Over the past week or so, I’ve been using a new tool. It’s a SKIL 360 Quick-Select. I own five drills and this tool is very different because it features a bit magazine that auto loads the bit for you. Neat, right? It’s very convenient for DYI projects and fixing things around the house. No more wasting time searching for the correct bit. Thanks to SKIL, a reader of my dad blog can win the new 360 Quick-Select power screwdriver.
Did you know Delta Faucet wants to help dads upgrade their thrones with their new Corrente Toilet? It’s true and that is today’s topic. Toilets. I’m writing about toilets because I am taking part in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Delta Faucet. BTW, I will receive a promotional item as a thank you for participating. As always, the opinions expressed are mine and I am not obligated to write a positive review.
The kids and I can’t wait until ParaNorman [Facebook | Twitter] opens in theaters on August 17th. When it comes to ParaNorman, I’m a little bias for a couple of reasons. First, the 3D stop-motion animation was made in the Portland area. Unlike LA, a lot of films are not made in our city. The second reason I’m high on ParaNorman is because my daughter and I went on a tour at LAIKA Studios a few months ago, and we got a behind-the-scenes look at ParaNorman. BTW, LAIKA is also the animation studio that created Coraline.
Are you guys ready for summer? Wednesday is the last school day for our kids. Our children will probably drive us crazy at times, but the summer is a good time to just hang out with the kids. The weather is nice and it’s so relaxing when you don’t have to deal with the hectic school schedule. We also have a few road trips plan for this summer. We told our children about the trips. Right off the bat, my kids said they’re going to tell their friends about the trips. No! Please don’t tell your friends until after we’re returned. When you go on vacation, the last thing you want to do is broadcast it to everyone. I don’t think my kids’ friends with break in, but unscrupulous people might over hear the dates we’re going to be out of town. This is actually the topic of today’s post: tips for securing your home when you go on vacation.
Earth Day is just around the corner so I thought I would share a DIY project I did recently. A few months ago I created some insoles from an old sheet of foam. I’m not positive about this, but I think the hospital gave us the foam when our last child was born three years ago. I saved the foam instead of throwing it in the garbage because I figure I could use if for something someday. Well now I have. I created a pair of insoles for my boots and another pair for my slippers. Why spend $10 to $20 on new insoles when you can make new ones by recycling old foam?
Checkout the MusicLite wireless LED light speaker combination in the photo below. The MusicLite features a 10-watt LED cluster (65-watt equivalent) and a 25-watt wireless high fidelity speaker. The device screws into a standard light socket. Nice! I’ve wired our TV room for surround sound and I can tell you it’s not a lot of fun. Snaking speaker wires through an insulated wall can be frustrating and crawling underneath the house is zombie creepy (I think our house was built on top of a graveyard). The MusicLite LED light and wireless speaker system would make a great gift for Father’s Day. Unfortunately, the MusicLite will not be available until this fall.
I painted our living room last summer and I ran into trouble when I had to paint the walls above the stairs. Our living room wall is 16′ high so painting the wall along the stairs is a pain in this daddy’s behind. Anyways, I did manage to paint the walls above our stairs and I thought I would share some options with you do-it-yourself dads and moms out there.
Painting Stairs Walls Options
If you’ve got the money, save yourself the trouble and hire a professional painter to paint the high stairwell for you.
Rent a scaffold from a place like Home Depot.
Purchase a ladder leveler for $90.
You can place one end of a plank on a step ladder and the other end on the stairs.
Place the extended legs of a folding table on the lower part of the stairs and the folded legs on a higher part of the stairs (see photo below).
I discovered this summer you can recycle your old fluorescent bulbs and batteries at Home Depot. As some of you dads and moms know, batteries and fluorescent bulbs are considered hazardous waste in most places. Fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, and batteries contain funky metals and acids. Once the casing is broken, the dangerous materials leak out. Lead, mercury, cadmium, and other elemental metals that are disposed in landfills and incinerators do not disappear. Instead they end up in the water and soil. With incinerators, the hazardous waste ends up in air emissions and ash. Then the earth melts and there won’t be any more Disney movies.
