Tag Archives: home repairs

Carpet Cleanup Caper

The Carpet Cleanup Caper

I bargained hard when Hubby wanted to get a second dog. We already had one Norwegian Elk Hound. These dogs are notorious for shedding. I even have a T-shirt that says “EMBRACE THE FUR” above a silhouette of an Elk Hound Dog.

We did indeed have dog hair all over the place.  Dogie Fur “dust bunnies” were overrunning the house the way real rabbits would overpopulate a community in the absence of predators to keep their numbers down. Dog hair covered the carpet, the sofa, the upholstery in the car too. We purchased a Dyson vacuum as the cost of replacing dust bags in the old Sears canister unit was costing us a fortune. But vacuuming was almost a daily chore and Hubby was not sharing the work load here. We started a discussion about what would need to happen if a second prolific shedding machine was added to our household.

It was a given that the fur would increase. So how to make it less of a challenge to keep cleared up? If fur stuck to the carpet and upholstery then we could replace it with wood flooring and leather covered furniture and car seats. I bargained hard. All of this needed to be done before the second puppy arrived in our home.

Hubby decided his first task was to remove the old carpeting and replace this with wood flooring.  As newcomers to the Great Northwest, we spent a few weekends down at the local IKEA store.  There was no store like this in Arizona, although I hear there is now one location out in Tempe. I can only imagine how the locals there are enjoying the IKEA cuisine! I doubt the hardy pioneers of the Southwest been daunted by the recent “horse meat” stories. I seem to recall a shop called “Ye Olde Meat Market” that sold horse meat.  The shop garnered much business when local beef prices went through the roof back in the “seventies” they put a limit on how much one could purchase at each visit.

Anyway we’d spent many weekend afternoons, down in Kent looking at the new fangled IKEA store, specifically at the varieties of manufactured flooring. Of course one developed quite an appetite wandering through the maze.  Inevitably we dined on the Meatball Special in the cafeteria located conveniently at the middle of the maze, so that shoppers could refuel and continue on with their shopping quests through the rest of the store.

Hubby decided the Pergo laminate  flooring would be a relatively inexpensive way to replace the gray carpet that was currently installed in our recently purchased home in Seattle. Anything we could do to brighten up the coloring in the home would be welcomed. We made it through our first winter of no sun but saw the need to improve our surroundings artificially when at all possible to add more light and improving the color scheme.  The blond wood flooring seems to be a solution to our darkness issue as well as provide smooth surfaces to be easily vacuumed of dog hair.

For some reason many of Hubby’s Home Improvement Projects take place when I am out of town on business trips. This is probably due to the fact that it would be quieter around the house with me out of screaming range.  My youngest son’s room walls would probably not have been painted bright blue if I’d been home at the time. Oh well.


The carpet replacement job was well underway when I left town for a Gourmet Foodie convention in San Francisco.  The old grey carpet was stripped away and safely at the local dump. The dump is called the sanitary landfill up here, but it is still the same scenario as Phoenix. You drive in and they weigh your car before and after and charge for the weight lost. Hmmm, I wonder if that would work for a weight loss clinic. The work of cleanup and preparation for replacement with the new flooring seems a fairly benign activity to happen while “Mom was gone”.

Upon my return I saw that the floor debris was completely gone and the sub flooring not yet in place.  I could actually admire the cleanup work and rejoice that finally he had completed a job without leaving a monumental mess for me to clear away!

Back in the kitchen, inspired by the Gourmet Foodie offerings at the convention, I looked for a favorite saute pan. I started to whip up a tasty treat to reward my hard working Hubby. I reached up to retrieve the pan hanging on the pot rack in the kitchen.  As I pulled it down I noticed it was a bit dusty.  I chalked this up to not cooking with it for a few weeks.  Later on I needed a strainer which was also located on the pot rack. This item was equally dusty and upon closer inspection was covered with dog hair as well.

All of the pots and utensils were coated with dirt and hair. What had happened?

I went to the closet that held various cleaning equipment meaning to grab my vacuum and do a bit of clean up of the area.  I glanced over at the Shop Vac® and clearly it had not been used in a few weeks, the cord was still wound up neatly from the last time I had deployed this equipment.  However the leaf blower was there cord sprawled all over the floor, the attachment still in place too, indicating that Hubby had recently used it.

Even though I knew it was the wrong time of year to be blowing fallen leaves I could not resist asking what the heck he’d been doing with that leaf blower. Sure enough the answer I received more than explained the dust and dog hair that covered all of my cooking equipment on the pot rack.  In a brilliant ploy to save time and be efficient, Hubby had literally blown out the back door, all of the construction debris. Of course he never looked up! Obviously he didn’t cook using any pots or pans during this time. In my head was a cartoon-like image of Hubby screaming “Woo-hoo!” as he waved the leaf blower.  He opened the back sliding door to our deck and proceeded to blow, through the kitchen, all of the accumulated dust, wood scraps and contributions of hair from the family Norwegian Elk Hound, into the back yard.  Did I happen to mention the dog is a male? They probably did a  high-fiver (or pawer) each other in congratulations on the job well done.

