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Getting domesticated (or at least more handy)

I go back to work tomorrow. I wish I could take at least another day or two off, but something came up and they need me Monday.

I spent some time tackling little projects around the house. Watching This Old House for the last six months or so is paying off.The day we brought my son home, I had a project waiting for me. A wind storm had ripped one of the gutters almost completely off the house. It was hanging by a thread on one end, and the other end had twisted itself around a vent over the kitchen. Nice. The vent probably kept the gutter from completely coming off.

I asked a friend from church to help me with it, because there wasn’t really any way one person could do it all at once–especially when that person is me. While I’m perfectly comfortable straightening metal, drilling pilot holes, and screwing it into place, I’d rather fill out tax forms than climb on the roof. Fortunately, with help we got it done in about 30 minutes.

When the weather finally gets nicer, I’ll drive some screws into the other gutters. For now they’re hanging on OK, but I doubt they’ll last another year without some intervention.

I also fixed a leak in the bathroom sink. I fixed it a few months ago with a bunch of PVC pipe repair kits, but the local Sears Hardware didn’t carry exactly the combination of parts I needed to reach from one end to the other. I ended up needing to mate two threaded pipes in the middle. My temporary fix was to put a smaller piece of pipe inside the two. Most of the time it worked, but sometimes it leaked.

I managed to find a threaded connector at Home Depot that fit, but it was galvanized steel and weighed way too much. There was no way these PVC pipes would support that weight. I settled for a female adapter. It screws into the threaded pipe on the bottom, and I rely on a press fit to for the top. I could secure it with some PVC glue, but first I’ll see if friction and gravity do their jobs. PVC glue isn’t something I want around the house with a little one roaming around.

Finally, I have some loose kitchen tiles. I found the original adhesive in the garage this morning. When I pulled one of the tiles, I could see why the adhesive failed: It’s the wrong kind of adhesive for the subfloor I have. So I picked up a combination adhesive/grout and we’ll see how it does. I’m not sure if one substance can do two jobs well, but theoretically I only need a little, and I’d rather buy a little of one thing than a little of two things. And I don’t see how it could be any worse than the original stuff.

I ended up paying about $10 for a quart of the adhesive/grout, $3 for a trowel, and another $3 for the tool for applying the grout. That’s not too bad. I should need a chisel, but with the original grout crumbling, I think I can get by without it. Good thing, because I couldn’t find one at Home Depot.

I’ve never laid tile before, but I’ve seen it done several times now on This Old House, so at least I know what the proper technique looks like. I don’t really know what I’m doing, but neither did whoever put this stuff down.

Once I get this project out of the way, the house will be a little bit nicer and a little bit safer. And I’ll have a little more experience.

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