mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Tool Time

When you buy a "pre-owned" house, there are always some things that you want to change.
Things that the previous owners did that you don't understand why, or things that just don't look right, or things that time has made old and you want to make newer.

There are a lot of big things I want to do to my house - redo the kitchen cabinets, fence in the postage-stamp sized back yard, install an air conditioner that doesn't produce it's own lake. But those are all things that take lots of time and money. There are a lot of small things that I want to do, though. And I had a 10% off coupon from Home Depot that came in my change of address package, and that was due to expire 8.31.06. So on Saturday I went to Home Depot, dragging along bsom, since a)he's going to be helping me rewire the house and b)since he bought his townhouse a year before I bought mine, he's done a lot of things that I want to do and knew what I needed and if what I wanted to do was possible.

So I left the 'Depot yesterday $236 poorer, but with 14 light switches, 30 power outlets, a bunch of cable and phone jacks, 4 brass heat register covers, one wood heat register, 3 metal heat register covers, 2 scones, a new showerhead, and a new cover for my bedroom ceiling fan, whose flowered cover didn't really seem to fit the fact that I'm a dude.

It was then that I began to remember that I suck at anything that invoves home improvent. The floor registers were easy - just pick up the old, rusty brown ones and plop in the shiny new ones. But there was a new cover for the heat exchange in the first floor, and hanging it was more challenging. I somehow ended up smashing my right thumb with said register, breaking the nail and causing it to bleed. Once I got it cleaned up and located the last band-aid (ok, Target brand adhesive bandage) in the house, I took another attempt to get it installed. The top screws went in fine. The bottom ones don't line up with the ones in the unit. I'm not sure if it's the way that they are made or if I'm a moron, or if I should take a stab at redrilling it. But right now I have a newer register cover, but only two screws holding it in. Classy.

I also have new ceiling registers for the basement family room. It seemed like a good idea to replace them, especially since one of them was held on with one screw. But when I went to install the new one, I discovered why there was only one screw - the other, umm, screwhole, wasn't big enough to actually fit the screw all the way in. So now my shiny new register is hanging by a screw and a half instead of by two screws. I'm not sure it's really an improvement.

I opened the package for the showerhead, but discovered that installing it requires a wrench and a set of pliers, neither of which I actually own. So that's going to have to wait. I'm glad I read the instructions before I attempted it, or I wouldn't be able to take a shower. (That's actually an exageration, as I have two full baths, so I could always use the other shower, which hasn't been used since I moved in. But it would be a bit of a pain).

And of course I've discovered that the globe I bought is too small for the ceiling fan in my bedroom. (I think it will actually fit the other fan in my office, so I'll keep it instead of returning it). So I still need another globe.

I'm also wondering if I made the right move with the scones I bought for my bedroom. The ones the previous owners had were from Ikea, were fake art-deco, and had been painted over at least once. I took them down to paint and never put them back (which sucks, because I keep trying to turn them on when I walk into the room and hit the switch and nothing happens). But the new ones are shaped like candles, with candle-shaped bulbs. I think they are unique and thus cool (and were on clearance for $10 each, originally $50), but they don't really match the "decor" of the room, which is more modern. Then again, the three pieces of furniture in my bedroom are an Ikea bed, a dresser from a college dorm (the college I work at was giving them away one year), and a $5 Ikea chair.

I wish I was one of those people who could build something out of nothing. My dad is that kind of person - he built a ton of built-in bookcases out of nothing but unfinished wood, and seems to be able to fix and put together anything. Obviously this isn't genetic, because I have trouble getting a screw in straight. I'm a clutz when it comes to home improvements, and it sucks because I have a home that needs improving.


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