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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Cranky Mr. Fixit


Cranky Mr. Fixit


As an owner of a townhome with HOA restrictions, (yes “Cynthia” from that commercial does exist) I have little to say about anything outside of our unit.  This is a bit annoying, but on the plus side I am not particularly handy with stuff so the association does take care of most issues.

There are exceptions.

We do not have direct access to our garage.  It is attached but not to our unit…anyway we need to go outside in order to get to our garage.  The lock on the garage side-door is difficult to operate in the dark so I leave the garage light on at all times.

Mrs. C does not like that.

So…I bought a gadget with a motion detector that turns the light on at night when it is approached.  End of problem.

Except that the gadget crapped out after a few months.

I know; I could get a good spotlight with a motion detector for a reasonable price, but that would not pass muster with our local “Cynthia.” 

All outside fixtures must be of a certain specification. 

So…we bought another gadget that is activated by darkness to turn the light on for three hours.  Three hours after dusk is as much time as we may typically need.

After about a week this gadget stopped working.

“Dang it!  We keep buying cheap gadgets to fix our garage light issue and they keep crapping out.  I’m going to get one of those spotlight motion detector things at Lowes.  I’ve installed them before and I know they will work and not crap out.”

“You can’t, the HOA will object and you’ll have to take it down.”

“So, I can’t get in the garage at night without remembering a flashlight?”

“We could get another of those cheap gadgets.”

“No, 0 for 2 is enough, the cheap things just don’t work.”

“This one was working so well, it’s bizarre that it stopped.”

“Well, it did, I’m going to chuck it in the garbage.”

“Before you do, maybe the bulb just burned out.”

That turned out to be a good suggestion.

Like I said, I am not particularly handy with stuff.

Another example:

There was recently some irrigation work done in our yard.  The workers managed to lower a pipe that our sump emptied into.  This caused the sump discharge to splatter against the house.

Not a big problem, but one I was directed to fix.

The solution was to simply extend the discharge pipe the inch that the drain pipe was dropped.  Not worth explaining, suffice to say I needed to attach one section of PVC pipe to another with a PVC coupler.

Simple enough except I could not believe how tight the fit was.  I could not insert the pipe to the coupler more than a quarter inch.  With the required PVC cement, which sets up almost instantly, I would never get the pieces together.  I spent an hour trying to sandpaper the joints down to make the fit easier. 

It seemed to make almost no difference.

I figured that I could use a rubber mallet to quick join the pieces together. 

I slathered on the PVC cement, fit the pieces together and before I could slam them with the mallet discovered that the PVC cement allows the pieces to easily slide together before it set up.

No sanding needed; no mallet needed.  The pieces slide together easy- peasy.

It might just be a good thing that the association is responsible for  most outside maintenance.   


  1. Leave it to the experts. The problem is that experts cost a lot of money. And they are always busy. Try getting a plumber in an emergency.

    God bless.

  2. Loved this post. My hubby is extremely clever about fixing things but every once in awhile he misses the obvious. So I gladly help him at those times. 😁

  3. I guess we are both having lightbulb issues!

  4. Never a dull moment at your house. Hubby isn't very helpful around the house either. I don't care either. Hiring things out is often the best solution and it's far less stressful.

    Have a fabulous day, Joe. ☺

  5. Mrs. C proves you are a good team. Did not know that about the PVC cement acting as a lubricant. Good to know.

  6. There is some truth when people say that cheap things just don’t work

  7. When we bought our first house my Father-in-law would come and help Jack with repairs and other things. (like plumbing, taking a wall down, etc) I came to dread the phrase: "This is going to be a breeze". There is no such thing as an easy project. It's something that I'm sure Einstein, Newton, Ben Franklin and any other human that does fixer uppers has on a plaque somewhere. I applaud your fixers gone good!

  8. I'm from the South. HOAs sound like a scary monster. I know there are HOAs in the South. It is just that we are an inherently non-conforming people. wow

  9. Around here, i am the one yelled for when something needs fixing, most of the time. But it is only the very simple somethings.

  10. I'll keep that PVC trick in mind in case I ever need it. I'm not real clever when it comes to fixing things, I usually get to the "good enough" point and quit while I'm ahead.

  11. My husband hated doing any sort of repair work -- had said when we got our first house, "I'd rather play a dance job and hire someone to do it." His avocation was as a professional musician. Now that I'm a widow I either have to fix it or hire someone and generally it's the latter.

  12. If you have problems in the future, you and Mrs. C could get a couple of those headlamp thingies to wear to the garage. His 'n' Hers. Just Google "cheap headlamp."