Archive for May, 2008

Yet another fantastic DIY job from the house’s previous occupant.

K twisted the lock on our bedroom door today and I didn’t notice before I shut the door to keep her out. So I worked on it for two hours and then called S in hopes that he would have more lockpicking knowledge than I did (despite my frantic googling). Turns out he didn’t, but we both worked at it anyway. Wound up removing the trim (that is gonna be fun to put back on, lemme tell ya) and finally got it open. (S was the one working on it at the time, so he gets the Win.) After a bit of inspection, we came to the realization that this was an exterior door lockset, on our interior door. The DIY genius behind “T-shirt wrapped pipes” and “backward-plumbed bathroom sink faucet” did it again. Exterior door lockset on interior door! No wonder it took so darned long to get in! I am just amazed and relieved we didn’t have to call a locksmith.

Add to this the fact that K handed her glass of orange juice to E and let her spill it all over the dining room carpet (yes, carpeted dining room – idiocy incarnate) and then while I was working on the lock for two hours, K got into a backpack I hadn’t realized was in the living room and pulled out the notebook I had at the Tutankhamun exhibit in Chicago when I was newly pregnant with E, and scribbled all over the awesome drawing I did of the large bust of Akhenaten. I could have cried, except I am too exhausted to. Plus, she hid the gift I have knitted for Kittenhead so I have to hunt it up and send it for her super belated birthday present. This weekend, I hope to finally finish up the birth announcements and send them before E turns 1 on the 14th. Wish me luck! It seems like I am a pint or two low on it right now.


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This evening, during K’s bath, S noticed a tick in the little fold between her cheek and ear, munching away. The two of us had to tag-team her to remove it and it was a far more traumatic process than it needed to be. It’s a milestone, one which hopefully won’t be repeated any time soon.

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The Faucet before the Plague.

So last week, before the entire family descended into horrible sickness (K was sick, but that just meant she was quieter and not getting up in my business as much, so I was able to do this), I replaced the drippy bathroom faucet.

We started out with this:

First I shut off the water where it came into the house, and turned on the faucet in the laundry tub downstairs to drain the water out of the pipes (this will be important later). I used a pipe wrench on the nuts holding the cold and hot water pipes onto the faucet bottoms. It seemed like extreme overkill, the equivalent of using a propane torch to light a candle. And the nuts were just not coming off. So I called my dad. He explained that the pipe wrench was for actual pipes, not the nuts on pipes, and what I really wanted was a crescent wrench. So I went to the workbench and got one. MUCH better.

Then we had this:

When I got the old faucet out, I scrubbed the heck out of the sink with soft scrub and a nylon pot scraper. I did a fairly admirable job, if I do say so myself.

I then hooked up the no-burst hoses from Frank’s Hardware (have I mentioned how much I love Frank’s?) in the exact order as the previous hoses were hooked up (this will be important later), and set the new faucet in place. I hooked it up, exactly as the previous faucet had been hooked up, and inspected the diagram on the instructions. I was instructed to remove the aerator and turn the taps on full blast after turning the water back on, to get the manufacturing dust out of the faucet. The taps in the diagram were shown turned a certain way with the water on:

I took them at their word, and went downstairs to turn the water back on. The water rushed out of the tap in the laundry room sink, disguising the sound of the torrent upstairs as water shot out of the aerator-free taps which were turned on full blast. When I got to the top of the stairs, I realized my error and flew into the bathroom to shut off the taps. I used every towel in sight to mop up. I can’t imagine how bad it could have been if I had been putzy on my way up the stairs.

After the water was cleaned up and the graphite cleared from the faucet, I inspected my handiwork.

Not bad, if I do say so myself. Except for one issue: the previous installer had mixed up the cold and hot hoses and we never noticed because it was a single-handle faucet. Now that I had used the EXACT ordering on a two-handle faucet, it became apparent that, in fact, the hoses were entirely backwards. So I had to lather, rinse, and repeat. But it turned out well, as I remembered to leave the taps shut off instead of on full blast the second time. Which is good, as we were pretty much out of dry towels.

The week previously, I replaced the old, half-working vanity light. (Did I blog about that? I can’t even remember). Bear with me, then.

Yes, I did. But I didn’t post pictures. Allow me to remedy this (because, of course, you’re really interested. Ha!)

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Posting Backlog

I have a lot to post about but no energy. We’ve all four been puking all weekend. Happy Mother’s Day! I swore last year that it would be the last mother’s day I spent vomiting. GUESS WHAT?! Oh well. Now I have puked three out of the last four mother’s days.

And I SWEAR that next year, I will not be vomiting, and I will be drinking may wine and eating a perfectly grilled steak with asparagus.

Hope that resolution sticks.

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Mama said there’d be days like these.

K has had three time-outs today because she keeps bolting for the hills now that she can unlock and open the patio door by herself. On the last timeout, she whipped off her diaper and “scrubbed” the wood floor in her room with it. She also ripped the foam bumpers off the futon, and threw her books in the air like she just didn’t care. I was so mad, I couldn’t speak. I put her in the kitchen, sans diaper, while I cleaned up her room. She piddled on the linoleum. Yesterday, she dumped a box of crackers on the living room carpet and ground them in.

Tonight, when S gets home, I am pouring me a pint glass of white zin and affixing my butt to the glider swing on the deck while he wrangles kids herds cats inside.

