Category Archives: Home Repairs

I Now Do Plumbing But Please Don’t Call


Saturday, I gave myself a big pat on the back. I fixed a clogged sink and my garbage disposer. Yes, I did.

For me, owning a home is like owning a car, and I probably shouldn’t.  I don’t like fixing things, spending time learning how to fix things, and I hate reading instruction manuals.  Changing a light bulb is about all I want to do.  You see, I grew up in a home with a dad who had his own business and when he was home, he did not want to fix things.  He called the plumber, the electrician, the snow removal guy, carpenter, landscaper, etc.  And when I lived in an apartment in DC for twenty years and there was a problem, I called Raul, the supervisor.  He fixed things, and I tipped him.

My husband is kind of like my dad, he calls people to fix things.

It all happened on Saturday when my friend Ginny Nadler was visiting from Cleveland to promote her Structural Re-Alignment workshop in Asheville.  She brought her Vitamix with her because she makes a green smoothie every morning for breakfast.  We were cutting up fruit and tons of green veggies and put too many stringy stems down the disposer and clogged the sink (I don’t garden so I don’t compost).

“Call the plumber,” Len yelled.  Have you ever tried calling a plumber on Saturday?  They don’t answer the phone.  But, Roto Rooter makes house calls 24/7 for a fee of $165.  I gasped over the phone, and the plumber must have sensed my disbelief so he suggested I go to the Roto Rooter website and read the instructions to fix it myself.

I admit, I was very skeptical about undertaking this task.  My husband was advising against it while Ginny encouraged me to try.  After a little debate, my husband had no choice but to bring up the wrenches (which I had never used before).  So, with the laptop on the kitchen counter, the bucket under the sink, and Ginny reading the instructions very slowly (at least 3 times) I did it!  I fixed the garbage disposal and the sink is working again.

Thank you, Roto Rooter.

Under the Kitchen Sink

Nice People Behaving Badly?


One of the newspapers delivered daily to my home is the WSJ.  Oddly enough, I don’t read it for the Money and Investing section but the front page news.  I also enjoy the marketing and technology trends, recipes, and the wonderful week-end section.  And, I usually let the papers pile up and read a few at a time, making the news outdated.  I don’t care, it’s always interesting in the present moment when I’m reading it.  One article, last week, that raised an eyebrow had to do with baby boomers.

Securities regulators and prosecutors are battling what they say is a nationwide surge

in investment fraud against baby boomers.  In many cases, the victims pursued risky bets to

overcome losses suffered during the

financial crisis—a trend that regulators say is worsening. 

Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2011

I'm not home!

Now that’s scary.  I always thought it was  “old people” who got suckered into scams.

Is my generation that gullible?

Well, it seems some of us cared about our future and that makes us vulnerable.  It also forces some otherwise good people to behave badly.


I got somewhat scammed myself recently.  I hired someone I knew for a small remodeling job in my kitchen (cabinets and a concrete countertop).  I paid her a deposit after I paid her in full for the finished cabinets.  I’d like to mention she asked to be paid in full when the job wasn’t even complete, and I did.  Then, she made samples for the countertop and after 8 – I could not approve one of them.  Nothing popped out at me, and I got tired of not having a countertop for weeks on end and honestly didn’t think after 8 tries, she could produce a good one.  So,  I decided to go with granite – something she did not do.

I apologized for not liking the samples and asked for my deposit back.  Well, this friendly remodeler basically told me to f—off.  She claimed the samples cost money and she bought the materials (concrete) already and I had to pay for that.  I went back to the contract which did not say I had to pay for samples or material in advance, or that the deposit was non-refundable.  To end the dilemma, I offered to split the deposit with her – for her troubles – and she basically said to to f–off.

Judge Judy

I’m guessing if the remodeling business was booming, this contractor would give my deposit back, but in this economy she’s behaving badly.  I informed her I was going to file a complaint in small claims court because I can’t afford to lose that deposit, but she doesn’t seem to care.  Now I will let a judge decide our fate.

What would Judge Judy say?  Is this a case of nice people behaving badly?

Overwhelmed at Lowe’s: Garage Door Openers and Universal Clickers


Saturday I went to Lowe’s on an errand to see if I could find a new garage door opener because ours no longer worked.  Being a woman over 50, it seemed like a pretty easy thing to do, right?   Before leaving, I asked my husband what the make of the garage door opener was and he informed me it was an Amarr.

Garage door opener

After about ten minutes, I finally found someone to help me.  That someone’s badge said Assistant Manager.  I proceeded to ask him what I thought was a simple question,  “Do you carry Amarr garage openers?”

“Sure,” he said, showing me a motorized piece of equipment.

Me:  “No, not that.  The opener, the thing that opens the garage.”

Assistant Mgr.  “Well, if you’re talking about the garage opener, that’s it.”

Me:  Totally confused.

Assistant Mgr.:  “Okay, let me ask it this way; when you press the button on the wall inside the garage to open and close the door, does it work?”

I assured him that was exactly the situation I had.

Him:  “Well, then the garage opener is working.  So, do you mean the clicker to open the garage door?”

Me:  “Yup, I guess I mean the clicker.  Not the garage door opener.  Do you have an Amarr Clicker?”

Him:  “No, I don’t.  I’m not sure they make them.  Are you sure your clicker says Amarr?”

Again, I assured him it did.

Him:  “What about a universal clicker?”  He walks over to hand me a small package.

Me:  “What’s a universal clicker?”

Him:  “It should fit most garage door openers, and it’s very easy to program, by the way.”

The word most scared me.  I looked over the package ($39.95) and noticed at least a dozen names but not Amarr.  Amarr was not listed.

Universal Clicker

The Assistant Mgr. sensed I was not a happy shopper.  “Well, I’m thinking it will work.  You can buy it, contact the company, and if it works, you’re all set.  If not, just bring it back.”

Totally frustrated, I bought the damn Universal Clicker, and immediately went on-line to ask if the Universal Clicker works with an Amarr garage door opener.

Within minutes I got a response telling me they would get back to me within 24 hours.  This morning I got my response.

“Thank you for contacting Chamberlain Technical Support.  Amarr is a private label opener made by another company.  Please look on the motor head, you will see additional information.  For example the opener might be made by Genie or Overhead Door or Wayne Dalton.  Please provide additional information from the motor head.  Should you encounter any problems, or if you have any further questions, please feel free to respond via email, or if you’d prefer, I can call you if you provide a phone number and a good time to call you.  Our work hours are M-F, 5:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M. Mountain Time.

Photo from Amarr Technicl Support

OMG – Why language are they speaking?  Or, is it just me?



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