Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fixing This and That -- Like a Pile of Books!

Dear friends,

We've always got lots to fix around our house, whether it is part of the house itself, or an appliance, or just the stuff we've got in it.

In the past few weeks, we've gotten a new dishwasher, a new toilet for the master bathroom, and a new sink in the hall bath. We don't tend to jump to buy new things "just because" -- usually we wait around a while until we really need to replace something. The old dishwasher had been broken for about a month, and the warranty wouldn't cover it because it had already been repaired too many times. We do 3 or 4 dish loads a day, so it's not surprising that it wore out. The toilet tank had been dripping into a little bucket behind it, and needed to be flushed at least twice every time, but it did the job, so that was OK for a time, too. It's just nice to have a new water-efficient model that doesn't have to be coddled.

I don't tend to worry much about these kinds of things on the "Honey Do" list getting done, because there are so many things my husband does without being asked (or without me even noticing) that the "Honey DONE" list would be a mile long. Thad is really handy around the house.

Besides that, there are so many things I can do myself. The molding on one of our bedroom doorframes came loose recently, so it wasn't too hard for me to grab a hammer and nails. Micah and Naomi saw me doing it and wanted to help, so they pounded in a few, too. On the job training! Life skills!

Our old hand mixer broke a few months ago when some dough got sucked up into it. I hadn't thrown it away yet, but when I was cleaning cupboards recently I decided to pictch it. Then I heard something rattling around in it, which I figured was the hardened dough. I took it apart to see if just removing the stuff would solve the problem. That's the pile of what came out of it! Well, the gears were stripped, so it still wouldn't work, but it was neat to be able to show the kids how a mixer works on in the inside. Not all repair attempts are successful, but it's worth a try, even if just for the education.

My big "fix it" project yesterday was repairing several dozen books (more than those pictured here). I keep a pile on one of my shelves of books that need repair, and as long as I was at it, I checked all of the bookcases around the house to find more. Why so many? First of all, we have a couple thousand books in the house, so this was only a small percentage. Of the ones that needed repair, many were family favorites (like The Phantom Tollbooth) that have been read by at least several of our children, some were bought used, we aren't the most careful about putting them away or treating them nicely so they get dinged up easily, and it had been a LONG time since I had done any repairs. Hence the piles...

I used 2" wide clear shipping tape (used more than a whole roll), regular 1/2" transparent tape, and a little glue. Many of the books only needed a little piece of tape along a small tear on the cover, but a few needed major reconstruction, including new covers. For these, I cut ivory cardstock. If the edge binding was gone, I folded over a section of the cardstock to cover that and wrote the title on it before taping it to the book. I taped all along the edge on the outside of the cover and again on the inside. In the case of the Curious George book, I found a page with a good picture, photocopied it onto the cardstock, and then attached it. I also used cardstock to fix corners of covers. The results weren't particularly pretty, but I tried to be as tidy as possible. The point is to preserve the books! Of course, then I had to reorganize a few bookcases to fit everything back where it belonged, but that desparately needed to be done, too.

What needs to be done around your house? A little here, a little there, and you can knock some items off of your list. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go iron and hang up the dining room curtains that I washed two weeks ago!

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