Every now and then, I’ll take on a new challenge and while I may not be the poster child for how to do the task, I figure what I didn’t know, I know now. That keeps the wrinkles coming in the gray matter and I’m just that much more equipped to deal with projects and situations in the future.
But this past week was like a New Skill Boot Camp. I emerged with so many new insights and nuggets of knowledge that I thought I’d share a few of them.
THE DOWNSTAIRS BATHROOM
It’s a half-bath where the shower curtain rod is mostly used for hanging clothes to dry. We had the tub refinished once before, but it didn’t take long for the white to start peeling off. It looked like hell. So, I turned to Yelp and found The Seattle Bathtub Guy. Guess what he does? The reviews were great, his work amazing, and if we ever need that kind of work done again, he’s my go-to guy.
In order for him to access the tub, I was told I needed to remove the toilet. My wife and I discussed it and decided while we were removing it, we might as well replace it with a nicer-looking, more efficient one, which we purchased. Once the tub was refinished and it was safe to go in there, I put my YouTube knowledge to work, found a couple of videos of how to install one, and went to work.
Step one is setting the new bowl down on the wax seal perfectly, so it seals up as you tighten down the screws. Just like in the video. But when I connected the bowl, it leaked. I tightened the bolts more, it still leaked. The answer eventually became obvious that you REALLY need to tighten those bolts, which I did and the leaking stopped. I had heard too many scare stories about over-tightening bolts on a toilet, it cracks and you get to buy a new one. I’m thinking that applies more to the floor bolts, than the bowl.
So, the biggest lesson I learned was that I should have been wearing gloves. Some of you may be yelling at your computer or phone screens now, thinking, “Ew! How could he do all that without wearing gloves?” To me, it was get in, get it gone, get out and then wash your hands really well. I think that theory would have played out, if I hadn’t splashed some sewer water that went up by my mouth and into my eye. That opened the door for a bacteria to get into my system which allowed Montezuma to enjoy his revenge without using up any frequent flyer miles. Looking at the positive side, I increased my vocabulary and now know what “Campylobacteriosis” is.
Heavy duty gloves have been ordered on Amazon.
THE HONDA HEADLIGHT
My step-daughter asked I could change a headlight for her, on her 2005 Honda CR-V and my immediate response was, “Of course I can!” Then, off to YouTube I ran again, to see what I was getting myself into. See, if you’re old school like me, you’d think you have to remove the big headlight, put a new one in, and then adjust it so it’s at the right level. Oh, what a different world in which we live.
So, in this case, you go under the hood, unplug the light, remove a rubber gasket, and then try to find the clip that needs to be sprung so you get the bad bulb out and replace it. Un-doing the clip was by far the hardest part, but once I got that, I was in and out in less than 7 minutes.
THE BACKED-UP SEWER LINE
We try to be good. Using minimal amounts of toilet paper, flushing more than usual, etc. We live in an older home, so it’s probably to be expected, but we’ll get the occasional backed-up sewer line.
It seems to happen about every couple of three years. Sometimes, I grab my 75-foot pipe snake and can knock it loose. But the last time, it couldn’t reach the problem. I went to Lowe’s, looking for a 100-foot long snake, but they didn’t have any. Then I saw this thing called “a bladder.” Again, I’m sure there are advanced homeowners out there right now saying, “Well, yeah, duh, Tim.” But in my 30+ years of owning homes, this device had never crossed my radar.
Let’s say you have a blocked sewer line. You attach this bladder to the end of your garden hose, bring it in through a window and then start feeding the garden hose into your sewer line until you can’t go any further or you’ve run out of hose. Here’s the key. First, you turn on the water slowly, so that the bag of the bladder fills with water. While doing that, it expands and creates a seal in the pipe. Then, you crank the water pressure up to max and whatever was blocking your main sewer line is blasted out and you have cleared out your drainage problem.
While our minds are in the gutter, with our summer being as dry as it was, the roots of those thirsty trees in your yard may have found a way into your sewer line and you won’t find that out until the first heavy rains of the season.
This has absolutely nothing to do with fixing up anything. My son, his wife and the grandkid came over on Saturday for my birthday dinner (one of several this month) and he brought along ribs. Not just any ribs–barbecued ribs from Peg Leg Porker. While on a business trip back in Tennessee, Tyson had been told about this place for great ribs. He was so impressed, that he eventually brought his wife back there. And, for my birthday, he had them flown out for our celebration. OMG. Now, I’m a big fan of Carolina Smoke up in Bothell, and until I am asked to judge a Rib Off between the two, I’ve gotta say that Peg Leg Porker was in the realm of “to die for” ribs.
As I mentioned on my little radio show on KRKO each morning, I’m big on knowing things. I feel you just can’t know enough and so, when I learn something new, I’m glad to share. Hopefully, there’s a nugget or two in there that makes you just a little bit more smarter.
Or, if you already knew all these things, I’ll at least feel a little less dumb.