Projects that Aren’t Stucco

Yes, I’ve decided to drop everything and do something else. You’re probably wondering what I was thinking. Well, first I was having trouble with my garbage disposal. It would drain slowly and clog up often, so I’d have to run it just about every time I used the sink and use the little wrench to un-jam it about once a week. This was almost enough to get me to remove the garbage disposal entirely. And then Saturday it WAS enough! Because when I tried to un-jam it, it fell off the sink! So when my dad came down, we flushed it out with the hose (which was super disgusting and probably a biohazard), got it back on, and now we both learned from YouTube that filling your disposal with ice cubes and running it about once a week will knock gunk out of it and prevent this from happening.

And after this, the next project? Stop moldings on the upstairs hall doors. They’ve been under my bed for like a year now. And I’ve had the Irishman’s table saw and pneumatic nailer in the middle of my living room since my parents were done with them. So I wanted those things out to make the kitchen look good? Not exactly – it’s already a mess from the other two half-finished projects. But my roommate is moving out so it was time to make some room for her stuff.


So the first thing we had to do was the roller ball catch on the linen closet door. My upstairs hall doors all match, but the bathroom and linen closet doors are thinner. I think that’s because they were originally closet doors and Victorian closets were more like cabinets than rooms, so they had cabinet-like hardware on the doors. But installing the roller ball catch was scary because it meant boring a 7/8″ hole into a 1-1/8″ door. I let my dad do it.


What a relief. The door split just a little when I drove the catch in, but I’ll touch it up with the stain/finish and no one will be the wiser.

Then onto the stop moldings. These doors are old and warped so I had to flex the stop moldings in tight to them. That makes everything look clean and the doors don’t rattle when they’re closed. I learned somewhere on the Internets that shimming them out with 2 layers of cereal box cardboard gives you just enough of a gap to close properly.


This, the bathroom door, was particularly fun because it’s badly warped. The Irishman tried to warp it back the other way to no avail. I don’t really care since it was important to have a few imperfect things in the house anyway. The way this trim runs at an angle is a little bit fun. Except that now I have to fill the screw holes that it was supposed to cover.


As for the stucco, I’m crossing my fingers that the PREP can be finished while it’s still August. That would mean it took 2 months.


9 thoughts on “Projects that Aren’t Stucco

  1. Mary Elizabeth

    The doorways look finished and functional now. Good work.

    Too bad your roommate is moving out–she will not find a more interesting and dynamic house anywhere else, unless she buys her own fixer-upper. 🙂

    I never heard of the ice cube trick. When we had a garbage disposal that came with our old condo, I would run a quartered lemon through it every so often to get out the smell. Running a light load every so often and using lots of running water helped keep it clog free. We had to replace it a couple of times because of a burned-out motor. Then Bruce was always unclogging and/or replacing the neighbors’ disposals, especially around major holidays, like Passover, Thanksgiving and Christmas, when they would get heavy use. When we moved to the ranch house, one of the things on top of our list (beside ripping up the fuchsia carpet in the living room) was to install a new sink and a garbage disposal. Then the guy from the septic service came to pump out our septic tank, and we asked him how often we should have him come back. “That depends,” he said, “on whether or not you have a garbage disposal. If you do, I’ll come back every year, and if you don’t I’ll come back in about three or four years.” Then we researched it and found out that not only are garbage disposals bad for septic systems, but also they put a heavy load on city waste treatment and water supply systems and contribute to pollution of the water ways. So we decided to forego the garbage disposal, and other than having to take the trash out more often, we don’t miss it.


    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      It’s funny, Philadelphia requires them. Right now they make a modest profit on composted sewage, branded as EarthMate, but plan on building some kind of waste to energy facility. Meanwhile, garbage disposals are not allowed in New York


      1. Mary Elizabeth

        Yes, it is odd that one large city requires them and one forbids them. It must depend on things like population density and the type of technology they use for water supply, garbage collection and sewage. What does the civil engineer think about it? I know New York City’s public water supply is one of the oldest in the nation, and they still have cistern tanks on the apartment house roofs, some made of wood like the ones used by the original Dutch settlers. They pump the water up to the cisterns at night, when demands are lower. So conserving water is important there, and garbage disposals use a lot of water.

        Did you see the waste-to-engergy plant on I-395 when you visited Connecticut? That’s where about 85% of our non-recyclable trash goes.


      2. Chad's Crooked House Post author

        That’s a good question. I know that flushable wipes are the devil’s work, but I don’t have all the information on garbage disposals. The logic that the city can compost it’s sewage is reasonable if it makes up for water use and the infrastructure can handle it. Here we also have one of the oldest water systems in the country. Charles Dickens marveled that he had water pressure as high as the third floor! We also drink surface water so we aren’t at risk for running out. But what of the energy needed to treat it? I don’t know. Also fun fact: the religious right of the early Twentieth-century thought that treating water with sand filters rather than building an aqueduct to pipe it in from the Perkiomen Valley was violating God’s will.


  2. Jo

    I have my own nailer and power miter saw but I just can’t get the trim finished. Then it also needs to be spackled and painted. I wonder who thought of it in the first place.
    Good luck with your stucco. That seems like a really impossible job to me.
    AND I’ve been following your father’s helpfulness and am totally in awe. Go, Dad.
    Jo @ Let’s Face the Music


  3. Stacy

    Sounds like good fodder for #30ProjectsIn30Days. 🙂 What we really should do is get a bunch of people in our situation and travel to each others’ houses to get stuff done. If we worked as a crew, we could knock out our projects in no time.


    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      That would be fun! Depending on how many people we’re talking about there could be diminishing returns. I’m posting a list of 30 projects tonight. These jobs were on the first draft, but like I said, getting the big power tools out of the living room was the least I could do when the roommate was leaving. Plus, this didn’t go as fast as I thought it would. I’ll need to do several projects per day on the weekend if I want any chance of getting 30.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s