Saturday, February 26, 2011

Great moments in home ownership: taking all day to not fix the sink

and how to take longer to write about it. 

I am perfectly happy to throw money at problems.  I believe it is money's best thing.  Most problems don't require money -- they are easily ignored or otherwise plastered.  So when you need it, it's there. But I can also recognize when problems are too small for money, and I'll do things the old-fashioned way.

I didn't really think that fixing the sink would make me feel any more competent as a homeowner or self-sufficient as a w-o-m-a-n.  I just thought that if was going to fail completely, it would probably be soon and 9:30pm on a Sunday.

I also thought that if I was going to have to brave the Depot to ask someone what part I needed and where do I find it, I might also tackle the kitchen shelves, which spectacularly snapped their cheap-ass brackets onto the dishes and me, and which have been sitting bowed and shamed in the corner of the already-small kitchen, for probably a year.  A year?  Maybe not that long.  I don't know.  What was the weather like -- I was barefoot when it happened; I do remember that.

That's (2) neglected household duties now.  The azalea is revealed to be crushed by snow, but I don't have the slightest idea what to do about that.  Del Boca Vista has announced they are establishing "Ground Stewards" (already informally installed as Grass Police) and I'll give you 2 guesses which member of our cell-block will volunteer for that one.  The azalea will have to wait.  The roof-rakes might be in, now that they are no longer needed -- so are the rules of supply and demand -- so I'll look into that, and I'll need a flashlight once I'm under that sink.  And a plumber.

A co-worker tells me that she is surprised I know how to do such a thing.  I don't, I say.  I am very good at following directions.  If I have directions, I can get a thing done.  It may take me hours, and I may have to do it multiple times, and I may forget to pay attention to the pieces after they come apart, and therefore think to take pictures of them with the cell phone the 2nd time.

I have a lot of tools.  You know how this goes -- you need a staple gun once, for 3 staples, and then you own a staple gun.   The main thing that might have intimidated me (finding the world's smallest Allen wrench to take the first step in dismantling) is already solved because the Fellas gave me a bottomless tool kit that never fails to produce results like a genie from a lamp.  In this case TWO RINGS of Allen wrenches I could wear as jewelry.  My smug home repair book clues me in that the "sink repair kit" will include all the piece of my faucet but I might not need them all, so I should just get what I need.

The other reason we bring home all these things from the Depot is because they package them in kits that are priced too low to refuse, so you're gold-diggin right I bought the little kit.  It is my right, as my own spouse, to have as many mysterious pieces of hardware in tiny ziploc bags as the next guy.  I mean, I stared at everything, I read everything, I talked to people in aprons -- I would have had a hot dog and ridden around on a pallet if I were a Seinfeld bit -- but in the end, I got the kit.

I've mentioned before I have a knack for buying the wrong size of thing -- and never better than when I am arrogantly pretending to know anything about home repair.  I had measured the length of the ruined shelves several times, and written it down on my little list.  I even write notes for myself beside the note, because later I will wonder if I meant on-or-off the bracket, inside or outside the window frame, to the carpet or to the molding  ...  (Incidentally, I do not have curtain rods or floor molding.  And now you know why.)

I also meant to buy light bulbs for the bathroom mirrors (which, can I tell you, I haaaate but will never do anything about) which are another thing I have dozens of the wrong size of.  Fortunately, I forgot to write that down or bring one with me, so I could just skip it.  Once I brought a bulb with me, stopped short, it fell to the floormat, cell phone fell after it and broke it.  Each bathroom has about 50 of them, so I don't have to do this often.

Sink kit in hand, and a couple of goofy energy-efficient bulbs for the night stand (because I ought to get on that bandwagon sooner or later), I go looking for the shelves and brackets.  The brackets are on one of those greeting card carousels, in all manner of styles and sizes, and are fortunately so cheap I can get them all.  This seems much easier than learning the metric system. 

  The main reason I didn't respond to the shelf crisis earlier is that the husband in me thinks we should just get all the cabinets redone because the kitchen is dopey, and the wife in me knows that is never going to happen, because which one of us is going to take the day off to baby sit that job, and neither of us wants to file the forms with the condo association.  And the wife thinks we have too many dishes anyway, and the husband will eat off a napkin.

What I forgot to measure was the width of the shelves, so we don't need to spend anymore time here.

Let's see if we can wander our way to the flashlights.  I have a good  "my but it is dark in this VT cabin" flashlight, but what I want was the handled lantern with the mashy pop-o-matic on/off switch so I can just set it down and get light.  I expect these will be in the "Emergency" aisle with detectors and rope ladders, but like the Yellow Pages, you can never anticipate the categorization of The Home Depot (sidebar:  I teach my GPS to say "the" in front of things, like an Old Time New Englander and it just cracks me up.  "Arriving at The JC Penney.  On left...")  No, flashlights are in Aisle 10, but the lantern  they have is for hurricanes, and comes with a car battery attached to it, but look at this.....

My husband begged for it.  I actually saved that image just now as "dork."

I make it all the way down to the Lumber Zone (woodywoodywoody) unable to find furnace filters, where Daryl and Daryl tell me they are back in Aisle 10.

Explain to me how the price range in air filters is 89 cents to $17.  And like at (the) Staples, you have to buy them in a pack.  I get a 4-pack for $6, knowing there is plenty of room to store them next to the wrong size 3 pack of 20x20x1 I bought last year.

The hot dog place is closed, so it is time to leave.  Stop for hot dog buns.  And, ooo, bottle of wine.  Oscar Night, honey.

Smug Book of Home Repair and the kit box itself are consulted, water is turned off (you were waiting for that, weren't you?  I'm not Laverne and Shirley... I'm just lazy) and I begin to disassemble.  I have this brilliant idea to lay the old parts on a towel in the order they were removed, with the new parts in a row below them.  I get the thing apart, but nothing appears to be damaged.  The old parts look exactly like the new parts, and I decide to pretend that what I really meant to do was wash everything because g-e-e-e-ross have I been drinking out of this???  The very moment on the calendar when you can no longer live in squalor is the same moment when you can not stomach resolving that.

And you don't have to got under the sink to fix the washerless faucet, so I didn't need the flashlight -- which is good, because I couldn't get the battery door open.

Now my sink parts are cleaner, and reassembled (not replaced -- I had lost interest) and the faucet still shuts down more slowly than I like, but maybe it always did.  Maybe that's how they work.  Maybe I should see what's on TV.

And I have 4 air filters that are 5 inches too short if anyone needs one.

1 comment:

  1. Boy, do I feel your pain!! After all these years of my inner husband and inner wife making decisions, I've about given up ever fixing anything myself - as you say "that's what money is for." My kitchen cabinets could really use a makeover as well as the longest countertop know to man or woman, but I haven't gotten my inner selves to even consider getting estimates yet. I do still buy a lottery ticket once in awhile on the outside chance that might be the answer. So far, it is not. I think what we both need is a handyperson "on staff" that would take care of all that sooner than a year later - maybe. M


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