Sunday, September 30, 2012

DIY

When it comes to basic home repairs -- audible drips, pipes that groan, drains that gurgle, and things that otherwise go bump in the night -- I'm not totally inept, thank you very much. I may not be a deft hand with the wrench, but I can switch on a stereo.

For the modest price of some decent speakers, over the years I've fixed the grumbling of the toilet, a rattle in my refrigerator motor, and the plunk, plunk, plunk between my shower and fireplace just by blasting Beethoven, Beach House, or Wilco.

Funny how they never teach these basic survival skills in school. The stereo works magic on a car as well. That annoying sound your brakes are making or the tap-tap-tap under the hood? Gone. It's all a matter of volume and adjusting the bass. Recently I silenced a squeak in the rear wheel with the proper application of some Screaming Jay Hawkins.

A disclaimer here: A stereo won't fix everything. I've found even Bartok won't repair a severed cable, fix a short, sew a button, or mend a broken heart. That's why god gave us duct tape.

26 comments:

  1. Sound advice, KB. I wish my neighbour read your blog ~ it might have prevented him from resorting to the noisy home handyman work he's been banging around with all long weekend.

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  2. Duct tape and a good stereo...definitely tools to a happy, secure life!!!

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  3. Funny, as always.

    One reason (although it's not the main one) I'm not a homeowner is that my mechanical aptitude is, well, it just doesn't exist.

    Now all I have to do is develop an ear for Wilco which I am sorry to say I don't have.

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  4. My wife said our fence was an eyesore so I bought curtains.

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  5. I need some duct take for that kitchen faucet. And some magic for the back yard light.

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  6. Did you know duct tape comes in colors? That was a swell idea someone had - now my fixes co-ordinate with the rest of the room!

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  7. If the duct tape won't stop that drip, I reccommend black stretchy pipe tape--like electrical tape only wider and stronger. Kept my rotting pipes together for seven years once.

    Another thing the stereo won't fix is skunks. A loud oboe concerto right next to said critter [yes, I walked right up to it] failed to convince one to leave our garage after making a shambles of it.

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  8. Very clever, Ms. Hiker. As always, I also think that just having low standards solves a lot of things.

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  9. Good advice -- the music and the duct tape. Fortunately I have both on hand. :-)

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  10. This is very good - you've found your voice again! Turn up the volume. In the Caltech bookstore they sell Duck Tape. I've never understood the difference between the two kinds of tape.

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  11. Earl, the stereo didn't cool down the house, not by one degree.

    Shell, maybe I'll write a book. A very short book.

    K, Wilco works on a hike. I think it's what got me down the mountain today.

    Anon, maybe that will work on my dying tree.

    Petrea, did you see Brenda's comment? My ceiling is going to look so much better.

    Doris, have your husband call me and I'll give him the peroxide/baking soda formula. He'll have to leave you in the backyard for at least 24 hours.

    Margaret, low standards? Not if I buy Brenda's duct tape.

    Ms M, you were well brought up.

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  12. Bellis, I longed for the cold cold water at Ice House Canyon all day long. Even Albert said he'd give the dog paddle another try.

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  13. You went up the mountain today? I hope it was before 5 am.

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  14. If it can't be fixed with duct tape and baling wire, it's not worth fixing. Oh, and keep a tomato paste can handy for your exhaust pipe. Duct tape it in place, and skip the pricy visit to Meineke Mufflers.

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  15. We got everyone's rain this summer so we also got everyone's ants - indoors. I don't think NPR is good anti-ant material but maybe if I get one The Chemical Brothers CD's...

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  16. Sreamin Jay! You surely put a spell on us..

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  17. It might not mend a broken heart, but a stereo is one of the few things to start the healing, I think. Or maybe I've just forgotten what it's like to have one.

    Speaking of broken hearts, have you seen "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart"? I'm not that into Wilco but I liked the film about them.

    On another note, Margaret's onto something with the low standards solution. That's the way to go.

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  18. This could solve some problems: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kGPhpvqtOc

    Or create a few new ones.

    It's K's fault.

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  19. I believe that final paragraph is a poem--a very good poem.

    If I'd gotten here earlier, I'd have asked everyone to confess how old they were when they learned it was not duck tape . . .

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  20. Duct tape and a stereo: Mcgyver for the musically inclined. My mom has confessed to just turning up the radio when my brother was a baby and would cry at bedtime. After a few nights like that he actually stopped crying and just went to sleep. Banjo what do you mean it's not duck tape?

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  21. The stereo would fix Margie's muffler, Doris's skunk, and Paula's ants.

    And it was Duck tape forever, until I actually had to buy it.

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  22. Banjo, my mother was a strict disciplinarian and an English teacher. Duct. No ducks. Bummer.

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  23. For basic home repairs, horseshoes, etc, yeah, you're one of the 1st people I'd look up.

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  24. And remember Missy, they make duct tape in fashion colors now. I used zebra stripes for my broken heart.
    V

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