Saturday, November 18, 2023

Fixing a leaky faucet in the Back Bathroom

We have a leaky sink faucet in the Back Bathroom.  By turning off the water supply for the cold and then the hot water  under the sink, we were able to identify that it was the hot water faucet leaking.

First we needed to get a replacement cartridge for the faucet.  It is an American Standard Amarilis Iris faucets, so we found a replacement cartridge for that

The first problem is removing the handle and escutcheon for the faucet.

 Normally there is a small set screw that holds the handle on, but I could not find any.  Going back and looking at the installation instructions, it suggests that it is under the ring that is at the top of the escutcheon. And sure enough, with some work, I was able to pry it up revealing a little groove under the ring, with a set screw.  

Once the set screw is backed out, the handle comes off and then the escutcheon, leaving only the mechanism. 

That is held in place with a large hex nut.  Removing that allows us to replace the cartridge.

And then we reverse everything to put it all back together.

Testing it, we have hot water and no leaks.

Thursday, November 16, 2023



Sasha was Lauren's cat.  We got her over Spring Break 2004 so that Lauren could bond with her while out of school.  But she had to be spayed before she could come home, and spaying was done by the Vet students at Texas A&M -- which were on Spring Break!  So she came home a week or so after Spring Break.

When Lauren went off to College, and then eventually got a job, got married and had a kid, Sasha stayed behind at our house.  Although we got her Spring 2004, she was born the previous October, 2003.  And this year she turned 20.

Unfortunately she also developed a lump on the side of her face, which her vet says was Feline Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma, a very aggressive form of cancer.

She is buried in the Iris Bed.

The Iris Bed has underground drip irrigation, on Zone 5, which loops around the outside of the bed, so we can dig just away from the edges.   We dug down in the corner by the house and the deck.

We dug down about 24 inches.  Sasha is in a box whose top is then about 15 or 16 inches down.

Once we had the dirt back on top

we replaced the irises and lilies that we moved out of the way to be able to dig.

And then, to match the other cats, we added a little brass plaque marking where Sasha is.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Washing all the windows -- inside and out

 It has been awhile since the exterior windows have been washed, and it seems like the right time to do it.  Winter is coming, but today is in the 70s and 80s and dry.

Looking at what we have done before (Nov 2014 and July 2020), we decided to use the same process.  We used the Windex Outdoor.  Listed at Home Depot as "32 fl oz Blue Bottle Outdoor Sprayer", $12.98. 


But our notes suggest we will need two bottles.  As fate would have it, we still have the (empty) spray bottle from the last time we washed windows, and Home Depot has "Windex 128 fl. oz. Outdoor Glass Cleaner Refill" which is good for 4 refills of the spray bottle for only $19.58.  So we bought one of the 128 fl.oz. refills, and used only half of it (two of the 32 fl.oz. bottles), so we have enough left-overs for another washing, in about 5 years!


We started about 9AM, and by 11AM had all the exterior windows done.  For each window, we first rinsed it, then soaped it, let it sit a bit, and then rinsed the soap off.  Actually, we broke the windows up into groups, and rinsed them all, soaped them all, then went back and rinsed them all.  That took about 200 gallons of water.

We left the screens on, so that we rinsed and soaped thru the screens.  The idea is to wash the screen and the window.

Then we went back inside the house and, using a normal spray bottle of Windex and a clean rag, washed each window, inside and out.  The windows are designed to be opened up into the house, both top and bottom, to allow inside and outside to be cleaned. This took hours just because of the number of windows involved.

1. Utility room window

2. Kitchen Breakfast Bay windows (4)

3. Media Room (Dining Room) windows (3)

4. Living Room windows (6)

5. Central Bathroom window

6. Back Bedroom windows (4)

7. Back Bathroom window

8. Guest Bedroom windows (2)

9. Computer Room windows (2)

10. Loft and fixed second story computer room window (2)

11. Master Closet window

12. Master Bath window

13. Master Bedroom windows (2)

14. Front door window and side window (2)

15. Library windows (2)

16. Garage door windows (4)

17. Garage window

This leaves out the Attic window, since we didn't wash it.  That would make an even 40 windows.  (Oops! Forgot the window in the door in the Back Bedroom. I guess that would be 41).

All the windows are supposed to open inside, to allow them to be cleaned both inside and outside, but one of the Living Room windows will not open.  In fact it is so tight, it will not even slide up all the way.  And for some windows, like the Living Room windows, the computer room windows, and the Library windows, it is easier to just pop the screens off and wash the outside from the outside.

All the water and soap spraying showed the windows to all be water tight.  Only the exterior door for the back bedroom leaked water into the house.

One of the screens for the Master Bedroom windows has a small tear in the upper left (seen from the outside) -- probably a tree branch from one of the winter storms.  The repair of the Master Bathroom window screen could use some repair.

Also the windows for the Back Bedroom, the Guest Bedroom, and the Computer room all seem to be fogging or spotting from either something like acid rain or a mineral deposit.  Normal Windex is not clearing that up. The windows on the south and east side of the house do not seem to be showing this, so it could be the windows that are more exposed to the weather or different glass properties in the windows replaced at different times.