Colossal Plumbing Issue (And What To Do!)

So I am not an expert plumber or even a plumber at all but, I do feel like one after the sh*t that we just dealt with and when I say sh*t, I do mean it literally.  I never knew that owning a home would come with me cleaning sewer water, poop (yuck!), and apparently un-flushable “flushable wipes” off my back lawn.

So after the sink in the mud room started to stop draining and the toilet started to make bubbling noises, I went into the guest bathroom to find that toilet start to fill up instead of flush.  This is when Colby decided we needed to test all the plumbing in house.  The sinks and showers were all clogged and the toilets wouldn’t flush.  So, his first solution was to open our backyard clean out to see if it would release a clog and guess what; it didn’t.  I did however have to clean up everything off the patio and lawn.

His next idea was to stick the hose down the clean out on full blast while, we clogged all the toilets, sinks, and showers with plastic bags and rags.  This did not work as well.  The water ended up just coming through the seal we made and once again filled our patio and lawn with water.  We then closed the clean out, removed the toilet in mud room, and tried the same hose trick.  We created a seal around the hose in the toilet’s sewer hole with a trash bag and large towel.  So, I was running through the house in my dirty sewer water boots checking all the toilets to make sure they weren’t bubbling and all the sinks and showers to make sure they weren’t filling.  Eventually the sewer hole filled up so much that water just burst through the seal and all over our mud room floor.  Yay more sewer water!

After the last scenario, I started crying and couldn’t stop.  (Darn hormones!)  At that point, Colby told me I needed to go to bed. (FYI: I did work 7pm to 7am the night before and this whole mess probably started around 9am!) So off to nap I went with no ability to shower and feeling just altogether nasty.  Colby made a home depot run while, I was sleeping and bought something else to use since, their rental department did not have what he needed.  He did something during my “nap” and when I woke up, we were able to use one toilet that couldn’t be flushed and only run one sink at a time till it filled all the way up.  We also had a giant hole around the backyard clean out and a new cap in the frontward clean out.  Colby bathed with a washcloth and soap in the bathroom sink.  And then rewashed his hands and arms with Vinegar to get rid of the sewer smell that would just not go away!

So this morning, Colby found a rental equipment place that had an Electric Eel Sewer Snake that we could rent for $95 for 24 hours or $60 if you get it done in 4 hours (and he brought me a Rise Up Coffee!)  After having done our homework (watching youtube videos) the night before, we were prepared to get this pipe de-clogged.  We stuck the snake down the clean out and got stuck on the elbow of the pipe.  This was apparently not going to be as easy as a youtube video shows.  Colby finally was able to maneuver it and push the end through the elbow then all we had to do was use the foot peddle and feed the snake down the pipe.  We could tell that we hit the clog when the snake stopped pushing forward and started spinning in a circle.  Then boom, the snake pushed forward and our pipe was officially unclogged!  I went through the house and the toilets flushed and the sinks and showers drained.  And we finished it in less than 4 hours!

*Now Colby and I may not agree on everything or really much when it comes to fixing and redesigning our house but, today I have never been more thankful for this handy man who did everything (disgusting things) to try and fix our sewer blockage.

Smart House

I know it has been forever since I last did a post but I am going to try and do better. I Promise!

So I know everyone got some great Black Friday deals and as against Black Friday I am (going from a holiday about being thankful for all we have to going to trampling people for things that we want), I worked the night before and was still awake to go grab some things that we were looking to get eventually.  So my dad, Colby, and I set out to Petsmart, Home Depot, and Michael’s. This post is about what we got at Home Depot (my second home). They had a special where if you buy any two Wink enabled devices you get the Wink Hub for 99 cents. This is where our house becomes “Smart.”

