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I'm getting to be a competent homeowner!

Old 06-19-2011, 07:14 PM
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I'm getting to be a competent homeowner!

Now, if stuff would just quit happening to give me practice...

I used to live in a great apartment--12th floor, view of Philadelphia skyline out one whole side of my unit, view of a park with a river and rowing out the other. Something goes wrong, pick up the phone and call maintenance. Gave it all up for the dream of homeownership.

I bought a 35-y/o townhouse, had it inspected before I bought it. Passed with flying colors. I have had one disaster after another in the five years I've lived here. Sewer backup, appliance breakdowns, cracks in the foundation that developed AFTER I moved in. And every time something went wrong, I felt like the world's most incompetent homeowner--didn't know how to maintain or fix ANYTHING.

My latest disaster is that my icemaker developed a leak behind the refrigerator, which I discovered a couple of weeks ago when I found a big puddle in my basement that turned out to be a steady drip from my basement ceiling. It must have been going on for weeks or months because the ceiling disintegrated, the flooring is rotted, and there's all kinds of mold. Fortunately, I have found a very reliable public adjuster and have a couple of good AA friends who can do the repair work--will probably have to submit a claim on my homeowner's policy, which has $500 deductible.

As for the fridge, I figured out where the leak was coming from, and managed to turn off the water supply to the icemaker. Appliance repair dude charges $69 just for the house call, not counting labor and parts. BUT I found the part I needed online, ordered it, and spent all day today fixing it. I had to mess with it a little because I had to figure out how the coupling went together, which involved a bit of trial and error, and I had to go out for one more part that I needed, but it's DONE! No leak, icemaker works!!

Recently, I replaced my stove and range hood, and I installed the range hood myself, too. That turned out to be more of an ordeal than I expected (had to replace some ductwork that pulled loose when the old one came out), but got that done, too. I've also learned how to replace a faucet myself.

Man, I just LOVE it when I can fix something myself. It makes me feel COMPETENT. Now, as I said, hopefully I won't need to trot out any more new skills for awhile....
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Old 06-19-2011, 07:20 PM
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YAY!!! I agree, it makes us feel so good when we can repair or install something on our own, not to mention the enormous savings. Most of the time, it's really not all that hard. I have several home repair books that I've used over the years when various and sundry things have happened around here.

We'll have to get you a tool belt and a hat with your name on the front, so you'll look the part.
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Old 06-19-2011, 07:21 PM
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Good Job! I know what you mean, something is always going kaput at my house. I have become quite handy with the power tools.

We can do it!
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Old 06-19-2011, 07:23 PM
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You rock.

I about had a meltdown putting wheels on the shop vac tonight. You are light years ahead of me, lol.

Glad you got it all fixed and saved some cash too!
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Old 06-19-2011, 07:29 PM
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Fair play to you Lexie!
Jeeze, those are big jobs.
I love Philadelphia! I had the best meal ever in a restaurant called "Rouge" I think.
I also met Joe Frasier, the boxer one night.
Oh the memories, a little clouded from my drinking days though.
I also spent a lot of time in Princeton.
It has to come to a point that all the stuff will be fixed soon.
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Old 06-19-2011, 08:36 PM
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I actually think in case like this it's good to be a codie! Because we end up becoming competent in home repair, save money, and it builds the self-esteem by figuring out and accomplishing something. Watch out though...if you're anything like me you'll soon be acquiring a whole lot of really cool tools!!!
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Old 06-19-2011, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by LaPinturaBella View Post
I actually think in case like this it's good to be a codie! Because we end up becoming competent in home repair, save money, and it builds the self-esteem by figuring out and accomplishing something. Watch out though...if you're anything like me you'll soon be acquiring a whole lot of really cool tools!!!
Oh, believe me, I have some COOL TOOLS. I got to use my Dremel to cut the copper tubing. Actually, when my foundation problem started, I was about to fix up one section of my basement as a workshop. I bought a circular saw and was planning to have one of my guy friends show me how to work it. Then the cracks started in the basement, and I had to postpone everything down there until that gets resolved (it's been two years and it will be at LEAST one more--probably quite a bit longer--before I can get it fixed, as that will involve suing my HOA, owners of the evil retaining wall that is collapsing and taking my house with it). I am happy to say that I had, in my possession and ready when I needed them today, several types of wrenches and pliers, as well as a butane torch and teflon tape. But love that Dremel!!
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Old 06-19-2011, 08:54 PM
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Good for you Lexiecat!

My dad was super handy-man. He's the reason I'm an engineer... When was in my early teens, he gave me a book, "How Does It Work." It explained everything - appliances, pumps, heating/cooling systems... You name it! I learned how everything worked... And because of it, I can fix just about anything! I love that about myself!

And if you're curious... There is a newer version of the book out... Called. "The new way things work" by MacAuley... I highly recommend it
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Old 06-19-2011, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by GettingBy View Post
Good for you Lexiecat!

My dad was super handy-man. He's the reason I'm an engineer... When was in my early teens, he gave me a book, "How Does It Work." It explained everything - appliances, pumps, heating/cooling systems... You name it! I learned how everything worked... And because of it, I can fix just about anything! I love that about myself!

And if you're curious... There is a newer version of the book out... Called. "The new way things work" by MacAuley... I highly recommend it
Ya know, I could SWEAR I once owned that book, but I don't know what happened to it.

