Archive for February, 2009

Installing A New Kitchen Faucet

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Things to keep in mind:

  • Pipe thread tape is a must, no matter what the instructions say.
  • Flexible tubing is great. The instructions suck.
  • The instructions lie.

Purchases:

$42 faucet
$13 tubing (flexible, flood-safe)
$20 basin wrench (useable on other projects)
$2 pipe thread tape
$5 plumber’s putty
——————-
$82 Total

Other tools:

  • Flashlights
  • Eye protection
  • 2 adjustable wrenches
  • Channel lock/Robogrip pliers
  • Masking tape
  • 8 bath towels – 2 to keep from soaking the exposed wood under the sink, 4 to cushion your back, 2 as spares
  • 1 bucket
  • 2 medium containers to catch water

Time: 1.5 hours
Skill Level: Low
Physical Requirements: Ability to contort one’s upper body to fit through under sink designed by a sadist and still get leverage on brass/copper/plastic fittings. Caution and the ability to apply steady pressure at awkward angles is a must.
Injuries: Bruises on head from falling metal parts or collision with hard immovable objects; skinned knuckles due to tight quarters.

Important Notes:

  1. Take Your Time! If you break the shutoff valves or pipes, you’re in trouble.
  2. Eye Protection Is A Must! You’re going to be on your back, looking up. Parts will break, slip, or otherwise fall on you. Don’t be the one to tell us what the corner of a brass ring nut impacting your eyeball feels like.
  3. Know where the main water shutoff valve is – just in case.
  4. Shut off the hot water at the water heater. There’s nothing like 1st or 2nd degree burns to really make your day shine.
  5. Use the extra towels as padding.
  6. Wrap a strip of masking tape around each jaw of your pliers – it’ll help keep you from scarring the crome and creating a point for corrosion to start.
  7. A pair of work gloves may be helpful. My hands are too large to have the work gloves on and still function in tight quarters.

Estimated Cost of Having a Plumber Do It (prices quoted from several in the area):
$42 faucet
$75 for the time/service
$13 for the tubing
———————-
$130

I chose a weekday evening (Tuesday) to do it on so that, if I broke anything beyond my ability to fix, I could call a professional.

Verified at the state government permit site that I wouldn’t need a permit.

Updated the House Manual.

Related Web Sites:
Ask The Builder
Natural Handyman
Reader’s Digest – Replacing a Kitchen Faucet
Lowe’s – How To Repair a Faucet
About.Com – How To Install A Kitchen Faucet

Why Some Economists Are Morons – On FoxNews

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Article at Fox News: Frugal Americans Hurt The Economy

The article summarizes nicely in this line: “Economists call it the ‘paradox of thrift.’ What’s good for individuals — spending less, saving more — is bad for the economy when everyone does it.”

Hogwash.

Pure bull waste has more value than this reactionary garbage.

Saving more money — putting money into banks, stocks, and other financial vehicles — is a bad thing? So tell me, “Economists”, where do banks get their money to loan out to people? Do they just print it up in the basement? Do they beg for a taxpayer-funded bailout (and beg the question, where do taxpayers or the government get the money for that bailout)? Or do they get it from people who increase their savings?

Idiots.

Let’s try reworking this theory:

“Economists call it the ‘paradox of thrift.’ When the economy tanks and people lose around %50 of their investment and savings value, they wise up — spending less, saving more — so that their homes aren’t foreclosed on. This causes the market to contract sharply for the short term. But the long term benefits are a more stable and growing economy since individuals and financial institutions will have more assets available to them for extending and maintaining credit.”

Imagine this counter-point:
What if %30 of American taxpayers saved %10 of their income in a bank, money market fund, or investment service – towards a down payment on a house, towards a car to buy in the future, towards a flat-screen plasma TV, whatever? What if they did that steadily for 10 years instead of borrowing on credit for ten years? (Does this pattern remind you of the opposite of what’s been going on for the last decade? If yes, give yourself a kitty treat. Just don’t tell Pookah.) What would the total assets available in banks and other financial institutions be now? Wouldn’t American taxpayers (y’know, “consumers”) be able to still buy products sold in this country? Don’t you think that would have cushioned the hit caused by this recession? Did the reporter even bother to ask these obvious questions?

Reality check, Fox: The “economy” is still correcting. That “consumer debt” still has to be paid, or the consumer loses his/her purchasing power and critical assets – like a home. With employers performing credit checks to weed out prospective employees, the “consumer” has NO CHOICE but to go sane: Act more frugal, save more money, and pay off debts. Of course people are turning towards saving more – en masse – now. Just like they turned to spending more – en masse – back in the late 90’s. It is a logical and reasonable reaction.

