Posts Tagged ‘Home Repairs’

I have been talking about getting “nice” screwdrivers forever. For years we had been using the cheep ones you find at discount stores. You know the time, $1.50 for a screw driver, or $10 for a pack of 8. They keep wearing down on me and loosing the grips. I mentioned the desire for good screw drivers to my dad and he asked me what constitutes “good.” I didn’t really have a good answer other than something that will last a bit longer. He figured it was better to just replace the screwdriver whenever it wore down.

No offense dad, but you are so wrong.

The playhouse was a bit of a beast to assemble. I started at 8 and didn’t finish until two hours later. In that process I sent Domingo to the store for another screwdriver because I was just so frustrated with our last remaining screwdriver losing it’s grip and dropping the screw in the dark. He came back with the only one the store had, which was somehow less effective than the one I was using.

Domingo and I decided to bite the bullet and and ordered a better screwdriver the very next morning. We went with a cushion grip screwdriver. If nothing else I figured it would spare my hand from some of the after-assembly soreness. I had one of those magnatizers so I didn’t think the magnetic tip was anything special.

That’s where I was wrong.

Today I re positioned the blinds I had previously installed. The magnetized tip was stronger than any of the screw drivers I had, and did a much better job of holding onto the screw. This was very handy as the blinds are not in the most convenient of places and it’s difficult to get the right angle on the screw driver. The cushion grip was much easier on my hand. I got the job done in half the time it took to install the blinds in the first place.

Will this screwdriver last? I don’t know, but the lifetime warranty does give me hope. Even if I’m replacing this screw driver every year instead of the $1.50 screw driver, I still think it’s money well spent.

June 20, 2015


“Is your husband handy?” was the question posed to me in the middle of Home Depot this afternoon while I was talking to the sales associate about flooring. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she figured I must be since I was the one standing there with the shopping cart full of goodies. That unspoken “also” was clearly implied.

Here’s my project list for the new home:

Flooring is my primary issue with our new home, from the carpeting to the linoleum. The former owners had a small dog. As a pet owner myself I recognize the tall tale signs of animal tummy troubles in the carpet. It happens. Even without the spots, the carpet is also super old and the padding has no more give. In the laundry room the linoleum is stained, ripped and coming up.

I’m sure I’ll be hiring a contractor for this one.

The only thing holding me back from carpeting the upstairs right away is the painting. Our closets are, umm, interesting colors. Nicki’s closet is Orange, Alexis’ is deep blue and ours is a kind of pinkish Mauve. The purple in Alexis’ room also needs to go. It’s too dark and absorbs too much light making it difficult to take photos in it. (I’m sure as a six month old she doesn’t care what color her room is, so Mommy gets to pick and mommy likes neutral, light colors.) Since I’m doing her room, I figured I’d do Nicole’s as well. For the rest of the house I plan to leave the colors the same. I think I’d like to paint the kitchen green instead of blue, but the current paint job looks pretty good, so it’s on my ‘some-day’ list.

The painting I was thinking of attempting myself. At least I figure I cannot make it worse. If I hire a professional it will cost the same, whether or not I tried to paint first myself.

I also purchased some touch up paint for the master, hallway and office. Everyone keeps telling me I can’t match paint. I disbelieve. I am hopeful. Again, I figure it can’t hurt to try.

Most of the house has wood blinds, but there are still aluminum blinds in the kitchen, master and master bath. The kitchen and master bedroom blinds are in good shape, but old. The master bathroom blinds, on the other hand, were in horrible condition. They were badly bent and the valance had fallen half off of one of them.

I replaced the master bath blinds with faux wood ones. It ended up being super easy once I got the old mounts off. They had been painted to the wall with three coats of paint, and remained quite affixed, even after the mounting screws were removed. I want to replace the rest of the aluminum ones as well, but I need to find the right sizes first. I also want to see if I can match the kitchen blinds to the family room blinds.

The fan in Alexis’ room is in sad shape. The blades are actually ripped. The fans in Nicki’s room and the playroom are also not in fabulous shape, but if I’m going to replace one I will probably replace them all.

I am scarred to do anything electrical myself.

I consider myself pretty handy, but we’re not always the fastest when it comes to home repairs. I have a list of things I’d like to tweak around the house, but finding the time to get around to them is always hard. We had two leaks (that we know about) that we’ve been avoiding for over a year: the master bathroom sink, and the master bathroom toilet. I know what you’re thinking, that’s so bad for the environment. Actually, the leaks were both very slow. Our water bill shows our usage compared to households of similar size and we use significantly less water, leaks and all. So I never sweated it.

A few days ago I noticed the small leak in the toilet had turned into a constant flow. Not good! It was time to finally fix the problem. Trouble was we couldn’t figure out the location of the leak. Everything seemed fine. The tank filled, the water in the bowl looked undisturbed, there were no puddles. The most likely suspect was the flapper, but there were none of the typical signs of flapper leaks. No air bubbles rising up from the flapper, or water dripping down into the bowl. If I couldn’t hear the water running, I wouldn’t believe the leak existed. Since we couldn’t figure out what the problem was, we were left with no other choice but to turn shut the water off and call a plumber. Or so we thought.

That’s when my dad suggested food coloring. A couple drops in the tank and we could see where the water was flowing. It certainly looked like the dye was pooling around the flapper. That’s when I noticed the green dye wasn’t running down the sides of the bowel, but coming out the siphon jet! Yes, the toilet was leaking at the bottom of the bowl! No air was being displaced, hence no air bubbles. No water was running down the sides of the bowl, so no water displacement in the bowl. What a sneaky flapper leak.

Domingo went to the hardware store and picked up a $5 flapper. He installed it, but now we had a new problem – the chain was too long for the toilet to flush. No problem, I got out my jewelry tools and shortened about 8 links.

So there you have it, jeweler’s pliers, food coloring and a $5 flapper saved us a call to a plumber.