Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Slow Closing Toilet Seat for Central Bathroom

 After mainly using the toilet in the Master Bathroom, the few times we used the toilet in the Central Bathroom, the noise of closing the seat was jarring.  So we decided to replace the seat with a slow closing (quiet) seat.

 Of course, the seat is not just a standard white one, but Linen colored, so we needed to special order the correct replacement seat. had one, $64.61.

The old toilet seat was held on by a couple of plastic screws under the snap-close covers, so taking it off was easy.

The new one was pretty much the same, but with plastic washers, and the snap-close covers over the screws open the other way.  But basically the same, and the appearance differences are subtle.  But it does close slower.  And quieter.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Master Bathroom Shower Changes

 For a number of years, we have been using an adjustable shower extension to allow the shower head to be moved up and down easily, since Linda and I are of different heights.  But they break easily -- the bolts that allow the extension to be adjusted just do not hold up.  So after this most recent failure, we replaced the shower head mechanism completely.

The new scheme has a hand held shower head on a hose.  In our case, a WaterPik Model #SRXPP-763M from Lowe's.  It has a hand shower with a 6-foot metal hose that can sit on an adjustable height holder on a metal bar.  The bar is held to the shower tiles with pieces of 2-sided tape. 

The hose attaches to a shower diverter  that allows either the hand-held head or the normal fixed head to be used.

There is also a slot in the diverter to hold a hand-held shower, but the WaterPik hand-held shower head is too big and will not fit in the slot in the diverter.

This arrangement is meant to be a temporary solution until we remodel the bathroom completely.  We will try to learn from it what works and what does not.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Pest Control

While we were gone during January 2023, our daughter stayed in the house.  She was uncomfortable with the level of insect life in the house, so she called a pest control company to treat the outside and inside of the house. 

That seemed to work pretty well, but over the past couple of weeks, we noticed more silverfish in the pantry and random cockroaches in the house, so, it being 6 months, we figured we would try treating again.

The company used was Research Pest Control, in Cedar Park.  They came out today and sprayed the outside and inside of the house, with TEMPRID FX (Imidacloprid 21.0% Cyfluthrin 10.5%) and also sprinkled some Permethrin granules around the outside.  It took about 30 minutes for the spraying, and cost $135.31 ($125 plus tax).

Update: September 2023.  Daughter noticed a few ants in the shower of the central bathroom.  It seemed they were coming from the central valve of the shower, so I sprayed a little Raid in the opening in the wall, resulting in a deluge of ants (mostly dead or dieing) over the next few days.  These were little ants, with wings.  Which I did not know.  So I called Research Pest again.  They sent a guy out that said they were acrobat ants.

He sprayed something into the wall of the shower (turns out there is an easy opening to it in the cabinet under the adjacent sink).  When I mentioned that they were also falling onto the window sill in the back bedroom, he then went up in the attic over that window and misted it with some powder spray.


Wednesday, July 12, 2023

The Second Elm Tree Stump

 We lost two Elm trees due to the cold weather in February 2021.  They were cut down in October 2021 and I dug out the first stump in October 2022.  Now we are starting on the second stump.

In the year plus since the tree was cut down, it was pretty well over grown with inland sea oats and texas sedge, as well as trying to re-grow itself by suckers growing out of the stump itself.

So the first problem is to expose the stump and clear out the overgrowth.

We continued this excavation around the stump exposing 8 or 9 major roots.

The dirt is hard and dry.  We will try to dig down between the roots, with an aim of digging under them and separating them from the soil both at the stump and at the exterior edge of the ditch, so that we can cut thru them and isolate the root.

Digging down between the roots, after a couple of days, we isolated many of the roots.  This allowed us to use a chainsaw to cut thru four of them and disconnect about 3/4 of the way around the stump.

With a gap between these major roots and the edge of the hole we are digging, we can dig out more dirt, going deeper, until we hit rock.  We then bring in our own blocks of limestone and our bottle jack.  Putting the bottle jack on the bedrock and under a root, we can jack up that side of the stump.  Once we have the stump up as far as the bottle jack will go, we can stack rocks under adjacent roots to support the stump, allowing the bottle jack to be removed.

We then put a 6x6 limestone block under where the bottle jack was used and can now lift the stump another 6 inches, allowing another 6 inches of stone to be put on the stacks holding up the adjacent roots.  Using this approach, we can lift one side of the stump significantly, allowing us to dig the dirt out of the center of the stump and to work on the roots that have not yet been cut.

Excavating under the roots that have not been cut, and then cutting them, frees the stump from the earth, and allows us to prop it up on one side.

We can then tilt the stump up out of the hole, onto a hand truck and trundle it out to the curb.

This leaves a big hole, with a layer of rock around the edges above the bedrock.

Using the pry bar and a rock as a fulcrum, we can pry the rock around the edges out.

leaving us with a big hole (about 6 feet in diameter and 28 inches deep), rock free, down to bedrock.

and a pile of dirt.

Putting the dirt back in the hole leaves us with two barren spots, both without stumps.

This whole process took about a month.