There is no paradox here. There is only cause and effect.

Methinks someone was hunting for a sellable article, loaded with “controversy” and “spice”.

Maybe they’ll send someone under cover into the economy to find out what’s really happening. Y’know, all secret agent and stuff. Or maybe run a critique or counter-point to the article, and link it in so that the “reporting” isn’t one-sided. That used to be a reporter’s job.

(Was that enough contempt?)

Yes. Now, what was that about a kitty treat?

Whups.

Financial Responsibility

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Financial responsibility is a basic necessity of financial independence. The very bottom line is that YOU choose where and when to spend your money. Based on your choices in the past, some of this control may be taken away from you – such as with wage garnishment. Without control over where and when YOU spend your money, you will never achieve real financial independence.

If you are in debt, you CHOSE to put yourself there.

You can also CHOOSE to get yourself out of debt.

If you are in debt:

  • You have a spending problem.
  • You don’t know the difference between Needs and Wants.
  • Your priorities are messed up.
  • You are ashamed.
  • You are afraid.
  • Your life is no longer yours.
  • You have failed your parents/wife/husband/child/children.
  • When other people find out, you’ll be humiliated.

Any, some, all, or none of those bullet items is true if you feel or think it is true. If one of them is, it is your responsibility to fix it.

You CAN do it.

It is NOT impossible.

Other people have been there before and returned stronger for it.

I am one of those people.

So is Pookah.

There are a lot of ways to get to financial responsibility. There is the Larry Winget (Tough Love) approach, the Dave Ramsey (Snowballing) way, the Clark Howard (Fix It & Prevent It From Happening Again) method, and many others.

I would like to distill what I’ve learned from these people down to a simple line:

Be Honest With Yourself.

You can’t be financially responsible unless you can look at yourself in the mirror, make a statement (good or bad) about a personal financial matter, and PROVE that the statement is TRUE with your financial records and agreements. Until you can honestly do that, you cannot be financially responsible. Until you can truthfully be honest with yourself, no one can help you.

Here’s an example: “I owe $4,576.00 on my XYZCo credit card.” Now look down at your credit card statement. Right there in the Amount Owed section: $4,576.00. The statement has been proven true. You have taken responsibility for a debt.

Here’s another example: “I owe $4,576.00 on my XYZCo credit card, and I don’t know how to pay for it.” You have a credit card statement to support the first part of that statement, but how are you going to prove that you don’t know how to pay for it? The answer is simple. You can’t prove it. Therefore it isn’t true. Now, if you also have a budget, showing ALL of your income and expenses for the last three months (down to the penny), and it shows that you really don’t have the money to pay it back, THEN it is proven TRUE. At that point, when you PROVE what you said about your finances is TRUE, you have taken responsibility for that statement.

Once you have taken responsibility, it is time to ACT on that responsibility.

Ask Pookah – January

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

I’m running a little late on this one due to scheduling issues. But in an effort to catch up:

Every month here at Life of Pookah, we’ll ask Pookah a question. Questions can be on any subject. Pookah can answer however she wishes.

So, Pookah, why do some people just “freeze up” when a disaster strikes, whether that disaster is intellectual, emotional, or actually life-threatening?

Pookah has seen this happen with other cats. Pookah has seen this happen with her own kittens.

Some kittens are born so that they react immediately to a situation. The ones that react in a way that improves their chances of survival will tend to survive. The ones who react in a way that puts them in more danger – like running out in front of a car at night – will tend to die. The ones who freeze up will tend to get eaten.

The hard part is knowing how to react. There is rarely time, even for Pookahs, to stop and think. We must simply react. It is like hunting for food. If a small tasty bird wanders by in easy reach, the clever cat will catch it and eat it when food is scarce, or play at catching it to learn, if food is easy to find. The not so clever cat will jump up, startled, and scare the small tasty bird away. The foolish cat will not even notice the small tasty bird. That is another reason why cats practice hunting so much.

You are training yourselves how to react in a way that that improves your chances of survival, right?

That’s two questions. But, yes. Humans do this, too. Smart humans turn on the light before entering a dark room so that they do not step on Pookahs. Foolish humans think they have excellent night vision, don’t turn on lights before entering dark rooms, and step on tails. In the former case, neither the human nor Pookah will get hurt. In the latter case, the cat has a sore tail and the human’s sweater is changed into soft comfy bed for Pookahs.

I said I was sorry about that.

Yes. I am pleased that I have a new bed. You are forgiven.