Sunday, October 21, 2012

Plumbing Isn't Pretty... here are some slightly more inviting images that have nothing to do with plumbing for you to look at while I tell you my tale of "plumbing for genius".
These pretty pink periwinkles kept me company, making me happy even when the view under the kitchen sink wasn't quite so lovely.

There is something to be said for saving money on do-it-yourself repair and replace. It doesn't seem to matter that nearly every time I attempt such feats in the realm of plumbing that it feels a little like banging my head against the wall. Still, I persist.

Call me stubborn. I like to overcome. But is it really a "win" when the hours invested close in on the double digit mark and I have to make repeat trips to the store for parts or to return what I bought the first time around and repurchase the correct part when all I want to do is be done? Well, I come from a competitive family. In this case it's me against me. When there is no one else to compete with, I go against the clock or the plumbing or the me who would rather hum a happy tune while I paint furniture and try to ignore the sound of water dripping in the background. Eventually the desire to rinse water down the drain without having it slosh all over the inside of the cabinet below causes me to buck up and take the challenge.

So I did both; the plumbing and the other stuff. A person can only "plumb" for so long when they haven't a clue what they are doing. Such things take time. A person will also have to get some other things done, like this:



I made a card for my son's birthday. He's across the country and won't be with us for his birthday. Yes, as you can see, I had some stamping goobers happen, but it's the love, the time and the checks we enclosed inside that count, right?

So after clearing out the cabinet under the sink and cleaning as if I had to stick my head and half my body in there (which of course, I did) - enough of a project in and of itself to consider myself a project saint, I went beyond, because I'm a glutton for punishment. I ended up painting in there too. Thing is I was riding high on getting the washer in place and getting it working (without leaking or overflowing, woo!) earlier in the day, so I decided to go for gold and attempt plumbing too.

Here is the path I cleared (huge job) so we could roll the washer right in.

Casey and I wrestled the new washer off the wheel thingy, and I set out to hook it up. Sure, you might say, "no biggie". Well, not necessarily. We have a history of washer overflows, etc., and it has had me in a bit of a panic. It took me a good while to get the washer operational, but I did. Hallelujah! We can wash again and without walking in on a flood making it's way to the loft room. Priceless.

Found this cute little old sign at a garage sale for a dollar Saturday morning and hung it over the new washer because Casey made some comment about it when she found it in the bathroom. 

Apparently she thinks it's rather unappealing. Hmph! Well, I try to take my youngun's opinions about such things to heart, so I moved it to the laundry area. Heaven knows she never sets foot THERE. 
I doubt she'll ever see it again.

Anyway, after my washing machine success, I moved on to the kitchen. For well over a year, a leak has plagued us. Why didn't I call a plumber, you ask? Ha! First of all, plumbers charge by the nanosecond. Any other questions? Besides, it would require a phone call (I will do just about anything not have to make a phone call). It might also cause time off work and besides if someone had to come over, they would see all the crapola in the back room. Can't have that. Anyway, the last time a plumber came to do all my fixes, the sink started leaking again inside of 6 months and the toilet, the insides of which he replaced, began having trouble too. No, plumbers are for emergency situations... and (despite the troubles last time) for toilets. My remedy is to make do or rig things for as long as possible if I can't fix them.

Been making these little chalk plates since the Summer. Started collecting plates from Goodwill, but they are way too expensive there. Garage sales are the way to go. I have done quite a number of these in various sizes so I can spell out words and phrases for different occasions and holidays. Since I cleaned off the counter and had to find a place to put the plates I'd been working on, I decided to use a couple in the kitchen for the time being.

Back to our plumbing tale:
When it comes to plumbing drips and leaks, I take the "put a bucket under it" and "work around it" approach for as long as possible. Yet, eventually the time comes for me to cowgirl up and either try and fix it or call someone. So for all this time, we've simply used just the right hand sink. I really never considered that I could just get under there and try tightening the connections. Duh! Probably because I just didn't want to. I've always been rather creeped out by the area under the kitchen sink. Too bad I didn't have the nerve to take a picture of it. It was frightening under there, and I've been afraid, very afraid. You've seen under a sink before, no need to show you mine.

But like Kevin in Home Alone, I'm not afraid anymore!

