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You Got a Man Helping You With That?

Oh, how I love teaching…mainly for the holidays I don’t have to work on, don’t ya know.


Such was the case on Monday, so I took advantage of the gift of time and ran some errands.

One of the things I needed to do was fix my kitchen faucet.  I’d noticed that the water was dripping after I turned it off.

This is one of my biggest pet peeves.

The problem was that I couldn’t get the water on the sink turned off because I use the sink a lot at night.  With the Mr. working and Rooster in class, I had the perfect opportunity.

The first task was to remove the handle, which involved popping out the red/blue tab and unscrewing the itsy bitsy screw holding it down…

Then, I pulled out the spring things from the holes on the left and right (that’s where the water comes out) so I could take them with me to Home Depot.  These things come in different sizes, so you have to get the right ones!

I’d rummaged through the tool box and found what I thought was the packaging from the last set of springs I’d purchased.  Off I went to Home Depot!

This is where the fun began.

An older gentleman was shopping in the same aisle, and as he approached me, he asked, “Fixing a sink?”

“Yes sir,” I said.

He walked away but returned a moment later to get something off of the shelf.

I was still looking, unable to find exactly what I needed.

He returned again and asked, “You got a man helping you with that?”

I had to chuckle as I said, “Nope.  I’m fixing it myself.  I do all of the DIY projects in my house.”

He smiled and said, “Well, good for you!” and walked away.

About that time, I saw a Home Depot employee, and he was kind enough to open a package so we could compare spring and seat sizes.

Before I walked away, he said, “You got a man helping you with that repair?”

Sigh.  If people only knew.

“Nope,” I said.  “I fix everything in my house.”

You should have seen the look on his face as I turned away and proudly walked to the self-checkout register and left.

I got the seats and springs back into place with no trouble whatsoever (it was a good day) and proceeded with my day!

I’ve never been one to wait for a man to help me with things.  This is one of the few lessons I learned from my mom.

Being mostly self-sufficient is something I pride myself on.

Light Anxiety

Light Anxiety occurs every year around Christmas.

It sneaks up on you ever so slowly.

One moment you have a beautiful tree…lit up in all of its glory…

Then, one night you look over and see a tree sporting a dark section near the middle…

You wander to the tree, praying that your eyes are deceiving you.  But no.  They aren’t.  You discover two rounds of unlit bulbs.

Light Anxiety sets in.

You have a problem.

You have already decorated the tree.

You have already placed presents beneath it.

What to do.

You growl to yourself every time you walk past it, determined to get to the bottom of the issue.

You try not to tear the tree apart in the process.

You give up in resignation.  Your tree will not be perfect this year.

But then…God intervenes.

Remember that His Word says that He will never give you more than you can bear.

(I kind of think that Light Anxiety is not what He had in mind when He breathed life into these words, but I also know that He is merciful.)

Oh yes, God works His magic and directs Anne Hanson, knitter extraordinaire, to blog about a handy-dandy tool (and then He directs you to read her blog at the very height of your despair)…

You head to Home Depot in search the gadget and eagerly hurry home to try it out.  The salesperson at the store vowed that it would work wonders.  You keep your fingers crossed.

Of course, you read the instructions carefully.  You are working with an electrical current, after all.

You remove one of the bulbs in the unlit section and plug the empty pod into one part of the tool…

Then, you press the trigger twenty times as instructed, but nothing happens.  On to Step 2.

You check the fuses by finding the end of the light strand…

Because you are so handy with home-improvement projects, you know that Christmas light strands have two fuses, and the covers slide open…

Fuses are tiny things, so be careful not to drop them…

When multiple light strands are plugged in together, it is not uncommon to blow a fuse or two.  Replacing them usually fixes problems, so you replace yours.

No cigar.  The lights still don’t work.

Then, you notice a part of the instructions you had previously missed…the part where the handy-dandy tool has a fuse checker…

Cool beans!  If the light turns on when the metal ends make contact with the metal ends of the fuse checker, then the fuse is good.  No more throwing away supposedly “bad” fuses!

But, the problem still isn’t fixed, so on to Step 3…circuit checking.

A tip:  Never, ever do this while your teenager is writing a rough draft of a research paper.  Said person will get very annoyed with you.  Of course, if this doesn’t bother you, by all means proceed.

Checking a light strand’s circuit is a little tricky.  First, you must do this with the lights plugged into a power source.  It is fine to leave the lights on the tree, plugged into another set of lights that works.

Second, you must hold the handy-dandy tool a half-inch away from an unlit bulb, beginning with one end of the lights.  Do not…I repeat…do NOT hold the tool close to a lit bulb.

What you discover will happen is that the tool will emit a high-pitched beep when you have a current (i.e. above a lit bulb).  An unlit bulb is a clear indication that there is no power getting to that bulb.

So, you hold your hand over the lit bulbs (to block false positives) surrounding the unlit ones and make your way around the tree, not really understanding what you are doing but persistently going forth.  Because you don’t know what you’re doing, you frequently test out the tool by holding it, on purpose, over lit bulbs, causing the tool to beep loudly.

Meanwhile, your boy-child grows more and more angry.

Let him stew.  It’s only a rough draft.

Continue making your way around the tree, holding the tool over each unlit bulb until you finally reach one where you hear the beautimous (yes, that is a made-up word, but it’s my blog, so who cares) sound of a beep.

Even though the bulb is dark, you know there is a current running through the circuit to that point.  Check the bulb beside this one.  If you do not hear a beep, then you can surmise, through your wonderful power of deduction, that this is the faulty bulb and, hence, the cause of the Light Anxiety you are currently experiencing.

But, you still aren’t sure.  It is at this point when you discover that your handy-dandy tool has another neat feature…the ability to check the bulbs from the light strand.  It even has a bulb puller-out thingy (which you don’t need to use because you are such a fabulous DIYer).

After pulling out the bulb, you stick it into the bulb checker…

You must make sure that the bulb’s wires make contact with the metal sides of the bulb checker.  If the bulb does not light up (see the picture above), then that bulb is dead and headed for the trash can.  Likewise, if the bulb is good, the bulb will light up…

You replace the bad bulb with a good one (remember to check the new one first).

This is when you hear the angels start singing again.

They are heralding the exodus of your Light Anxiety while ushering in the peace that accompanies a fully-lit tree…

Breathing Clean Air

I’ve been a bit lazy lately.  I think I’ve paid the price with my health.

Here’s why:

That, my friends, is my very dirty air filter.  I always write the date I install them on the side.  When I pulled it out, I saw that it had been in my vent since October.


No wonder I’m coughing!

I made a trip to Home Depot to purchase the 20x24x1 filters that are not common enough to be carried any other place.

Here’s the new one I put in (notice how clean it is):

Inhale, exhale.

Yes, that’s much better!

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