Saturday, January 26, 2008

The epic saga of the leaky faucet and the pregnant woman who attempted to fix it

First off, random aside, thanks to everybody who commented on the drop-side vs. no drop-side for cribs. I have been debating with myself extensively about it, as I can't seem to find any cribs in person with drop-sides that I can try out that aren't convertible cribs and big and of a style that neither Dusey nor I like. But it does seem like a drop-side that worked well would be useful, if I could find one in a non-convertible crib that was also affordable. At this point in time though (or whenever I get around to getting one which may very well be six months from now) I will probably just end up getting an Ikea crib, without drop-sides. They are plain and cute and not too big and affordable and seem relatively sturdy. Maybe I'll find something better with a drop-side before then, though.

Now, on to the main story.

I have developed a hate-hate relationship with our downstairs bathroom sink and faucet. It used to be that I simply didn't like it. It dripped constantly, quickly, wasting massive amounts of water. The sink is one of those part-of-the-counter shell-shaped sorts, and the counter at one point had several swear words scratched into it. The bottom of the sink is scratched and stained a nasty brown color that will not go away no matter how many times I use chlorox on it.

Today, I decided to try to at least fix the dripping problem. It was only dripping from the tip of the faucet, and that's supposed to be the easiest kind of leak to fix. Since it's a ball faucet (single handle, tilting up turns it on, tilting right makes it cold, tilting left makes it hot), all that likely needed replacing was a small spring and rubber seat combo. Cheap. Easy. Totally do-able for a pregnant lady on a day when her husband is at work the entire day, yes?

Now, I know absolutely nothing about plumbing. I have never before attempted to fix anything relating to plumbing at all, other than unscrewing the little filter thing on the end of a faucet to clear it out so that the water would spray downwards again rather than straight out sideways. I've also reached my hand down several garbage disposals to clean them of things that have gotten stuck in them, which I don't mind too much, gross as it is. And I know how to plunge a toilet. And that's the extent of my plumbing experience prior to today. I don't think Dusey knows any more about plumbing than I do, or I would've had him try to fix it another day.

So, I had one of our male friends come over this morning prior to his karate tournament that he was going to, so he could show me how to turn off the water, and explain how to take apart the faucet, and what I needed to get at the hardware store. I had him take a look at one of our toilets also since it was making an almost-constant dripping noise. He showed me how to turn off the water there, too, and took out the flapper inside and explained how it was the source of all problems we have ever had with that toilet, since the flapper was basically falling apart. When he reached inside to take it off the pipe thing, a large piece of it broke off in his hand. Yeah. Oldest toilet flapper he said he'd ever seen. So, I asked some more questions just to make sure I was totally prepared, he gave me a roll of teflon tape just in case (and because he apparently has a lot of it and I had none), I thanked him, and he left.

My first order of business was removing the toilet flapper from another toilet that has been having issues. Its flapper was also old, though not to the point of disintegrating when touched, yet. A flapper, in case you're wondering yet, is a young woman from the 1920's who went against conventional standards of dress and conduct for refined young women. It's also that little piece of plastic or rubber or whatever it is that's circular and stops up the bottom of the toilet tank. When it gets lifted up, the toilet flushes. When it reaches the bottom again, the tank refills. The cheapo kind costs about $3 and comes with its own chain and they're almost all one-size fits all and really really easy to replace. And they're generally the source of the majority of toilet flushing problems, in my limited experience. And if you get a cheapo one, and you live in Arizona, it may not last very long, because the water here is crazy hard (harder than Utah water!) and corrodes everything that it isn't busy building deposits on (though sometimes it both builds deposits and corrodes simultaneously).

With the two flappers removed and safely wrapped in several layers of paper towels, and with the faucet handle removed and clutched precariously on top of the paper towel flapper bundle (so I could show the guys at the hardware store and have them show me which parts exactly I needed to buy), I headed on my way.

