Washing Windows

Today I washed all the windows for the first time after living in this house for 12 years. I started at 10 am and finished around 6 pm. Removing the windows was easier than I expected. I was also surprised that the windows weren’t as dirty as I thought.

Although washing windows was such a mundane task, it felt good to accomplish something. I still don’t like doing home maintenance, but I can’t afford hiring someone else to do it. A man knocked on my door and gave me a quote for $2,800 to fix my driveway. I am not going to spend almost three grants just to park my cars. I’ll patch it up myself. So that will be my next project.

Now that the kids aren’t into ice skating anymore, I might as well spend more time maintaining our home. I still enjoy rollerblading in skate parks. I am not sure if I will continue ice skating lessons. Will see.

Replacing Shower Trim Kit

I hardly use our master bathroom’s shower, which is a Moentrol (pull-and-push) valve. Last week, I was shocked to see my oldest Đạo pulled the handle. The entire faceplate was yanked from the wall and snapped back in. I tried to tightened up the faceplate, but it was still lifted off every time someone pulled the handle. I imagined the pipe would burst if it being pulled over time, but my wife ensured me that she had used it for over a decade without any problem. Still, I wanted to be safe than be sorry. I don’t want to deal with water pouring all over the house. That’s my fear. I kept thinking about it and the night before and I lost sleep over it. I am an over-thinker.

Yesterday I woke up early, but didn’t go to the skatepark like usual. Instead, I went to Home Depot to pick up Danco’s one-handle valve trim kit for Moen’s shower faucet. I watched a YouTube video and it seemed straightforward to replace the trim kit. The best part was that I didn’t have to shut off the main water because I only replaced the trim, not the valve.

The Danco’s trim kit had everything that I needed for the replacement. It comes with both a clear plastic and a lever handle. I went for the level handle. The instruction that came with the kit was easy to follow, but the Bilt app has 3D modelings and interactive features to guide me through the process.

I am glad I was able to replace it, but I need to stop overthinking or over-stressing on such a minor issue. Being the man in the house, I feel the burden to keep everyone safe and sound. As a result, I got stressed out over tiny issues related to water and electricity.

Parts

Danco’s one-handle valve trim kit for Moen’s shower faucet: $45

Fixing Chipped Bathtub

Not sure how it happened, but our bathtub has two huge chips. Something hard must have been dropped on the tub.

I picked up a tube of Super Glue’s Porcelain Chip Fix to patch it up. The Fix is only available in white and our bathtub is a beige color. As long as the chipped areas won’t rust, I don’t care. Our bathtub is pretty old anyway, but it is still in good condition. Replacing the entire tub, which is way out of my ability, is unnecessary.

Another day, another home maintenance.

Parts

  • Super Glue’s Porcelain Chip Fix: $5
  • Sandpaper: $5
  • Scott Blue tapes: $5

Total cost: $15

Update (July 28, 2021)

Super Glue’s Porcelain Chip Fix didn’t work too well because the chips were huge and deep. I had to take it off and my wife patched them up with WaterWeld instead. The formulated epoxy putty is quite tough. She covered the chips a bit thinker than the surface. As a result, we have to sand it down. It takes quite a bit of time to sand. I think we’re good to go now. I still wanted to find out the culprit who caused this damage.

Parts

  • WaterWeld Epoxy Putty: $5
  • Sandpapers and hand sander: $10

Replacing Flush and Fill Valves

We had a Korky fill valve that made incredibly loud, screeching noise every time one of us flushed the toilet. The sound got louder and louder to the point where I could not stand anymore. I will never buy another Korky fill valve again. I picked up Fluidmaster’s Universal High Performance All-in-One Toilet Repair Kit instead for $32.

The job took me an hour and a half instead of ten minutes or less as the product has claimed. I am not a handyman at all. What took the most time was detaching the tank from the bowl. The screws were tight and rusted; therefore, they were hard to come out. The rest was straightforward and there was no leak. I hated working with water because I always worried about the leaks. This job turned out well.

Replacing Faucet Hose and Fixing Ceiling Fan Switch

A few weeks ago, the kitchen faucet hose leaked when I pulled the sprayer. I just needed to replace the hose, which was simple to do. We have a pulldown Moen faucet. My wife ordered the Replacement Hose kit for Moen Kitchen Faucets (Pulldown 150259) from Amazon for $20. Here’s the video I followed.

Yesterday, my wife pulled the fan string and broke the chain. I had to open up the fan’s box to fix the three-speed switch. Although this video walked through the entire process, the reassemble part was difficult to follow. It took me over an hour just to get it right. Since my switches were clear plastic, I used the light switch as a reference to put all the pieces together. If you want a quicker solution, just order a new switch for $8.

Windshield City Rocks

My 2011 Toyota Sienna’s windshield had a long crack along the wipers. I was not sure how or when it started to crack. I just noticed it a couple of days ago. I googled for an auto glass repair shop around my area. Windshield City caught my attention because of the positive reviews. I was still skeptical; therefore, I called Ourisman Toyota Collision Center for recommendation. The manager said they often contracted out to Windshield City.

I called Windshield City for an estimate and made an appointment for 3 pm today. I came into the shop, dropped off the car, rollerbladed around the blocks for a bit, came back, and got a brand new glass an hour later. I only interacted with Lindsay Rose, the office manager, and that was it.

The entire job cost $300, which included labor and after-market glass. I am very happy with the service and highly recommend it.

