Ralph Melton (ralphmelton) wrote,
Ralph Melton

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House Repair

Today, while Lori went off to a bridal shower, her father came over and helped me work on the house.

We stuffed foam insulation up the chimney to keep from losing heat up there.

We figured out how to get to the bedroom radiator, but didn't have the radiator key to bleed it.

He caulked shut the mail slot in the back door, which should reduce that draft.

We installed the new dryer exhaust duct that I'd gotten for the purpose of being able to move the dryer back in order to be able to open the door from the laundry room to the outside. This was a lengthy process, which involved fighting through rosebushes to clean out the dryer vent through the wall, realizing it needed to be replaced, trekking off to the hardware store to get a new one, fighting rosebushes some more to install it, and so forth. After much labor and some swearing, we got the new duct installed--and discovered it didn't let us move the dryer back at all. In fact, we didn't think that it would be possible to move the dryer back far enough to open the door.
So, we moved the washer to the other side of the utility sink, and moved the dryer away from the door. This should work; I'll still be able to put plenty of shelves in there to make it a large pantry.
We looked at the cracked lining of the bathtub that my father had installed, and we decided that since it couldn't form a perfect seal, it couldn't be much beside a mildew farm. So I ripped out that lining, and we'll clean out the mildew; on Les's next visit, we'll recaulk that.

We replaced some of the missing ornate screws in the kitchen cabinets, and Les showed me how to use toothpick pieces to compensate for the stripped threads. (Later that night, I stopped in a hardware store that had those fancy hinges with those ornate screws that we're missing--but the screws were only available with the hinges. It might be a worthwhile buy anyway.)

We didn't get to any of the varnishing we'd planned.

We left the installation of the programmable thermostats I bought for me to do. (I have high hopes that they may pay for themselves in a single winter.)

All in all, it was a fairly productive day.

Most of these jobs that I said 'we' on were actually Les doing the work, with me standing by trying to look helpful. In the short term, I'm happy with this--he's much better with a caulking gun than I am, for example. Over the long term, though, I would like to become as handy as Les and my father are.

As we drove to the hardware store, Les pointed to a place by the river and told how as a kid, he would climb down an electrical tower into the guarded steel mill, run across the railroad tracks, and then go swimming in the Monongahela (at a time when the Monongahela was fierce enough that you could easily smell when someone had been swimming in it). Then he'd go back the same way, and feel indignant when his mother raised hell with him for doing so.
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