Monday, March 31, 2014

April is in 2.25 hours.

Hey, shmibbles.  What's crackin?  April looms upon us (indeed, it IS April in many parts of the world right now.  California gets April very late).

It's been a weird few weeks.

My dad's mom died on the 14th.  She was 99 and a half.  What can you say when someone who is 99 and a half dies?  You had a good run, lady.  I wish your last decade had been easier.

Of course, when someone dies in a small family such as mine, there is much "stuff" to sort through and absorb.  Mom and I spent many many hours going through my grandmother's house, because Dad didn't seem capable of dealing with that particular unpleasant task.  Mom and I are very good vultures.  We are quite efficient bone-pickers.  Everything has been catalogued and sorted and folded and delivered to the people who could use the objects most- wheelchairs and whatnot to veterans organizations, furniture and housewares to people we know who would not otherwise have such items.  I've inherited many many objects in the last few weeks, which has been stressful to say the least.  I'm still weeding through my maternal grandmother's belongings, and now I've got paternal grandmother's stuff to boot.  I cannot bear to part with things that are useful, or solidly-made, or weird.  There is a lot of all those things in my house right now.
My new dictionary stand.  The dictionary is 6 inches thick.
Grim needlepoint, which is something I can get behind.
My dear friend from back in the day came to California for a whirlwind visit.  She has 9 siblings, and the youngest was getting married.  As her mom no longer lives in town, and only 3 of the 10 kids still lives here, and all the kids have big ole Mormon families, there was a dearth of guest rooms and couches within her immediate family.  I'm cheaper and less icky than a hotel.  Indeed, I actually wash the bedspreads!  She brought her 3-year-old daughter.  This is the first time a child has been in my house for more than five minutes since I moved in.  I spent many days cleaning and hiding potentially upsetting objects.  The dog LOST HER MIND.  One day, I would like to feel the sort of love for something that Trixie feels for guests.  I doubt a human heart can hold such an emotion.  The Small Girl Child was quite taken with the rats, however.  She fed them many treats, and they loved it.
While this is not a picture of my guest room, it does show how clean my house is right now.  Yes, that's a doily.  Yes, I washed the slipcover, the blanket, the doily, AND the tablecloth before people stayed here.  I guarantee that the hotels around here won't do that.

Allergy season has descended upon Southern California.  Antihistamines have become a food group again.
Am I allergic to wistera?  I might be.  
In a crushing wave of apathy (fueled by a fistful of Benadryl, consumed because the wind was blowing), I made the executive decision to skip the Ren Faire on my birthday next Saturday.  I just couldn't muster up the energy to hide my pink hair and ditch my sunglasses and drive out into the dust and heat.  The sunglasses thing was at least 50% of that decision.  I'm getting crabby in my old age.  Maybe I'll go another weekend.

In a fit of non-apathy (fueled by heaven knows what), I made another executive decision to go to Maker Faire Bay Area this year.  It took some serious rearranging of the entire work schedule (thank you, Coworkers, you have no idea how grateful I am that whole training days were rescheduled just so that I could go poke around a big weird event).  I think I'm going to go by myself.  I like attending things alone, especially if there's a drive involved.  I shall go see what I shall see.  I haven't taken myself on a vacation since… oh, maybe the sculpting workshop in 2010?  I've visited friends, but that's different.  This is just me going for the sake of going.


There is a show on the Science Channel called "How It's Made."  Usually it's just large-scale factory sorts of things, occasionally smaller scale stuff.  I caught a segment about restoring vintage advertising posters.  It involved chemicals, and painstaking color matching, and artistic ability, and an obscene attention to detail.  It made me very angry, because I had no idea that this sort of thing was something people did.  I'm bashing around in the bushes with kids getting skin cancer and dying from pollen overload, and I've been doing this for 11 years, and I could have been RESTORING ART?  I flailed about quite violently after the episode.

