Posted in Car Repair, Home Repair, humor

The Joys (?) of Home and Car Ownership

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Last week was interesting. It started out with the leak in the garage. Since our garage is directly underneath the house, it seemed to be a good idea to try to figure out what was going on especially since the leak was growing and mold was forming on the ceiling.

Hubby and I tried to duplicate what happened. We thought it might be the shower. I had first noticed the leak after I had showered. So we ran the shower, and ran the shower and set off the smoke alarm because of the steam pouring out of the bathroom. The good news was the smoke alarm works, the bad news was that the shower wasn’t the problem. There was no additional water pooling.

Two days later another major puddle. So we call the plumber. This guy is great and someone comes right out. Of course a hole has to be cut into the ceiling. Guess what we discover. The uncapped drain pipes from the heating unit are vented right into the crawl space and have been dripping on the plaster board. I don’t think that was quite up to code and I question the intelligence of the individual who installed it. I am not a plumbing expert, but even I know, you shouldn’t do that.

So we get the pipe rerouted and then the work starts on patching the ceiling.

Now here is where it gets really exciting. Hubby had moved his car so that the area could be accessed. His car is half way out of the garage. Well, we decide we need a few things from the grocery. Dang, the car won’t start. Hubby says “Looks like the battery is dead, I’ll pop the car into neutral and we can push it so that we can jump it with your truck.” Hubby has a Buick LaCrosse. First problem, you cannot pop that car into gear unless the car is started. Wait you cannot start the car with a dead battery. Oh yeah, the parking brake is automatically engaged as a safety feature.   Thank heavens this didn’t happen on a railroad track with a train coming, since the car is now immobile.  Really great safety feature.

The car is dead and we can’t move it forward or backward. We can’t get the car towed since it is front-wheeled drive and if you tow it from the rear, you will cause damage. Our garage is tight, so positioning the car and truck for a jump is a problem. We sleep on it. The garage is wide open.

Hubby says in the morning, “I’ve changed batteries before, we’ll just pull this one out, buy another and pop it in. It will be simple.” Folks, do not try this at home. The battery is housed in a plastic casing. We get the top case off. There is a second layer. We go to You Tube and find a video on how to change a battery in a Buick LaCrosse. We study it. We get the second layer removed. There is a bracket holding the battery in place. We remove the bracket, after trying about 5 different size sockets. We remove the cables on the battery and try to lift the battery up. No dice. There is about a half-inch of clearance where you can tilt the battery to pry it out. Hubby even tries with a crow bar, we still can’t get it. Our hands bear the scars, scrapes and bruises from our efforts. No luck. We take a break.

Hubby goes down later in the day. I hear a loud crash. I go rushing down and hubby is talking to the neighbor. The crash was from the garage door coming down without the spring engaged. The good news was that it wasn’t the bay where the car was sitting or where the hubby was standing. The other good news is that the neighbor heard the crash and came to investigate. After much effort, he was able to work the battery out of the car. We celebrate our success and turn in for the night. The garage is still open.

Day three, we buy a battery and bring it home. It should be easier to get it back in to the car….gravity will assist, right?   Hubby and I fail miserably, but it is neighbor to the rescue again. He is now also scraped up from the effort.

Whoever designed and configured the battery placement on the LaCrosse should have gone back to the drawing board. But anyhow….

The leak is repaired, the car is working. And although we still have to get the garage door repaired and the ceiling primed and painted, life is good.

The moral of this story is:

Don’t  try and change the battery on a Buick Lacrosse yourself, unless you have helpful and handy neighbors.



Posted in Home Repair, humor, Quality

Two Cheap Screws


My husband and I wanted to do a bit of sprucing up on the entry to our house.

For a couple of months now, my husband has been saying that our front door needs a new coat of paint.  To do a translation of that comment another individual would say, “My dear wife, why don’t you paint the front door? I will pick out the color and comment on the spots that you miss.  I will also apply one or maybe two swipes of paint, so that I can say I helped.”

The second issue that we had is that there is no doorbell or knocker on the door.  So unless a visitor pounds quite loudly, we don’t hear them.  I suspect some of the problem may be that our hearing is not what it used to be due to too much rock and roll and noise pollution in our growing up years.

I finally break down and say, “let’s do it.”  We drive off to the local hardware store and procure a quart of paint.  Now the door is a forest green, but the husband thinks we should change that.  We agree on a deep maroon/red.  The paint and primer are all in one.  I have brushes, rollers and tape, so we are good to go.  We also choose and order a fine doorknocker from Amazon.  They have a nice selection and we generally have good luck with both delivery and quality of product from them.  The knocker comes in the mail.  It is lovely; a brass beauty and best of all installation looks easy only two screws to put in.

The painting day arrives.  The weather is perfect; the paint is thick and goes on nicely.  A second coat is needed because of the color change, but no real problems.  Hubby does his critique and two swipes of the brush and we are done.  We allow the door to dry overnight.

Day two, I prep for the quick installation of the knocker.  (Did I mention there are only two screws to put in?)  I pull out my handy drill.  My husband generally doesn’t use power tools.  His statement is “I don’t do power tools and the insurance company continues to cover me.”  I line up the doorknocker, mark the two spots for screw placement and drill my pilot holes.  I have the electric screwdriver at hand ready to install.

How hard could it be?

You know the little slots that your flat head screwdriver goes in to turn the screw…..THEY ARE ONLY A MICROMETER DEEP.  I can’t get a bit to stay in the slot and not strip the screws.  I run to the garage to get another bit.  The knocker itself is also blocking the screw-holes, so I can’t get the driver to turn.  Husband wanders over attracted by his wife ranting at the cheap screws and using salty language.  He suggests disassembling the knocker to be able to angle the screws.  This is a brilliant idea.  It might have actually worked if the screw slots were deep enough.  We get a jeweler’s piece to try and turn the screws…not enough torque.  At this point I am thinking replace the screws.  But, they are visible and brass.  Replacing the screws would require a 25 mile round trip to the hardware store.  I soldier on and finally get the screws in.  What should have taken 5 minutes, took about 45 minutes.

Two cheap screws = one cranky woman.

P.S.  The door looks beautiful, but now the trim along side it looks a little dinked.  Husband says, “we” should paint that next.