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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.

Too Cool For My Own Good

A couple of weeks ago, when Chicky was still home, a couple of her friends came over and spent the night (they still do this when they are in college).

Chicky mentioned that it was really warm in her room, and I checked the air conditioner.  It was reading out at 84, however, I had it turned down to 78.


I had also noticed that the unit in the garage was leaking…

This is a problem I’ve experienced in the past, and a simple call to my air conditioning company has usually resulted in the technicians unclogging the pipes and adding a bit of freon.

Well, let me tell you, what occurred was very different this year.

The young man opened up the front cover and immediately noticed a problem.  The evaporator coil was leaking, and it wasn’t going to be a simple fix.

In fact, the cost to replace this part was $2,000 plus labor.




We purchased our home nine years ago brand new, so the unit has almost a decade of wear and tear on it.  The technician told me that most units last 10-12 years, and he did not recommend replacing the coil because another expensive part could go out of commission given the age of the unit.

To replace the unit would cost me between $5,000 and $6,000.




The Mr. came home around this time, and I gave him the bad news.

He’s the money guy…can run numbers in his head like nobody’s business.

After discussing the issue with the technician, we decided to take the plunge.  After all, the house had not been cooling off properly for several weeks, the leak had been getting worse, and the electric bill last month had exceeded $350.  We normally run between $80 and $125.

All of this occurred on Monday.  We were scheduled to have the unit replaced two days later.  The technicians turned off our air conditioner and provided us with three portable units to minimize some of the discomfort in the interim.

We placed one in the den, one in the master bedroom, and the third one in Rooster’s room.

Boy, were the dogs happy.  They positioned themselves right in front of the units and did not move a whole lot those few days.

Wednesday arrived, and I was eager to begin.  The guys arrived at 8:15 and, for the next seven hours, worked hard to install the new unit.

Although they were young, they knew their stuff.  They talked about ampage and other things I had no knowledge of.

When they were finished installing everything, they showed me each component and explained a few how-to’s.  This was right up my alley…you know how much I love gadgets!

The thermostat is fancy and allows us the option of setting the air temperature to different schedules.

Can I tell you how much I love this feature?!  We usually turn the air down a few degrees at night and then turn it back up in the morning.  We do this to keep our electric bill down; however, some days, we forget to turn it down.  The new thermostat will take care of this for us!

When the guys finished, my air conditioning was purring like a kitten.  It’s almost noiseless and cools like a dream.  The unit in the garage is soooo shiny!!

The outside unit is a boss!

We are quite the happy bunch, let me tell you.

Poor Chicky.  I feel a little badly because she didn’t get to take advantage of the new unit.  She’s very hot-natured and suffered a lot this summer.

Oh well.  Maybe she won’t dread coming home to visit now!

AuburnChick’s DIY Project – Bifold Closet Doors

One of the things I do after my babies leave for college each semester is clean their rooms.

Such was the case last Friday.

This time was different, though, because Chicky took many of her belongings…not leaving much behind since she will be staying in Lakeland after she graduates in December.

After two hours of work, I’d accomplished the following…

Now, if you’ll take a look at the second picture, you’ll see Chicky’s bi-fold closet doors.

I’d noticed that I couldn’t close the closet doors completely…that the metal pieces kept ramming into each other…

I got Rooster to try to help me realign the doors because he is six-foot plus, but Rooster quickly gave up out of frustration.  He suggested that I hire someone to fix it for me.

Yeah.  No cigar.

I knew that the problem was that the top screws that pop into the brackets weren’t popping in completely.

I did a little bit of research on the internet, saw some parts up of the closet up close, and figured out what I needed to do.

First, I took the right half of the closet door off of the brackets…

Then, with a pair of pliers, I loosened the bottom screw, which fits into a track that is mounted on the floor.

My plan was to make it tall enough to raise the door higher, thus putting the metal bracket that would meet up with the opposite door’s a bit higher so the doors could close properly.

The next thing I did was stand the door back up, fit the bottom screw into the track, and prepare to fit the top screw into its own bracket…

See that little metal piece?  It has some sort of spring thing, so if you push it down, you can fit the door under the top frame.  The screw thing fits into a circle in the bracket that’s mounted on the frame…

The last step was fitting the screw with the roller/spinning wheel thing into the top track.  All you have to do is push it down, and it pops right into the track!

I can’t say that things worked out correctly the first time.

The doors still wouldn’t close flush.

I took the door off and unscrewed it more.

The second time I tried to fit it in, I’d unscrewed it too much, making the door sit too high, so I couldn’t even pop the top right screw into the round hole!

Would the third time be the charm?

Judge for yourself…

This goes to prove, once again, that you don’t have to hire someone to fix things around the house.