Sadly, I didn't get any mechanical inspiration from my Dad. He always tried, but it was a family joke that if he started trying to fix something, all the parts would wind up in a paper bag and going to the repair shop. I did teach myself to tune up my own car back in the day when you could actually TUNE a car by adjusting the timing belt and spark plugs. I remember I once dropped a small screw inside the distributor and my Dad yanked the distributor out to shake out the screw, and when he put it back we couldn't get it to start. He got all ticked off and impatient and called his car-buff friend and they were poking away, ignoring me. I suggested maybe the distributor went back in backwards, and they ignored me, waving me off while they cussed and sweated. Finally I said, can't we TRY turning it around? They finally did, just to shut me up, and guess what.

I wish I'd taken shop in school...
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Old 06-19-2011, 10:41 PM
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Wow how did you do all that... ??

Wonderful work!!!!!!!
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Old 06-19-2011, 11:07 PM
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Well done LexiCat.

Then you wrote this:
Originally Posted by LexiCat
Man, I just LOVE it when I can fix something myself. It makes me feel COMPETENT. Now, as I said, hopefully I won't need to trot out any more new skills for awhile....
How fortunate I came across this and can relate it to my wellness journey out of addiction. I do feel extortionately competent for putting the fix on my addiction illness. And it is exhilarating as it is confidence building, launching me to tackle other aspects of my life that used to baffle me too .
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Old 06-19-2011, 11:27 PM
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Boo rah sister! I am kickin serious butt on DIY projects! And I love it! Such a good feeling to fix or build something. My next project...a small deck off the front porch, complete with railings. I spent the morning laying it all out on paper and pricing wood. Can't wait for the next sunny weekend to borrow a chop saw and get busy!

Awesome - I bow to your greatness!
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post
Boo rah sister! I am kickin serious butt on DIY projects! And I love it! Such a good feeling to fix or build something. My next project...a small deck off the front porch, complete with railings. I spent the morning laying it all out on paper and pricing wood. Can't wait for the next sunny weekend to borrow a chop saw and get busy!

Awesome - I bow to your greatness!
Au contraire, mon soeur. I bow to YOURS.

I haven't yet got the knack for building stuff. I seem to be spacially-challenged--have a hard time visualizing how things fit together--when I try to build, or make something, I spend a lot of time ripping it apart and starting over. I usually find that those kinds of projects are best left to the pros, for me.

I think it's awesomely cool that you can build stuff.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:27 AM
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i bow to both of you with your competence for home improvement....

as a single woman, i know how frustrating it can be...I just thank God that my brother is the manager of a large contracting company owned by his wife's family....a frantic phone call always sends the cavalry (plumber).

I also am very thankful for befriending my neighbor and her significant other...who happens to be a remodel specialist...stone mason, etc. He has done 2 bathrooms (completely gutted to the studs) and an addition to my 30 year old townhouse...and charged me too LITTLE compared to other estimates...and the work is done correctly.

I could not afford to remodel without this help....i am completely clueless. my big claim to fame was once replacing the toilet innards by myself and temporarily fixing a faulty dishwasher hose with duct tape.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:33 AM
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Wow, Lexiecat can I hire you?
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:49 AM
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Well I must admit I shy away from serious plumbing and electrical issues, short of small fixes or replacing old light fixtures. I tried to take down a ceiling fan and put a semi-flush mount fixture up and had to call in my Dad - the engineer - for help. There are some things best left to the pros! Especially those that can flood your house or burn it down!
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Old 06-20-2011, 12:01 PM
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Heh, I must like to live dangerously--I like the plumbing and electrical stuff. I do a lot of online research how to do them safely.

I'll tell you my most harrowing adventure--this was back before I got sober (do NOT attempt a project like this with your brain pickled). I had decided, after an overflowing toilet had damaged my large fluorescent light in the kitchen, to replace it myself. I discovered, too late, how heavy it was. I finally eased it down on top of the stepladder, but couldn't figure out how to get it down without injury. I finally put down blankets and pillows and tipped the whole thing over, and still managed to crack a floor tile.

To hang the new fixture, I cut out a template from the card box, and drilled the holes for the screws through the cardboard taped to the ceiling. Then I used one of those expanding light-changer deals to support one end of the fixture while I fastened the other. I finally managed it successfully, but sheesh, what a dumb thing to try to do in a state of quasi-inebriation--God really DOES look out for drunks, sometimes.

After I got sober I hung some other big light fixtures, and it went a lot more smoothly--go figure!
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Old 06-20-2011, 12:57 PM
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You go girl.
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:39 PM
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Hooray for you LexieCat!!

I love DIY projects. And I just love the feeling I get when I fix something on my own.

There's nothing like it!!

Who needs a girl can't fix her own plumbing issues or hang her own light fixtures???

Psshhhaawwww.......
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:04 AM
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I LOVE that feeling. The 'I fixed it! Hu ahh!' Mine have been kind of small (okay, really small), but after being told I'm dangerous with a tool set. ppppppttttthhhh!

I installed toddler-proof electrical outlets (the kind that you have to slide to plug something in) on a lot of the outlets in our old apartment, tot-locks on the lower cupboards (which, ironically enough, XAH hated, because it put two more steps between him and his hidden stash: find the 'key' then find where the lock was), fixed a clogged disposal and pipes (potatos should not be peeled into a disposal), removed old and re-sealed around the tub enclosure.

Recently, I removed the hard drive from my poor old iBook, installed it in an external HDD case and was able to retrieve the info needed - all without breaking any of the pieces that needed to be removed to get to the drive (almost everything). I could probably put it all back together, too, if there was any point to that.

When DS and I finally get our own place, we'll be building our own 'club' house and installing a zip line (if there are big enough trees). Heck, after the iBook data, I'm feeling like I could at least rough-in the 500 square foot house that I keep doodling, with a bit of direction from Dad. It's the desire for functioning and safe, plumbing, heat, and electrical that gives me pause.

Lexie, and all DYI Project Crews.
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