the three seashells.

    Also we don’t have permission to see your “Chtulu May Rise” link up top.

    li class="comment byuser comment-author-cherie bypostauthor odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-124400">

    Dammit! Sorry about the permissions in Flickr – it’s fixed now, and you should be able to see all the links.

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-124401">

    I now love you more than ever!
    *puts stamp on “official stalker application” envelope*

    li class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-124406">

    The people on “Bath Crashers” could do such awesome things with that space! If you are ever at a home store and some guy with cameras following asks if you want your bathroom re-done, make sure to say yes! I’ve seen some great ones on that show.

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-124409">
    Richard Cartwright

    Hard cider seems to do things to your prose. Not bad. Just different.

    li class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-124429">

    I’m in a 1911 house that had some unfortunate changes at various times in the past. The asbestos siding on the outside, covering the original wood shingles, for example.

    However, as…uh, unique as they are, there’s something to be said for those light-up sinks. Our spare bathroom has no outlets. I didn’t fully grok this until I found a fantastic nightlight and my husband noted the lack of place to plug it in. So at least your sinks can double as nightlights, were guests to ever stay in your master bedroom.

    #tryingtofindabrightside #nopunintended

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-124500">
    Liz B

    Hey if the alarm manual doesn’t provide some insight, try locating your motion sensors, lowering them a few inches and turning them upside down so the beam points in an upward direction. Basically, that lets you aim the beam at around 4 feet instead of 2-3 feet. The kitty will still trigger it sometimes with the occasional flight from the bookcase to the mantel, but somewhat less often. Although, if you happen to be robbed by a team of midgets, you’ll be out of luck. :)

    li class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-124506">

    I giggled. For a long time. And then I shared.

    I think you should drink and post more often. Just sayin’….

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-124535">

    Lol!”The WTF switch, it even looks like antique writing he he he:)

    li class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-124723">
    Wallace N

    I can sympathize with your remodeling woes. We had the same in our first house, tho your bathroom looks much better than ours did. Ask Katherine sometime to describe the bathroom at our first house in South Knoxville on Jonathan Av.

    I love your pictures of you! I think you should use the second one, with the maniacal smile, on your next book cover. It looks like you’ve found the app that opens the gateway to the nether realms.

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-124770">

    I have shell-shaped sinks, but mine don’t light up. I am so jealous. We’re trying to sell the house they’re in, though. Just sayin’.

    li class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-124805">

    Um…at least it’s big?

    In all seriousness, do not let a little thing like lack of finance stop you from making the alterations you want to. Our bathroom is where ugly salmon tile goes to die. We both agreed it was the first thing that we would have to change.

    That was fifteen years, siding, a new roof, a new furnace, new windows, and multiple room paintings ago.

    As much as I hate to take pleasure from your paint, those sinks are kind of awesome in their incredible tackiness. I’m also a bit relieved. I always wondered where the rest of the crap faux wood tiles, the ones that weren’t used in my kitchen. Apparently they were used to fill space outside your bathroom.

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-125619">

    The Master Bathroom is really cool and beautiful.

    li class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-272789">
    Maryann Cook

    Just love your books but only discovered the blog a couple of months ago. This is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read and since it’s my birthday I’m considering it an extra present. I laughed out loud and almost dropped my coffee. Thanks!

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