"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Showing posts with label home maintenance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label home maintenance. Show all posts

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Over The Bridge And Through The Woods

That's what the Girl  (that's me)  did yesterday !
It has been over a year since I made that little road trip to some stores that are larger and have greater selections than what is available nearby my home.  I'm talking about stores like Lowe's,  Big Lots, Walmart and JoAnn's.  I have found that it is not to difficult to live without those stores since Internet shopping is readily available with increasing sites available with no shipping charges.   Plus,  at my stage of life, how many things do I really need versus want??

The last few years have been quite difficult for me following many losses and unexpected events in my life.  This has meant that I have stayed a lot closer to home while I am slowly finding  my way back to a life with more Joy and Purpose and improved psychological Health!!!  Perhaps, the biggest changing factor for me has been the loss of so many (and I really mean many) close friends and four-legged "love bugs" that have departed for The Hereafter.   Even though I have lived alone for the majority of my life (for various reasons) I have found that at this stage of my life it is a lot more difficult to live day to day feeling enthusiastic, adventurous, creative and independent.

Well, anyway,      I really enjoyed my day even though I did not have a companion to travel along with me to laugh, purr or bark and share the adventure.  I visited Lowe's to buy the spray paint  that I am going to use to refurbish my very old iron patio furniture.  One Homecrest small adjustable-height table with two swivel-rocker chairs is from the 1970's and the larger table set with four chairs is from the 1980's.  I tend to always take the best care I can of my things/possessions and the patio furniture is in great condition.  A good spray coat of premium paint and it all should look sparkly brand new.   I managed to find a few other things that have been on my shopping list for quite awhile.

Then, I stopped in at Applebee's Restaurant for a small lunch of Fish and Chips with cole slaw.  It was nicely prepared and very good.

Then, off to Walmart for some paper products, cleaning supplies and a few miscellaneous items that have been on another list for quite some time.  And much to my SURPRISE, the 27,000 square foot expansion and newly remodeled Supercenter had celebrated it's grand opening in June.
This is the local store at the beginning of the store expansion one year ago.

The large grocery department looked very nice from a distance as I knew I was too tired to peruse the whole store I will have to check out the produce next time.


Later in the day I prepared some simple food for my neighbor and a couple of his workers in appreciation for all the many times he takes my yard/garden rubbish to the local dump.
I fixed some Mixed Beans with Ground Beef  (now , that's simple !)  with some garlic sourdough toast.  And, then to add the necessary "sweet stuff" I baked some Fudge Molten Lava Brownies.

The fellows were very happy with my little surprise for them.
That's a Splatter Guard that I am trying in an effort to not have so much grease to clean up on the stovetop.  I think I will like it.  Time will tell.  Very inexpensive.

Wishing all of you a Good Weekend and let's send positive thoughts/energy and prayers for all those impacted by Hurricane Harvey in the Texas region.

Mary

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Dirty, Dirty, Dirty Work And A Few Flowers

With the excessive rain this past winter my cement driveway, sidewalks and patio now have a heavy coat of green/black moss.  It not only looks horrible but additionally it is dangerous because it is slippery. It has been several years since I have had to power wash the cement.  I already have the power washer and it does a good job but it is very time consuming.


I can only power wash for about two hours at a time because of my back/leg pain level.  And, I have already spent eight hours on the project.  I think I have about two to four hours more before it will be finished.


The cement is looking so much better.  And, it certainly feels nice and clean and certainly a lot brighter. I wanted to decorate my patio but I could not get motivated.  I think it may be that it just didn't feel nice out there.


What a huge difference the cleaning is making.   Additionally, the filth tracks into the house. However, I usually do not wear shoes in the house since I work out in the garden a lot.


The SLUDGE is really awful.  But, soon it will all be gone!  



A few more flowers caught my attention when I was deadheading some of the garden.  SOOOOO  Pretty!



And, then I noticed my photos of the next flowers and how similar they look in the photos I took a few weeks ago.


Well, another week has almost flown by.   Sometimes it doesn't seem possible that we are already in the middle of 2017 ! ! !

Take Care Everyone.

Mary

Friday, July 7, 2017

Today

These flowers would have looked nice with my 4th of July blog post with the red, white and blue Patriotic theme.  I guess they are more of a lavender/purple and deep pink with white ones.  But, aren't they pretty?  Yes, they are from my garden. The white glads are certainly more robust than the others and they are planted in a different area. Soil and light exposure sure makes a difference in the garden.   I have always enjoyed the beauty of Gladiolus.  And, I am so happy to have them growing again in my garden this year.