On top of today, we’re also getting the Crud S has had for two weeks. Fun fun fun!

Is it too early for the Zin now?


We went shopping at Menards (home improvement center) last night to get another foam bumper for K’s bed. While there, I discovered that the locksets I replaced two of our exterior doors’ old sets with were all on clearance, since they would not be carried any longer. I picked out two and had them re-keyed to our key. At this point, K threw up. All over herself, all over the cart, all over the floor. First time she has ever thrown up in public. I felt so bad for her. I cleaned it up with their towels and windex (hello, could you maybe spring for some disinfectant, for cri-yi?) and we still had to wait for the locks to be re-keyed. I offered to take S and the Squids home during the re-key but it would have been close to a 20 mile round-trip, so we waited. I bought a bottle of water for K. She seemed so small and miserable and kept whimpering “I want to go home”. Finally we were done. I got everything out to the car after I checked out and discovered that one of the 4 pieces of pipe insulation was missing from the package I bought, but it was the only one they had in that size, my kid was miserable, it was raining, and I just couldn’t bring myself to drag it in there and start that whole hullabaloo. So we ate a dollar on the insulation. K threw up in the car on the way home, and twice in the house. I went out grocery shopping to get bland foods for her. She threw up several times after I got home, I felt so powerless to help. And so guilty for having given her the timeouts. But we need consistency, or else she’ll run out in the street willy-nilly.

She is better this morning, but there’s nothing that tears at your heart more than seeing your kid lying listless and weak, frightened of what is happening to her beyond her (and your) control.

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The End of an Era.

It’s been with him for nearly 15 years, only two weeks less than I have. And now it’s in the hands of another young man. But he still has me! And that’s not going to change.

Two weeks after our first date, S bought the Ford Probe. It was lipstick red (“Rio Red), sleek, aerodynamic. Dave Peplinski said of the car, “It looks fast even when it’s standing still.”

Two weeks before we got married, S dented the hell out of the driver’s side door because he was preoccupied with the wedding and backed into the barn-style door of his parents’ garage. There’s history in that dent, something I remembered with a smile every time I saw it. The new owner plans to pull it out. That’s not his history, after all.

I will likely add to this post, but the kids are screaming and it’s hard to get appropriately maudlin while dealing with screaming kids. 🙂

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Come on baby, light my sink!

So I finally replaced the bathroom vanity light which has been slowly eating itself since we moved in nearly nine years ago. The center two lights in a four light fixture were out, and the shadows were consuming the room like some sort of damp Lovecraftian villain. As with many things in this house (see the Faucet post for reference points, I dare you), the wiring for the fixture was nonstandard and the ironic thing is that it was screwed into the wall with this bolt that seriously would have held up a rock climbing wall. Did these people hang bowling balls off their light fixtures? Getting it out of the wall was half the battle, and then I realized that the lovely cheap little replacement interim fixture I got at IKEA was not going to cut the mustard because of where the wiring was situated in the wall. So I grabbed K and went to Lowe’s, ’cause we got a “spend your free money from the government that’s really not free and we’re taking out of your parents’ social security so you’ll have to put them in a crappier home in ten years” $10 off a $50 purchase project incentive card thingy in the mail that day (the 29th), and also because, y’know, I had the power for three rooms off at the circuit breaker and wires sticking out of the wall and stuff. I narrowed it down to three fixtures. Yes, I know it would be vaguely interesting with photos of the fixtures and that you are just narrowly avoiding terminating this read and searching for Tapir pictures but come on now. Lowe’s has no photos whatsoever of the three fixtures I looked at. I searched through all 756 potential suspects to no avail. It was narrowed among a 5 light fixture in brushed nickel with frosted glass shades and no curves, a 3 light fixture in dark bronze with alabaster shades and curvy and Craftsman-style details (halogen lights, which was the ixnay), and the brushed nickel 3 light fixture with frosted white “chipped away at” looking shades with brushed nickel rings holding them in place that I bought. Which was on clearance. Which should have been my first clue.

I noted the dimensions on the box, which would give a generous coverage of the other color of paint discovered beneath the old fixture, so I wouldn’t need to dig out the Vanilla Frost paint can from 9 years ago to touch up. I got the thing out of the box and affixed the baseplate to the wall. Only to find that the dimensions are a good TWO INCHES shorter than the stated length on the box. Nice going, Lowe’s! I am deciding whether to bitch about it or not. I sure as hell am not taking it back off the wall at this point. (S checked it out last night and figured out that the dimensions on the box are the length from the end of one shade to the end of the other shade. Which doesn’t help me at all on the wall. Irritating.) I got the rest of it put up and added the compact fluorescent bulbs from IKEA and I must say, it looks darn swanky. Bigger and more involved a fixture than I was planning at this point, but I think it will work out. And the room seems waaaaaay brighter now.

Next up, either the kitchen or main bathroom faucet. The bathroom one is now spraying water all over when I turn it on, I will try the white vinegar descaling trick and if that doesn’t work, perhaps my parents’ Lowe’s “spend dat money here!” card might come in handy, if they don’t plan to use it.

Oh, and can I just say how inane it is to have carpeting in the dining room? It bugged me when we moved in, but we didn’t have kids (read: professional crumbdroppers) at that point. Now, it’s just icky. I could vacuum every hour and still feel like it was dirty.

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