I got my hair cut.  It's very short.  I'm still trying to figure out how to make it look decent.
When my hairdresser does it.
When I do it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Phrases I say WAY too often

People are awesome.

Hello, humans.

Don't pick that up, you don't know where animals go to the bathroom.


Dude, what the hell did you just eat?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Faucet, day two

I heard Mom come in before I was even out of bed (damn you, time change).  After eating breakfast (I LEARNED MY LESSON), we stared at the bathroom sink.

"Lemme see if I can get the valves shut off" says she.

Nope.  They won't turn.  What if we hit them a bit with a wrench?  Nope, that didn't work either.

Maybe we wrap them in paper towels soaked in vinegar?  Loosen up the calcium deposits?

Nope.  Okay, I go shut off the water to the whole house.

For the next hour, all I see is my mother's bottom half lying on my bathroom floor.  Her top half is IN the cabinet, and there is swearing and clanging.

Upon emerging, she is wet, dirty, and holding the line that runs from the wall to the faucet.  Looks like we're replacing those, too.

We go to Home Depot.  We corner some poor plumbing department guy and grill him for information.  We buy shutoff valves, and the little flexy hoses, and a new faucet, and plumber's putty.

Upon returning, we discover that we cannot get the old faucet OUT.  Nor can we get the little stopper thing out of the drain hole, and the hoses we bought are too long, and the shutoff valves don't seem to fit the pipes coming out of the wall.

Back to Home Depot for some returns and exchanges.  We eat tacos so as to fortify ourselves for what is coming.

None of it works.  I text my brother.

Hey, what do you know about installing faucets?

"Everything.  Why?"

Because Mom and I are on hour 4 of this project, and we need help.

"The kids are asleep and Wife isn't home, I'll come over when she gets back."

Sink on hold, I scuttle about trying to complete chores that do not require water.  Brother arrives, looking tired like only the father of two boys under age four can look.  He stands in the bathroom, forehead furrowed (family trait), and assesses the damage.  Sighing, he scoots into the hole under the sink and begins to shuffle around.

At this point, I am useless, so I leave the sink to my brother and mother and go start shuffling furniture around in the den.  I have finished enough floor to put my hearth risers back together, and to put the bookshelves back next to the fireplace.  I grab Mom to help me move large things.

Brother moseys out of the bathroom, crushed bits of galvanized p-trap in his hand.  Well, that's new.  I guess we're replacing that, too.  He goes to Home Depot.  By the time he returns, my den looks ALMOST presentable.

Remember how I said it's an old house, and nothing is easy?  Yeah, the pipe coming out of the wall is one and a half inch.  The sink drain is one and a quarter.  Fantastic.  At least I can turn the water on in the rest of the house, even if I can't really trust the drain in my bathroom sink.  I don't care at this point, I can brush my teeth in the kitchen.

Still need to get a reducer to properly hook up the drain, but my faucet no longer drips.

As he left, Brother says "next time, save yourself the four hours and call me first?"

He didn't know about the three hours I spent the day before.

Initial problem:  Faucet drip.

Theoretical solution:  Replace washers in faucet handles.

Actual solution:  9 total hours of work, 4 trips to Home Depot, 2 women with bachelor's degrees, 1 mechanical engineer, 1 new faucet, 1 new p-trap, 2 new shutoff valves, 2 new hose hookups, 1 destroyed bathmat, and I still can't really use the sink.

But it doesn't drip anymore!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I love my house.

Sooooo, for those of you who haven't read all my repetitive ramblings, let me bring you up to speed.

I live in my grandmother's house.  I rent it from my mother, and the house was built in the 50s, I think.  It's a little rectangular California ranch style house, and it's full of Old Stuff.  Japanese antiques, vintage tools, appliances that are possibly older than me….

As Old Things tend to do, my house has Various Issues.

Termites, lopsided doors, creative garage storage, ugly wallpaper, more termites….

Today's special Issue is…… PLUMBING.

