Friday, April 16, 2010

fix-it friday #2


It took me a while, but here I am! Good morning and hello Friday! To understand why an entire day of the week is now dedicated to posting about fixing things read this first post and follow through the FIF archives. Friday has taken on such new meaning for me. I love hearing your responses and what you've been mending and repairing! In fact, I'd really like to feature one of your fixes or highlight a repair skill you'd like to share. Please e-mail me at mayaluna(at) yahoo(dot) com with submissions.

I have two projects to highlight today. I'm finding that I'm fixing stuff all week long with a new awareness and intentionality. You, too? Some of it includes the little mending I've always done, but I'm also discovering that I have a new incentive to not let broken things sit around. My children know about our Friday plan, and I feel accountable in an all new way, as I model my "handiness" to them. In fact, my son is contributing to today's post with his revamping of an old scooter. Our fine weather brought out our spring play equipment. We have two old razor edge scooters from garage sales. One was for my son and the other an extra for a friend, which my daughter decided she was BIG enough for this year. It was rusted shut and I heard my son say "sorry it's broken, " as if that was that. Her response of a trembling lip and a plea for  a NEW one were all it took to run in for the magic oil.
 A little spray of WD40 here and there on every bolt, was all it took. My son was amazed at his own ability to fix it.  Next, he wanted to oil every stuck and/or squeaky thing around. Go to it!
There were no grips on the handlebars, so we made some ourselves with craft foam scraps and gorilla glue. My son secured them with rubber bands while it dried. A little test drive later on that day, proved to be a success and my daughter has one more reason to admire her brother... he has one more reason to feel proud. Simple, but this is the good stuff (in life).

Next FIX: Lazy Drain
 Oh , the woes of our bathtub drain saga. We have a chronic slow drain in our tub due to faulty piping installation by the previous owners. This means that we have to be vigilant about keeping soap scum and hair out of the drain. We are not the vigilant type. This has resulted in trying various drain de-cloggers over the years. Most of the common "drain busters" are highly toxic and dangerous to you, your pipes and the environment. We've tried every kind of earth friendly product and haven't been that successful, sadly. We have had luck with a snake/auger, but it's hassle and messy. I do, however, recommend having one in your repair kit, if you have frequent clogged drains. After reading through various repair forums, I decided to revisit an old trick with a new recipe. A simple vinegar and baking soda solution is recommended for weekly maintenance. Since we hadn't been doing it regularly, I came up with something a little more intense, much to my children's excitement... we basically sent a volcano down our drain... repeatedly! Here's what to do:
Shake in 1/2 a cup of soda. Get a rag ready. Pour 1/2 a cup or a little more of vinegar on top and quickly stuff a rag into the drain. Pouring in the vinegar is the fun part, so invite your children do it, if possible. Let it sit for an hour. Pour a kettle or hot water over it. I tried this once and the drainage improved only slightly. I almost gave up, but repeated it two more times and hoooray!! We ended up pouring volcanoes down every drain in the house! Happy kids! Happy Drains! Happy family!
Simple solutions. Working together. Modeling self-reliance. Feeling Good!  

What have you been fixing lately?
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  1. Excellent! We use the volcano method on our drains, too - we have an old house with, uh, "vintage" plumbing. We call the technique "the soda bomb." Hooray for science in the sink!

  2. I love the baking soda/vinegar trick, too! I haven't used a rag to plug the drain up so I'll be doing that this weekend. :)

    The combo works great on hot water urns and kettles, too.

  3. Great job!

    My fix it project is converting two old dressers to bookcases/shelves.