I decided that as long as I was going out and about, I might as well stop by the Post Office first, because I've needed to go there for over a month and have been continually putting it off because I've been horribly lazy. But today, I remembered that driving our truck by myself really isn't scary, and discovered that the seatbelt no longer makes my belly horribly uncomfortable, and decided to get the Post Office trip over with. I of course turned down the wrong street, didn't realize it for a bit, flipped a U-turn and drove back up the street, finally realized I was on the street that's a mile north of the right one, worked my way south, and made it to the Post Office twenty minutes after leaving home for what should've been an eight minute drive. I stood in line for the self-service package mailing machine, got my packages all stamped and dumped in the parcel bin, and got back in the truck. Nicole, I am proud to say that your Christmas present is finally on its way. And your birthday present, only 3 months late!

Taking great care to not get all mixed up and on the wrong streets again, I drove carefully to Home Depot. Not, of course, the one that I've been to before. No, I decided to try going to another one, because it might possibly be a minute or two closer to my house, and nobody has ever offered to help me at the one I normally go to, and I knew I was going to be needing help finding what I needed.

I made it, successfully, and without incident.

Inside the store, I wandered around for a long time completely lost as to where to go to find any of the parts I needed (there is one aisle of plumbing apparently that is not with the rest of the plumbing section, and it was that aisle that I needed to be in). I found a pipe wrench thing first. After lots of wandering, I found the mysteriously misplaced plumbing aisle. I moseyed down it slowly, found the sink parts, decided they were entirely too complicated to figure out by myself, and turned around and picked out two new toilet flappers instead on the opposite shelf. I turned back to the sink parts and stared at them some more. I took down some packages and looked at the backs and got increasingly more and more confused. Finally, an entire hour after entering the store, I noticed a small "push to call for help" button right next to where I was standing, so I pushed it. And somebody actually came, a mere minute or two later!

I explained to him about the leaking faucet, showed him one of the parts I thought I needed, asked if it would fit a bathroom faucet despite being labelled as being for the kitchen faucet (he claimed it would), and asked him what other parts I needed (parts for the #70 ball, or for the #212 ball). He handed me a kit with a bunch of parts, told me it would have everything I needed in it, and walked off after I thanked him. I looked at the price of the kit. I looked at the price of the one package of parts (the springs and seats) that I thought I actually needed. I decided I had better just get the single package rather than the whole kit, since it was $6 cheaper. And then I stood there looking befuddled again for awhile, because I really wasn't sure if that one other part that was labelled for the kitchen sink would work for my bathroom sink.

After not too many more minutes, another employee came striding down the aisle, and asked me (he actually asked me without me asking him!) if he could help me find something. So I explained all over again, and he explained precisely which parts I needed, told me to not get the whole kit, and informed me that while the kitchen sink part would probably work on the bathroom sink, I should try to get the part off the bathroom sink first, and if it got ruined in the process I could bring it in and we could compare it and see if the other would actually work as a replacement. And then he explained how to get it off, and handed me a different kit ($2 more than just the springs and rubber pieces, but $4 less than the other kit) that had a useful tool in it as well as all the necessary replacement parts, and talked with me a bit about the toilet flappers and explained how to use the pipe wrench, and sent me on my way. It was the most pleasant hardware store experience I have ever had.

Two hours after leaving home, I arrived back. I installed the flappers (cheap! easy! fixed all my toilet problems!) and ventured downstairs with the kit and my toolbox to tackle the faucet. The handle was already off. The part I hadn't gotten (labelled as being for the kitchen sink) is called the cap. It holds all the other pieces of the faucet assembly in together. It is supposed to unscrew and come off fairly easily. Mine, of course, did not. I put the pipe wrench around it the way the hardware man had told me to. I pulled. I turned it around and tried pushing. I turned it back around and arranged my legs against the under-sink cabinet to achieve maximum leverage and pulled on it as hard as I could. It moved, a tiny, tiny bit. I decided I was going to need to get the replacement kitchen cap after all, because with all my pulling, the existing one was getting seriously scratched. I pulled some more and moved it a tiny bit further. I pulled with all my might, and the entire faucet jerked forward and I heard something clang inside the cabinet.

Bad sign. Nothing should be clanging down inside the cabinet. I opened the doors back up and discovered that not only had one of the huge washers that goes around the water input pipe right under the faucet on the underside of the sink fallen off, but also that something from the hole under the center of the faucet had fallen out, in pieces. That sentence was really long and convoluted. Sorry.