The first thing we set up was our new Nest Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detector.  That was easy to do after we finally got the the detector to stop talking to us in Spanish and start talking in English.  Then we synced it with the apps we added on our phone.  The next step was setting up our new Nest Thermostat.  This was a little more difficult!  We turned off the power, removed the faceplate of the old thermostat, went through all the wires and labeled them, removed the base of the old thermostat, applied a new vanity cover and base, and then we went to put the wires in the base and we got stuck.  See our old thermostat had two C wires in the C slot and our new thermostat base would only allow one wire in the slot.  So off to google, you tube, and Nest support online we went.  (Also another note would be we had to use our phones because the power was off so, no wi-fi and both of our phones’ batteries were about to die so, we are speed searching and then charging the phones in the car!)  After searching for what felt like forever I found someone with a similar problem on Nest’s community board and someone else had given him a idea on how to fix it.  So Colby spliced the wires and connected the one C wire into our base.  (Yay finally everything is fixed right?!?!)  We put the thermostat cover on, turned on the power, AND NOTHING! The thermostat did not turn on.  We were about to give up except we would be without heat till we did install the thermostat.  Back to the Nest online help center we went.  Remove the cover, hold down the outside ring for 10 seconds and then replace it… Still Nothing!  We then turn off the power, remove the base, remove all the wires and make sure they are straightened, make sure any extra wire is pushed into the hole in the wall, replace the cover, switch the power on, and finally we have a thermostat with power!  Now all we need to do is follow the steps on the thermostat to set up and link it to our apps (finally something easy to do).

So as difficult as it was to set up that thermostat, I am so glad we did get it because it tells us the temperatures that will save us money and we can change the temperature in the house from our phones no matter how far away we are.  The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detector will tell us on our phone if the alarm goes off and our battery life on the detector.  Also depending where you want to place it in your house, you can set it up to work as a path light.

Now I feel like I am living in Smart House (the Disney Channel Original Movie)! I am just waiting for it to start talking to me.

Oh yeah and our back plate does not cover everything the old thermostat plate did so multi colored wall till we paint the living room! Yay!

Mucky, Mucky Was A Pond >>> Mucky, Mucky Is Now Gone

So when we moved in our house, it came with this lovely double level pond with a motor that, we were so blessed was filled with mucky water and loved to attract mosquitos to our yard.  On one hand I had always wanted a pond in my yard since I was young but, on the other hand I did not want this pond in my yard.  One day while Colby was at work (to surprise him), my mom and I emptied all the water (NASTINESS) out of the ponds.  We then squirted off the ponds and motors and set them to the side.  Our biggest venture was upon us.  There was water under the pond in the dirt too and we wanted it emptied so my dogs would stop jumping in it to swim and drink.  During this emptying, we found a bee hive (YIKES)! After we got most of the bees killed, we poured some bleach in the water to get rid of any other mucky-ness!  So now we have two empty holes that do not attract mosquitos.

Popping Champagne & Fixing Chimneys

So the next project we worked on was our chimney. We needed to fix the mortar and seal on our chimney based on our house inspection. There was some cracking in the mortar and sealant needed to be redone. Of course since we are doing this house ourselves, we decided to figure out how to fix these issues on our own. But first we made some mimosas! This was especially necessary for me because, Colby had me using a broken ladder that did not even reach the roof. You get to the top step and then pull your body weight onto the roof!

This renovation requires mortar, sealant, chisels, hammers, a pointing trowel, a masonry brush and a razor. The first step was for us to take apart the chimney cap so it would not get in the way or messed up during the process. The next step is to start cracking away the old mortar with your chisel and hammer. All the mortar needs to go so its a clean slate again. Then use the masonry brush to get rid of all the dust. Before placing any new mortar down, the surface needs to be dampened.  Place the mortar then pat with your hands to form shape and use your trowel to smooth surface and make the downward slant for the rain to run off. This may seem easy but it requires you working VERY FAST so the mortar does not dry before you smooth or shape. This is also the part where you will start screaming at the person you are working with (in our case that would be me and Colby yelling at each other on the roof.) After you are finished and the mortar is flat in the middle and dry, you can reapply the cap. The next step in our renovation was to use a razor to cut and then scrap all the old sealant around the flashing. We then applied new sealant and smoothed it with our fingers. (My fingers had sealant on them for almost a week after.)