  4. Hooray for Super Brother! :)

    And, sorry to stick my nose in your affairs, but have you tried a Zip-It on your drain? They're a few dollars at the hardware store, and are amazing at getting the hairballs (eww...) out! I find that it's not the soap, it's the soap stuck on the HAIR that slows my drain :)

  5. Love the scooter fix!!! We have the exact same scooters - of course!!! Sorry to be an old bore (hmmm to comment or not to comment!) but you have to jam some corks or something into the end of those handles... one of my kids took a lovely tumble with handles just like those and "stamped" some serious "donut hole" damage to his mouth/lip... when he fell on top of them. It is amazing how much impact a 3.5 year old can have at half speed, let alone full speed.
    On that merry note I hope you guys have a fun weekend!!!

  6. That is a great idea! Safe, healthy and fun. I'll be trying this one for sure. Thanks!

  7. hey Maya,
    Traci here again so as i said avid follower and loving the shake you gave me.... this week is a rug that is now as new!! love the kid's getting involved PS i use the volcano trick to but a plunger does wonder's to aid the process have a ace weekend x

  8. Our fix-it this weekend was a basement window. I broke it last year when I threw the dog's ball and it hit the window. My husband covered it with cardboard, and this spring we've noticed that little critters must be moving the cardboard away and coming into the house. My husband had a piece of glass cut to size, and then reglazed the window. No more free entry for critters!

  9. Myrnie, never heard of the Zip-it, but I'm going to investigate directly. Thanks so much.

    Se7en, of course we have the same scooters... someday will list count all of the things we share on opposite sides of the planet! Great tip about the corks. I was a little worried about them, but only a little. Now I'll make sure to secure/plug up those ends. One of my friends call me "Safety Mom" so never hesitate to let me in on something that protects my kids, thanks!!:)

  10. handmadehappiness- great job with that rug... even if the steamer is on it's way. figures:)
    Mary- nothing like a little incentive (critters) to get us in repair mode!

    Thanks everyone!

  11. love fix it friday. maybe i'll find something to fix...

  12. Ew! The stuff the Zip-it brings up is so revolting! But with 2 long-haired daughters in the house, it's a necessary evil.

    I love the fix-it theme. Fixing things always gives such a sense of satisfaction -- thriftiness, competence, good stewardship. Looking forward to hearing more.

  13. The vinegar and baking soda with a hot water chaser works great on clogged dishwashers too.

    Although the drum auger is the best at getting the gunk out of drains hands down my favorite.

  14. I am really enjoying your FIF posts! I love to fix things around the house, and plan to get back into in a few weeks. I love all the great ideas you and your other readers are posting!

  15. This is a great idea to share fix it stories and I love the idea of the baking soda and vinegar down the drains.
    Warm wishes, Tonya

  16. Great job! love the fixing friday idea!

  17. I want to be a fix it person, but seem to missing that gene. Do you know of any websites that might help a wannabe? Thanks, Jenny

  18. It's strange to me how inspiring your post about FIF has been to me. I started by fixing a drawer with my 3 year-old, and she is so pleased to have fixed it with me! Our repair-work has been simple but satisfying. We used WD40 on the stroller, bought a bolt to fix a chair that has been hanging loose for probably 2 years, and duct-taped a board game back together. I look forward to reading about your next 'fix.'

  19. Maya,
    The volcano method is my favorite method! I've been thinking a lot about my drains the past few weeks. It's time. I try to do it monthly, but the wind has blown time right out of my hands!

    On a side note--we discussed wind at school and every single child had a different idea of things that the wind can blow. My personal favorite was, "The wind is so sneaky. He'll blow your hat off and you won't know it until you get in the door and go to take it off."

  20. I really need to try this. We also have a faulty drain due to the same reasons you do and well I am sad to say we use the bad stuff to de-clogg the darn thing. I am glad to know there is a different solution. I am going to try it. thanks.

  21. When all else failed last time our sluggish drain clogged up (even the snake didn't work) I went out and bought a "Drain King". It attaches to a garden hose and somehow it pulses the water under high pressure through the pipes, breaking up the blockage and sending it on down the drain. It's ingeneous, I tell you

    It lives in a bucket right under the sink, so I'll always be able to find it if I need it!