Category Archives: Handyman

Old Garage doors are a pain

As my family and I loaded up in our van to head off to a part yesterday (Labor Day) to have some fun, we noticed that as we tried to pull away that our garage door wouldn’t close.  It would come down almost all the way, and then go back up.  After spending about 5 minutes trying to make it close, I just pulled the manual release and locked it from the inside so we could get on our way.  We had some friends following us in their own car, so it was holding us all up from going to the park. 

When I got home later that evening I started to fiddle with the sensors.  I noticed that the status light on one of the sensors wasn’t illuminated.  Wiggling it made the light come on steady, but only for a moment.  I adjusted and tinkered with the sensors until I got them alligned pretty well that seemed to fix the problem.  However, I think I am still going to go ahead and replace the door since it needs to be replaced anyway.  The door is the original door that was installed in the house in 1988, and there are gaps and framing issues too.  I placed an ad on craigslist and already got several good quotes from various places, so it won’t be much longer and I’ll have it all taken care of. 

The grass is cut

For the last few days I’ve been trying to time it right so I can cut the grass. For various reasons it just hasn’t worked out. So yesterday, Liz had a meeting scheduled for 7pm she had to go to. I wanted to cut the grass because it was sunny out and not raining. I had to decide on cutting the grass, and taking a quick shower, or should I make dinner and get the family to sit down together and eat a meal before she leaves. So we talked about it on the phone, I tried to call her and she didn’t answer, but finally called me back. We said we’d decide on a final solution when I got home. So I pull up and see that the grass is cut. I can hear a mower at a neighbors house, so I was thinking to myself “Oh she got the neighbor to cut for me”. Well it turned out that she had cut it. I felt the mower and found that it was warm, so I knew she had done it then. I played it off a little at first, and she said “you didn’t even notice did you”. Then I fessed up and made a big deal about it, and it was a really nice gesture on her part. So here is another praise for her!!!

missing my old mower

We were talking about lawn mowers today, and it brought back memories of my old mower. I spend around $8K on that thing, but I sure did love it. John Deere makes a good machine! No need for it now with my small yard, but I remember how much fun this thing was to ride and how accurate and fast it was!

Home improvement stores

I don’t know what it is about Lowes or the Home Depot, but I could get in real trouble at these stores. I went to Lowes on Saturday morning to get a ladder and some little things for the house. I walked around that store for almost 2 hours and was admittedly doing a good amount of window shopping. I came out with my ladder which I needed to fix our playroom roof, and some little odds and ends, but it took great restraint not to go crazy. I wish I could win a shopping spree to a Lowes or Home Depot. Where we are from in the MD/DE area, Home Depot is the best IMHO and Lowes stinks. However in Tampa, Lowes seems to have nicer stores and better selection. There is a really nice Home Depot in New Tampa, but most of them around here are kind of run down. There is a really nice Lowes in New Tampa as well, so we have plenty of choice for our home improvement needs.

Story of stupidity

This is hard to admit, and hopefully not many people I know will read this post. Its no secret that electricity and I don’t mix too well, just ask Liz. Well it all starts last night when I get home. It was a bit warm in the house when I got home, so I went to the thermostat and turned on the A/C. When I flipped the switch for the A/C I heard the thermostat make its little click like its trying to activate the air handler, but nothing happened. The air handler didn’t kick on and the pump outside wasn’t running either. I switched it to heat and the same thing happened, nothing! I checked the breaker outside by the pump and flipped it twice to see if that was it, but that didn’t help. Then I checked by the air handler and found a fuse box with cartridge fuses. I pulled out the box and found them badly corroded and falling apart. So I put in two spares that the previous owner left. That still didn’t help. I went to the garage and checked the breaker box and flipped the switches for the A/C and heat breakers. This still didn’t help. I propbably fiddled around for about an hour before giving up and sending an e-mail to my realtor to ask for a referral for an HVAC contractor to come and take a look. Liz got home and we talked about it for a bit, and ended up just going to bed. I opened the windows and it was a pleasant mild night, only thing that would have made it nicer is if I had a hammock tied between two palm trees!

So the story resumes this morning. Liz usually gets up earlier than me, and today, she woke me up about 10 minutes before she normally does. She indicated to me that the dryer wasn’t working either, and thought the two might somehow be related. I got up and started to take a look. The only place I figured the two could be related would be with the breaker box. Obvious they weren’t getting power so it must be a problem with the electricity. So I went back into the garage, opened up the breaker box and stared at all the switches. At the top there are the larger breakers to handle 220 outlets, and the rest are for the 110 outlets. All the 110 breakers were flipped inwards to the center of the box. The top breakers on the right column were pointing in the opposite direction. This did NOT catch my attention last night, so when looking at it today, I looked closer and noticed that the two 220 breakers were in fact switched OFF. I flipped them to the ON position and went back in the house, flipped on the A/C again at the thermostat and what do you know, it worked! Apparently last night I wasn’t paying enough attention and didn’t see that the two breakers were flipped off. When I flipped them, I had turned them on and then back off, and when the A/C still didn’t work, I assumed something else was wrong. I was extremely relieved to find that there was nothing major wrong, and the only problem existed between my ears. So the A/C system in my house is working again as it should, and I even got some maintenance done by replacing those bad fuses. 🙂

Light fixture change

Liz went to a parent teacher meeting at Sarah’s school last night.  She was gone until almost 10pm.  We were recently given a chandelier to replace the “ugly” one over our dining room table.  We have high ceilings in our house, perhaps in the 10′-15′ range and the light fixture I needed to change was near the highest point.  I only have a 5′ laddar so this was obviously going to be a small challenge.  I was able to stand near the top of the laddar and remove the existing light fixture, by hanging onto the cord coming from the ceiling.  Once that was removed and I had nothing to hold onto, it became far too dangerous (or uncomfortable) to continue trying to install a new fixture.  We have all tile floors, so a tumble from the laddar could have meant certain death!  I decided it would be clever to put the laddar on the dining room table and use that to get a higher stance and not have to go so far up the laddar. This was a great idea, but had the effect of causing our table to make some not so nice noises.  I looked at Liz and thought “Hey, your half my weight, why don’t you go up and see if you can finish installing the fixture”.  This actually worked out ok, it took her a little longer to finish everything, but in the end it worked out great.  Together we got the new light installed and it looks great.  Its a little higher than the previous one because it had a shorter cord, but thats good because the old one was a little low for my taste.  We didn’t start until 10pm on this project, so by the time we were done, around 10:30, we just sat down and watched the last few minutes of DVD 1 of LOTR the Two Towers.