I don't know what it was that fell apart. It looks like it may have been some sort of rubber or plastic thing of some sort. It has been eaten away to the point of unrecognizability to any, I've decided, but the very most experienced plumbers who know what it is that's supposed to go in that spot and can therefore determine what the thing used to be.

I tried to put the washer back on, and got it partway. I disconnected the drain stopper pole. I put WD-40 around the cap and tried to scrape out the little bit of deposits that I could get to between the cap and the faucet. I let the "penetrating oil" sit for a good ten minutes on the faucet cap. I tried putting the wrench back on it, and pulling on it some more while attempting to hold the faucet so it wouldn't move anymore and dislodge anything else. More pieces of whatever-it-was fell down inside the cabinet. The washer also fell off again. I tried to figure out how to take the entire faucet off so that I could get the cap off without breaking everything. I gave up after getting stuff in my eye and overstraining my back muscles and scratching myself on the underside of the sink on both my elbow and a knuckle, and realizing that I had no idea how to disconnect the water pipes from the faucet.

I gave up. Totally and completely. My faucet is partially disassembled. The water to it is turned off. The bathroom smells like WD-40. I left little pieces of things and various tools all over the counter and floor, and stood up, and walked out of the bathroom horribly frustrated that I could not fix something that ought to be easy to fix, that in attempting to fix it I managed to break something else. I was also frustrated because my two tiny scratches hurt and my fingernails were all black and gross. I washed my hands and felt a little better. Then I thought about the faucet again and got more frustrated. I made myself a box of instant chocolate pudding, one of the large 6-serving boxes, and ate over half of it.

I'm feeling much better now, with my stomach full of chocolate pudding. The faucet is still in pieces. My husband will be getting home in 20 minutes, and he will discover me, sitting in my computer chair, with less than half of a huge mixing bowl of chocolate pudding left in front of me, refusing to make dinner, the bathroom still in disarray.

At least the toilets work great now.

Thank goodness for flappers.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I have been so incredibly horribly lazy lately. It's been really bad. I've been doing nothing. Well, I've been doing a couple things, a little laundry here, finishing the dishes there, making a bit of food, going grocery shopping, figuring out things for the baby registery, etc. But most of my time I spend sitting doing nothing (reading stuff, actually, I can't stand sitting actually doing nothing). I should get off my bum and become a normally functioning member of adult human society again.

It is, however, getting increasingly hard to get up off my bum. I never realized before being pregnant how much I relied on my stomach muscles to help my body do simple tasks like sitting up, standing up, and rolling over in bed. They don't work in the same ways anymore now that they're all stretched out over the baby belly, and other parts of my body are having to compensate (mainly my legs and arms) and they aren't too happy about it. Dusey has been nice and has been helping me heft myself out of chairs, and up the stairs, and doesn't complain when I accidentally steal all the sheet in the middle of the night as I attempt to roll over with all my pillows still in place. Rolling over in the middle of the night now requires being awake, I cannot do it in my sleep anymore. It also often requires me to sit up a bit. I'm amazed Dusey sleeps through as much of it as he does.

All of this might make you think that I ought to exercise more, and goodness gracious, but you would be right! We've been going on walks as often as we remember and/or aren't too tired to, so I've been getting little brief bouts of exercise here and there, but I need to start using my Pregnant Pilates DVD from Christmas, or else I'm afraid my muscles might atrophy and I will be completely unable to carry the little baby guy once he gets here.

My difficulties in getting up might also make you think that perhaps I should start cutting down on the sugar. Once again, amazingly, you would be right! If there is anything I have been craving lately it has been sugar, and I have been indulging the craving to no end, which has undoubtedly not been terribly beneficial to my health. But cake! Pudding! Ice-cream! These things are delicious! So, okay, maybe I just need to hold back a bit and eat them in a bit more moderation, rather than eating seven orange rolls in one sitting like I did last week (in my defense, there was not really any other food in the house and I needed to eat *something* for lunch...)

