Pack of the Variety Kind.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

faux metal brass threshold door floor
“Your list is long, babe.”  The refrain I hear often from Mike, though he never ever means it as heartless as it may read.  Sure, yeah, it’s a nudge but it’s never ill-willed in any sense.  He's not a jerk.

After fourteen years together as of the other day, we’re well versed in Mike-speak/Becky-speak.  Jeez, fourteen?!  Wow.  Man, time flies when you're having fun.

But you know what's sad?  When he's onto your game.

Like for instance.  I had this threshold dilemma in the hall bath. I didn't want a cheapy crappy metal one after the massive amounts of work I put into that floor.  Didn't want a big bump of a wood one.  Nor did I want to spend a trillion dollars on a freakin’ threshold.

What I wanted was a metal transition, flush, just plain and simple, a strip, divide the floor.  Kinda like the tile edges but at this point it's obviously way too late to get one in there.

So I picked up a square dowel* and some Rub n' Buff* in antique gold.  Make my own faux, why not!

With my rotary tool,* I ground out and cleaned up the space between the tile and the wood floor to make room for the dowel.  Next came a sh*t ton of custom trimming using the band saw, sanding, band saw, sanding....let's just say I didn't need a Stairmaster that day, ahem.

Once it fit, I smeared on the Rub n' Buff, buffed it in.  I tried to seal it up with some paste wax* but that made the Rub n' Buff green; off that came.  No sealer.

Picked up a tube of black caulk* and spurted a bunch into the gap, smushed in the dowel piece, cleaned up any squeeze outs, and bam, faux metal threshold!  Sure, I need to be careful cleaning it but hey, whatev's, who cares.

"Hey babe, lemme show you what I did!" I was excited!

"What's that, babe?" as he followed me down the hall.

"Did you see? Did you see I made a brass-like....."

"That's just wood."

Omg.  Seriously?

"Heyyyyy wait a minute! I mean yeah it is but it’s...."

"Yeah but it's still just wood, " he trails as he wanders off.  Hmph.  Maybe he's still mad about being fooled by the faux rust.

Iiiiiii dunno, doesn't look like wood to me.  Quite proud of this actually.
Update to an update:  remember I mentioned the little gasket washer was a'-dyin' on our master bathroom pop up sink drain?  Yeah.

gasket washer sink drain rubber
I ran all over town, including ack, Lowe’s.  The Lowe’s plumbing department guy said try The Faucet Guy.  Ok.  So I did.

Wow, what an incredibly unpleasant, didn’t-listen jerk that guy was.  I still can’t believe what an a**hole this schmoe was, with his smug, get-out-of-my-store attitude.

Regardless, I was standing at his counter after he literally tossed the cap back at me while scoffing, seriously, he was terrible, when I was finally able to read the name on the top through the rust spots.

“Kraus, it says,” I said.  “Must be some foreign brand,” he snorted, “yeah, some foreign brand,” mimicked the customer next to me.  C’mon.  Really?

Looked up Kraus right when I got home, emailed them, heard back that day.  Yep.

I had forgotten I had issues with their drain the first time around and kept, yes actually kept the emails to and from the company in, yes, 2015.  They warranty-shipped me a new top cap with washer gasket thingie free of charge.  Nice.

Skip The Faucet Guy, he's an a**hole.  Heh, not the only one who thinks so it appears.

Turns out they sent the wrong size cap so they shipped out a whole new drain.


And that cap didn't fit the existing drain.  So guess what?  Becky gets to install a drain in the master bathroom for a third time.  Why does this always happen to me?  My Murphy's Law life....sigh.

Easy enough to do though, don't be intimidated.  Sure, water, it leaks, it ruins things.  Just go slow and be diligent is all.  Seriously, not hard.

Be sure to take detailed photos of your existing drain and study how it’s currently installed.  That's super key to your success here.

Jam a bucket under there and slowly disassemble what you've got, being sure to take photos along the way.  Stack or arrange things in the order they came off with "this end up" up.

All ya gotta do is put everything new back in the way the old came out, tightening just enough to not break or crack things.  You may need some plumber’s putty.*  Test and re-test to make sure nothing leaks.

Then tada!  Voila!  New drain!  And it works!  Whew.

Amazingly, this project did not get all Murphy's Law on me, I weirdly got this done in about fifteen minutes.  Shock, I was in total shock.  Almost too good to be true.  That makes me very nervous.

