Tag Archives: do it yourself

Priorities

My priorities never seem to be in the order I wish they were. I’m dying to get in some guitar and drum time, and after readjusting my ham radio station, I want to get on the air.

Unfortunately, we had a bit of a plumbing disaster, with the need to cut a hole in the wall. Naturally, the hole needed to be cut right next to my radio gear. I need to finish patching the hole—which is progressing nicely, thank you—which creates large amounts of dust. I have a number of painting tarps, but I don’t want that much weight on my gear, so I need to get a couple of cheap plastic ones. Once the hole is patched, sanded, primed, and painted, then I can……….put all of the shelves back and all of the office supplies, etc. back on the shelves. After dusting, vacuuming, and replacing all of the air purifier filters in the room (theoretically to keep regular and kitty litter dust under control), then I just may have time to play.

If I’m not too tired, maybe something inspired by one of my favorite groups (with apologies to the Beatles).

“I’m Fixing a Hole”

I’m fixing a hole where the plumbing was broke, Which keeps my hands from playing, My guitar.

I’m priming the crack that is now plastered up, Which keeps my hands from playing, My guitar.

Oh, it really doesn’t matter if I prime it right, Or if I paint it right, No one will know.

A great big shelf will hide it all,None of this work will show at all. No one will know.

I could continue, but I’ll spare you the insult.

Aging Together

I’m not as young as I used to be, and neither is my house. Houses age faster than people years, but not quite like dog years, so my 20 year old house is like a 60-ish year old person.

A few years ago it required a roof transplant, followed by (not one, but two) HVAC—heating, ventilation and air conditioning units. I think that when they went from being furnaces and air conditioners to HVAC they got to raise the price.

Last weekend a storage shelf gave up the ghost, just as I was standing in the line of fire; I spent the rest of the weekend, bruises and all, building a shelving system you could use to hold the piano.

My confidence was building—I remembered how I used to be able to fix things. Then I disassembled an iPad, replaced the broken screen—and the batteries, as long as I was in there. When reassembled, it worked. My confidence took a great leap.

Now, normally I am not burdened with an overly strong ego, which is probably good and keeps me out of trouble. However, after two successes in a row . . . . Well, when the shower started leaking,I felt I was up to the challenge.

I Googled and YouTubed and decided that I could handle this, even though plumbing has always been my nemesis. I bought the correct parts, and even drove 20 additional miles to get a particular lubricant that was supposed to make disassembly of the shower control easy. Within 15 minutes of arriving home, proper tools, parts and lubricants at hand, the faucet assembly snapped off at the wrong end.

This was now a job for not just a plumber, but a plumbing contractor. Fortunately we found one who showed up within the hour. Everything is back to normal.

In hindsight, it makes sense. If my heart and circulatory plumbing were messed up, I’d want the right specialist, and not some amateur to operate on me.

I guess my house felt the same way.

My Computers Are Out to Get Me!

I may have mentioned that I had to rebuild my desktop computer and replace my notebook/laptop/whatever they’re called this year computer.

I try to backup my data regularly. I have a scheduled routine to backup my laptop to one of the large hard drives on the main computer in the house. I also have a separate hard drive especially made for backups that I use about once a month.

Suddenly, with a number of computer based issues staring at me, I get the message on my laptop that the hard drive is full.

Now, I know Windows 8.1.a.(3)[4]—or whatever—is a memory hog. So is Norton 360. And then there’s Office 2013, and I did start my taxes with TurboTax, but c’mon!

I usually have to upgrade the hard drives and RAM in computers, so this was not the biggest surprise, but still… so I ordered a 1 terabyte disk to replace the 500 gigabyte. When it arrived, I turned the computer over, ready to open the little access panel that laptops have so you can replace the hard drive. The one next to the panel to upgrade the memory chips.

No doors.

It turns out that this major manufacturer* of home and office computers has decided that the consumer really doesn’t need to be able to upgrade. The entire computer must be disassembled; the bottom removed, the keyboard removed, the upper case removed. Therefore, they must expect us to purchase new computers every few months or send the unit out for professional repair.

