Monday, February 28, 2011

Perils of defered maintenance

Contemplating our political goings-on is causing me abdominal wretching.  I'm getting tired of writing about it.  Even the "good guys" are pizzing me off:  Like the R's in Congress crowing about saving $100b in the latest continuing resolution, when it was really $60b.  "But it was pro-rated!  It would have worked out to $100b if it had applied to the whole year!" they try to explain.  Shaddup.  I don't want to hear about "taking a scalpel" or "taking a hatchet" to the budget.  I want to hear about some multi-armed Hindu goddess of destruction going after the budget with a thermonuclear chainsaw in each hand. 

See what I mean?  I didn't even want to get started on all this bilge but I couldn't help it. 


No politics.  No politics.  What then to talk about?  Oh, how about my home improvement trevails?  See, this was my "catch up on all the stuff I've procrastinated" weekend of doom.  It went like this:

Project #1: Wife complains that light in laundry room is not working.   "So what?  I never even go in that room" I start to tell my wife, but then manage to stifle myself.  Saying that would be the kind of thing that'll earn a guy a grievous wife-inflicted injury.  Plus, I was getting tired of wearing "recycled" clothes...  Start with the obvious.  Burned out bulb? Replaced the "you can pry the incandescent lamp from my cold, dead hands" light bulb.  Nada.  Still darker than the ace of clubs up a coal miner's rectum at midnight.  Tripped breaker?  All breakers functioning within normal operating parameters.  Hmmm...  Figure out how to hold multimeter, probe the center and outer contacts, and flip the light switch on, all at the same time without getting a faceful of sparks?  Got juice (and no sparks!  phew!).  Hmmm some more...  Take the socket's smooshed-down center contact and bend it so it'll actually TOUCH the contact on the crappy made-in-China lightbulb?  WINNER!  Let there be light!

One project down, two to go.  So far no blood, smoke or cussing...

Project #2Figure out why the vacuum stinks of burnt rubber and is barfing dust all over the room.  First of all, I want to know who decided that all modern vacs have to be bagless.  Oh, duh.  I know.  The same despicable individual that wants to make me buy an $8 filter instead of an 89 cent vac bag.  Curse him!  Take vac apart, remove several cubic kilometers of dog hair from hoses, ducting, filter, and every other nook and cranny in the darned thing?  Dust barfing continues unabated.  Belt?  Belt is OK.  Dig some more, learn that there is a secondary filter that is so confunkulated that no air will go through it.  Dust-laden air is forced AROUND this filter for it is so full it is basically airtight.  Replace filter.  WINNER! 

Two projects down, one to go.  So far no blood, smoke, and only mild mutterings...

Project #3:  Replace the broken kitchen sink faucet.  The base of this thing broke a couple weeks ago.  It still worked fine, it just wobbled a lot.  I went through this same process about two years ago.  I s'pose that's what I get for buying the cheapest Home Depot piece o' junk faucet last time.  Turn the little twisty valve to shut off the cold water.  Likewise for the hot water.  Double check that both valves are all the way off.  Disconnect the little brass nuts that hook the flex hoses to the the faucet.  Remove the little wingnuts that hold the faucet to the sink.  Gee, this seems easier than last time.  Maybe I just have WAY TOO MUCH practice at it or something.

This is where I go full retard full "Tool Man Taylor"...

Dang, the hot-side flex line doesn't want to come out of its fitting.  Yank. Yank. YANK.  Keep in mind, I'm chest-deep in the cupboard area under the sink.  Flex line come free.  GEYSER!  Hey, I shut the valve off, this shouldn't be happening!  2.5 year old grandson is watching.  "Gramma!  Gramma!  Uh-oh!  Grampa bwoke it!"  So I try to block the stream with my thumb.  Now getting a shower instead of a bath.  Thankfully the water heater is at the far other end of the house, so this water is still pretty much cold.  Speaking of that water heater, did I mention that I HATE running out of hot water?  To fight this, a while back I popped the access cover off the water heater and turned the thermostat on that puppy up to "magma."  Anyway, back under the sink I'm still getting soaked and the water is starting to warm up quickly.  I try to stuff the flex line back in its fitting but it just laughs in my wet face at that idea.  Now the water is officially scalding and I...

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.  James 5:16 NKJV

...I dropped an f-bomb.  Maybe more than one.  I haven't done that in a long time.  So I'm just letting y'all know that sometimes I ain't so saintly.  Especially when I'm getting hosed with wickedly hot water.