It’s freakin’ loud though, heh, gurgle glug glug, never have I heard such a loud drain before.  Ah well.  The stopper works.  Trade-offs.  Heh.

Oh, remember the weed-infested gangway beside the garage?  Yeah, it was getting bad again.

I had some leftover landscape cloth from our latest concrete day…

Oh the latest concrete day!  Mike wanted to redo the gangway concrete walk so we did, same great concrete crew.

They ripped it all out by hand, yes by hand, some sixty plus foot length of concrete, and replaced it.

sidewalk concrete broken truck haul
That's almost all the concrete from the walk.  Whooie.
Our main goal, aside from vastly improving the beat up and broken path was to redirect water to the front, lessening the impact on the back, and kinda sorta alleviate being hassled by the neighbor to the east knowing full well water in his basement is not our fault.  Appearances that we’ve done something helpful go a long way.  (He’s still getting water, FYI.  Huh.  Go figure.)

However, this project was a for-our-benefit project.

concrete framing gravel sidewalk new
End of day one, old concrete out, framing and gravelly base in.
We ended up having to put a step in to reverse the pitch, not ideal but not too big of a deal.

The neighbor happened to pop by, crazy timing, right when I was discussing the options to re-pitch the walk with the crew.  The neighbor butted in, they began speaking in Spanish, my yeeaaars of lessons failing me, I couldn’t catch very much of what they were saying.

Kudos to the concrete guys, especially the framing guy who seemed irritated.  He said after the neighbor left, “we listen to you and what you want, not anyone else.”

As a woman, that *pew*, that went miles and miles with me.  Contractors aren’t normally big on listening to a woman.  Thank you.  Thank you thank you.  If you’re in Chicago, hire Ponce Contractors.

Action shot of Finn totally into the new concrete!  Planted some fast spreading pachysandra there since it's a zero-sun spot and roots will absorb water on that border between houses.  Mostly because it'll be pretty.
We had them take out the walkway portion that led from the edge of the house to the front fence.  Several neighbors think we’re deranged for doing so but whatevs man, it’s our freakin’ yard.  More yard, less concrete in a city is nice, in our opinion.  Future owners can add it if they want.

removed sidewalk concrete
Walk removed there on the left.  We've only ever opened that gate maybe three times in six years.
I put down two layers of landscape cloth in that area before we infill some dirt in an effort to keep the east neighbor’s daylilies and such from invading our yard.  Fingers crossed.

concrete walk sidewalk gangway pour framing
End of day two, concrete poured and aligned nicely with last year's work.  Thumbs up! 
Sooooooo, long story round about....I had a wee bit of leftover cloth and after cleaning out the weeds along the garage side, unfurled it there, this time adding mulch.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, looks so much better.  That's the Joe Pye weed I moved.
Sure hope the cloth helps, or at least buys me more time before having to trek into that mosquito-riddled den again.  If anything, it looks nice and tidy, my favorite part.  Mike said I'm making things "super fancy" 'round here.  Heh.

No doubt I’ve got oodles more Variety Pack items to share, no doubt I’ve already gone on too long here.  Oh.  Yeah.  Aw jeez, I do...I didn't even touch upon anything I had meant to!  Wow.  hahaha

As this is a Variety Pack post, I'm to share a recipe as always.  If you’re not following us over at Flaky Bakers, be sure to get thyself there promptly.  Otherwise hmmm….

Oh this Grilled Chicken with Roasted Garlic-Oregano Vinaigrette and Potatoes from Food Network is awful nice in the summer, especially using fresh oregano that I’ve got growing in a pot outside.  Give it a whirl!

Back soon!

*The square dowels, Rub n' Buff, rotary tools, paste wax, black caulk, and plumber's putty are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. About those daylilies spreading...We put plastic garbage bags down, cloth weed paper, and then mulch. STILL came up. I think the only thing that keeps them from spreading is a 4" deep physical barrier such as the rubber liner that gets vertically buried between where you want the lilies and where you don't!

  2. Oh for sure, they are champion level spreaders! Surely my lame two layers of wimpy fabric won't stop them; even the 4" thick concrete walk that was there didn't. I've been transplanting them yearly since we moved here. Like you, no doubt I'll continue to dig them out. Thanks for taking the time to write!


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