fancytalk: (blur)
I need to get off the computer and go finish my work.
Which is why my commenting and posting has been random and infrequent.
I've got one door left to hand and then I can finally clean up all the stain and sandpaper.
Although now I get the luxurious chore of scrubbing all the stain that leaked under the plastic wrapped windows off the glass. All door knobs on except for the door that I forgot to drill the holes. Now I need to figure out an easy way to fix the door jams where the old strike plates used to be. I think it's going to involve cutting and glueing wood square over the old holes. Hopefully this weekend we will be able to buy the last 3 doors.
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We did loads of work on the house. And I've got pictures to prove it!

I've had a long drawn out saga with the juniper bushes that were taking over the front of the house. Finally, RTL and I can add the curb appeal that this house needs. The bushes are gone and hauled away PLUS the huge stump that was hanging out front is gone as of today. And we've installed most of the doors. No more sheets tacked up between rooms!!!!

This is what the house looked like when we purchased it in August 2004.



If you think that looked bad, then you should see the pictures of the inside before we started renovation.

After the juniper was removed )

$100 later . . . )

I've got doors!!!!!! )

Now I get the spend the rest of my afternoon installing door knobs. Way too much fun for me.

The house

Aug. 22nd, 2005 12:42 pm
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At RTL's work they are having some kind of Polaroid contest and she asked me to find a good picture to show "what moves you". I've been going through disks and the pictures stored on the computer and did find a good one of her on the deck of the ferry from Barcelona to Italy. It's a great Titanic moment. But I digress. In looking for a good picture, I've gone through all the pictures we've taken of the house. My goodness, this house was really crappy looking. I'm looking at the pictures and I'm wondering why we weren't having second thoughts about putting in a bid.

It's all about location and bones. This was one of the few houses that we looked at in our price range that wasn't surrounded by security fences. We're a couple of blocks from central Berkeley. We've got 3 elementary schools and the high school within walking distance. We're on the bicycle boulevard. All in all, an excellent location. But the house looked really bad. And doesn't account for the foundation work that we still have to do. There is definitely no curb appeal. I'm working on that with the frickin' juniper. Eventually we'll be able to put a coat of paint on the exterior. I'm looking at the pictures and I realize how far we've gotten in the progress from crappy looking to someone can actually live here.

Good work. I'm going to give myself a pat on the back.
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Finally got a plumber to come in a finish the plumbing stuff that I didn't (couldn't) do myself.

I've got a waterline to the fridge so now I have ice. I also won't get yelled at for forgetting to fill the ice trays. Woo Hoo!

I've got plumbing lines for my washer. I love my washer. It's a washer dryer combo which is soooooo cool. And it's so quiet. Wow!

And I've got gas going to the stove! I baked a cake in celebration of the stove being hooked up. I can cook on more than one burner! I can bake! I can I can I can, I'm so excited that cooking words fail me. It's been so long since I've had an actual stove and oven. I've been singing Kool and the Gang's "Celebrate" as I cook. This is sick that I can be this happy over something so minor.

The other celebration is the working dishwasher. I've got really clean glasses again!

We also solved the counter dilemma beside the stove. We've basically built our own counter over the furnace in the kitchen. And I forgot about finally getting the pictures we bought in Paris framed. Some went into the bathroom and the chocolate print went into the dining room. RTL had also bought two other prints for the kitchen both old advertisements which have been put on the wall.

RTL laid the floor for the entryway this weekend. Beautiful slate tiles that we picked up for a song. I love when you look for the perfect thing and can't find it, then the light shines down from heaven onto THE perfect thing and it's on sale.

We've been busy this past weeks so I'm sure that I've overlooked lots of things we've accomplished, but most importantly I have a working stove!!!!!!!!
fancytalk: (iron)
Previously on As the Toilet Flushes - both toilets had guts replaced, new p traps installed on two sinks, new faucet in the bathroom, new faucet in the butler's pantry and I had gone to OSH to get the new faucet for the kitchen sink.

Since the faucet I purchased for the kitchen was similar to the butler's pantry faucet, I figured it wouldn't be that hard. Of course, I figured this, I've got plumbing confidence. I had to laugh when I opened the package to read the instructions. It was the exact same sheet that was included in the faucet for the butler's pantry. First step - shut off water and remove faucet.