Rear Ended

On April 15, 2021, I drove to my sister-in-law’s house to pick up her son to go ice skating with us. As I backed out of her driveway, I felt an impact. Her neighbor across the street also backed out and we collided. The edge of his bumper hit the side of my bumper. His car was fine, but my minivan was damaged. We called our insurance and settled the coverage.

I took my minivan to Ourisman Toyota Collision Center to get it fixed. They did a good job of replacing the bumper and the sliding gate in the back for $3,500 (covered by insurance). The downside was that they took almost three weeks. We didn’t have rental in our insurance policy. Fortunately, my wife and I both work from home; therefore, we could get by with our other minivan. Still, there were times that we both needed to be out.

In addition, I asked them to look at the scratches on the sliding door that were unrelated to the collision and to give me an estimate so I could pay out of my own pocket. They said that they would take care of them without additional cost. When I picked up my minivan, they did nothing to the scratches.

I talked to David Martin, the production manager, and he said that he would order the protectors and schedule a specialist to replace the projectors. He said that the cost would be less than $100. I agreed to the service. I am not sure if he would follow through with it or just an empty promise.

Less Technologies

Two weeks ago, we received a “friendly reminder” from our homeowners association telling us to edge our sidewalk, take care of our lawn (weed/feed), and tidy up our front yard. So we’re paying the homeowners association an annual fee so they can tell us what to do. How ironic is that?

In my defense, I like my lawn natural—no weeding and no feeding. We have kids running around our yard; therefore, we don’t want to use any chemical to kill the weeds. As for the edging, I liked my grass to grow organically even if it spread over the sidewalk. The homeowners association staff told me that the sidewalk must fit two people. My sidewalk definitely has enough space for two people and I am fine with them walking on my lawn. But to comply, I picked up a True Temper turf edger. My wife told me to get a power one, but I got a manual one so my sons can help me. I am thinking of picking up a manual lawnmower for them to do some exercise.

I don’t want to rely on technology too much. If I can reduce it, I will. For example, everyone in my family uses electric toothbrush, but I still a hand brush. I prefer physical books over e-books. During the pandemic, I did not use our car as much. I wish that one day, maybe when the kids grow up, I will get rid of the vehicles. My future goal is to move away from dishwasher, washer, and dryer. These tasks can be done by hands. I am looking forward to doing things manually again.

Replace Sliding Patio Screen Door

My spring-break staycation started with replacing the sliding patio screen door. The installation was quick and easy. I just followed this YouTube video.

Part

Grisham 36-in x 80-in Bronze Aluminum Frame Sliding Screen Door: $80

Why I am Terrible at Doing Business

Last Monday, my sister-in-law clogged her kitchen sink. After her husband tried to snake it unsuccessfully, he called a local plumber. When I asked them about the price, I was stunned. The plumber charged them $600 (with $100 discount) to unclog it. The process probably took less than half an hour.

Last Friday, a long-time client’s website broke. They asked me for help. After checking out their site, I predicted something went wrong with the SSL certificate. The browsers kept throwing out the unsafe warning. It took me several hours to figure out what happened. It turned out that their hosting provider had changed the DNS. The host sent out a notification, but my client ignored it. They didn’t realize it would affect their site. The host also installed a SSL self certificate, which caused the browsers to freak out.

I updated the DNS and replaced the self certificate with a Cloudflare certificate (Cloudflare rocks). When I fixed the issues and notified them, they simply replied with “thank you” without mentioning any compensation. I sat on it for a day and decided to send them the bill for my work. If a plumber charged $700 to fix an urgent issue, I shouldn’t feel bad charging the client for the time I put in. If the issues could be fixed in half an hour or less, I wouldn’t charge my client, especially if the client is just an individual. This particular client, however, is a small business. They can easily pay for the time I had spent fixing their website. I sent them the bill and they had no issue paying for it.

I am suck at doing business. That’s why my freelance gig hadn’t gone too well. I thought of doing freelance full time, but I will definitely fail. I don’t have the business mentality in me. I take on freelance projects because I am passionate about web design. I just don’t like the business side of it. I hesitated to charge for my services. When people charged me for their services, on the other hand, they showed no mercy.

I need to step up my game. If I am going to provide the services, I might as well get the pay I deserve. I didn’t charge $700 even for the several hours I spent. My price was very reasonable. I often hesitated to call a technician to the house because they would charge a ridiculous fee. As a result, I tried to fix it myself first via YouTube. A couple of years ago, a plumber inspected my house and recommended I replace three toilets. They were going to charge me $600 to $700 to replace each. I couldn’t afford to pay two grants to replace them and they were still working fine. I replaced one myself because it kept clogging up and I got tired of plunging it. I did it for the first time and the process was easy. A decent toilet cost around $150 to $200 and they were going to charge me $500 to $550 for an hour to replace a toilet. That’s simply crazy. I do not want my clients to feel that way; therefore, I tried to make it as fair as possible so my clients do not feel they were being ripped off.

I wish I could make the amount of money that I don’t have to to worry about paying for these types of services. I recalled the founder of Slack talked about the levels of wealths. The first level is when you don’t have to worry about paying bills like student loans and credit cards. The second level is when you don’t have to worry about the price at the restaurants. The third level is when you don’t have to worry about the price when you take vacations and travels. I don’t know where home-fixing services fit in, but they give me anxiety. Imagine if you make $10 an hour and you have to pay $700 for half an hour to unclog your kitchen sink. How do you justify something like that? I would just order from McDonald’s dollar menu until the damn sink unclogs itself.