My wife comes running out and I was about to tell her that she had to run outside and shut the whole house off.  Then I remember that we're in a duplex with separate water meters, so there'd be a 50/50 (read: "100%") chance that she'd shut off the wrong one and I'd be boiled way past al dente by the time it was off.  So I had to give up on blocking the flow and run across the house and shut off the hot water at the water heater.  Which is what I should have done to start with, but whodathunk that the valve under the sink would suck so much?

On the bright side, putting in the new faucet went smoothly after that.  And the lake in the kitchen cleaned up fairly easily. 

Three projects down, none to go.  No blood or smoke.  Just some minor scalding and a lot of bad words.  And maybe I should just stick to making fun of liberals.


  1. I knew you were as normal as I am...

  2. A well-timed f-bomb is VERY therapeutic. It might not actually FIX things but it males the wielder feel a lot better. I know from whence I speak, too.

    Just sayin'.

    wv: consels. Free of charge and worth every penny!

  3. I can"t say that I would have done any better.

    Do you now have empathy for lobsters?

  4. Take the socket's smooshed-down center contact and bend it so it'll actually TOUCH the contact on the crappy made-in-China lightbulb?

    On my to-do list: stock up soon on incandescents!

    Turn the little twisty valve to shut off the cold water. Likewise for the hot water. Double check that both valves are all the way off.

    This never works. I've come to the conclusion that they've been designed never to actually shut off, once activated. I'm not sure exactly what the benefit is, but they all "work" this way.

    Your best bet in this sort of situation is to locate the main and shut off all water in the surrounding area. Don't worry about the neighbors; they'll never realize what was responsible because they don't tend to plan ahead - thus, they have no idea as to where the shutoff valve for the neighborhood feeder line is located. The feeder line valve is much more robust and less prone to failure than the flimsy little knobs under your sink or behind the toilet.

    Once you've disable the feeder, don't bother with the silly little knobs. Turn on the faucet and when the water stops, get down there and rip the lines out. Replace the unit as quickly as possible; although the time-frame for this is usually fairly flexible in the Portland area, service providers in other municipalities may be surprisingly fast at addressing calls of neighborhood outages. Smaller providers may locate and "fix" the source of the problem in as little as an hour, whereas Portland Water Bureau can generally be counted upon to require at least a day.

    I had a kitchen faucet that didn't quite fit into the hole atop the sink, but fortunately it was a stainless steel sink, so I was able to use the saws-all to "enlarge" things a bit, making installation and grouting a breeze.

    The water was back on in mere hours, long before PWB figured out what was going on.

  5. Mark Twain once said he knew a riverboat captain who could swear for half an hour and never use the same word twice. That's the kind of skill I need when I try plumbing.

  6. That last project sounds like my house at times. The little woman and I do these things together now. She stands by and I do the work. She is there for emergencies such as you had.

    *** New philosophy ... When I change out a faucet or water heater, I spend a little extra time and money. This is because I always build into each project the ability to change out something very easily next time. So far so good ... it's worked.

  7. These don't sound like the actions of a progressive liberal Democrat!

    Why don't you just have your personal assistant do it?

  8. Hahahahaha. I'm sorry Inno it's just that I'm so very glad it wasn't me. Of course I do still have an entire house to remodel.
    Wait, is that Murphy I hear laughing????

  9. lol And maybe I should just stick to making fun of liberals. and me both INNO!..bravo on the home least something in the world is gettin better!!

  10. The guys at work enjoyed the "so what I never go in there"

  11. "Gramma! Gramma! Uh-oh! Grampa bwoke it!"

    ha ha ha ha ha ha, oh man, thanks for the laugh. I'm really glad I followed KS's link to this post.


  12. Sounds like a home improvement weekend at Moogie's Mansion. Except, the lamp still doesn't work and the floor broke here.

    The new shut-off valve for the downstairs water and the one on the master toilet work great, though, because I called a licensed plumber last spring when the toilet exploded the morning we were heading north to Elder Daughter's wedding and the main shut-off had rusted shut sometime during the Carter administration. I find that I really like new, functional valves.

    Glad you didn't boil.

  13. Yesterday was Texas Independence Day, celebrating them brave Texans, Tejanos, Tennesseeans and all others who wanted to live where I do.

    God Bless Texas, and God Bless Innominnatus. Lord knows they both need it!

    Glad someone else deals as well with plumbing, vacuum, and electrical issues as well as me.


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