I have faced my fear and emerged a conquerer. I was going for "Genius" again, but after the first 4 1/2 hours of working on it, thinking I had done it and then having it start leaking again, and then an hour or so of watching you tube instruction videos, I tried again the next day for a couple more hours to no avail. I decided "Genius", was not going to be my new nickname and moved on to cleaning out the kitchen cabinets for a while and doing some much needed organizing there. In a last ditch effort, after church today, when I'd had sufficient time to recoup from the previous days' failures, I came home, pulled everything out from under the sink again, unhooked the pipes and tried using plumber's tape on the problem fitting. Ta da! It worked. Tenacity paid off.

Here's another ta, da! The countertop cleaned off. I should have taken a before shot, but I'm guessing you've seen junk piled on counters before...

Taking on a plumbing job is the kind of thing one has to gear up for mentally. You have to really want it. I did. The time had come. Riding high on the washing machine install, I was psyched to keep the momentum going. Now let's just hope today's plumbing fix holds for a while.

Here's a shot looking toward the kitchen from the vicinity of the Great Pickle.

Unfortunately there's more plumbing trouble where the other came from, and the other projects are more complicated than the one I just did. It may take some more gearing up to get me attempting a fix on those, especially knowing how long it took to do this project. One of the others is a toilet issue, so eventually there may yet be a dreaded phone call and a plumber summoned. I figure the less there is for him to do, the more money I can keep in my own pocket. Plus, I like trying for that elusive "genius" status.

Pink Periwinkles really make a nice accent to the Little Stinker, don't ya think?

 It is rewarding to learn how to do things and to find a measure of success when you don't give up. 

Then again, if you've got the money, aren't plagued by phonaphobia and you don't have a room full of "fabulous finds" lending an air of "hoarder" to your home, call the plumber. 

Life is short,  and the quest for "genius" may be, quite possibly, overrated.


  1. You go girl! Now you need to give yourself a big pat on the back. Don't mess with a woman packing a wrench and the determination to get the job done!

  2. Ha Ha, you are so funny but certainly a tryer I must say. Good for you having a go and beating it. Give yourself a star. We Women are champs. xx

  3. I must say I am not the adventurous type. I have not ventured into any plumbing fixes. But more power to ya, Liz. I may try the plate chalkboard though!

  4. You are my hero! I would never attempt plumbing!!

  5. Oh my goodness! This story sounds way too familiar. We are just alike! Doesn't it feel good when you finally succeed though! You go, girl!

  6. As I spend ANOTHER day stripping wallpaper in the kitchen, I question why I'm doing it myself. Other than the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when the job is done.

    Congratulations on getting your washer in on your own - never attempted that one.

  7. You are definitely a better woman than I am - I'd be so clueless about plumbing. Shudder. I'd make a bigger mess than it was to start with! WooHoo to you for getting this one accomplished! Good luck with the next one!

  8. ~Liz~
    Great story! Love your tenacity and git'er done attitude.
    I would have done the same thing. I'm not about to throw in the towel before I even give it a shot--and pay the plumber!
    I think the vase of periwinkles on 'the little stinker' a perfect cover.

    ...and I love the chalkboard plates! I'm so copying you for Thanksgiving and our Annual New Years Day Extravaganza!

    I'm off to try and do a little painting myself.~ Pat

  9. Hey girlfriend, thanks for lovely photos of pretty flowers instead of showing us the plumbing parts! You speak the truth when you say it's the love and checks we enclose...
    I have a similar plumbing story concerning a dishwasher - and like you, teflon tape saved the day! I do agree that the self confidence such endeavors build is pretty sweet...

  10. You are Liz the Conquerer... AND your card is fabulous. I love the mapped out route and the stampy goobers are like distressing in my mind -- they make it better. I always marvel at how much you do over and above your day job. Take a bow my dear! :)

  11. well done for tackling the plumbing!
    love the plates!


  13. What a coincidence, I have phonophobia too. And I need to crawl under the sink and tighten everything up to see if it stops that drip. Thank you for your tale of courage. Maybe I can work mine up too. -- Min

  14. I just love your chalk plates!! I know what you mean about Goodwill being expensive! I just found you at Cowgirl up, and I'm now following! Loved your plumber story BTW!

  15. OMY Liz what a woman! If I had a gold medal or a trophy I would mail it to you..girl you deserve something special for even tackling that job much less following through to completion. I am AHmazed! But doesn't it make you feel great WHEN IT'S DONE? Those plumbing jobs are hard enough when I am SUPERVISING!
    BTW re GW..did you see my supercheapofind [in a post] from GW? mm doesn't take a lot to make me happy!


