Wednesday, May 27, 2009

(Mis) Adventures in Home Improvement

(I just found this in my blogger drafts folder... from April 8. I'm not quite sure why I never published it. I don't think it sucks any more than my usual stuff sucks... so I'll publish it now.)

Lately we've been on a big push to get some of the house remodeled... while just about every room in the house could use some work, right now we are concentrating on the kitchen and one of the bathrooms. Last week when our new counter tops came in, I was more than ready to tackle the simple job of pulling the old counter tops off and slapping the new ones on.

If only...

We have a galley kitchen with four separate counter surfaces, one of which has the sink. In the early afternoon on Friday I picked up the new counter tops with my friend Landon dropped them off at the house, then went to the bar. (What? Why are you looking at me that way?)

It didn't seem like a big undertaking, so when I got home from the bar at about 9:30 or so (What?!? Stop looking at me that way!) I decided to start messing with the counter tops. My lovely wife had already cleaned out all of the cupboards, and son #2 had climbed inside to unscrew the old counter tops. We lifted the old ones off and tossed them in the family room without any problem. I put on the first three counter tops without a single hitch... and they looked good.

It was nearing midnight, so I looked under the kitchen sink to verify that it had shut off valves (it did) and told my wife that we should disconnect the sink and remove the sink and counter top before going to bed, and then on Saturday morning I could take my time putting in the final counter top and re-seating the sink. She concurred.

I reached under the sink to turn off the water, and felt and funny little "give" in the shutoff valve, followed by a very wet feeling all over my hand, and followed shortly thereafter by the realization that the shutoff valve was in my hand, and was no longer connected to the pipe.

Bad words came out of my mouth. Lots of bad words. New, unheard of bad words. I'm pretty sure I swore in Swahili and Urdu. Then, I shut off the water to the entire house, and went to bed.

The following morning I woke up to start my most hated of home improvement jobs: plumbing. As Mike says, electrical is easy; there are two options: It works, or it doesn't. With plumbing, there's that third option... the one that gets water all over your house.

I pull the sink and counter top off and find THIS:

Obviously the plumbing was in need of a little touch up work. I grabbed my mapp gas and went to work disassembling everything from the wall in, suddenly convinced that I could quickly and easily replace all the copper under the sink. Now, while I do suck at plumbing, I quickly learned that the guy who was there before me sucked WORSE:

Two or three hours of banging around and three trips to the hardware store, the sink was in and usable just about 30 minutes before my wife's friends began arriving at the house for a girls' get together she had planned... whew.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Old School

I was pretty thrilled to find my old chucks in the attic the other day. I had no idea that they were still around. I've had these things since 1987, and I've now made a pact with myself that my vintage chucks will be among the many items my children will have to sort through after my death:

These chucks and I had been through a bit together. They were decorated by a string of girlfriends starting when I was about 17 and ending when I was about 20. I had to laugh as I looked at all the scribble on them in ink, paint, glitter paint, and just scratched in the leather soles.

My wife was somewhat less excited to see my old shoes than I was... lucky for her the insides are trashed and my old man orthopedic insoles won't fit inside. I guess they are relegated back to the attic for now.

Oh, and kids... if you throw them away after I die, I WILL haunt you.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Damut! Damut!

Man night 2009 has come and gone.

For the uninitiated, Man Night is a little tradition we've managed to conjure up for whenever Mike's wife is out of the country. It's roughly an annual event, for a couple of reasons: Our wives will only allow it that often, and that's roughly how often Mike's wife leaves him alone in the states. Basically, a handful (or two handfuls) of grown men get together who all have a few things in common:

1. We like Beer.
2. We like food.
3. We enjoy each other's company tremendously.
4. We tend to act like children when left to our own devices.

Each year, Man Night has a theme. This year's theme was "Vikings."

I'll leave it to Mike's APP blog to tell it best, no need repeating a story that's already been told. I'll just drop a couple pics in here and mention that as always, Mike's hospitality, food, and beer were second to none... by the end of the night there were 9 slightly drunken, very, very full vikings looking for something to pillage.

Remarkably, one of our friends pointed out tonight that this photo of Mike looks very much the way he looked in college... when he had hair:

Needless to say, it was a great time... we're already looking forward to the next one and taking up a collection to buy Mike's wife a plane ticket.

Oh... and when you walk into UDF dressed like this:

... children tend to cry.