Small Improvements: Bathroom Sink Faucet

Small improvements — that’s all we can hope to make over a weekend (or two).

The old faucet and drain (hell) hole.

So I went out and bought a cheap faucet.  I know it’s not a good idea to buy cheap plumbing fixtures, but…  I’ll leave it at that.

There is a lot to spend money on right now, and I wasn’t interested in making a permanent decision for the sink/vanity area.  And it’s not like it was really, really cheap.  It was Price Pfister, so it’s about as cheap as you can get while still having a recognizable name.  (It has a plastic drain assembly. PLASTIC.)

The first thing you need is to make sure you have tools.  Not just any tools, but the right tools.  And maybe some help.

Meet Sam, plumber’s helper.

According to the enclosed instructions, the average estimated time for installing this lavatory faucet is 60 minutes. This does not include the time to remove the old faucet.  “This estimated time will vary depending on many variables such as the install application, the skill level of the installer, the type of plumbing, the type of tools used, etc.”  Considering my skill level was nil, the types of tools were questionable (“honey, do we have a really big wrench for removing the drain?”), and because of my special helper, I expected this project to take at least 360 minutes.

We spent a lot of time not getting things done.

And it just might have.

The new faucet (and drainstopper!).

(There are various tips I can provide, such as: if the guy at the hardware store hands you a tub of plumber’s putty, make sure it works with the materials in your faucet, such as, PLASTIC.  If not, you’ll inevitably call around to your friends looking for the right caulking to borrow.  (Particular young guy at hardware store doesn’t like his job, I imagine. Find one of the older gentlemen there instead.) Also, sometimes there just isn’t the clearance behind the sink for the drain assembly levers and pulleys and all those little gizmos that make it work, so you’ll end up purposely gouging a hole in the wall beneath your sink so the lever can operate (somewhat) smoothly. Oh and, what the hell? How do big ol’ men with big ol’ hands and big ol’ fingers actually do this easily? I imagine they have craftier tools than our wimpy pliers and wrenches.  Also, if you find yourself holding the flashlight in your mouth while wedged under the sink trying to tighten a nut with said wimpy pliers? Get a better flashlight that can stand independently as a lantern. Thank goodness I finished this project a couple months ago. I’m not sure I could fit my belly under there these days.)


Spring Flowers

We have a lot of flowers, wild and not, that have popped up the last couple months.  Funny thing is that I don’t remember any flowers when we were looking to buy the house a year ago.

Spanish bluebells, snapdragons,white and purple calla lilies (everywhere!), salvia, lilacs and more.

Peonies, more snapdragons, scarlet pimpernell, star of bethlehem, irises, our neighbor’s snowball bush or something or other which hangs over our fence and some flowers to name another day…

Also — grape hyacinth, naked ladies (coming in July!), wild garlic and onions, poppies and lots of mysterious plants growing all over.

Back Porch (Phase 1)

The first thing I absolutely needed to do after we moved in was to remove the windows and broken glass from the back porch.  First we removed the chain link gate, and various fasteners (rope, wire, bungee cords, nails and screws), and then Ben took out the window.

Months passed and rain fell and still we weren’t sure what to do.  Removing the whole structure seemed daunting, and then… then we would have no rain cover at all after stepping off our back porch.  But last month, when the sun came and the yard warmed up, I knew we needed to open the space.

We found that most of the structure was built well, and though it was ugly, I wanted to somehow save it and make it work for us. There seemed to be some additions that were an afterthought — “let’s close up the space” type of thought.  Phase 1 was to remove the afterthought.

Most of the fiberglass sheeting removed from front section of shed. Ben and Sam and Booker playing baseball in the background.


External view. Not shown: Sam and Ben and Booker playing baseball.


Matthew removing nails. Booker and Sam and Ben playing baseball in the background.


Yay! Ben took down the frame and cut the fiberglass sheeting roof with a sawzall (we’re not ready to take off the roof yet).

It’s looking better.

Look at the hidden bricks I found under the grass!

However, now… the sky is falling.

Welcome to Northern California.


The Roses Are Blooming

Never having much success with rose bushes in the various rentals over the years, I wasn’t expecting much after pruning the roses.  But many of the bushes grew lush leaves.  And then there were hundreds of rose buds.

Many many many.

And now there are the blooms.

Some bushes still haven’t bloomed. Can’t wait to see the other colors.

It’s hard to take photos of the bushes themselves.  Here are a few before yesterday’s deadheading.

The first bloomers.