I got ahold of another three sets of shelving cubes and wired them up. Erika helped me by making tea and providing conversation.
After many, many hours, I had everything rearranged. This second round is a lot cleaner than the first, though the content of the shelves needs to be organized again. The packing crates on the right are eventually going back under the seats in the van.
All my camping and bicycle transport gear has been stacked in the basement, obscuring the window, which is fine by me since it's another obstacle for thieves who might covet my computer setup...
Also, through the powers of craigslist, and some assistance from Erika, I have found a nice table and chairs for the kitchen:
Hey look, it's a fancy-pants cat door! It's amazing what you get get in the mail these days. I've propped it open with a piece of foam during Mira's "training phase" with it.
Hey look, the dishwasher actually works! Things come out clean! I haven't had such a convenience in something like six years.
Always nice to have an assistant, to keep your freshly laundered shirts from "escaping" ...
So you know those quaint modern bathtub drains that are shaped like a silver button, and you step on the button with your foot to close the drain and take a bath?
Yeah, well, they suck.
I noticed that the bathtub was draining slower and slower each day, and even filling with a few inches of water after a shower. So I unscrewed that button and removed it, and then pulled out this lovely specimen:
I thought that would solve the problem, but no. The shower kept slowing down. So I bought some enzyme-based drain cleaner, and applied it liberally. The problem cleared up almost immediately, but since the directions call for a follow-up dose to fully clear the pipes, I applied the drain cleaner a second time. That had an interesting effect. A day later, I took a bath and then started draining the bathwater. It went as fast as it normally should, and then at about the halfway mark there was a crude gurgling sound from the toilet, and the draining halted. Multiple assays with the plunger did nothing. I removed the cover on the drain vent and stuffed a washrag into it, sealing it tight, and went another few rounds with the plunger. To my surprise, bits of lettuce that I'd last seen going down the garbage disposal in the kitchen began floating up from the drain and mingling around in the bathtub.
It was time to replace the sewer lateral.
"Well, damn," I muttered to myself. "I can't just leave the bathtub half-full of nasty water while I wait for that work to be done..." So I set aside the plunger and fetched a plastic tub, and began hauling water out of the house and pouring it down the storm drain outside. My shirt and arms got soaked, so I went back into the bathroom and leaned one arm into the sink, while splashing water on it with the other arm. Suddenly there was a crunching sound followed by a large thud, and my hand dropped a few inches. I looked down and saw this:
"Holy moley!!" I said, and shut off the tap. I stared at my hand in the sink for a while, then laughed. "Okay, this just turned from a tragedy into a farce."
Sinks are glued to the underside of granite countertops with two-part epoxy. However, the epoxy is meant as a sealant, not as a mechanism for holding the sink in place. You're supposed to install metal or wooden bracing for that purpose. Over the last three years - since the remodel - the epoxy dried out around the rim of my bathroom sink, and was no longer sufficient to hold the sink up on its own.
The warranty on the remodel work expired quite a while ago, and my home warranty does not appear to cover this sort of thing. Time to call a handyman, or learn to do this myself...
In the meantime, I'm using those little wire-basket drain inserts, combined with a rubber drain plug, and throwing away this stupid step-on mechanism. Why wash all that stuff down the drain, only to dissolve it later with pipe-corrosive poisons, when you can instead just tap it into the garbage every month or so?
Speaking of drainpipes, I peeled up the covers for the drainage in front of the garage yesterday, and scooped out several gallons of dirt.
I'm pretty sure this is all soil created from leaf litter. It's crawling with bugs and worms and spiders, and is a delicious brown-black color. Mmmm! I gathered it all up and poured it in the planter box in the back yard.
The sewer lateral replacement is scheduled for Tuesday, next week. The city utility employees came out today and marked off the pipeline routes with spraypaint. I wasn't expecting to tackle this until January, but I can't keep taking 45-second showers and washing produce in a bucket for that long. It's going to mean a bunch of meager credit card payments for a while. Ugh.
Meanwhile, the higher-quality blinds I ordered for the upstairs unit are due to arrive tomorrow morning!
One item off the to-do list, two more back on ...