Dad’s Friday Night Honey-Do

Connie probably gets nervous when I post on her blog, but I remind her that although she posts almost everything here, didn’t she intend it to be a record of our family? In any case, in our ongoing efforts to make this house more livable, I took care of a few honey-dos last night. First, since we got here, we’ve been going crazy with the lack of lighting. This house feels like it’s out of the 70’s, with almost no built-in lighting. I know some people like the “intimate” feel of lamps, but to me, they’re just a pain, and a cheap cop-out for not building them in. Anyway, we took care of the kids’ rooms right away when we moved in, but we’ve been getting by with only a small night-stand lamp in our room. You’d think that after four months we’d quit flipping the wall switch every time we walk in the room. Aubrey hates to go into our room by herself at night because it’s dark and you have to walk through it to turn on a light. Well, while we are at Home Depot, I put my foot down 🙂 and “made” Connie pick out a lamp. Much better:

The kitchen faucett in this house was this ugly fixed U-shaped thing. It would rotate, but without a separate sprayer, it was a major pain to wash big dishes by hand, clean out the sink, etc. We had ordered a pull-out sprayer faucett for our house in Nevada, but the renters managed to find a part and get it fixed, so we had them send the new one to us. I needed a couple of adapters or hoses for it (which was the reason we went to Home Depot in the first place), but overall the installation ended up being easier than I expected. I had some minor trouble with water leaks at first, but that’s because I get nervous about breaking things and am hesitent to tighten them too much (and had to find a missing O-ring I dropped on the floor). Anyway, here is the (much improved) result:

While I was under the sink, I found my next project. Tell me, does this look safe to you:

I grabbed an “old work box” while I was out, I think if I can find the right breaker this will cost me about $1 to fix right.

I’ve already fixed/corrected several annoyances with the wiring in this house. Somebody who lived here before was fond of dimmer switches. Not only do they not work with (and quickly burn up) fluorescent bulbs (which is about all you can find any more), but whoever put them in did crazy things like replacing one end of a 3-way switch with a dimmer. If you don’t know, a 3-way switch is where you have a hall light or something with two or more switches, so you can turn it on or off on either side. In this case, it was the light over the stairs, and has been an issue since we moved in. If the dimmer switch was off, the upstairs switch couldn’t turn the light on, and vice versa. Not only that, I’m not entirely sure the way it was wired was safe.

Connie ordered some fabric the other day to make pillows for her couches, so she grabbed some matching curtains for the living room last night too. It’s Saturday morning now, and I got them hung between Conference sessions. She whipped up the pillow cases and is on her way to get pillows now. I’ll let her take some pictures and do a post on that later. She also ordered some big prints of our kids’ pictures (the last ones our Nevada friend Linda did for us in Virginia City) from Costco, so we can get those up shortly and make things feel more like home.

We still need to get a can or two of paint to fix up one yucky wall in the front room, and some touch-up around the rest of the house. I’ve asked the landlord for one a couple of times, and well, they’ve pretty much ignored me. Same as with the ice maker, the one in the fridge is busted and they just ignored me when I asked about it, so we have an Amish ice maker at our house now. He works well most of the time, occasionally he forgets.

I’ve done lot’s of minor repairs since we moved in, such as replacing the inacurate old thermostat with a much better (working) digital model ($6), getting a gas line installed for the dryer, even nailing and hot-gluing the shingles back on over the garage (hey, it worked great for now, and should only have to last one season or so :-). The low-flow toilets clog all the time with five kids, but I guess that’s why we have a “plumber man” in the house (plungers are cheap, and it gives me a ritual to follow every night when I get home from work). I can’t afford to replace the flooring (nor would I necessarily make that kind of investment in a home that’s not my own), which is the most major complaint we won’t be able to fix. We’re just doing everything to make this a home and enjoy it.

As long as major things don’t break, there are advantages to having a landlord like this. We know they will never stop by, never complain about the dog, etc.. Every day the house gets in nicer shape when we moved in. I want it to be nice for us while we’re here, because it is our home for now. And well, I guess I’ll try to follow the Golden Rule or Scout Promise or whatever you want to call it and leave things better than the way I found them.