In our area, you can’t recycle fluorescent bulbs and batteries with the regular recyclables. And the garbage company won’t recycle them for you. Before Home Depot came along, I had to give the bad stuff to people in funny suits at the hazardous waste facility on Mars (it’s really far away because no one wants hazardous waste near their home for some reason). Now thanks to Home Depot, I can recycle my fluorescent bulbs and batteries easily. Once again, dad has saved the earth for his kids. You’re welcome kids and future grandkids.
Take a look at the two stud finders below:
Let me explain. The basic Zircon stud finder is OK for locating studs, but the Zircon Multiscanner can also identify metal pipes and electrical wires. Guess which one I used recently. That’s right, I used the basic version. It beeped to tell me I found a stud. I drilled a hole, but instead of making a 1/8″ hole in a stick of lumber, I punctured a hot water pipe. Did you know a million gallons of water can shoot out from an itty bitty hole? Even after I turned off the main water valve, water was still gushing out for over ten minutes.
There’s nothing like calling a plumber after hours for an emergency. For only an hour of work, he charged me an arm, a leg, and my left testicle. Ouch! I think I’m in the wrong business. Even in a recession, people still need plumbers (especially if you don’t know how to weld). BTW, did you know that some companies are still charging an energy surcharge fee even though gas prices has dropped by half since last year? It’s true, I see a $19 energy surcharge fee at the bottom of my $340 repair bill.
Wait, there’s more. Our digital converter remote has mysteriously disappeared. It was sitting on the window sill right next to the broken pipe. At first, we thought one of our kids took it, but they said they didn’t. We looked for the remote everywhere and it still has not shown up after several days. The repairman was nice so I don’t think he stole it. Plus, why would anyone want to steal a remote? I don’t have proof of this, but my male intuition is telling me the plumber probably knocked off the remote when he opened the windows during the welding phase. Then either the remote fell into his tool box or he accidentally put it in his tool box when he was getting ready to leave. Either way, I’m out $340, a remote, and my manliness.
Are parents suppose to pass down home repair skills to their kids? Someone please check the daddy manual for me. I’m asking because my dad didn’t teach me anything about maintaining a home and our house is falling apart. I find myself learning as I go — sometimes with disastrous results (pay no attention to the big hole in the wall). I’m not sure why my dad didn’t teach me how to be a handyman. I suppose it could be because my dad hired people for most major repairs. Back in the dark ages, Home Depot and Lowe’s didn’t exist and people couldn’t go online for do-it-yourself information.
My lack of home repair experience could also be because I rarely saw my dad when I was growing up. He worked the night shift (5 pm to 2 am) at a Chinese restaurant six days a week (including holidays — except for Christmas). He was asleep when I left for school and gone by the time I came home. What repairs my dad did make were made during school hours.
So here I am, a few centuries later, dealing with one home repair after another. Recently, my house was making a weird humming sound. I have never not heard a pipe hum, but if I did, it would sound like my house. Like any clueless dad, I just ignored it. It’ll just go away by itself. But after a few days, the house was still humming and it was humming loudest in one of the bathrooms. It got so loud in the bathroom, I thought a pipe was going to explode.
After I consulted my friend, Google, I determined that the problem was because the ballcock in the toilet needed to be replaced. Talk about awkward. Try asking someone at Home Depot where they keep their ballcocks. And don’t bother trying to describe it. It’s a ball about the size of two fists and it has a long shaft sticking out of it. I wonder who came up with the name “ballcock” and what he was thinking of at the time.
Replacing the ballcock is actually fairly simple:
- Turn off the water shutoff valve below the toilet tank
- Flush the toilet
- To remove the remaining water in the tank (not the bowl), you can either use a sponge to soak up the water or place a bucket under the supply tube inlet
- Unscrew the supply tube from the bottom of the tank
- Remove the bad ballcock and replace it with a new one
- Reconnect the supply tube to the tank
That’s it. I recommend purchasing a combo kit that also includes tank bolts and flapper. You might as well replace them too while you have the tank drained. I speak from experience. Last year, I drained the tank to replace the tank bolts. This year, I drained it to replace the ballcock. Next year, I’ll probably have to drain it again to replace the flapper.