Somehow, despite my lack of exercise and recent poor decisions in regards to diet, I am still right on track for gaining the proper amount of weight. I won't deny that I might have an extra pound or so hanging around my butt and thighs now, but overall I think almost all the weight I've gained is from the little baby guy and the things he needs to support himself. He's been gaining quite a bit of weight recently and has been making my belly grow quite a bit in the last couple of weeks. And he's been kicking me a lot yesterday and today. It's weird to both feel and see my entire belly spasm and wiggle as he moves about. I keep lifting up my shirt (in the privacy of my living room with the blinds down, of course) so I can watch it. As far as I can tell, he seems pretty healthy. Sometimes he won't move much at all for a week or two and I start to get worried that something is wrong, but then he'll have a day or two of moving like crazy, and my fears are allayed. I've decided to attribute his long stretches of quiet resting to large growth spurts. He's using up all his energy growing and growing and growing, and then, when he's finally done growing for a little bit, he spends a couple days trying out his newly improved muscles and making sure they're all working right before he hunkers back down to the business of getting bigger.

All of his growing has led to an event that I knew somewhere, in the back of my head, was bound to eventually happen. My cute little innie belly button is now an outie. I'm not particularly disturbed by this, as I'm hoping it will revert back to its original state post-birth, and in the meantime it's interesting to look at a part of myself that I couldn't ever see before. It does make a funny bump sometimes though through some of my shirts, and I'm still not too keen on the idea of the rest of the general populace noticing my belly button one way or the other. I've been relying on camisoles to keep it hidden, but I might have to invest in a belly band soon, as the camisoles are getting to be too small to stay around my middle.

I've also developed "the waddle." I've been working on perfecting this for several months now, and I think I've finally got it down. For those times when I am feeling supremely lethargic and limp, it is much easier to shift my weight from side to side as I move slowly forward than it is to maintain a brisk forward momentum while lifting my legs normally. I don't particularly mind waddling, it reminds me of penguins, and Mary Poppins, and tiny fat fuzzy yellow baby birds, all of which are cute and adorable things, which makes me think that my waddling must be cute and adorable too. It certainly makes my husband laugh.

He also laughs almost every time he actually notices my belly. "Look! You have a pregnant belly!", he'll chortle, to which I generally respond, "Yep." He occasionally takes great care in pointing out that, look at that, I'm pregnant. I find his amazement in the increasing size of my belly rather funny. As long as we continue to amuse each other, I can't help but think that we're doing pretty well.

Dusey, dearest husband that he is, has been substituting lately. Yes, he's been doing his normal substitute teaching, but he's also been doing some substituting for me. He substitutes the use of his muscles for mine as he helps heft me out of chairs at least once a day. Today, he had a substitute craving for me, as he helped himself to a packet of Taco Bell hot sauce as a snack. By itself. Because hot wings sounded really good. Now, hot wings sound really good to me too right now, nevertheless, I have yet to find the urge to eat them strong enough to make me want to guzzle Taco Bell sauce. If it ever does get to that point though, I suppose I at least have a quick fix available to me now without making him go buy me hot wings. Well, as long as the hot sauce packets we picked up on our last Taco Bell trip last for.

I actually haven't found most of the side effects of the third trimester thus far to be very frustrating. Waking up repeatedly during the night just to roll over makes me tired, sure, but I can always take a nap. It may be hard to get out of my chair, but I have a darling husband who's generally willing to help me with it anytime he's home. There is one thing, though, that is starting to get bothersome. I can't bend over anymore. This is mainly only problematic when it comes to putting on shoes. Real shoes, of the sort I can't just slip my feet into while standing up. If I am attempting to put my shoes on while standing up, I have to have something to hold on to and lean on while I try to move my leg up and sideways to the side of my belly until I can finally reach my foot and pull that last bit of shoe over my heel. Sitting down while putting my shoes on is much easier, though I have to do the side bend now more often than not. I can almost always wear my flip-flops (or my slides if it's a Sunday), so even shoe-putting-on is not too big a deal yet. I am afraid, however, that shaving my own legs will soon be completely impossible as Le Belly gets more and more in the way.