It's a very very hot day, again, today.   If I miss a spot watering I certainly know about it the next day. For the most part, my garden is all hand watering. The limited sprinkling system on the one side (where the valve broke) hasn't worked for the past two years. I just have not had the time to work on it.  But, on the other side of the house, several years ago I made a watering system with PVC that generally does a good job, especially when I run out of time. It is not the most water conservative method but on occasion it sure helps.

Sometimes gardening (for that matter, living) on a tiny budget sure - - - - - I guess it is best that I don't say the word that fits best ! ! ! ! ! !    I think you get my point!

(photo from three years ago)

Buy the way, the broken water valve has been temporarily repaired by me. First, PVC glue was used but did not control the leakage, not heavy duty enough.  Then I found some plumbers epoxy putty that I remembered I had in the garage. Boy! does that stuff work and it sure gets hard if you can control and stop the water that may be flowing. Surface must be dry and you have to work fast. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, I can hire someone who has time to work on my "water issues"!

How about ending with another photo of my Gladiolus from last year in a more formal and fun arrangement.  Yes, I do enjoy creating floral vignettes. I guess I should do it more often.


I hope you are enjoying your summer day and looking forward to your weekend.

Mary

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Gladiolus Serviving The Heat Wave And Gushing Water Valve

Loveliness rules! In spite of the horrendous heat wave  I have been able to save the Gladiolus with the aid of a little sun protection.
It looks like there will be at least 12 long stems of White Gladiolus this year. When I bought the bulbs the package showed white flowers with a deep red center.
But, it looks like they are going to be all white and that is just fine. The bulbs were from Van Bloem Gardens and named Flevo Eyes. I don't see any red in the flower throat! This is the first time that something like this has happened in all the time I have been gardening. Probably packaged incorrectly. Little surprises! ! !
 They look so tall and majestic - - - don't they?

Gosh, I sure love my garden. It gives me so much comfort. The year has been so very difficult for me in many ways and I am so grateful for the pleasure my garden gives me

Yesterday I was able to buy some more planting mix, garden soil and peat moss so I can work in some more flower beds that need some invigorating.  The clay and rocky soil is so difficult to work with. For optimum results the garden needs a lot more amendments.
As I previously mentioned, the Fig Tree is huge. We can't even see the Angel Statuary at the base of the tree in this photo. It has really grown a lot since last year. And it looks like there will be a lot of fruit. I noticed the Blue Jay birds showing more interest in the tree lately. It is time for me to put up some silver reflective tape to deter their interest.

All the rains this past year have certainly given a pleasant dimension to the garden this year.  Everything is looking healthier and more abundant. So nice!

😟  Lately, it seems like each day I am faced with a new challenge. Today was no different. About mid-day I heard what sounded like water running forcefully. I quickly went outside to the main water valve on the side of the house to find lots of water gushing from a PVC water pipe valve next to the main valve. It is the valve pictured at the bottom of the next photo where you can see the red lever. It was installed years ago for the sprinkler system. 

This is the opening where the water was gushing from. This black pug was forced out and landed on the sidewalk. It looked like it had been glued in with PVC cement.
So, at this point, I am without water until a new valve is installed!  Stay tuned ! ! !

I'm tired and going to bed!

Mary

Saturday, February 18, 2017

I've Been Thinking About This For A Long Time


Did I get your attention? 

Now, seriously, I have been doing my homework and I am very close to making the decision about which model to order. And, I think this is the one.

 Luxe Bidet Neo 320 - Self Cleaning Dual Nozzle 

 Hot and Cold  Water Non-Electric Mechanical Bidet Toilet Attachment


Available in blue or white control.

With a rating of 4.5 out of 5 by more than 1600 reviews, I think it looks like this model would be a good choice. In addition, at $63.00 plus free shipping, why not!

With my skill level I should be able to install it myself. It sounds pretty easy and straight forward.

OK now, with continued research I came upon a caveat with the above product. It has nothing to do with the product but with the style/contour of the Kohler one piece, round bowl/lid toilet that I want the bidet for. My model toilet is one of the very few models that it will not work with. When I bought the toilets at the time of remodeling I did not even consider anything other than quality and appearance.

