Tuesday, July 20, 2004


The kids are in school today for the first time in more than 6 weeks.  They both got fantastic greetings from their teachers and classmates.  It was fun to see.  I outfitted Grady with enough copies of a picture of him on Moody Beach to hand out to his friends.  He was excited to do that.  Liam was VERY upset when we left.
Colleen and I then went  to get pedicures today.  My first, and likely my last.  I had built up a big callous on both of my heels because of all the sandal wearing I've done the last 2 months.  I expected her to shave those suckers off, but she wouldn't.  She might as well have just rubbed them once with a kid glove for all the brief filing did for the callouses.  $35 not well spent.
Last night we went to a free outdoor concert in Sellwood Waterfront Park.  Every Monday night in July, there's a concert from 6:30 to about 9:00.  Last night was a world beat band, and it was pleasant background music to the conversations we had with our good friends, the Walkers, whom we hadn't seen since late May.  Grady and Will danced and wrestled and laughed and ate their hearts out.  Liam visited every blanket within a 30 foot radius of us and ate at least one potato chip at each stop.  Someone told us he will be a politician because he's so social.

I'm proud of a couple of things I've done in the last couple of days.  The first is a total replacement of the internal plumbing of a toilet, as well as the external piping.  The other is securing the glass shower doors that have been a hazard ever since we moved in.

Toilet: It had a leak that was gaining intensity because the ball float would sometimes get stuck on the tank wall.  I went to Home Depot to see if I could find a shorter arm for the floating ball, but there was none.  I saw a comprehensive replacement kit for $17 that showed on the box an antiquated ball float system and how this kit would update those toilets.  Yeeha!  The next night after Grady and Liam went to bed I dismantled the whole tank and found that most of the seals were deteriorating, which left sticky black gunk on my hands.  All went well, or so I thought.  I had packed up my tools and bragged to Colleen that it had only taken me an hour -- just what my Home Depot book estimated for a novice plumber.  I went to check on the work and found a puddle forming under where the pipe from the wall joins the threaded fill valve.  No tightening or different washers did the trick, so the next morning I went and purchased a flexible woven pipe that I attached to the wall and then the tank.  Voila!  Much better results than my last plumbing work where I didn't turn off the main when I was fiddling with the kitchen faucet in our old house.  That fiasco required 20 towels and a late night emergency call to my plumber bro-in-law in Massachusetts.
Shower doors: Our master bath has two big glass shower doors that had been forever falling out of the track up top, and was a real danger to Liam, who loves to touch everthing.  The plastic bottom guide had worn away a bit where the screw goes through to secure it to the bottom metal frame.  I tried to find a guide replacement at Home Depot and on Kohler.com, but came up empty.  So, I just rummaged around my screw and washer collection and found a thicker screw that negated the erosion, and added a washer for extra security.  It's now safe as can be.
I was re-reading some earlier posts and saw that I had stated a goal of brining just two rolling suitcases to Italy.  We brought Grady's day-backpack also, but that was it.  We packed lightly, and I now swear by the Lands End Power Dry Tee.  It's a 100% polyester shirt that looks really smart; like a dressy t-shirt.  But, the magic is it wicks away moisture from your body and deposits it on the outer layer, so you always feel dry.  And, you can hand wash these t-shirts easily, plus they dry within 15 minutes in the sun.  Really great.  I could travel abroad with three pairs of shorts and three Super Dry Tees easily.  So, I actually over-packed for Italy.

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