While Nicholas is away at Duke summer camp, Lily and I go to exercise together in the mornings - swimming or running, since I don't have to come home early to cook for him. We also have time to take on a few small projects around the house.
The planned main projects include re-caulk the master bedroom shower stall, reseal our granite kitchen counter and back-splash, build home defense against bugs around the perimeter of the house, fix another leaking outdoor faucet. Despite the plan, we did not take actions until some external impetus prompted us.
The last time we caulked the master bedroom shower booth was over ten years ago, The reason we wanted to re caulk it is that some portion of the caulking became dark. We kept pushing it off until a co-worker mentioned that the darkened caulking was an indication of molding behind the wall per his experience. We started the process right away that evening: stop using the shower to let the booth dry for a couple of days, remove darkened caulking (found no mold behind the caulking) and let the whole thing dry for a couple more days.
It took us about 2 hours to re caulk the shower booth. To make the caulking look nice, we used a trick I learned from somewhere - apply caulk to the targeted area and then use a slab with rounded front or coin like object to whip through the caulk.
Sealant to Granite Counter
This is a straight forward easy job! Clean the counter, let it dry and then apply the sealant.
The drama was that when Lily sprayed the sealant to the back splash, she sprayed it into a power outlet which caused the circuit around the stoves not working. It won't work even though GFCI breakers were all reset. Per past experience, she knew all she had to do was to wait for the sealant to evaporate from the plug's wires. We waited for a couple days, the circuit still did not come back to work, she was worried and was talking about hiring an electrician to fix it. Fortunately a few hours later that evening, the circuit was back on!
Lesson learnt - 1) for GFCI type of circuit break, wait for water/oil/sealant to dry/evaporate, no need to hire electrician; 2) cover the power outlet before spray anything near it.
Fixing Outdoor Leaking Faucet
The outdoor faucet at southeast corner of the house started to drip slightly earlier this year. The contractor who painted the house exterior recently, used the faucet for his work, and somehow made the leak much worse, The foundation near the faucet could have problem due to excess water from the leak.
Fortunately, we documented our previous fix of outdoor faucet. On Saturday morning, we read the document, went to home depot to buy stem washer (1/4" flat washer for the and TEFLON seal tape). We fixed the faucet leak very quickly: shut off water main, remove the seal assembly, change stem washer, apply TEFLON tape to the TEFLON seal ring, put the assembly back on, turn the water main on, test the faucet.
To reduce bugs, insets, ants ... invasion to our house, we apply "home defense" - a bug barrier spray at least twice a year around the perimeter of the house, once at spring, once at mid summer. Application of the spray in ~ 1 foot wide band around the perimeter of the house, and spray on the exterior wall and window sills as well.
Nothing special here, but very effective!
These and other handyman work are not difficult but since we don't do it frequently, they are not easy. What I like to do is to document the processes for my own future reference - like the faucet blog helped me a lot this time, save time for research, also as reference for my readers :)
1) We fixed problems with our washing machine and dryer - the processes were documented in the links provided.
2) A common problem in the kitchen is the stuck garbage disposal. If the garbage disposal hums but not rotate even after the disposal is cleaned from the sink, all you need to do is to use a 1/4" Allen wrench to rotate the food disposal from the hexagonal slot at the unit's bottom .