I always say, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Where’s the Leak?

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that there was a leak in the Mr’s bathroom sink.

You know me and my DIY projects.

I LOVE them!

So, on Saturday, I ran to Home Depot and picked up these…

Then, I got down to work.

Let me first tell you that this project seems easy.

It’s not.

Unless you pay attention to what you’re doing.

Which I didn’t.

But I digress.

Let me go through the steps of how to fix a Delta, two-handled faucet.

First of all, I had to find a tool to unscrew the itsy bitsy screw inside of the handle.  No easy feat.  The allen wrenches we had in our toolbox were either too big or two small.

Finally, I found the perfect thing…

That’s my tool for adjusting my sprinkler heads.

It worked perfectly!

The screw is very small, so if you attempt this yourself, make sure you pull up on the plunger thing, seating the sink stopper so nothing goes down the drain accidentally.

I was able to pull the handle right off, but I still had to remove the inner hardware to get to the washers underneath.  The washers are what get worn out and allow for the dripping that occurs in faucets.

Taking out the pieces in the middle was harder than I expected.  First, I had to unscrew the ring that sits below the middle section.  To do this, without ruining the metallic finish, I wrapped a towel around the ring, grabbed some a pair of piers, and turned the piece to the left (righty tighty, lefty loosie)…

I thought things would be easy from here, but they weren’t.  I still could not make that center piece budge!

I discovered that I could use a screwdriver as leverage and, by sticking it under one little tab on the side, I was able to loosen the piece…


If you’ve never seen the inside of a faucet before, please let me enlighten you…

That hole is where the spring and washer go, and it’s where the water comes up before going out the center part.

Fascinating, I know.

The easiest way to get those parts out is by sticking a screwdriver inside and pulling out the parts…

One would think that the last part…putting everything back together…would be the easiest.

It really should have been except that it wasn’t.

First of all, I couldn’t get the top of the faucet seated back on top of the middle section.

I tried and tried.

Finally, I took apart my sink’s faucet (I have a dual sink vanity).  After looking at the way the cold water faucet was set up, I promptly went over to fix the Mr’s hot water faucet.

The only problem was that I don’t have a math mind, so I forgot to reverse the setup.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

When I finally figured this out, then I had another problem.

See, the inside of that faucet has an extra white piece that comes out.

Look closely at the following picture…

See the piece that doesn’t have the hole in it?  The white piece?

Well, it turns out (after trial and error) that where you put that piece determines which direction the handle turns.

I’m serious!!

I know this because I put it in the wrong slot and had my faucet handle turning on the water in reverse.

I could have been mean and left it this way for the Mr to figure out.

I’m a perfectionist, though, and had to put it back in proper working order.

Oh, and take a look at how one half of the metal piece has a straight edge and the other half is curved.

That is significant, it turns out.  It has to be facing the side what the handle will be facing when it’s off.  Go figure (which I did…the second time I had to fix the faucet).

So, after much sweat, fussing, and wishing I’d never started the project, I was finished.

I tested things out by turning on the water (did I mention that you have to turn it off before dismantling the faucet?  Oops.).

Well, that darned hot water faucet had water pouring out of it, so I knew that I hadn’t seated the spring and washer properly.

I had to dismantle the entire thing again.  I think that all of my efforts to fix that white insert, I loosened up the washer.

Finally, and I do mean finally, I had things working perfectly!

No more leaks.

No paying an arm and a leg to call in a plumber.

When Nature Calls…

…you fight Daddy for the potty.

Allow me to explain.

My day was rudely interrupted when I discovered the following…


A crack in the kids’ toilet tank.

Thank goodness I got Vanish Drop-Ins on sale this week, because when I was in the kids’ bathroom trying on clothes a friend had given me, I happened to notice blue water on the floor.

Upon closer inspection, I saw that the crack is quite long…spanning almost the entire length of the tank…

It was like standing in front of a dam when the first pebble hits.

What started as a very small trickle worked its way into a full-fledged draining…on my floor, with some of the water going into the bucket I hurriedly placed underneath it…

The best that I can figure is that when I was putting in the Vanish Drop-In, I set the tank cover down too too hard, resulting in the crack.


I called the Mr. who told me the obvious…call the plumber.

I did, hating every moment of it.  They don’t come cheap.

Someone assured me they would have a technician on the way ASAP, and I hopped on Google.

I had to do my homework.

I hunted for videos on how to fix the toilet myself.  You know how I loathe paying others to do something I can take care of myself.

But, after I realized that the job would probably involve begging making the Mr. help, I decided to go with whatever the plumber said.  Plus, anything that involves water and leakage makes me nervous. Plus, toilets are just plain gross.

The plumber came.

What a strange man he was.

Very Redneck Southern.