My bathroom sink had a drip.  The slow drip was becoming a slightly faster drip, so this morning (before breakfast) I decided that I should go online and figure out how to fix such a thing.  The Internet suggested that this might not be difficult, so I emptied my under sink cabinet, cleared my counter, and started taking apart the faucet.

"Turn off the water to the faucet."  Okay.  I stick my arm into the tiny-ass cabinet to twist the valves.  Nope.  Those are frozen for some reason.  I get a little WD-40 in there.  The hot valve closes, the cold valve remains stubbornly stuck.  Screw it, I'll turn off the water in the whole house.

Where the hell is the water main?  There are five different pipes going into this building, and they all have valve knobs.  Son of a bitch.  I start experimenting.  I have no clue what I may have turned off.  I eventually find the water main on the front patio.  I return to the bathroom.

"Remove handle, and remove packing nut."  Okay.  I pop the tops off the knobs, unscrew them, and peer underneath.  Did I mention that we have really hard water here?  Everything is covered in a pale greenish crust.  Fantastic.  Where is this packing nut of which they speak?  Is it this nut-shaped thing?  Maybe this other nut-shaped thing?  Shit, I think I need a different diagram.  This one doesn't have the same parts.

"Remove screw that holds washer.  Replace old washer with an exact replacement."  Where the hell is this washer?  I can't get the packing out.  The whole thing refuses to move.  The entire faucet assembly is now moving around, as it's no longer technically attached to the basin.  Maybe it never was.  What the hell?

"Fasten new washer to the stem."  I can't find the old washer!  Why won't this damn thing come apart?

Mind you, I haven't eaten anything in about 16 hours.

Screw it, I need to eat before I do anything else, and I need to wash my hands before I do that.  So I have to reassemble the faucet so I can turn on the water to the house.  I reassemble various bits, and go crank the water back on.

The drip has accelerated.  Wonderful.  I wash, and shut off the water to the house.  I drive towards Home Depot, figuring I will find food on the way.  I drive past Home Depot, in a low-blood-sugar haze, far past the point of being able to make food decisions.

I find myself at a Greek place, ordering a gyro and feeling unhappy about it.  I pour caffeinated beverages down my gullet, in the hopes that I can wake up.  I eat food.

I stride into Home Depot, confident and full.  I buy polyurethane and a valve box cover for my main sewer clean out, which is currently covered by a bucket because this house is jury-rigged in every possible way.  I peer at faucets, and decide it's probably better to just replace the damn thing.  I do not buy the faucet, because I have yet to figure out how to detach the old one, and old houses often do not fit new fixtures, because HEAVEN FORBID ANYTHING BE EASY.

I come home with my valve box cover, and prepare to bury it.  Is it possible that I do not own a trowel?  Yes, yes it IS possible.  How the hell do I not own a trowel?  Crap.  I decide instead to work on my floor, because sometimes you need to abandon one can of worms for a more familiar can of worms.

Tomorrow, the landlord gets involved.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It's March already?

Hey, bebehs.  Sorry for keeping mum all February!  Sometimes I can't think of anything to say.  Life has been super daily lately.  Not a thing that's happening is terribly interesting!  Just same old, same old.

Still a slave to beasts.
She's not real sure what we're doing, but she likes it.
Speaking of "not real sure what we're doing…."

 Still working on my floor.  It's been rainy and cold, so polyurethane isn't going as fast as I'd like.

The red's better, innit?

Still deeply, unavoidably pink.

Remember, kids, I used pink dye ONCE.  In SEPTEMBER.

Every time I shower, it rears it's flamingo head.


I wonder how long it'll stay not-pink this time?

Still can't find shoes I like, mostly because adulthood sucks.

Purple glitter star shoes?  NOT FOR ADULTS.


Still buying things simply because they made me laugh.

For the record, it tastes like cilantro mixed with 7Up.  Not unpleasant, but not something I'd recommend.