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Monday, January 31, 2011

A Lemony Challenge

With a kitchen that looks like this:

And a closet that looks like this:

And a hobby room that looks like this:

What do you do? 

Join a Challenge, of course! 

Toni at A Bowl Full of Lemons started a Weekly Challenge to get her readers organized.  Lord knows I could use the motivation. 

Click on the button on my sidebar to start the challenge.  Or Click on the link in this post to get to Toni's blog.

This week's challenge is to make a home management binder.  I've kind of started one.  Um....a few years I know what I want it to do, I just need to get it done.  Stay tuned! 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Clogged Sink

Well, it's been building for some time now.  My bathroom sink drain was sloooowly starting to get plugged up. 

Then I came home from working all day and found this:

Yep.It was no longer a clog.  It was a back up. Which is kind of weird.  Because for some reason at work I got to thinking about how my Dad of All Trades helped me gut and remodel my bathroom.  Plumbing is one of THE most expensive home repair things to do.  I was contemplating the fact that I could have picked up all kinds of useful skills by watching him and I would have come out of the project fully equipped to do all kinds of home plumbing jobs.
But did I pay attention?  Nooooo.  His part of the project took over seven months.  Seven months of knowlege I could have soaked up.  But I didn't.

And then...a clog.

I'm not afraid of clogs.  My sisters and I all have long hair.  I've always been the one to pop open the shower drain from time to time to clean out massive hairballs.  It's gross.  But that's the price you pay for long hair. 

Here's my mop, taken down after my sister Carrie's wedding.
I'm careful in my own house with the shower drain and only have to clean it once every six months or so.  But I'm SUPER careful over the bathroom sink.  And yet, a clog.  And I can't call Dad because then I'll get the Dad Lecture (probably something along the lines of "weren't you paying attention?")    ~Sigh~

Some would be tempted to just pour Drain-o down the sink.  But I don't like that idea.  One, you're dumping chemicals.  Two, Drain-o works by pushing the clog out.  I worry it will push the clog to a point in the plumbing that I can't get at...then leave it stuck there forcing me to pay for a repairman.  Either, way, I'd rather go au naturale.

Normally I could just pop out the stopper, clean around it and be done with it.  But the kind of stopper my sink has is fixed with a loop on the bottom.  A metal piece holds it into the rest of the plumbing from underneath. 

See the horizontal pin in between the pipe and the vertical metal piece behind it?

(I guess that's there in case someone were to break in my house and try to steal the sink stopper?)

In short, there's no way to unclog the sink without undoing the plumbing.  At this point, my dad's voice popped in my head (remember my dad?).  His famous advice is, "Ya gotta ask yourself:  'Am I about to do something stupid?' And if the answer is yes...DON'T DO IT!"

But sometimes doing potentially stupid things - like undoing your plumbing when you don't know the first damn thing about plumbing - is how you learn. 

First, I emptied out as much of the backed up water as I could:

Then I put my dishpan under the sink to catch any possible deluge of water.  (I at least remember Dad doing that).  From there, it was just dumb luck pure genius on my part. 

My awesome Dad-of-All-Trades used PVC which is not your grampa's plumbing.  I figured I'd have to hammer away with a wrench and a hammer.  Turns out, all I had to do was unscrew the U-shaped piece:

- with a mere flick of the wrist, no less - and take it off.   Once I did, I saw a few dangly threads from something:

you can see them dangling from the vertical pipe.  And I thought, "you mean to tell me this whole clog is from a few stupid threads?"  So I stuck my finger up inside there.  Uck.  Big mistake.  I don't know what on earth  was decaying inside there but whatever it was, I stuck my whole finger inside it. 

Suffice it to say, I definately  needed to get the stopper out. 

That, too, just took one bit of unscrewing near the horizontal pin to loosen it right up.  I futzed with the pin on top that raises and lowers the stopper until I loosened it up enough to pull the pin out of the loop that held the stopper in place and I was finally able to see the clog:

 Ew!  You can't even see through the pipe at all!  What on earth died in there?

After pushing the dead elephant...or whatever it was through the drain and down to the dishpan below, the sink was clear.

All I had to do then was repeat my steps- that is, flick my wrist a few more times, just in reverse- and the job was done.

Into the trash went this:

I don't even have any explaination for this at all.

I didn't break a single nail.  I didn't get dirty.  I didn't make a mess.  Best part of all, the whole job, from start to finish, took less than 10 MINUTES and I was off to toot my horn. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!  I saw an aol "you've got" feature with Richard Simmons where he said the key phrase for the New Year is - "find heaven in twenty eleven".  I don't typically take advice from Richard Simmons, but my New Year's was heavenly.

In my last post I ranted about my lousy experience shopping for a dress and what to do for a wrap.

I ended up choosing this fabric:
It's way to slippery for a wrap, so I actually used a pattern for a poncho, seen here and it worked out quite well:

It's a SUPER easy pattern and I made the whole thing in 15 minutes.  Even on this slippery organza.

The whole purpose of the wrap wasn't so much to keep me warm, as it was to mask my ucky arms.  But I felt so pretty in the dress, with my hair, and the shoes with the necklace that I made to match, and the Conductor, and the bracelet....

Oh! The bracelet!  One of two things that the Conductor gave me for Christmas, it made its debut for New Year's.  (The other was a humongous box of Godiva chocolates because he knows I know better than to squander them). 

It's hard to tell in the pciture but every other link in the chain, and the heart on the clasp, have little diamonds encrusted around them.  For me, the best feature was actually the clasp so when I wore it on New Year's, I swung the clasp on top of my wrist. 

The Conductor took me to the Fireside Dinner Theater in Fort Atkinson, a town of about 11,000.  We had an amazing dinner of steak and lobster.  I especially loved the salad which had a papaya chutney dressing and delicious sesame seed crouton thingies, both of which I want to try and duplicate at home. 

The show was a feature of different show tunes, older songs, etc.  (They cater to a mostly senior crowd). The costumes, especially on the ladies, were spectacular but unfortunately you can't take pictures of live shows...

...which one very young, sexy looking, gal.....who was clearly the ( can I put this nicely....) companion of an older gentleman didn't quite understand.  Suffice it to say, we had some good people watching, too.

We had champagne at midnight.  I am so not used to staying up that late!  But before that, we had to make it out of the theater to the car -- in FREEZING COLD weather.  And, that's the other reason I was so mad at the mall.  I wanted a formal so my legs would be warmer but all they had were goofy cocktail dresses.  In winter.  In Wisconsin.

I was thankful, though, when returning to our seat during intermission, one old lady remarked to her friend as I passed (in that voice that old people have that they think is a whisper but is actually really loud), "That dress really compliments her figure!" 

Thank you ma'am - and Happy New Year to you, too.