So, anyway with further research I found a product that "most likely" will fit/work. Not surprising, it is a lot more expensive. But, I kid you not - it does everything. How many things can a toilet seat do? If I said "dance" I wouldn't be surprised if it did!

                                 BRONDELL SWASH 1000 BIDET SEAT. 


Out of all the customer reviews from various sellers that I read all of them had very high ratings. That's pretty good!

As you can see, the appearance is different in that the seat back is raised and larger. This would not be a problem for me because I would be using it in the second bathroom. As I said, It is very PRICEY. Lots of "bells and whistles". But, nothing I wouldn't always use.  I don't make these kind of decisions quickly. So, I'll probably think more about it for a few days.

There is another alternative. That would be to buy a different toilet that would work with the first bidet I researched. But, then there would also be the expense of the new toilet and a plumber and the inconvenience. As the same as the first bidet model, this model is also an easy installation and something I could do.  Both of the Bidets could be used on another toilet if I was to move.


Now, you may ask - - - WHY, am I interested in this product?     In my next post, I will give you a little background.

Hope you have a good Holiday Weekend. We are having heavy rains and snow not far away up the hill.

Mary

Thursday, September 1, 2016

I Must Take A Break From My Break

It is killing me. I have been working so hard outside as well as inside. I've been pushing myself to the limit and my body is talking loudly to me! I have not had the time or energy to post on my blog. I guess I am trying to "Make hay while the sun shines" as the old saying goes. It won't be long from now and my Burning Bush will start to change colors for its fabulous Autumn display.
Just wanted to check in and say I am still "kicking up my heels" and I will be back before too long. I really am "on a roll" and don't want to lose the momentum.

I hope all is well with everyone. I have been reading blogs when I have a chance and when I am NOT falling asleep in my chair. We will catch up with my activities next time.

Mary

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Little Catch Up

I am so happy for my Granddaughter and her little family. And, look at those precious little Great Grands of mine. They all look so festive in their 4th of July party clothes. I am so thankful that they are a happy little family.  He has a very good job and this past year they moved to a new house/home closer to his work and she finished her schooling with mostly A's (during which time they had two children) for her Bachelor of Arts Degree which she received this past month. At age 24 she is able to be a stay at home mom during these wonderful "growing up years" of the children. She is starting to relax and not feel so guilty about not working.

There will be a wedding in the near future which they are very excited about. They chose to wait for her schooling to be complete for her Bachelor's Degree because her tuition was paid if she was single. Today's world has so many odd twists and decisions!  

Brother - Sister Love!  So Sweet!  These little ones are so blessed to have loving and guiding parents.

I have been so busy doing a lot of outdoor work and pushing myself to the limit each day. But it's great to see things looking so much better. Even with the pain at the end of each day. Also, getting caught up on maintenance projects like cleaning the coils under the refrigerator, replacing the kitchen water filter and cleaning out a very messy, dirty and full Garden Shed. I am thinking about painting it a pretty color! ! ! This photo is from a few years ago but it now looks pretty much the same. Can you see through the lower left window and see the birdhouse sitting on the shelf?
And, I now have a Home Security System which I did not expect to have. And, a New Television that replaced a 2004 Sony. The Sony was very good but the new one (Samsung 40 inch) is fabulous. One thing lead to another. But, Oh, so  much new technology to get familiar with. I'll tell you all about how this came to happen in another post.

Hope your summer is going well.
Mary

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Part II - Oven Repair

Yes, Part II. I did not think there was going to be a Part II. But, what is - is.

Even though the pizza that I baked turned out well I was still having difficulty with obtaining high heat, hot enough to bake a potato without having to bake it longer than usual. And, if I can't bake a German Puff Pancake which takes very high heat my oven is useless to me! 

So, my detective skill kicked in and I was not going to be defeated, if I could help it.

The heating element needed to be looked at more carefully. There are two heating elements, one is for the broiler and the other is for the oven. The broiler unit at the top of the oven was heating bright red as it should. But, the oven unit is at the bottom of the oven and has a cover (floor of oven) over it and the oven door has to be removed in order to remove the cover. When I would put my hand at the bottom I could feel heat. Since I could not see if it was heating bright red I knew I would have to remove the cover so I could get more information.