But, he was nice and knew his stuff.

“Yeah, that there is probably a 703, but it could be a 706.  I think the 703’s were discontinued a while back…”

Oh my gosh.

I got the Gomer Pyle of toilet repairmen.

Whatever, whatever.  Just please order me a toilet tank, and could you hurry up with that, I wanted to say.  I have teenagers…one of whom is a girl.  She needs her bathroom!

I won’t tell you what the repair is costing.  I will only say that I gasped, knowing that most of the cost is for the labor, which I am quite capable of doing.


I signed away the rest of my life and saw the guy to the door.

Meanwhile, I put this note on the toilet…to remind the kids not to use it…

Folks, we’ve decided that we have been spoiled.

We have always had at least two bathrooms in our homes.  Once, we even had three.  Oh the luxury of all but one of us being able to tinkle whenever the urge hit.  And oh the satisfaction of beating the fourth person in the race to get there…

Yeah.  I know.  We find humor in strange things.

So, four people will be using one bathroom for…gasp…five days…

It’s going to be a long week!

Oodles of Noodles

Man, oh man, what a week this has been.

Returning to the classroom has been an adjustment.  Getting up early and staying gone all day has left little time for the stuff I was doing this summer while unemployed.

I’m feeling overwhelmed.

This didn’t make it any better…

Yeah, it’s my kitchen sink, and it got clogged yesterday after dinner.  Not only was the sink clogged, but it was Chicky’s turn to wash the dishes, and she has a tournament this weekend and will be out of town (no, I’m not having mercy on her and doing them either).

I tried, in vain, to use the plunger to dislodge whatever was stuck.  I even stood on a ladder to give myself better leverage.


I went to bed with it looking like that, hoping that it would drain overnight.

It didn’t.

When I got up this morning, the water was still there, and it had turned darker and smelled a little.

I didn’t have time to deal with it before work, so I left the Mr. in charge of the plunger.

His efforts were in vain.  The water stayed put.

After school, I went straight to the grocery store (more on that in my next post).

When I got home, Chicky told me she had tried to plunge the clog through.

No cigar.

By now, the stink in the house was intense.  It smelled like raw sewage.

While I was at the grocery store, I had picked up a bottle of drainer cleaner (not Drano).  It was some sort of sulfuric acid combo.  I followed the instructions, pouring half of the bottle’s contents down the hole I couldn’t see.  Then, I tried to cover the drain, as instructed…

After 15 minutes, I ran cold water, setting the timer for three minutes (again, following the instructions).  After 90 seconds, I had to turn off the water…

The sink was full of water.  Obviously, the acid didn’t work.


You know what this meant, right?

I had to put on my plumber pants.

I tried to get the Mr. to fix this, but he gave me a big shiver and declared himself incapable of dealing with the stink.


I removed everything from the cabinet and took a picture of the pipe arrangement…just in case…

And then it was time for the dirty work.

I tried to unscrew the pipes, but they wouldn’t budge.

Guess what folks?

If you pull hard enough, the pipes come apart anyway.

Here’s what I saw when the first joint came off…

Yeah…spaghetti noodles.  Last night, I had googled “clogs,” and I read that putting in too much starchy food can lead to the exact problem I was googling.

These are staples in my house.  It was inevitable that this would happen.

I continued to pull pipes apart, at one point getting sprayed with noodles…

The smell was getting worse.

But things were about to get even ickier.

I don’t know why what happened next surprised me so much.  I wasn’t prepared, but after one hard tug, water started pouring out, quickly filling my large bucket…

I screamed for help, but it was slow in coming.

I grabbed a couple of large pots, but they quickly filled up with the nasty, brown water.

Oh man…I cannot even begin to tell you how horrendous this was.

It was probably the worst fix-it-yourself job I’ve ever done.  It was certainly the nastiest.

To their credit, the Mr. and Chicky did get me old towels to clean up with.

As I was cleaning, I felt my legs and arms start to burn.

The sulfuric acid that was in the drain cleaner had splashed on me.  It was still in the water that had just come out of my pipes.

I was more concerned about my floors getting ruined, so I cleaned them up first.  Then, I cleaned the rest of the cabinet and the sink.

I finally got around to showering.

So, what did I learn?

First, I will not put noodles down my drain any more.

Second, I will not buy drain cleaner any more.  What a waste of money.

Third, I can do whatever I set my mind to do.  Ever the penny-pincher (except where yarn is concerned), I managed to save between $100 and $200 by not calling a plumber.

I told the Mr. that he owed me, and he can pay up in yarn.

He responded that I bought yarn last weekend.

Oh yeah.  Rats.  He reads my blog and now knows as much as you guys do.

Oh well.  We’ll consider ourselves even.

For now.

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