Shutting off the water was really easy, I've done that around eleventy billion times in the past few days. Removing the faucet . . . I can't figure out what kind of glue Smarty Pants used to attach countless number of items including the faucet to walls or wherever. Whatever was used is definitely better than superglue. After some grunting and a lot of "sheeshes" and "how in the hells" later I had the faucet off. I did have to do a little backtracking when I removed one of the extension pipes with the offset pipe. I think corrosion may be a serious glue alternative.

Attaching this faucet was a piece of cake. It also helped that I didn't have to lay upside down under the sink to attach it. It looked so nice with everything together, so I went outside to turn the water back on. I remember the washers this time so the front connectors on the faucet didn't leak. However, remember that I removed the extension pipe earlier and had to put it back on? Leak Leak Leak Leak Leak I went through several (I lost count after 5 or 6 times) shutting off the water, removing faucet, tightening everything, putting the faucet back on and testing the progress. Still leak leak leak leak leak. I used phrases like "please, please, please" and "f**king A!" several times to no avail. Around 11 p.m., in one of my frustrated couch sitting moments, RTL lamented that it was too late to call my dad. I heaved one last frustrated sigh wishing I could call dad and went to do some more adjusting. And for the 27 billionth time, I turned the water main back on.

AHHHHHH! Turn it off! I'm not sure RTL has ever extricated herself from her work zone on the couch so fast. I turned the water back off and went inside to see what happened. This time I had water dripping from the ceiling. Which I couldn't figure out how as I checked all the connections, but as I removed the faucet I realized that one of the handles was in a slightly open position. Therefore when the water came back on the force of the water splashing into the sink ricocheted. I felt a little better then, but I still had to fix the weeping pipe.

I tightened, I adjusted, and then I wiped down all the excess water. It was around 11:30 at this point and I wasn't sure what I was going to do if the pipe wouldn't stopped dripping. I turned on the water. I wiped everything down again. No leaks. Then RTL started messing with the left pipe and a trickle came running down the wall. NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Luckily it was water left from the unexpected spew of water that came trickling out. No more leaks. I checked it this morning and still no leaks. I'm quite pleased.
fancytalk: (Default)
Gosh, It's a special day to get two new episodes. I'm also changing the name on advice from a friend who said that adding the "as" made it sound more soap opera-y.

The faucet in the butler's pantry was successfully installed. The crisis was getting the old faucet off - of course. RTl came in and helped with the final removal step. Thank goodness because I was about to give in and pay the plumber to do it. I didn't have to go to OSH during the replacement process. I did have to turn the water off three times to fix the leak.

The first leak was because I forgot to put the washers in the faucet. Doh! The second leak was the "Oh No! what's wrong" kind of leak. After reseating the faucet again and turning on the water I figured out that I could tighten the nuts until the faucet stopped leaking. Perfect. No leaks. Now I just need to give the sink a good scrubbing.

And so no one will be disappointed, I did go to OSH before dinner to buy the new kitchen faucet that I'm going to install tonight before going to bed. You can call me Plumber Dana.
fancytalk: (Default)
Today's task was to install the new bathroom faucet. Not really sure what good the old one was doing except for kind of directing water into the sink.

Let me just point out that the new faucet has been sitting in the floor of the living room since March. Frankly, I've been a little afraid to tempt the plumbing gods and have walked around the box for way too long. After my success with the toilets, I gained enough courage and confidence to tackle the faucet.

Like the toilet, removing the old faucet and all the plumbing bits was the most difficult and disgusting part. Yep, I had to use my trusty can of WD-40, but I got everything off and cleaned up. I don't think the sink was this clean when it was brand new. How easy was it to install the faucet? Way too easy. I did think about switching the hot and cold water supply lines as a joke on RTL. I don't think it would have been appreciated. I was getting too big for my britches. Alas, there is always something to put you back in your place. For me, it was replacing the drain.

Elbow grease and WD-40 later, I had the drain removed. However, the directions on installing the new drain sucked. I ended up installing and removing the first step twice before I decided to just follow my instinct in installing the stupid thing. SUCCESS!!!!!

Oh, so you are wondering how many trips I've made to OSH so far? None, zip, zero, zilch. Yet, we knew the happiness would end soon enough. As I connected the last pipe to the drain that would connect into the p trap, it was too short by about 2 inches. Merde! Seeing as how it was around 9:30 when I realized this, I'll be going to OSH in the morning to get a new p trap. Probably is a good thing because I'm sure that the one on there now hasn't seen the light of day since probably 1967.