You have got to be kidding me.

I Googled how to disassemble and reassemble the computer and figured that if I had to take the whole thing apart, I might as well expand the RAM as well, so I ordered the memory chips.

When the chips arrived, with my son’s help, we got the computer disassembled, upgraded and reassembled.

Take that you customer hating engineers and bean counters!

Oh, and the reason the hard drive was full so quickly? Remember how I conscientiously backup my data? Well, the special backup drives have a program included; and if you do not have the hard drive connected when it’s time for a backup, it just copies all the data on the C: drive to the (ready for this) C: drive. I erased all these convenient programs and reverted to Windows built in “Backup” program.

 

 

*I won’t name the company, but since IBM was known for having signs on the wall saying, “Think,” this company put signs on the wall that said “Invent.” There’s no proof that the signs now say, “Screw the customer.”

Repurposing

goodwill

I both donate to and frequent the local thrift shops. My wife and I refer to it as “hunting for treasures.”

I look at it as a way of giving each item one more chance to be useful, rather than ending up in the landfill. We don’t (knowingly) donate things that don’t work, although we’ve bought more than a few of them. Doesn’t matter – it’s a good cause.

We recycle. We compost. We try to show that this is a wonderful world and we all need to be good stewards.

Today I put a few things on eBay and Craigslist.

I guess I could claim that my time is too valuable, and it’s wasted on such trivialities.

But, as I travel through life, if I leave things as good as I found them, I think that’s a good thing.

If I am able to encourage my children to follow suit, that’s better.

The Battle Is Won

faucet

Here in Virginia there are many battle sites. My neighborhood is known as “Great Bridge” since the Americans turned back the British during the Revolutionary War at a bridge referred to as “The Great Bridge.” Since “Great Bridge” refers to an area, while the battle is referred to as the Battle of Great Bridge, the modern drawbridge is called the “Great Bridge Bridge.”

But I digress.

Manassas, the site of 2 great battles is in Virginia. If you were educated in the north, you may know the battles as “Bull Run.” Yorktown & Williamsburg were the sites of battles in both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Yorktown was where the Revolutionary War ended and Appomattox Court House, also in Virginia, was the site of the surrender of General Lee to General Grant, ending the Civil War.

But today ended the battle of the kitchen sink, a historical occurrence, if I do say so myself.

The opening shots occurred several months ago when the spray handle to the faucet split and began to leak. I bought a “universal” replacement, which sorta-kinda worked, but not exactly. I Googled the original manufacturer and ordered the exact replacement, which was pricey, but I figured it represented the path to easiest success.

The exact replacement was exactly what I needed, except that they had changed the one fitting from coarse threads to loose threads. This meant that the replacement was exactly the right size, but there was no way to get it to work.

I went back to the “universal replacement.” The main problem was that the pressure was restricted. The company’s customer service department gave me instructions for checking it out, and determined that it was defective. They shipped a replacement.

Apparently the replacement was either delivered to the wrong address, or someone stole it.

They sent a replacement-replacement. It worked, until yesterday, when it fell off spraying water all over the kitchen.

This morning I went to the hardware to get a whole new faucet. The instructions were all in pictures that were too small to see accurately, but that didn’t matter, because the instructions didn’t match the faucet; it was the same faucet but the real one came less assembled than the pictures showed.

Eventually we figured it out.

I’ve never enjoyed plumbing, especially in the space under a sink. Imagine being crammed into an MRI Scanner, only smaller with obstructions. Now attempt to use tools in that space. That’s what it’s like working under the sink.

Eventually, thanks to my kids, we got the new faucet installed and working. Casualties were minor. Total cost with all the pieces parts, partial repairs, special tools, etc. was enough to make my congressman jealous. However, the kitchen sink is now functional.

I declared victory and dismissed the troops to return to their regular pursuits.

One last thing. Does anyone know where I can get a bronze plaque made to mount in the kitchen in order to mark the end of the Battle of the Kitchen Sink?