Tag Archives: home repair

April 14, 2013

Spring is finally here.  I can tell Spring is here, because we started ripping up the front yard, cleaning out the back yard, and planting flowers in every place we have something resembling soil.  Better weather also means more chores around the house.  Don’t you love it?

Saturday saw me at the box bright and early.  Miss Carley had made her return and remembered that she is the bomb and can totally rock a workout.  (Something I think she had forgotten, at least inside the box.)  My friend Mechem also came out for her second visit to Cantina CrossFit.  I guess she really likes it, she joined the same day!  I didn’t get the chance to stay for the regular workout on Saturday, which was disappointing.  Saturday was a Hero WOD in honor of former U.S. Navy SEAL Glen Doherty.  A hero WOD is usually pretty tough, and very, very special.  I wish I could have stayed for this one.

What I did instead was meet King Edward in the front yard, still in my workout gear, and shovel rock.  Lots and lots of rock.  We are repairing the damage done to our yard from the broken water main and its repair.  You may remember the water main story, it was the “P-word” disaster directly after the shower and sprinkler system debacle.  No?  Does this help?

Trenched through the yard.

Or maybe this?

All the way through the yard.

So now we have to repair the damage done to our sprinklers system, and therefore the yard and flower bed it once supported.  Say, are you free over… the next three weekends?  Maybe you could come and help!  What’s that?  You are already busy?  Oh, ok, I understand.

Don’t get me wrong, the weekend wasn’t all working out and working.  Saturday evening I spent with some very good friends at a baby shower for my friend Stephanie’s daughter.  Stephanie is about to be a Grandma again, and this time she is getting a granddaughter.  She did a beautiful job on the party, all in a butterfly theme, and put Martha Stewart to shame in the crafting of the decorations and the party favors.  I myself walked out with a tiny bottle of honey, a tiny baby bottle filled with candy, and a hard candy lollipop with wildflower seeds and pink and purple seed pods, all decked out with the baby’s name and instructions where needed.  She is going to have a lot of fun with this little girl!  (And I got candy, BONUS!)

Sunday was more relaxing. Well, after the six hours of homework that the morning presented.  King Edward and I took a quick trip to the dump to get rid of the debris from Saturday’s yard work.  Then we went to lunch and to pick up food for the puppies.  Earthwise Pets is awesome, they keep track of the dog food and treats that we buy so we always know what we are getting.  They also have a loyalty program so you earn $$ off as you go.  Sunday I needed two bags of food for two hungry doggies, and I had earned one free bag, plus $5 off the other.  Not bad!  That paid for our lunch!

I love my weekends.  I love unexpected front yard beautification projects, and butterfly party favors.  I love spending time with people I adore and watching them enjoy each other too.  I love a surprise lunch, and the occasional surprise bargain. (I really do love a bargain, just ask anyone.)  And I love the fact that I am blessed with each of these little gifts, and with the ability to recognize them and give thanks.


April 7, 2013

I am exhausted.  I have had so much to do these last few days and so little time, it seems, to do it.  But I had a really productive week and am feeling pretty good about a lot of my big rocks for the Spring.  On Friday, I had my first lesson in Escrima at lunch.  It was pretty awesome, actually.  I am sure I looked fairly idiotic, but it was really cool to learn.  I have always wanted to learn a form of martial arts, and this one seems like a good fit!  We will see if I decide to stick with it.

Friday afternoon my kitchen and I had an “up-close-and-personal” chat.  It has been behaving badly lately.  If you know me at all, you know that I despise doing the dishes, probably more than any other job in the house. Despise it.  Really.  But since it stubbornly refuses to clean itself, I had to give in and spend two hours cleaning and mopping and organizing and generally making it a useful room again.  We have decided to play nice, at least for a while.

Saturday morning, tragedy struck.  The Keurig (yes the brand new Keurig) stopped brewing.  Calamity!  I had it packed up in its box and ready to return to the store so fast you would think I had done it by magic.  Which I did, the magic of WHERE IS MY COFFEE!!!!!!  Ed and I made a morning of it, went to breakfast, checked out the new Target, and then finally got him a new cell phone (which, I must say, has cut down on the swearing coming from his chair immeasurably.)  After that, we got ready and met his daughter Amanda, and her cousin Danielle at the ball park to enjoy a little baseball and some good company.

Photo: Night at Isotopes Park

Opening Weekend – Isotopes Park

Saturdays have a funny habit of turning into Sundays, which is the day you remember all the things you were going to try and get done over the weekend are still on your to-do list.  Instead of going on the Sunday Run Club  Cantina Crawl, with the people from Cantina Crossfit, I ended up sweeping, mopping, and dusting the living room and doing laundry (and burpees, I mean come on, its only day seven of the challenge) and then working to clean up the flower bed and plant some new living green things.  The king and I even started talking front yard landscaping and porch revitalization.  Hopefully we can keep on that momentum.


Some pretty plants for the porch.


Grandma’s Irises are starting to bloom.