I've been thinking a lot about what I want to have for little baby guy once he gets here, and what I actually need to have for him, and so on. I think I would've started buying quite a lot of it by now, except people keep telling me to wait to buy things, since I'll undoubtedly get a lot of it when I have a baby shower. The one difficulty with that is, nobody has offered to throw me a baby shower yet, and I'm certainly not going to throw one for myself. I'm not terribly worried about it, there's still three months left of pregnancy which I'm well aware is quite a long time. I am considering starting to buy a few things myself now though, as I think it would be easier on the budget to get one or two little things I know I'll need every couple weeks for the next few months rather than having to go buy it all at once after the baby's here (assuming a shower doesn't happen). That reminds me, I still need to fill out the paperwork for the hospital and sent it to them, as well as go and take a tour of their maternity ward, so that we'll be all prepared (and they'll be expecting us) once Baby Guy decides to make his grand entrance a few months from now.

In closing, I would like to request the opinions of anybody who might have an opinion on the following issue. Drop-side cribs: yes or no? (I would prefer a more-than-one-word response, but if you don't feel like it, I'll satisfy myself with just a yes or no.)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

I've come to the realization (again?) that my blog is horribly boring. This is due in part to the fact that my life lately has been rather boring, and that when it is not full of enforced boringness (due to being sick with a cold that manifested itself almost entirely through extreme fatigue), I am lazy and fill it with boring on my own. It's only partially due to that, though, and is mostly due to the fact that I cannot seem to make an interesting cohesive and coherent story out of anything that happens to me lately. My thought process is disjointed and rambling and has a tendency to just throw thoughts together helter-skelter and that comes out quite obviously in my writing. I don't tend to write any sort of set-up unless it's extremely long and rambly. There generally isn't a climax. And denouement and a nice little conclusion where everything gets all wrapped up in a pleasing yet thought-provoking way have been straight-out lately. I am not managing to write. I am only managing to summarize my thoughts and the happenings of my day, and its not much of an entertaining summary at that. And I have utterly sucked at responding to people's comments on my blog lately.

So, I'm sorry.

And now, back to your normal summarizing.

I have been "out sick" which made me go from doing very little to doing pretty much nothing for most of the week. Things I did despite being sick: some dishes, going out to eat (more so I wouldn't have to cook than anything), and a trip to watch the drag races. Yes, they have a drag-racing race track here. It costs money to participate, and less money if you just want to watch (which is certainly all we wanted to do, as our car is not pimped out and drag racing it doesn't entice me much even if it were). Dusey practiced taking pictures of the cars. I messed around with my point and shoot camera a bit. Overall, it wasn't very exciting. I did get to see a beautifully blue Skyline (right-side steering wheel and all). With apparently "hot" plates. We tried to come up with various theories as to why they had a very expensive imported sports car with illegal plates at the drag races, which made it a bit more exciting, but not much, as we ultimately decided it wasn't likely anything more interesting than that the plates did not belong to that car. So much for my grand entrance into a life of mystery and intrigue.

I also read Howl's Moving Castle (and its sequel, whatever its name is) yesterday and today and a bit of Saturday as well. Highly enjoyable. And I'm feeling much more recovered today than on previous days so maybe I'll actually accomplish something (like the laundry or the dishes or that trip to the post office that I still haven't gotten around to yet or sewing hats for the online craft store thingy (nothing so interesting as selling crafts in an actual craft store), or the quilt that I started on last March and haven't finished yet, or picking a baby name, or getting any baby stuff, or who knows what else). Or maybe I'll only succeed in making dinner and being pleased at having done something at all today in my boring and lazy life.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Picnics and sweets sound nice right now

I neglected to wish you all a Happy Three Kings Day on the 6th. My apologies.

My cold that I've had for the past week and a half has been getting progressively worse the past few days. Yesterday and today it's left me completely wiped out. I have been trying to be semi-productive anyway. So yesterday I did a bunch of laundry and today my only goal for myself is to make some food for my hubby to eat. Nicole, I got your present, and it is fabulous and adorable (and I can't wait for kiddo to wear that onesie next winter). Thank you so much! I still haven't sent either your Christmas nor your birthday present. I remain a bum who never goes to the post office.

Our breadmaker is having serious issues today. It has always kneaded the bread rather violently, but today it has gotten to the point of throwing the bread pan off its track during kneading, so then I hear horrible knocking noises and scratching noises and clanging noises (because it's still on enough at the bottom to be kneading the bread) as the pan bangs against the sides of the interior of the bread maker. I have had to reseat it about eight times so far. I need to figure out if there's anything I can do to stop it from doing that to itself.