Trashing the Yellow Toilet

So the other thing we decided we needed the weekend we moved in was a NEW TOILET (my dad was a big influence on this one)! The reason we needed the new toilet was no one could use the half bath toilet due to it leaking at the base of the toilet. The toilet was cracked at the base and it was YELLOW WITH A WHITE SEAT! The half bathroom was not my priority when we moved in but I wanted to have more than one toilet accessible when we had guests. So we bought an American Standard Champion, which is a dual flush toilet. The dual flush toilet saves water because it uses less water when you pee and more water when you are doing your business. We ended up moving our old master bathroom toilet into the half bath and the new toilet went into the master bathroom. Plus now both toilets are white and pretty (as pretty as a toilet can be).

Stuff Left In Our House

When we moved into our house we did not know we would be inheriting a lot of things that owner before us did not feel like moving to California. A few days before or the day of settlement (I can’t remember) we received a call from our realtor asking if we cared if some of the things that were in the house during our multiple visits were left there for us to keep. We did not care because FREE STUFF but some of it was kind of RANDOM!

 

This included lots of things such as pictures, a butchers blocker, a KITCHEN TABLE, chile plate, front table, mirror, fake tree, multiple end tables, an ENTERTAINMENT CENTER, candles, decorative towel holder, shower curtain, a GRILL, outdoor bench, stained indoor bench, pillows, lamps, books with brass book ends, a zebra rug, two desks, an outside table and chairs, and some random decorations that I did not get pictures of before the were taken down! He also left us with a shelf full of paints for the house and some cleaning and outdoor chemicals/ products. The shed included a rake, wheelbarrow, and some other products.  We really lucked out with getting a really nice grill and entertainment center!

A Light at the End of a Long Shift

My intention was to post in the order that we worked on the house but I can now tell that may not happen so, here is a post about this past weekend. Colby’s dad and mom came to visit from Thursday till Monday. Lucky for us, both my dad and Colby’s dad worked in construction so, they’ve helped us around the house and given us some great ideas. Well Colby’s parents definitely spoiled us during their trip by buying us a brand new light for over dining room table. I was the most spoiled because I did not even have to help install it (WIN!). They had it hanging already when I got home from work! They were also nice enough to take pictures of the process for me.

Now we just need some light bulbs that work with our dimmer!

A New Look for an Old Door

Our first project, literally the weekend, we moved in was redoing our door. We had an old red door wood door that had chipping paint (which is hard to tell in the other pictures).  So we decided with our new home, our door deserved a new life too.

The supplies we used were a 6-in-1 painter’s tool, sandpaper (which then turned into a Dremel sander), painters tape, exterior paint with primer, a new lock set, and a kick plate.

The 6-in-1 painter’s toll is used to get all the chipping paint off or if you have my boyfriend all the old paint off. Like I said I started off just using sandpaper (which is cheap) until my dad said he had his Dremel sander with him then I sanded the whole door (even the nooks and crannies). After the whole door is sanded and smooth, it needs to be wiped down with a damp cloth. Then comes the “fun” part painting, if you find painting to be fun that is. We let it dry basically all day (so it would not stick once we closed the door) and put the lock on at night which wasn’t exactly smart. We just used the old top lock hole and my dad figured out the screw hole on the bottom for us. Then we just followed the directions from the lock set. For the kick plate, we measured how far from either side and the bottom we would need it and then followed those directions as well. In the end, we got a beautiful new door.

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A House Named Douglas

One month ago (today), my boyfriend Colby and I bought our first house together. It’s a 3 bedroom and 2.5 bathroom rancher with wood floors through out the whole house (except one weird carpeted room), a fireplace (win!), and a backyard big enough for our two wild dogs, Bella and Beau, to run around.

We looked at multiple houses but, this house stole my heart from the first time I walked up. Colby wasn’t as sold but, he loves the idea of having a DIY project to do with me.

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The pictures above are the realtor’s and came from http://hotpads.com