Good Post Surgery Monday!

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Well, I had my gallbladder removed on Thursday and not only is today hubby’s first day back to work but this is my first morning without feeling the need to take any pain pills! I am pretty sure I was a bit paranoid I wouldn’t wake up with the alarm, since I was bright eyed 2 hours before the alarm went off! I am thinking a nap may be in order later today, since I am not sure how “occupied” I can be if I cannot lift more than 5 pounds.

I have spent the past month or so preparing for this surgery. With fall threatening to become a reality, I wanted to get as much physical labor finished as I could so I wasn’t fighting weather once I was healed. So, would you like a rundown? I am very happy!

We have been living in this house for almost 6 years and it’s amazing how long upgrades/improvements/plans can take when a person keeps changing their mind (cough). The front yard is at the most 20 feet from the house to the sidewalk and raised. I knew before we moved in that I did not want lawn out there. So, after clearing as much of the lawn and weeds as possible, I was given a few small agave plants. So, I decided those would become my neighbor/crackhead deterrent. I planted some along the neighbor’s driveway and the rest along the front of the house. Then, I left them alone. This was a huge mistake!

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April 2015

I did not realize just how big these plants get, nor what their growing habits were. They multiply prolifically, not only in the soil but within the plant themselves. Agave also likes to move whatever is in its way (not excluding house siding). So, when I decided I wanted to remove the concrete shingles, I didn’t realize the size of the job ahead of me.

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June 2017

This is just over a year after that first picture and these plants aren’t just sharp, they are like hypodermic needles that (at least on me) tend to cause immediate infection. So, I had to don a face shield (the kind used to protect your face when using a grinder), thick clothes (that I still got poked through) and a machete to cut the leaves back so I could get close enough to dig out the plants.

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Just one root ball, on a smaller plant.

Between me chopping away, digging, then having to take a break to recuperate, then finally asking my husband for help (here he is with his mad machete skills):

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He can actually hit the same cut multiple times! He’s a god!

Completed a week before my surgery, we now have an almost naked front yard (I will not remove the agave next to the neighbor’s driveway until my husband has a section of fencing ready to go).

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Almost naked yard!

Once I recover, then it’s time to work on removing the cement shingles. I could replace the lost/broken ones but I really hate them. Every time we turn around, one of them is breaking. When we first bought this house, we both agreed that the bulk of any “money” we would sink into the house was in sweat equity (there is no way putting in granite counter tops in this neighborhood would pay off). I want the original siding back. I love wood and so far, there doesn’t seem to be too much damage to the siding underneath the shingles (and there aren’t 50 coats of paint on it).

In the mean time, I have two books I am actively working on. One is basically an expanded version of the FAQs for “My Atkins Journey.” The second one is for my father-in-law. He has been writing down stories from his childhood, either about incidents that happened or stories he was told. He initially just wanted me to type them up for him but I thought compiling them into an actual book would be fun. I even have him hunting for pictures to include (he’s thrilled and so am I).

I am a new member if Instagram, so if you want to follow along, check me out here!

Live and Learn – New Hot Water Heater

So, yesterday morning, I sent hubby off with a kiss. When I came back inside, I noticed a very small drop of something liquid on the floor. I thought that I might have dripped with emptying the coffee grounds, so I just wiped it up and went about my morning routine. Ten minutes later, there was more liquid, in the same spot. So, I moved the garbage can, opened the door to the hot water heater closet and there it was … water all over the floor. I threw down some towels, quickly checked the hoses, then went to You Tube. This was the first video I saw:

So, since I checked the hoses already (and the pressure relief pipe was sticking through a hole in the floor) I cut out a piece of cabinet wall and searched around to see if I could find where it was leaking from. I did … the water was coming through the control panel area. So, we needed a new water heater. O.k. What do I do now? First, I wanted to double check, so I called the former owner of the house. He couldn’t remember when he put it in but while we were chatting, he mentioned “we had one heck of a time getting it in there 20 years ago”. So, with that confirmed, back to You Tube. First, I found this one:

Then this one (figured I should immediately NOT make any mistakes so I better learn what they are):

And finally this one:

So, since we don’t have cell phones and I figured it would take a while to drain the hot water heater, I waited and priced some. I decided to go with a Rheem that was 10 gallons larger than the one we were replacing. I measured, and it was about the same height. So, I measured the pipes (for those who don’t know, the width of the pipe itself is NOT the width of the threads. My pipes are just over an inch in diameter but are technically 3/4 in pipe), made the list of things we’d need, wrote down the Model number, and went to let hubby know (I REALLY didn’t want him to show up from work, thinking he was going to relax, and be hit with this).

We went down to Home Depot, bought everything thanks to OPCC (Other People’s Credit Card … we had the cash but that is for property taxes), came home, and began. Well, I may have taken into account the height of the water heater but did not take into account the width (or weight). I ended up having to cut out more of the cabinet and ALMOST had to make a run to Ace Hardware for gas piping (it was in the way but we managed to make it work) all due to the increased width. Another thing about the width is: when I removed the old one, I just gave it a bear hug and walked it out the back door. The new one? My fingers wouldn’t even touch. AND it was heavier. So, once again, our old, free-from-a-neighbor dolly saved our bacon (and backs). I can’t tell you how many times that dolly has come in handy over the years. If anything happened to it, I would immediately go out and buy another one.

It took us 5 hours from purchase to hot water (plus a few hours today to tear out the rest of the cabinet). I still don’t know if I’m going to put a door up in front of the hot water heater (the framing would bring it out about 4 inches from the rest of the cabinets) or just spackle, paint, and call it good. So, what are the lessons I took away from this experience?

  1. Always have at least $1,000 in cash or available on a credit card for emergencies such as this.
  2. Measure everything (especially if this is a replacement) and even if you don’t think you will need a part, buy it.
  3. Unless you always have a group of big strong men (or women) around you at all times, have a dolly.