Happily the wood flooring went down without further incidents. Leather sofa and chairs were purchased. Our new puppy was driven home in my newly upholstered car. Clean up of fur was easier and we enjoyed living with two Elk Hound pups, fur and all.

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We Cook with Gas!

My Hubby is a “handy man”. Our boys all think so too. A recent Father’s Day gift was a “Tool Man” tie. Note that we have only sons. I am sure that if a daughter were involved in the gift decision it may not have been the Tool Tie.

My hubby’s handy man skills emerged later on in our marriage. During the dating / living together stages he showed little enthusiasm for fixing anything around the house. In fact I secretly rejoiced, when upon viewing a flooded floor next to my water heater, he stated that he’d have to look into some home repair manuals when he had his own home. He walked away from the scene, content to let a “professional” deal with this mess.  This appeared to be a man who would be OK with calling a repairman. Hallelujah!

I was a fairly “handy” woman in my own right.  Having been single for a few years I’d managed to install a ceiling fan, remove and replace a garbage disposal, and had even scrambled up onto the roof of my southwestern home and replace the water pump on the evaporation cooling unit. Hubby had no real opportunities to demonstrate his mechanical prowess during the early stages of our life together.This changed as soon as the “I Do” part happened.

Hubby moved into my existing home and now had concern for items like leaking hot water tanks, sagging gates  and other miscellaneous items that he’d been eyeing, during our courtship.  I found that his passion was to work in the yard and  garden. There was already a substantial vegetable garden on the south side of the house, which under his nurturing care increased the production of greens and herbs to the point I was giving away heads Romaine to all my friends!  I even learned to make pesto from cilantro. Hubby’s love of fruit trees was boundless. Added to the typical Southwest Pink Grapefruit and Valencia Orange trees, he planted unusual varieties like “Dolly Parton” lemons, two varieties of limes . Next he added a Peach tree and two Santa Rosa Plums.  Hubby even planted a Dwarf Apple tree that was guaranteed to grow in desert climates.  At one point I considered signing him up for  “Plant Buyers Anonymous” meetings. I swear I saw a brochure for this on the bulletin board at Home Depot!

I truly became concerned when I saw that he moved plants around the yard like we women might rearrange the furniture in the house. He couldn’t plant the Plum trees next to the Mexican Limes… they’d get too tall and provide too much shade. He needed to move them around!  Digging all those holes eventually meant that Hubby learned the location of the underground utility lines. We had the our city’s Home Safety Department on speed dial.

The most memorable event was the time he “found” the gas lines on the west end of our back yard. Even the fire department arrived for this occasion. Indeed the neighbors probably thought we were hosting a party for personnel of our city’s public utilities.  Both the gas company and the local firemen from our city crowded into the back yard to look at and listen to the hissing gas lines that had been breached with Hubby’s shovel.

Flash forward about ten years. We relocated to the  Seattle area. Moving only provided many additional opportunities to meet new personnel at various water, gas and electrical utilities in the great Northwest.

We’d been spoiled by the luxury of a gas grill in our backyard down in the Southwest. Many a meal was grilled in our own back yard and the best part was that we never had to refill Propane bottles! Our cast iron El Patio gas grill was fueled by in line gas that ran from our house main across the back yard. Remember those visits from the Gas Company and firemen I mentioned?

Hubby set about to recreate this convenience in our new home in Seattle.  Never mind that the house had no actual gas lines. He did research and found that indeed there was gas available to our home. The lines came up the street. He just needed to link into those lines and bring the gas into our home via copper pipes.  Welding copper was no problem. Just about every boy has had a welding kit as a toy or at the very least had some experience with welding in Shop class, right?

So how hard could it be to plumb a home that was not constructed with any gas lines? This project was before Internet searching and You Tube technology. But Hubby is a very good student so he consulted books on the subject. He even called our local gas company office to consult with a woman in Consumer Service and Safety, about when the inspection could happen when he’d finished work on our pipe layout. She freaked out to say the very least that he was going to do this work!  There was a justifiable concern about an amateur homeowner doing work with a combustible substance without the oversight of a professional!

Hubby has regaled many friends and acquaintances with his imitation of his conversation with the high pitched screeching voiced women on the other end of the phone at the local Gas Company. I have to admit it was pretty humorous too, even if it did paint a member of my own sex as a hysterical raving loony.  When she did pause for breath, Hubby did reassure her that a licensed contractor would be inspecting each and every joint, before any gas flowed through the pipes!

At the end of this project we did indeed have a gas grill on the back deck. We have enjoyed many wonderful grilled salmon dinners. The fact that we have to work with an umbrella in one hand on many occasions has just become part of our Northwest experience.

While he was at it, he plumbed gas to the kitchen and the garage area for additional appliances.  I will say we saved a bit of money switching to a gas water heater and I truly enjoyed cooking on my new Kenmore Elite Self Cleaning Gas Range with its Convention oven. We were truly “cooking with gas” at last.

Hubby’s “improvement” projects can be trying.  In most cases the end results are truly amazing. It’s just living through the process that proves challenging.

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