Monday, April 28, 2008

The House that Jack Built and Other Projects...

The fourth week of every April is designated National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, a time in which medical lab professionals can celebrate their profession. This year we decided on Bob the Builder as a theme because the laboratory, as well as the hospital, has been building and expanding and will continue to do so this year. We get overly excited in celebration with silly games, activities, and prizes. Activities this year included a guess the number of screws in the jar game, a Bob the Builder coloring contest, and match the owner to the house game in which several of us submitted current or previous houses and everyone had to guess who it belonged to. The Friday of Lab Week every year, we have a luncheon and pick creative theme related titles for our dish. I always bring dessert:

The House that Jack Built

Titled "The House that Jack Built," it was just a box mix marble cake with a crushed Whoppers laced white frosting filling - If you know your nursery rhymes, that might make sense. The shutters are of Kit-Kat bars, the roof shingles and door knob of M&Ms. The cake pan mold compliments of Diane.

As part of Lab Week, we also participate in a little community service. For the second year in a row we did a yard clean up of Mary's Haven, a hospice home near the hospital. We raked the leaves, weeded the garden, and swept out the gazebo for the residents and family to enjoy during their sorrowful time.

After all the house matching, tool talk, and yard clean up, I found some inspiration to begin more work on my own yard and home. It was a beautiful, warm week in Upstate NY... Perfect for getting out there in the evenings to rake, weed, and trim some branches. Probably because of our northeastern and extended winter climate, evergreen trees are ridiculously popular in my area, which makes raking leaves pine needles quite obnoxious. I pulled weeds and raked up the pine needles from the mulch, yard, deck, etc... Why pine trees? WHY?!

Filled entirely with pine needles.

I rearranged my garden gnomes, and added a new little friend to the collection - a solar light gnome that holds illuminating flowers - an Easter gift from my mom. Once raked, and anticipating a bout of April showers, I spread out some fertilizer and seed. It's looking greener already! I've researched mulch options... I have big plans for my vacation next week, but I'm waiting until we're in the clear from frost to plant more flowers. My perennials are coming up, but aren't in bloom yet.

My final project over the last week was fixing the leaky kitchen faucet. I had a plumber look at it when we first moved in, but the problem wasn't really resolved. There has been a slow leak from an undetermined source into the under-the-sink cupboard since we bought the house, and it was apparent that it had been an ongoing problem for quite some time. The plumber had tightened the joints of all the pipes and put in some Teflon tape, but the problem never really went away. Every few days I wipe up the accumulated moisture and look in disgust at the warped, water damaged base of the cupboard. I theorized that since we have a pull-out faucet that the water must just be running down the faucet head and down the hose and into the cupboard since its not coming from any of the pipes underneath. Sunday night, commonly referred to "trash night" in my house, I took the trash can out from under the sink and decided that I don't want to look at that disaster anymore. Determined to find the leak I turned on the water, grabbed a flashlight and looked for pooling water. Finally I found the source - it was seeping out of the part where the faucet connects to the hose.

I emailed pictures of the leak to my handy brother-in-law who suggested I need a new O-ring, perhaps a new faucet since the O-rings tend to be specific to the size/brand. Unfortunately, my faucet is not tagged with a brand label. While searching for a kit or new faucet at the hardware store I discovered the universal-pull-out-faucet-replacement-head. YES. I purchased it and some kitchen flooring samples (I'm on a roll now), went home and took the old faucet head off. Just as it was predicted, it was an O-ring problem, technically a non-existent O-ring problem. A little Teflon tape, a new universal faucet head equipped with O-ring, and a little advice from the internet and - ta-da! I now have a bone-dry cupboard.

My first successful plumbing experience - not huge but an accomplishment for me nonetheless!

Next project - repairing the warped, bowed, and stained bottom of the cupboard ruined by years of slowly leaking water damage. I will also be painting the kitchen and laying down more mulch in the front yard. Good thing I'm on vacation next week!


diane said...

Love the cake, am hugely impressed by the home repairs.

I knew I raised my son right: he chose a beautiful, smart wife who can FIX THINGS!

Your lovely jewelry is just (forgive me) frosting on the cake!


A Keeper's Jackpot said...

diane says:
"Your lovely jewelry is just (forgive me) frosting on the cake!"


Don't forget, he probably is the only one in your bloodline and definitely the only one in my house that can hook the DVD player up to the stereo and change the time on the microwave clock.

We are equally bad at killing bugs.


Anonymous said...

Ooh! That cake looks delicious! Mmm!