Plumbing adventures

About a month ago, the faucet in one of the bathrooms started leaking. I ignored it, until I couldn’t … and then I turned off the water supply to the faucet, thinking I’d get to it later.

All I was able to figure out was that I needed replacement cartridges. I bought these on Amazon, and then they sat around, since I had no clue how to proceed.

Luckily, Youtube is full of helpful videos on all sorts of little topics, and I found lots of “cartridge replacement” videos. But this wasn’t too useful, since there are (as I now know but hadnoidea earlier) manytypes of cartridges, with not a lot in common.

Luckily again, I was able to find a video about my specific cartridge type… phew!

Now I just had to follow the steps and … one of the steps involved two wrenches. I dug up my extra wrench, but it was no good, I needed something much larger. Okay, now I had to go buy a large wrench.

Wrench in hand, I was able to get the previous cartridge out, put the new one in and … the faucet wasn’t leaking anymore! Except now the cartridge assembly was leaking. I took everything out, put everything back in and … still leaking.

Eventually, it turned out to be a washer that either never existed, or must have fallen out when I first took the cartridge out of the packet. Either way, I reused the washer from the old cartridge, and … everything just worked.

I ended up spending an hour and half on all this today, but … totally worth it! 😀 (and not just because I have a working faucet now).

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Learning about local budgets

 

On a weekend-stay-over in Monterey recently, I saw some poster mentioning changes in the county budget and realized I had no perspective of the “order of magnitude” of this.

Looked it up, and found that the county budget is about one and a half billion dollars (!)

This made me curious about Santa Clara county, and I looked it up — excess of six billion dollars (!) … for some perspective, it would just make it to the top 100 in this list of countries ranked by budget.

Perhaps it’s just me, but I found that … surprising (i.e. Santa Clara county alone has a greater allocated budget than most countries).

Adventures with exhaust fans

This might be downright trivial for a lot of people, but it was an ”Achievement Unlocked” moment for me.

There was a Nutone exhaust fan in our bathroom that was really loud, as in louder than any sound made by anything else at home.

So after several months of this, and reluctant or embarrassed to call someone to fix it, I decided to fix it myself.

Step 1: Buy replacement fan and motor

Step 2: Watch a few YouTube videos for morale

Step 3: Get a ladder, get a torch (bathroom is in an awkward spot, no natural light!)

So, today, after turning the appropriate circuit breaker off (which, as everyone discovered to their annoyance, also turned off both the TV and the WiFi!), I climbed up and took a good look at the grille.

Now the grille in the videos just snapped off easily, but this one didn’t budge at all; and when it did, it sort of rotated with a grinding noise.

At this point, I realized I was on my own, and just clawed at whatever I could, and that obviously, obviously, since there was a light in front of the fan, the light cover should come off first.

The grill, light cover, and light.

So this happened, and revealed a light bulb with a nut-and-screw above it. So off came the light bulb, and the nut, and after unplugging it, so did the grille.

Great, I thought, now face to face with the motor assembly, the videos say to remove any screws visible and then “pop out the tabs”. The screw came off easily, but the tabs didn’t exactly “pop out” at all.

No, they were quite fixed, and the metal of the motor assembly scraped against the metal of the housing as I tried all kinds of trial-and-error pushing and prodding to get it off. In the end, it did come off.

Down to a hole in the wall.

So at this point, I was exactly half-way through the whole affair, and thought that all I had to do was retrace my steps. Except that now the new motor assembly didn’t fit in the same way, it was a tiny bit less well-adjusted, and for a moment I thought I had ordered the wrong part (has happened before!), and would have to first put everything back and then do this all over again, but luckily (very luckily!) the moment passed, and then the tabs “popped in” (smiley face!)

One more unknown obstacle, which might seem almost tedious at this point as a reader, but which, having to hold up the grille plate while doing it, was something more for me: the motor assembly had a loose screw which had to pass through a hole in the grille so that a nut could be fastened on it. Sounds easy enough?

No, because of the looseness of the screw. Every time the grill was not exactly positioned, the screw was pushed back up. When it was exactly positioned, but the nut wasn’t exactly positioned, the screw was pushed back up. Only when all three were in perfect alignment (which eventually did happen, and I survived to sit here and tell you of it) did the grille finally get secured in place.

So in the end then, a happy ending. The fan and the light work, and make less noise, and I have had a happy weekend.

(Imagine the epitaph: Here lies Agam. He fixed his bathroom exhaust fan. Forgive him his hyperbole.)

 

Where can I get these alphabet blocks? :-(

Trying to find others like this ...

I had bought some blocks a couple of years ago (too early!) and now that Tara’s going to be three, dusted them off to really use them for alphabets instead of just “blocks for a tower”.

Of course as expected, we were missing a few. Now, I could just find it again on Amazon or somesuch place, and refill missing blocks, but, how much I searched, I could not find the exact same set of blocks.

Anyway, later my wife remembered that we got these blocks at a particular shop on California Avenue, and I went there today, hoping to find them again. But unfortunately, I didn’t see them, they just don’t exist.

I even tried looking on eBay just randomly searching through all the listings for “wooden alphabetical blocks“ and hoping to see them but I didn’t.

I think I’m going to have to just settle and get one of the many other “ wooden alphabetical blocks and courtavailable on Amazon, etc.

In the meantime, someone out there didn’t recognize them from this picture (at the top of this post), please do let me know!