The joys of home maintenance

Aug 22, 2007 by     9 Comments    Posted under: house, rant

This is the second house I have owned and I’ve come to the conclusion that maintaining a house is like threading beads on a string that has no knot tied on the end. I guess I could say that about kitchens too because just when you get all the dishes done, the counters wiped and everything put away, it’s time to fix another meal. (sigh)

I remember my first night in my very first apartment. I went to the bathroom and there was no toilet paper. That’s when it hit me, toilet paper doesn’t magically appear from an endless roll. Somebody has to go out and buy it then put it on the holder. As a kid living at home these are the sort of things you take for granted – there will always be toilet paper, toothpaste and something edible in the fridge.

When I bought my first house, in the excitement of it all, I don’t think it ever really reached the conscious part of my brain that I’d have to do stuff to keep it going. Yeah, I knew I’d have to dust but it never really dawned on me that owning a house means you have to do things like cleaning out the eaves troughs.

Miss Preen, my high school home economics teacher (gee, do they even teach home ec anymore?), was, I believe, negligent in not telling us that there was more to successfully running a home than knowing how to make a pot roast and sew a button on a blouse.

Maybe I shouldn’t totally blame Miss Preen. After all in those days we were expected to marry some brawny guy who would take care of all the things that required the use of anything other than a 3 speed mixer. Well for some of us life didn’t turn out that way and over the years I’ve had to teach myself how to do simple (and some not so simple) household repairs.

Last night’s project was repairing a part of my kitchen floor. When we moved into the Lakeside Lair Desi, one of my chihuahua-rat terrier dogs, found a seam in the vinyl flooring and started to dig. I came home from work one day to find a large section of the vinyl had been ripped and chewed away. I was thrilled. The floor was icky enough when we bought the place but at least it was in one piece.

I cut that mangled section back and would hide it with a rug when company came but in the last few months the vinyl was starting to curl and it was looking worse and worse as time wore on. So yesterday on my way home from work I stopped in at Home Depot and picked up a few peel and stick tiles.

After supper I gathered my tools (yes sports fans, I do have tools), plopped myself down on the floor and went to work cutting away and squaring off the old vinyl. Then scraping off the paper backing and brittle glue, sweeping things clean and putting the new tiles down. These new tiles look nothing like the old floor but they were the closest in colour and at least now, it looks clean and shiny.

I plan to replace the entire floor next year with a new floating vinyl floor (another DIY project) but I’ll have to wait until I pay off the new roof I’m having installed in two weeks.

Tonight’s projects are two plumbing projects.

Project #1: The shower stall has had an annoying drip. Over the last week or so it’s gotten worse. I figured it might be a washer or something loose in there so this morning, after Lise and I had our showers I took the shower faucet apart and brought the stem and little ball into Home Depot to look for a repair kit. I’ve got a little zip-loc bag in my car with tiny springs and little black rubber washers in it. Tonight I get to play with my set of allen keys and my big monkey wrench.

Project #2: Last night after watching the finale of America’s Got Talent I padded to the kitchen for a snack. While trying to decide if I wanted a peach or a couple of crackers with liverwurst and mustard, I thought I heard water running and that’s never a good thing. I kinda stood there for a moment trying to figure out where the sound was coming from when I realized that it sounded like it was coming from the other bathroom.

When I walked into the bathroom the floor was wet and the toilet was running (so I caught it – ba, da bum! lol). I lifted the lid of the tank and water was squirting everywhere! I shut off the water supply, got the mop and took a look at the innards.

That toilet doesn’t have a ball float but one of those stack-type float contraptions. At the top of that stack is where the water flows into the tank. On my toilet, this is busted. So project number two tonight is to replace my toilet’s innards. I’ve got that kit in the car too so between these projects I’ve got plenty to keep me off the streets and out of pool halls.

Anyway, when you own a house there is always something that needs getting done or fixed. At first the realization can be quite shocking but in time, like any adjustment, you get used to it. Look at me, I actually like going into hardware stores and get a kick out of watching the clerk’s face as I try to describe the thing-a-ma-jig that attaches to the what-cha-call-it that I need to fix the doo-hicky.

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9 Comments + Add Comment

  • LMAO that would be me in a home depot, the whatcha ma call it, lingo. But then I am not mechanically inclined so you wouldn’t see me in a home depot lol

  • Hi Barbara. I really enjoy your blog. I’ve added a link to you on my blog.

    I hope you don’t mind. If you do, just let me know and I will remove it immediately.

    ~Sandy G.

  • Hello there Sandy. Thanks so much for your kind words. Of course I don’t mind the link. I do hope that you will drop by for a visit again.

  • That reminds me so much of after my ex-husband left us – I ripped up the carpets because they were just too awful, bought some peel and stick tiles, and my 8 year old daughter and I laid them together all through the bottom of the house! The end ones were better than the first ones, and the edges were a bit dodgy sometimes, but we felt really proud for doing it.

  • Did you use the stuff to seal the cracks of the stick-on tiles? The reason I ask is because we didn’t know about that stuff when we put it down in the kitchen and the first bathroom. And our dog has missed her pee pad often enough that we’ve had tiles come curling up because of the moisture. We didn’t know there was any sealant stuff until we did the second bathroom and I just happened to see it at Home Depot.

    And you’re so right about all the things that need to be taken care of when one is a homeowner. Makes me sort of miss the old days when I had an apartment and a landlord and a maintenance person would would fix those things!

  • Yes, Rainbow, the tiles look so nice when you first put them on.

    Faith, I didn’t know about that crack sealer stuff. Gotta take another trip to Home Depot! (grin)

  • So did you get your two projects done last night, Barb?

  • Hi Barbara isn’t DIY so much fun. I’ve worked in the operational side of DIY retailing for over twenty years so I’ve got the hang of most jobs.

    A little late hint to help sticking the floor tiles down – warm them up with a hair dryer first, it makes the glue more malleable and sticky.

    Thanks for your recent comment on

    South Shields Daily Photo

  • Funny how all things plumbing seem to do that…I’m on my 2nd or 3rd time around in this house. A few weeks ago the kitchen faucet, now the one in the bathroom is starting to drip. If I recall they went about the same order last time…

    Best of luck with all of them!

    alan