My current plumbing confidence level is high so since I'm fixing the drain in the bathroom, I'm now going to fix the drain in the butler's pantry. Wish me luck. And if all goes well tomorrow, I'll be replacing the faucet in the butler's pantry so that I can use my new dishwasher!
fancytalk: (iron)
You can call me. I decided to attempt some minor plumbing that didn't involve gas lines after getting the $3000 plumbing estimate. After five trips to my local hardware store (OSH) in the past two days alone, I have finally succeeded in fixing both toilets and one shower. It only took me about 5 hours. Yes, part of that does include my many trips to the hardware store. Hopefully I've saved a few dollars for the rest of the plumbing stuff that I need fixed.

The first toilet only needed a new flapper installed. The first OSH trip purchased the replacement flapper and a few other odd things on the hardware list. I turned off the water to the toilet, flushed to empty the tank and removed the old flapper. While I was at it I decided to give the inside of the tank a little scrub down. Then I tried to screw on the new flapper. Ummmm, not sure why this doesn't work. I look at the bottom of the piece that holds the flapper on and discover that I need a different type of attachment.

So back to OSH I go, return my first purchase and head back to the toilet repair aisle. Ummmmm, nothing looks like the old nasty flapper that I have in the plastic bag to protect my hands from black goo. Luckily OSH has many friendly employees and one stops to ask if I need help. Yes, please - what flapper will replace this one - which I carefully open the plastic bag to show him. The look on his face can only be described as "ewwww", but he looks and scans the wall of packages and then asks "did you have trouble getting it off the metal rod?" Yes, I did. We figured out that in my zeal to remove the old flapper, I removed the metal piece that the rod screws into the flapper and that the first flapper I purchased was the correct flapper. I re-purchased my first flapper and went back home.

I had to use pliers and a little WD-40 to get the old metal piece off, but off it came. I attached the new flapper, adjusted it to have a complete seal, turned the water back on and practiced flushing to make sure the chain was in the right place and the seal was right on target. No more jiggling the handle after flushing. D.I.G!

Oh, it was almost six trips total. I forgot that I was also replacing tires to the lawnmower. In fixing the one that I had originally broken, I broke another one. I was going to go back to OSH and buy the 2nd tire when I realized that it was after 8 p.m. and OSH would be closed.

Got up this morning and went back to OSH (3rd visit) for the 2nd lawnmower tire and to get the guts to fix the second toilet. I figured that the first one was so easy then the second one would be a piece of cake as well. I bought the new flapper and a new fill valve. (The plumber that gave me the $3000 quote had said that installing a new fill valve might help. The guts that were on that toilet had to have been there since day one.)

Back at the ranch, I sat down to read the instructions for the new flapper which clearly states "Install in 15 minutes". I laugh as I tell RTL that it will probably take me an hour. In the bathroom, I turned off the water supply, drained the tank and started taking out all the toilet guts. I unscrewed, unbolted, snapped off, pulled out, unattached just about everything but there was still a bunch of old guts in there. Then I realized that the nut that attached the fill valve to the water supply line was corroded which was making things difficult. A lot of WD-40, a lot of elbow grease and some frustrated head on the toilet I could cry moments later, I finally got the *ugly ugly ugly words* off - two hours later. And now I have to go back to OSH!

I needed a new water supply line. Should I have considered this the first time I went? Probably. However, I assumed that it had stainless steel braided lines like every other one in the house. Hi ho, Hi ho, it's off to OSH I go. (4th trip)

So with my new water supply line, everything is going smoothly. I've got the new fill valve installed and I needed to hook up the supply line. It won't fit on the old water shut off even with the three adapters! Back to OSH (trip 5) for a new water shut off valve. That sucked because it meant turning off all the water to the house. I got the new shut off valve connected, the water supply line connected and finally the fill valve was done. Hey! it only took a couple of hours to get all that done. I was also sending out prayers that all my work wasn't going to leak all over the floor when I turned the water back on. However, I decided to go ahead and install the 15 minute flapper and even though I had to go to the garage for sandpaper it only took 10 minutes! Yay!

I turned on the water and nothing flooded. The toilets work properly now. I replaced the shower head so the shower curtain doesn't attack you while you bathe. I might take up plumbing as a side job. My next task is to replace the faucet in the bathroom. We'll see how that goes and how many additional trips to OSH I have to make.

Stay tuned for the next installment of The Toilet Flushes

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