What the hail?

July 21, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Posted in house | 5 Comments
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So I’m trying to replace our bathroom exhaust fan that went kaput last week. I get up in the attic, lay down 2x4s across the joists and plywood planks on those to make a path to crawl on to get to the fan. I find out it’s in a particularly small, narrow, enclosed part of the attic. I bring up more 2x4s and another plank. I sweep away all the blown insulation in the way and get the planks where they need to go.

I started out holding my mini-flashlight in my mouth (there’s no light or outlet up there), but since there’s tons of blown insulation being thrown about up there, I decide to take a professional’s advice and wear goggles and face mask. This prevents me from holding the mini-flashlight in my mouth, so moving the 2x4s and planks around while trying to hold on to the light was extra fun. But I can still breathe. I guess that’s worth a little inconvenience.

So, I finally get the path set, and I find the guts to crawl into this very enclosed space. I plan carefully how I’m going to turn around and get out before diving in.

And I find it! I have the fan in sight, and it’s closer than I feared — yes! It’s still damn cramped in there, but I can breathe, and the fan is within reach. I’m not claustrophobic, but this is really tight, and hot. I start clearing away the blown insulation so I can see what tools I need, and the gentle rain gets harder. There’s a hard rain on the roof inches above my head. I tell myself that’s good — it’s cooling the air off, and it’ll be less hot up here.

Then it starts hailing. Hard.

It’s as if the hail and the roof of my house are joined in this bombastic full-volume chorus screaming “GET OUT!”

So I did. Without injury.

Tomorrow’s another day, right?

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Spring Break

March 24, 2008 at 6:37 am | Posted in house, life | 5 Comments

Time to do stuff around the house!  New chain for the toilet handle, new spring for the garage door, scheduled maintenance on the car …

Thanksgiving: part 2

December 1, 2007 at 2:35 pm | Posted in food, house, life | 5 Comments

After the second shift of Thanksgiving dinner, Mike wanted to take a look at things. For those who don’t know him, I have to tell you he can fix anything. Anything that moves, and anything that doesn’t move, he can fix it. Cars, motorcycles, bicycles, electronic devices, mechanical devices, all parts of a house from the foundation to the structure to the electrical, and yes, the plumbing!

So we went down in the basement, and in about ten seconds, he figured out where the clog was. Apparently somebody put a reducer (from 1 1/2″ to 1 1/4″ pipe) on a horizontal section. Also, there was black PVC mixed with white PVC. I don’t know why that last one is bad, but Mike was sure of it. Furthermore, there was a section wrapped in duct tape. The removal of said duct tape revealed that the pipe had been cut, and never reattached! Apparently this clog has happened before, so we took advantage of the cut and made a makeshift snake with a wire hanger. Soon afterward, the washing of dinner dishes commenced.

By this time, it was time for dessert. The pies were a big hit, as were the liqueurs. Especially the coffee liqueur! Apparently I didn’t ruin it as I feared; it’s darn tasty! Imagine what it will be like when I don’t screw up the recipe. During dessert, Mike made a shopping list. He had a goal that such a clog would never happen again. After planning the plumbing coup, we watched the Mad About You Thanksgiving episode. The rest of the night was spent with Thanksgiving dinner leftovers, turkey sandwiches, and homemade hooch.

The next morning, Mike tackled the plumbing. To make a long story short, we went to the hardware store and spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon in the basement. Well, to be honest, I switched between helping him and working in the kitchen. Max helped also, probably more than I did. All of the pipe from the sink to the copper leading into the sewer output pipe is new, and now the horizontal section runs slightly downhill. I felt bad though, because they had to rush off right after he finished. We packed a few turkey sandwiches for them for the road. Next time, I swear, we’re going to spend time just hanging out.

After the plumbing angel of mercy and his posse left, we hung out with Jenny’s family. We all played rummy and Apples To Apples, which is a fantastic game if you’ve never played it. More Thanksgiving dinner leftovers, more pie, more liqueur. Yum.

