Category Archives: Fixing stuff

Sinking suspicions…

Sometimes the things that seem like they’re the most minor end up getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

You know the little pulley-thing in the back of the faucet that opens or closes the drain stopper? The thing you pull when you’re putting in your contacts? One of the sinks in the upstairs bathroom has this issue where occasionally that thing you pull goes up, and up, and up… until it’s in your hand. And not in the back of the sink. I know that Mr. Ex fixed it from time to time over the last few years, and I think he even fixed it for me once after he moved out.

Well, last week-ish it came out again. I didn’t think much of it until my electric toothbrush stopped working. I know – those two things seem to be unrelated.

The thing is that the electric toothbrush came with two handles. Actually it’s youngest’s toothbrush, but she left it for me when she went to Israel, so I’ve been using it. Anyway, the handle that I have been using stopped working but I knew that there was a second one somewhere under the sink. So I opened the doors to look for it.

And that’s when I found the flood.

Apparently, the sink stopper thingie came out in two places. Above the sink and below. And it coming out below means that the little retaining nut also came out of the drain pipe – which caused the flood.

I get out the towel, and I google sink stopper thingie to get more info. No big deal, all the websites claim – just clean the stuff off and put it all back together. Okay, I think – I can do this.

To begin with, that stuff was NASTY. Cruddy, calcified, nasty. I clean, I get out the vinegar, I soak (the parts, not me). After a few hours my kitchen smells like I’ve made salad for 100, and the little ball thing is still stuck in the retaining nut, and nothing is going back on the drain pipe.

I go to Home Depot. The nice man in plumbing gets the ball out of the retaining nut (I believe ‘hitting it’ was involved – Google didn’t say anything about hitting it). He then points out that something seems broken in there. And there’s no replacement for just the nut. He tells me to check out a plumbing supplier. Excuse me?

I google plumbing supplies. I find one not too far and I pay them a visit. I show them the nut and they tell me…

You can’t just replace that. See that little part in there? That’s part of the drain pipe itself. You need to replace the drain pipe.

I need to replace it?

Oh, sure… they respond. You just pop the old one out, twist off the old parts, and put this one in. That’s all you have to do… No big deal.

I can do this myself? I ask.

At this point, I’m thinking…

Really Dr. Christiaan Barnard… all I have to do is take this donor heart and put it into the recipient’s? I can do this myself?

Really, Mr. Armstrong? All I have to do is follow you out of the lunar module? I can do this myself?

Yup they tell me. That’ll be $30.00. And they bid me goodbye with the final words… We’ll keep our fingers crossed. Good luck.

This was not comforting.

Okaaaaaaaay. I head home. I pull into Wal-Mart’s parking lot and open the directions. What do I need to do this? Plumber’s putty and pipe thread? What the hell are those things? I go into Wal-Mart to buy them, and notice that sitting right next to that stuff is a cheapie drain pipe with new fittings – a plastic version of the shiny (expensive) one I just bought.

With a retaining nut that looks like, yes, the one that broke. So I bought the cheapie drain pipe to get the retaining nut.

Which fit on my drain pipe.

No tools required. Now, we still have some leakage. I’m guessing that I need to adjust something or something needs to be tighter, or something like that. But it appears that I may be the proud owner of a shiny drain pipe that I don’t need (and can’t return).

Upside – no yanking out of the old stuff, no potential making things worse. Oh – and while at Wal-Mart I bought a new toilet seat to replace the cracked one in the other bathroom. Toilet seats, apparently, ARE universal, and replacing them is easy peasy (ha ha – no pun intended. Well, sort of).

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I’ve discovered the key to doing home repairs

I’ve been a crafter my whole life. I love to buy new craft toys, play at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby or Joann Fabric… The Internet changed my crafting life by exposing me to new ways of seeing and doing things.

This is it – the key to doing home repair. I just have to look at it the same way I look at crafting. Here’s what I found:

1. doing home repairs give me an excuse to buy new tools and play with new materials.

2. If you think of Home Depot as just another craft store, it’s way less threatening. It even has a cutting station, just like Joann.

3. Google anything, anything at all – you’ll find somebody on the Internet showing you how to do it.

4. Crafters have that “it’s more fun to do it myself” mentality. Just like home handypeople!

5. Doing my own home repairs takes advantage of my artistic ability, too. My heart just sang when I read that good grouting is more about artisitic ability than home repair skill. YES!

See ya later – I’m off to Home Depot (again!).

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Filed under Creating a new life, Empowerment, Finances, Fixing stuff, Haven for one