Monday, November 05, 2012

DIY Badly

DIY can be good.  It can save money and solve problems.  I am a diehard DIY'er.  Have to be, when you've got very little money.

I cut my own hair, with variable results.  I have not had my hair cut professionally in decades.  In fact, I can't even remember ever having my hair cut in a shop.

I change my oil and filters.  When my electric operated mirror broke, I found an entire replacement for it on ebay motors for $30 and replaced it myself.  The housing color is black, but oh well.  I've done the same with the door lock and window roll down switch, replaced it twice now, from wrecked car parts bought off ebay motors.  I used to do much more, to repair my older cars, when I had easier cars to work on.  Now, with front wheel drive and cross ways motors and computer operated systems, it is much much harder.

I fixed my oven when it broke.  I fixed my frig when it broke.  I fixed my dryer, when it broke. I've replaced toilets, toilet seals, innards and seats, and repaired leaking sinks.

I should possibly not be allowed around some tools or broken appliances.

We won't discuss what happened with the water heater that had the terribly stuck elment bolt.

I can only do these things because of the web.  I can follow instructions if they are good ones.  Even nicer if there are step by step pictures.

But the water under the house issue, with now a part of the foundation cement wall "hanging" with the dirt washed out beneath it, and my brother landlord unable to get up here to help fix it, I thought I better at least rig a temp solution.  The gutter drainage line running from the back gutter and connecting to the front gutter then draining down to the street, underground, is disintegrated.

It was probably helped along that route by a fence a neighbor put in, with permission from the then renter of this place, but not the then owner.  The fence stud is inches from my house, set in 16 inches of cement, right atop where my underground gutter drainage line runs, 12 inches down.  There is no way that didn't crush that line.  It can't be coincidence either that the severe leaking  is right beyond that fence stud.

My brother is forgiving about the fact this probably has caused the problem, said he'd get up here to replace that line.  Otherwise, I would have attempted it.  The problem is that fence stud needs to go and the heat pump and its four inch concrete pad, needs tunneled under too.  I don't know how to shovel tunnel.  He said "no problem" he has equipment that does that.  But he never made it up.  Not yet anyhow.  He's been worknig a job and in this economy, he can't take time off.

So I decided on a temp fix until he can get up here.  I got five ten foot sections of corrugated plastic flex line, to just run gutter to gutter at the surface.  Temp fix!  Home Depot sold 100 foot sections, then the ten foot ones.  I needed 50 feet, not 100 and buying the five sections was far cheaper than buying the 100 foot.  However, I made a mistake.

The lines don't join well. They leak like sieves at every joint.  Gosh darn it.

I got online and found this to be a common complaint.  I had some roof leak patch tar in a cylinder like caulk but nothing else.  The tube said it would adher even under water.  How impressive!  Must be awesome stuff!  It was already here and has been, two tubes of it, since I've lived here.  Came with the place.  What I didn't know is that it is gooey, difficult to work with, and gets all over everything.  I soon found out.  Because i soon had it all over me.  I'd worn long rubber gloves, but somehow the gloves were breached and I was quickly tarred on my hands, arms and clothing.  What was I thinking!

And it didn't help the leaks cease.  Not at all.  I'd also cleaned out the gutters and tried patching a long standing gutter leak with the black awful goo, which soon was glopped onto ladder rungs.

When a DIY project goes bad, but I've spent money on it, I become obsessed with making it work regardless.  And that's what happened with this project.   I tried silicone next to seal the leaks, but the cool weather has not helped that silicone dry to leakproofness.  I had to take steel wool to my arms and hands to get that awful roof leak patch off of them.  I scrubbed them like I was a burn victim scrubbing off layers of skin.  My arms became red and raw, but I got the black crap gone!  Mostly.

I finally returned to Home Depot.  One of the ten foot sections had an abraided area with two holes in it.  I had not noticed that when I bought the line.  I was back in the pipe section buying another ten foot section to replace the predamaged one when the same clerk who sold the stuff to me came to hook it off the top rack.  I told her the stuff leaks at every joint.  She disagreed, rolling her eyes like I was an idiot, said it "seeps" but doesn't leak at joints.  I said "oh really, I beg to differ.  I know an outright leak from a seep."  She countered,  "that stuffs supposed to be buried anyhow."  I said,  "You don't want it leaking like that at joints buried or not."  She stalked off huffy.  It was me then rolling my eyes.

I took my complaint to customer service then.  The guy was nice and gave me credit for the damaged section plus the new section free.  In other words, I got one section of ten foot pipe free plus credit on the damaged one.    I showed him my black speckled hands and arms, told him that black roof patch stuff should never be allowed in hands like mine.  He laughed.  He said not to use that stuff and that they sell spray rubber that works well for gutter leak repair.

So I am waiting to see if the silicone seal I used ever dries, and of they dry, if the silicone will contain the joint LEAKS (not seeps).  I have my doubts.  I should have gone with the 100 foot continuous corrugated plastic pipe or pvc sections, but my car is short, and buying 8 foot sections of pvc, then the connectors, would have made a temp fix expensive.  This is a $30 temp fix and if I can stop the joint leaks, I'll be a happy DIY'er once again.

The under house wash out area will also need fixed.  My brother said something about flexi mortar or something like those words, as a viable product for filling in the hanging wall zone.  No, I've never heard of it, or how one might create a form under the house and insert that from ground to the "hanging chad" part of the foundation.  But I bet I'll be looking it up and then mixing up some concoction, putting on my torn black glopped rubber gloves and heading under, to see what I can do.

I am DIY to the core.  I can't help myself.  I can't leave it alone.  It's who I am.

Bury me with my zip ties, my duct tape, my miner's lamp, my over confidence (how hard could that be to fix, really), and my dollar store tools!

My scheming doesn't stop with broken appliances, cars and electronics.  No.

I'm scheming now on how to make myself a bridge, for the space left when a tooth broke.  There's not much left by now of that tooth , which breaks off more, little by little, when I try to eat hard things.  Why does food seem drawn to a broken tooth or hole?  I don't know the answer, but I do know I now have only one chewing capacity tooth on my upper right, and that doesn't cut it.  Neither does getting food stuck in the hole left by most of the "hole" tooth now being gone, after it initally broke off eating popcorn and biting down on an unpopped kernel.

I haven't found a dentist to get the rest out yet, including the root.  It's complicated.  Offices shutter their windows, turn off their lights and hide if they hear an Oregon Health Plan patient a knocking.

In the meantime, since I will never be able to afford a bridge or implant and there's nothing left to crown even if I struck it rich to pay for that, I am trying to figure out a fabulous dollar store type DIY.  I've already got one idea hatching.  It involves a cheap athletic mouth guard, cutting most of the center away, and wearing it to eat!   Stay tuned........

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