After removing the door and the "floor" of the oven I was able to inspect the heating element and remove it from the back of the oven. No obvious burned area could be seen and the element felt smooth.  I then checked the element with my multimeter for Ohms. It was defective. OK NOW!
With further inspection and my work light positioned just right, I could see an abnormal surface on the left bottom of the oven and it felt very rough!. Not a large area, but just enough to be a sign that something was not quite right. You can see it on the next photo. From what I have read, the element can spark like a fireworks sparkler. Since it doesn't appear to be very large, the element continued to heat but at a lower temperature and fluctuated which meant that I would bake for longer than usual. That worked ok for a casserole, but not for most everything else.
After installing the new element  which meant that I had to pull the range out again and take the back off. I turned the power on at the circuit breaker and then turned the oven on to check everything before putting the oven floor back in. Wonderful, wonderful, it heated to a higher temperature, not bright red but definitely hotter than before.

Every time I had to replace a part, I had to order it through the internet and then wait for the part. I would never have been able to tackle this job if the internet did not have all the information as close as my keyboard.

As long as the range was "revealing it's part" I decided to take a look at the circuit board which is at the front behind the controls. And, lo and behold the schematic for the wiring was in that compartment in case I got deeper into the caverns of my electric range! Believe me, every step I took was with great trepidation!
Since I was waiting for parts, I took the glass door apart to clean between the window sections because there was a large dirty streak from the top to bottom. And, now it is sparkly clean!
And, then I replaced the oven door gasket. However, I ordered the wrong one and had to return the part and order again in order to get the correct size.
The cost for the parts came to less than $200! I think I saved quite a lot of money by NOT calling a Repair Service.  After all my work installing new parts, putting everything back together (seemed like over 100 screws) and doing all the safety checks I could think of - - - The end result is Fabulous! It is a few weeks since I finished the repair.

And, LOOK - - - A perfect German Puff Pancake baked at 425 degrees! It thoroughly baked (no soggy bottom) and the bottom is nicely browned! And - - it slid out of the cast iron skillet with no sticking. It makes me so happy!
When I think back to all the frustration I have had with the oven for at least two to three years it is no wonder that I thought I was experiencing just another of the changes that come with getting older. There were so many times like the Apple Bundt Cake, Easter Ham and Banana Bread. Oh, the list goes on and on.  HOORAY! I still am a good cook and baker. When the weather gets a little cooler, I am going to have me some fun, cooking and baking - maybe, even a Baked Alaska - because I can!

Hope All Is Well with You.

Mary

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Ladies And Gentlemen


Announcing that my GE Profile Range has a proper heating oven! I replaced the oven temperature sensor that looks like this
And, this is where I removed the fastening screw inside the back of the oven. It was a difficult location for me to reach. I felt like I was crawling into the oven!  What! - Hansel and Gretel!!! Check it out!
And, this is where the other end of the sensor comes out the back of the oven and is fastened to the connector that will provide electrical current when the power to the range is turned back on at the circuit breaker. Do you see the brown area on the wire coming directly from the oven above the white connector. It looked like it had overheated. This is not uncommon when the oven is not heating properly.
Now, the back of the oven was put back together.


Later in the evening I baked a small pizza - to perfection! I am so very happy. The broiler as well as the convection feature works well also. It took me a lot of time, but, so far so worth it. Twenty one dollars for the price of the part and shipping. Can you imagine what a great savings of money!

 The new microwave oven still has to be installed. Way, way to heavy for me to take care of.

The car has a new battery and that is great. However, the labor charges were more than I expected but the shop is close to me and I could walk to and fro as need be. I must admit the shop is quite high-end as auto repair shops go. But, come on now - $115 per hour! Yes, I realize the battery is housed in the left wheel-well below the engine compartment. It so happens that the last battery was only a little over two years old which means that I did get some reimbursement on the warranty. They tell me that the car needs to be driven more to keep the battery charged. I admit that I have not driven much in the last year and before that MSM always drove his car when we went out and about.

Last time when the battery was "giving me fits" I was able to take it to a auto shop that also is here in town that has been here for over thirty years and the owner is like a friend to all. He has a simple shop and does not have all the fancy computers for servicing the newer cars. But, for a battery service and oil changes he is great. He only charged me $15.00 for labor and gave me a lot of time explaining and diagnosing the problem to insure that there wasn't something else causing the problem.

I am thankful that it is all taken care of and the auto shop really did take good care of me and my car. So, anyway, I guess I need to "hit the road" more often and "get out more" as the tow-truck driver told me as well as the auto shop!