The rest of the guests left early the next morning, and Jenny & I cleaned up. I spent most of the day clearing out the garage, making room for the car and getting rid of the piled up cardboard recycling. We can get the car in, but one of the springs is busted. I’ve known about it for a while, and I was going to get Mike’s advice on it while he was here, but the plumbing issues screwed that up. I found where the local hardware store stocks replacement springs, and I might try to do that one of these weekends. If we can get the garage door working, I want to get an automatic garage door opener. I’m find with shoveling the driveway, but not having to clean off the car every time we want to use it would be lovely!

The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing. Now I’m swamped with work because of it. (*heavy sigh*)

So, this Thanksgiving was the best Thanksgiving involving a clogged drain we could have hoped for. 🙂 Come on by this holiday season. We still have egg liqueur and coffee liqueur, and it’s still yummy!

Thanksgiving: part 1

November 25, 2007 at 11:17 am | Posted in food, house, life | 8 Comments

The plan: have Thanksgiving at our house with the family and friends who are willing to make to trek to the north country.

What happened: Well, that DID happen, but I can’t say everything went according to plan.

The guests: Jenny’s dad, sister, niece, and nephew, my friend Mike, his friend Beth, her son Max.

The food: A 19 pound turkey, mashed potatoes, butternut squash, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, brussels sprouts, carrots, salad, biscuits, pumpkin pie, apple pie, homemade egg liqueur and homemade coffee liqueur.

The prep: I made the egg liqueur last week and the coffee liqueur on Tuesday. I kind of screwed up the coffee liqueur, but I tried to fix it and hope for the best. The egg liqueur was good, but I think the yolks were smaller than in past years, so I needed to use more than the recipe called for.

We baked the pies the day before. It was my second try at a homemade crust, and it came out better than the first time. (And the first time was pretty good!) Nice and flaky, and not burned on the bottom since we cooled them outside. Of course, Jenny’s fillings were darn yummy, too. We were very happy with how they turned out. We also baked the squash and boiled the sweet potatoes the day before, washed and cut the carrots, etc.

The day: We stuffed the bird and put it in the oven at 8:07 a.m. My stepfather gave me some great advice for cooking the bird that the cookbooks don’t tell you. The rest of the morning was spent leisurely fixing the salad, peeling and cutting potatoes, putting the pots together ready to be turned on, assembling the sweet potatoes in the pyrex, etc.

It was when we put the potato peels in the garbage disposal that the sink clogged.

No problem, this has happened before when I crammed a bunch of stuff down the disposal. So I got a big bowl and went under the sink to empty the trap.

Only that didn’t work this time. The clog was further down. Using a plunger didn’t work. And of course, we didn’t have any liquid plumber type stuff.

Luckily, the supermarket was open until 2 p.m. So I ran and got a whole mess of chemicals to pour down one’s sink. While I was at the supermarket, Jenny’s family arrived. So as I was pouring chemicals down our disassembled sink, Jenny and her sister were trying to maneuver around me to continue cooking Thanksgiving day dinner.

Luckily, just about all the prep was done, so dinner was actually served on time! Mike and co. didn’t show up for dinner, but they had said they’d be a little late. So we had two dinner shifts, and everything turned out great. Thanks to my stepfather’s advice, the turkey was not dry at all, but nice and moist. Perfect. Mike and co. showed up an hour or so later, and we had another Thanksgiving day dinner that couldn’t be beat.

But the pipes were still clogged. And we had mountains of dishes to clean.

To be continued…

Little homeowner victories

August 11, 2007 at 9:17 pm | Posted in house, life | 2 Comments

Today, I fixed the door that was coming off its hinges, and the toilet that needed new guts.

To fix the door, I needed a drill bit, so I got a set of 25 multi-purpose drill bits. Not Craftsman or Snap-On or anything, just drill bits for the occasional thing. Like drilling pilot holes in a door that was coming off its hinges. So now I have drill bits. 🙂 I also fixed the light in the upstairs hallway, but that only involved replacing a light bulb, so that’s really nothing to blog about.

To fix the toilet, I just got one of those $17 kits they sell in Ace hardware. Worked like a charm. Well, a charm that needed a good spit shine. But it worked.

I’m such a great husband/homeowner type person! I feel so handy! What trivial things these are to brag about, but I did them. In my house. Hah!

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