A soldiers guide to area beautification
The great thing about TV reality shows like ‘The Block’ is that they inspire ideas on how to improve your habitat.
In this case, it is my unit boozer.
The bad news is that people like me then try to implement these ideas without the benefit of a trained professional or at the very least the local Ginger-beer unit.
The result is the toilet in my unit boozer, which currently has a urinal with hot running water and a wall heater that can only be turned on by unscrewing the third bulb on the ceiling.
I’d like to point out it wasn’t my idea to take what had been a simple plan to increase the space in our boozers bathroom and turn it into a major remodel.
However, after one teeny mistake, my mates insisted on a total makeover — which brings us to our first area beautification tip: ’The Importance of Bearing Walls.
You will discover that there are certain walls within a structure — possibly even in the bathroom — which should not be removed because, as it turns out, portions of that structure will collapse.
As important as “bearing walls” are to your units’ infrastructure, they aren’t marked as such and, as a general rule, looks just like other walls in your habitat.
Which is why anyone who accidentally removes a bearing wall, thereby inadvertently causing the total destruction of an otherwise functional bathroom – should be forgiven for this oversight.
So, let’s assume the worst happens, and you find yourself standing in the middle of the downstairs bathroom while surrounded by the upstairs change room.
And let’s assume your boss, in a show of support, still hasn’t insisted on calling a professional. Such as a hit man; or worse, the meat-heads.
The next step is to rebuild the bathroom — and your CO’s trust — as quickly as possible.
To do this, you’ll need organisation and a basic knowledge of plumbing and electricity.
If you don’t possess this knowledge, don’t worry! You will quickly gain it through practical experience, i.e. connecting the wrong wires and practically electrocuting yourself.
Through this process of trial and error you will eventually be able to flush the toilets without causing the outlets to spark.
The first step, however, is to clear the area of debris.
Depending on the extent of damage to the bathroom, you may be able to do this quickly and easily by shoveling the debris directly through the floor and depositing it under the building.
If a hole doesn’t exist, feel free to make one.
If your RSM catches you, feel free to crawl inside and seal it up behind you.
Once the room has been cleared, it’s time to rebuild.
Start with the bearing wall.
Aside from its structural significance, it will symbolize the emotional healing process you are trying to foster with your units HQ — and help avoid the need for a physical healing process should the bathroom be out of commission for more than 24 hours.
Shrubbery in the beer garden takes on a new importance.
Next comes plumbing and wiring, which, I’d like to point out, should never been done at the same time.
Sure, it may be faster and easier to run new wiring through an existing water line. But take it from me: If your dopey diggers occasionally drink out of the toilet, it’s not worth the risk.
The same goes for any other shortcuts that could turn your evening bathroom visit into what looks like an episode of ‘Dancing with the Stars’.
That said, I hope this advice has been helpful.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
I’ll be happy to answer them as soon as I fix this leak in the light switch.
Andrew Douglas is a long-suffering Aussie Digger who, after many hours of sitting in a pit with a notebook and pen writing his woes, has turned his hand to writing for leisure and entertainment in the comfort of his lounge room. He and his partner, Sonia, live in a 100-year-old home in southern NSW, where Andrew uses his home-repair skills to make improvements, such as being able to flush the toilet by turning on the garden tap.