  16. When I first moved in to my home I was single, and withing 3 months everything seemed to break. The first was the water heater, now I could not more afford a water, so i bought a book and replace the thermocouple, and it work, well for about a week. But I tried!!!! The thing I learned to do the quickest was electrical, they are freakin expensive. Going on sorry, love your plates, GW is getting expensive, seem like every thrift store is. 1 think I like about GW is that you can return items, has come in handy! Congrats on tacking the plumbing - you go girl!!!!

  17. Girl power! I've learned how to professionally repair plaster walls, but plumbing......I don't know. I've seen what's inside of our few remaining old pipes and it's not my cup of tea, so to speak. And it takes some major hand and arm strength to wrestle those pipes. I'm impressed. You've saved enough cash for a new pickle or two. :@

  18. Such a smart idea with the self serve platters. I'm definitely going to copycat that for our next party. Coming over from Savvy Southern Style and a happy new follower!


  19. Looks great ,,,, Please join me at For Welcome Home Wednesday !!! Thanks Debbie

  20. My favorite new quote {that I WILL be dropping like it's hot} is "Like Kevin from Home Alone...I'm not afraid anymore". Love it and love your willingness to get the job done. You constantly amaze me. So happy you linked up Monday. I'm featuring you in my chalkboard paint project round up:

  21. I admire your initiative to fix everything on your own. Going down the DIY route can certainly help you save a lot of money. But if you do come to a point where you don’t know what to do, it would be best to hand it over to the professionals. After all, everything would be for naught if, instead of saving money, you end up spending more of it. Anyway, I think the plumber’s tape won’t hold for long. You can try using plumber’s putty to seal the leak under the sink.

  22. Just read your blog for the first time. I love it when other people talk about their messy laundry room or stash somewhere. I thought I was the only one. lol Re: the toilet, easy peasy. If it is in the tank just check the flapper underneath and feel if it is slimy...if it is just buy a new one and put it in. If it is the mechanism for the toilet to flush, it isn't hard, it is just not on the list of ' fun things to do'. If it is at the bottom of you toilet where it meets the floor, it is the wax ring. Another easy but gross fix. I think I have done it all. (and no I am not bragging, I'm cheap) When and if you decide to do it yourself, either take the part with you, (not the wax ring, just buy every kind they have, and return later) for the innards just take a picture with your phone and go to hd or lowes. Good luck. Paula

  23. You are a smart cookie. I will tackle lots of things, but plumbing is probably not one of them. :)


    your stories crack me up, amaze me, and inspire me all at the same time...! :)

    You are one of a kind and reading your blog is always amazing / love it! YOU are amazing:)

  25. The chalk plates are lovely!!

    <3 Christina at I Gotta Create!
    Wildly Original linky party is open

  26. Love the first photo! Just gorgeous.

    Visiting from The Charm of Home :)

  27. I have some really charming plumbing/plumber stories. I try to keep them all in the deep recesses of my mind. What it has done for us is give us a short threshold for "it's time to call the plumber". We always give it a shot (or two - or three)but it inevitably it's time to call the plumber. You must be very proud!

  28. Hi Liz,

    How absolutely adorable it all is!! Love the pretty pink periwinkle in the very first photo; something so charming about a single flower, so delicate and sweet. Secondly, those chalky "Self Serve Plates, so original! Lovely post, my kind of nostalgia!

    Hope you have a great week.


  29. Can I just call you in case when I my plumbing is broken? Haha! It’s great that you at least know something about plumbing repairs. It really saves you money from having to hire a plumber. Well, for everyone else out there, I guess it’d be better if you let a plumber do the job. If you don’t know much about it, you might end up doing more harm than good.

  30. Who knew you could plumb, girl? ha-ha! Always love your entertaining storeis. The plates are so fun and I love the self serve saying. Son will love the card and you KNOW he will love the money. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

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  34. You are what I call, persistent! Haha! After so many failures, you insisted on doing the job and prevailed! Unlike me, I call the plumber for every little leak there is at home. Yeah, it cost a lot! Maybe that's why I spent almost $200 for a simple leak under the sink that electrical tape could’ve fixed. Boohoo for me!

  35. I made a card for my son's birthday. He's across the country and won't be with us for his birthday. Yes, as you can see, I had some stamping goobers happen, but it's the love, the time and the checks we enclosed inside that count, right. plumbers in tampa

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  39. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.

  40. I enjoyed reading your tale. Very entertaining and I like how you share your encounter about dealing with your plumbing issues.

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