Month: February 2016

Uglyfixing™ recalcitrant appliances

Uglyfixing. I think I’m gonna trademark that, ’cause I’m really good at it. At least, everything I fix seems to look ugly as a tornado on a hot summer’s day.

This time it was the vacuum cleaner. The part where the handle attaches has a weak spot because there’s a carry-slot under it, and one day it just gave out. The back part that included the handle came off, and it tore the electrical connections out, too. I got sparks, smoke, and smell, all at once! Exciting day!

Fortunately, the electrical connectors are the plug-in kind with the plastic sleeves around them, so I plugged them back together (and yes, I unplugged the thing from the wall first) and turned it on. It still worked, so I beat it down to Hardware Sales to find something to fix it with. Enter Ridiculously Strong Repair Wrap, stage right. (Apparently it does have a real name: FiberFix.) Hardware Sales only had the 4″-wide version, so that’s what I got. Two-inch would have been easier to deal with and given me a better seal, but you work with whatcha got.

This morning, I donned the black gloves that came with it (a bit sinister, methought), RTFM, wrapped it tightly around the busted part, and held it in place while it cured.

Here’s the finished vacuum: ugly but functional. My trademark, I’m tellin’ ya.


The rest of the day has gone to so-far-futile attempts to resurrect the paper shredder (why do they always die at tax time?) and after that comes replacing the rear blinker lights on the car. I’m sure that will be A Ton of Fun, so stay tuned, kiddies!

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Sweat, as they say, equity

My deck has needed work for a long time, having largely been held together by the great glops of paint I’ve put on it.

So when I saw my neighbors having some work done on theirs, I hustled over to ask about the guy who was doing the work.

Medium-sized story short, he’s going to put treated wood panels with wire filling all around my deck for not a lot of money. He said he’d be happy for me to help, since that would hold costs down and let him work faster. “Help” to me meant “be a gopher and fetch-and-carry when you’re told.”

This morning, I got his quote, and his definition of “help” is “you’ll do all the demolition.”

Ooops! I looked out there and thought, “Geeeeeeminnies, that’ll take me two weeks once I figger out how to take it apart!”

So I called my handy neighborhood Help Line (it’s pretty cool; we all pitch in to help the others with what we can do that they can’t) and one of our guys was down here within a few hours. I was still expecting it to take a week, but here it is two hours later and all the demolition is done, except for carrying all the trash up to the street, which I will do in smaller trips when I go up there. And I did a good portion of it myself (probably about half) and learned some new things to boot. Awesome, eh?

It certainly gives me a new perspective on the phrase “open view of the forest”:

There is a double-banger ton of junk to take upstairs, some of which I cut into smaller pieces to make it easier to carry. That’s going to take a while (because I’m not going up and down the stairs 42 times in a row, loaded) and I’ll have to bang all those teeny finish nails in the little pieces in (or pull ’em out) so I don’t give myself tetanus:


And just because I’m tickled to have learned how to get deeply banged-in headless nails out of stuff, here are a bunch of the nails I pulled out (my handy neighborhood friend did the screws. I have not mastered screws. I may never master screws).

And that is all. Today is the lunar new year, and I am going out for yummy Chinese food tonight, and it has been a reasonably good. day. So there.

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