This morning I tested the oven features again and everything looks A-OK. Hopefully, it will continue to give me good service. I am looking forward to doing some baking. Cookies, muffins, cakes. Just about anything sounds good!

New toothbrush arrived and works great!  Pricey even with comparative shopping and free shipping. But, dental health is important and I have been fortunate not to need any extensive dental work in my life.

Home maintenance updates to continue in future, as well as, garden update.  I, also, have a "get out and about" idea for the weekend.

Wishing all a lovely bright and sunny day.

Mary

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Sky Is Falling

WELL, Not quite - but that may be next. For the last few weeks, no make that months, numerous things around my house have decided that they have fulfilled their duties and have simply refused to work any longer. (I would like to try that - Yes, I'll have some lemonade, please!) Anyway, this phenomenon started rather slowly but with rather large expensive characters.  I tried to explain that my budget has strict perimeters and everyone must behave. But, that was to no avail!

It must be over six months ago - yes, that long ago, that the over-the-stove microwave started talking back at me. Well, that was short lived and it simply quit. Gee, thanks! Shortly thereafter the garbage disposal presented me with lots of water running on my shoes at the front of the sink. Oh, that's just great. Well, really, it had served me well and the bottom was totally rusted out. OK, these are two pretty big items to hassle with. But, in my typical fashion I proceeded to start researching models and price in preparation to purchase. The items arrived quickly but installation is almost a bigger problem for me than finding a way to purchase.  I had a handyman's name but by the time I got in the mode to call him, he had moved.


My life has changed so drastically in the recent past that I feel like I am living my life with Training Wheels. So many people that I knew are no longer around and I have not attended church in a very long time.  In my opinion the church experience has changed dramatically in all respects and no longer brings me the comfort of the past. Lovingly, the pastor is always available for me. Tears are my constant companion always perched so close to rolling downward. And, I terribly miss My Special Man and especially my Precious Lily and also some very close Gal Friends. And, the topic of family MAY be a post some day soon. It "ain't pretty".  

Alright now, I have learned to be a champion of my own little abode fixing things as the need arises by reading, asking questions and using Google. However, as my physical health (oh, probably, mental too) has deteriorated I really, really, really really, really want to have the luxury of calling a professional. I would sure like to try a life where all I would have to do is delegate! 


About six weeks ago, the dishwasher that has never given me a second of trouble started to leave the dishes unclean and I started to think, oh NOT that too. After some research I learned that the garbage disposal may be the issue associated with the plumbing network under the sink and interfering with the performance of the dishwasher.  Soooooo, after some more research I decided that I would (Yes, ME) install the garbage disposal myself! The new one is the same brand and model, so I thought that should make the job a little easier. Well, I am proud to say that I now have a nice functioning garbage disposal - and - dishwasher. Boy oh boy, I must be more tenacious than I realized. That was one of the hardest (they are heavy) and complicated (under the sink) repairs/installations that I have ever done. I will spare you the details.

That was just the beginning! Let me make a little list for you of the "annoyances" I have to address.
  • The oven is not working (as I have posted previously) but I have removed the temperature sensor and have a new one on order. Yes, I have learned how to use my multimeter!!!!
  • The battery died in the smoke alarm.
  • My sonicare toothbrush died. $$$
  • My car is sitting in the driveway with a dead battery. After 3 visits from AAA I have an appointment Monday for new battery installation. $$$
  • Last (I hope) but not least, The pilot light on the propane stove/heater in the living room went out suddenly and will need professional maintenance. $$$ I know when it is time to call in the "big guns".
I really MUST find a helper. The roof is full of leaves and pine needles and I "no longer belong on the roof"! Do I? After all, I am closer to 80 than 70 these days. How did that happen?

That's a whole lot of stuff and money, don't you think? One very good thing is that I have been enjoying my garden that is bringing forth lush new green growth along with a fig tree that is already loaded with small figs and lots of color bursting out everywhere. Oh, and along with lots of weeds. However, I am not letting them get me down and I continue to enjoy the garden areas that I have been able to work on. I will leave you with a little mosaic photo of a little of the garden that I took about ten days ago. As you can imagine, it changes vastly every single day! Enjoy!
Wishing you a joyous weekend. I will blog when I can but it probably will be closer to weekly, so my energy and time can be outside in the sunshine and garden!

Mary

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