I hope I don't get my poor Hubsyman sick. I am worried that he already caught my cold, as he was up last night for several minutes while trying to fall asleep, coughing and hacking and generally sounding miserable.

I don't know how so many people manage to cook normal meals for themselves and their families when they're sick. I am alread exhausted, thinking about cooking dinner makes me feel more exhausted. I am going to do it anyway, because it is my only goal for today, but man, if we had a slightly larger amount of disposable income each month, we'd be eating out every day this week (we've already eaten fast food a couple times this week). I should go buy one of the two cold medicines I'm allowed to take probably so I can feel up to doing stuff again.

Dusey's been getting home a little earlier than before from the Apple store this past week. It's been very nice getting to see him at 8:30pm rather than not until 10:30 or 11pm.

Oh, I just remembered something else I need to go to the Post Office to mail off. I should probably make that my goal for tomorrow. Go to the Post Office. I also need to sew some stuff for the craft store again.

Ah! Almost forgot. Our recipe website's URL has changed. It is now (with an a between the k and the d where there wasn't one before...getting the correct URL was one of my Christmas presents from Dusey). I don't think the old URL will work for much longer. One of these days we'll get our upload program for it working on our laptop again and I will add some more recipes into it.

Our new Primary class for this year is huge when compared to the end size of our class last year. There's nine kids in there, and we have by far the biggest class in the Senior Primary. They seem like good kids so far. It's nice having so many kids in class again, there's more people to answer questions and less direct competition between the kids for who gets to be at the front of the line to go to Sharing Time, etc.

I hope you're all having a pleasant New Year so far.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Currently Listening: Beyond the Bounds

Well, I didn't win the contest, but whatever. Plenty of people around here that I can borrow movies from to watch.

I hope you all had a fabulous holiday break. I certainly did. We had a very nice Christmas, and received some very nice presents, which we've been using quite a bit since getting them. Dusey got a camera and an iPhone and I got a vacuum and new computer speakers. We got other small presents too, which have been very nice. My vacuum is really cool, it is fun to use. I got myself a Pregnant Pilates DVD which I tried out today that's a really good workout and will hopefully keep me in shape for the next four months. I also got myself a new paperback book - A Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan. I'm very excited to read it.

Between Christmas and New Years, my mom and younger siblings came down to visit, which was lovely. We did lots of stuff while they were here and it was the most I've been out and about consecutively in months. We went and saw Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesen West complex, which was very cool, and went to the Phoenix Art Museum which is always nice to visit. We checked out the Arizona Science Center, which I loved, though the rest of my family thought it was more geared towards little kids. We also went to the Arizona Natural History Museum, which had lots of cool minerals and dinosaur bones and I got to pan for gold while we were there, which was fun, though the water was freezing (pyrite, not real gold, btw). And we went to Mesa Golfland, which I always enjoy. And we played my little brother's new board game that he got for Christmas, Ticket to Ride, the Europe version, which was lots of fun, and we played our new card game that we got for Christmas, Citadels, which was also fun. And I went shopping with my mom, which I haven't gotten to do in ages. Anyway, it was really busy but thoroughly enjoyable, and I loved getting to see them again.

For New Years Eve we went to the Tempe block party with a friend and saw the BareNaked Ladies in concert for about an hour before we decided to go back to our friend's house for the actual New Year. Once back at his house we popped some confetti-shooting poppers, ate ice cream, and they played some games while I more or less fell asleep sitting up on the couch.

Oh, I also got a new niece during the holiday break. She's quite cute. And she reminds me that I've still got four months left to go which seems like a long time. Little guy has been growing a lot and my belly is finally big enough that people at church are noticing that I'm for sure pregnant and not just wearing big shirts on Sundays.

Doing pilates always makes me want to eat yogurts and salads. If I keep it up, I will have to start buying lots of yogurts and salads for myself to eat after every workout. Smoothies also sound delicious. I'm going to be so sore tomorrow. I also caught a cold over the holidays, so maybe I will just stay in bed tomorrow and nurse my nasal passages as well as my sore muscles. :P I need to go to the Post Office in the next couple days and mail some stuffs.