And while shopping for all things landscape, I found this little treasure at, of all places, Lowes!  This is hands down my favorite barbecue sauce in the entire world.  I fell in love with it way back in the 1990s, when I found it in a flea market in North Carolina.  Every now and then I will come across it in some random store or another.  This stuff makes the best wings on the planet, so if you happen into a Lowes, check and see if it is in the section with the grill accessories, you will thank me for it! Honestly.

And while I didn’t really go too crazy this weekend, I did manage to spend some time practicing a new hoop trick, hanging out with the dogs and the kitty, and had a nice weekend of doing things inside and out with my King Edward.  Overall just enjoying life a little.  What a great way to start off the Spring season, feeling like I am getting things done.  I am even all caught up on homework! Well, for now.

A mixture of chores and treats is a great way to feel like you have accomplished a lot.  Even small tasks feel impressive when you have checked them off the to-do list. 

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Water, Water, everywhere…

This Old House

I love my house.  It is 50+ years old, built in a time when houses were supposed to last.  I love my wooden archway in the living room.  I love the fact that you can open the refrigerator, the oven and the dishwasher all at the same time and people can still walk through the kitchen.  I love my library and my fireplace.  I even love my beat up and destroyed wood flooring.

I hate the plumbing.

Apparently, the plumbing gods looked down on my house and frowned.  I have been waging an all-out war against the antiquated pipes and fittings for over a year now, and I am not winning.

Let me explain.  Last year I was sitting in my living room, reading a book, and I heard this…. sound.  It sounded like white noise, or traffic, or some unidentifiable electric hum at first, but it was constant.  I got up and starting walking around, ear to the wall, in every room of the house.  It sounded like it was coming from everywhere.  It was water.  Rushing, gushing, money flushing down the toilet water.  I froze.  Now what?

During my investigation, I had discovered two of the four toilets in the house were running.  Not that this was the sound I was hearing, oh no, that was just a bonus.  I jiggled the handles and adjusted the chains and flappers in the tanks and they both stopped.  But I still heard water.  Where IS that coming from!  I had visions of a river running under my house.  I sounded like it was coming from the walls.  Have all my pipes exploded?  Will my house be washed out into the street?  I am now panicking and close to tears.

When my beloved Mr. Fix-it arrived home, he doesn’t hear the water at all.  Okay, so either my house is on the verge of its own personal apocalypse or I am going insane.  Neither of these options sit well with me.  I continue trying to live my life like a normal person, every so often sticking my head against a wall or standing stock still, listening for the sound that has become my own personal Gaslighting.  I got into bed and had to turn on the ceiling fan to mask the sound that only I can hear, whimpering softly until I fell asleep.

The next day, I come home and start inspecting the outside of the house.  And that is when I notice the small pond forming near my flower bed.  I run inside and turn of the water to the house.  This has no effect.  I run back out side and begin panicking again.  My house is possessed by a water demon.  I call my friend Marlene who, apart from being my boss is also one of the most mechanically gifted women I have ever met, and she tells me to turn of the valve to the sprinklers.  It takes me 5 minutes to realize the brass pole sticking out of the ground is said valve.  Silence.   I have stopped the water.  I am a hero, a champion to women homeowners everywhere!  I am so relieved I laughed out loud… Then I remembered that I still have a little problem.

You see, I live in the desert.  And my 10′ x 10′ patch of green will not survive the week without water.

I am a sensible person. I know this is beyond me.  I have no idea how to fix a sprinkler system.  I can’t dig up the pipes, I might get dirty or break a nail.  I decide to let my big strong man take care of it.  After all, he is proud of the grass.  Wasn’t it his idea to rent a power aerator and dump 8 bags of manure on it to get it glowing and healthy?  I am sure it will be fine.

Well, turns out the sprinkler would just have to wait.  While I was dancing with joy in my front yard, congratulating myself over the victory I have claimed against wasted natural resources, another insidious event has occurred in  shower.  It seems a drip, drip, dripping noise (masked by the rushing, gushing noise) has decided to make itself known.  The hot water is constantly running and refused to be denied its freedom from my shower head.  In an attempt to turn the water ALL the way off, I seem to have destroyed the handle and the brass stem that holds it in place.

Oh, no problem, I will just go to Lowe’s.

Problem.  Lowe’s doesn’t seem to carry this stem.  In fact, no one does.  “Sometimes you see this with these old houses”, the jovial guy in the blue vest tells me.  So I will have to go to the plumbing supply (read money sucking leech) house to find one to match.  After a week or so of turning on the shower with a pair of pliers, I broke down.  A new $45 brass stem is installed.  Now to find a new handle that will fit the antiquated stem…

All of this happened last Fall.  Since then, we have had to replace two toilet tank assemblies two shower heads, the kitchen sink sprayer, and the original shower handle.  Half of the parts had to come from the plumbing supply house because, again, standard plumbing is only standard to other people and my house likes to be special.  We didn’t even get around to the sprinkler repair until last month. And let me tell you, that was its own magical experience.  Needless to say, the desert has reclaimed my yard, the guys at Lowe’s start shaking their heads and laughing as soon as we show up, and the plumbing supply house owner has sent both of his sons to Harvard.

Does anybody know a good plumber?


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