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Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

I was dragged kicking and screaming into the new millennium about a year ago.  I finally gave up my cherished flip phone for a smart phone.

And while I haven’t had many regrets–it is a lot easier to text and having access to the Internet is very convenient–it did present me with some new problems.  For one thing, smart phones are not as durable as flip phones.  Within six months, the screen was cracked.  Fractured.  I managed to drop it several times. Threw it once.  After I got a call for a “routine” consult at 10:30 PM on a Sunday night.  Are you freaking kidding me?!?  If it’s routine, couldn’t it wait til business hours on Monday when someone else was on call?  But I digress.

The phone worked fine, but now the surface looked like a cobweb (and a few fragments and one corner were missing) and I was concerned I was one more phone rage call away from it not working anymore.  Or, since I like to take it running in case I fall or do something stupid, I was one drop of sweat or an unexpected rain shower away from water getting in my smart phone’s head.

So I stopped by a place that advertised fixing iPhone screens.  It was a paintball store, but that did not deter me.  They must go together.  Shooting paintballs probably results in some broken phone screens.  But Mr. PaintBall wanted $120.00 to fix my iPhone 5 screen.  Apple already is up to #7, so it seemed like a lot of paint to pay for an outdated phone.  (I didn’t want to enter modern civilization too quickly.)

But my good old flip phone never gave me trouble like this.  It bounced off walls better.  Makes you wonder which one is the smarter phone.

So I went to Google.  Low and behold, you can purchase new screens and replace them yourself.  There are multiple videos on You Tube.  It looked so easy.  And I could buy one for around $25.  Take that Mr. $120 Paintball shyster.

I waited for my salvation to come in the mail.  I had two weeks before I was on call again, and I would need my phone.  And one more pitch against the wall might be too much.  It finally came.  I rushed home, loaded up the You Tube videos and prepared to save myself, um, like almost $100 bucks.  A lot more if you factor in the unreasonable cost of a new iPhone.  $700?!!!!

I managed to get the cracked screen off, fracturing it even more.  Nothing to worry about.  I was going to fix this cracked phone with a brand new screen.

Okay.  What was underneath doesn’t look like the video.  Maybe it was the wrong video.  Nope.  None of them looked like my broken mess.  I can’t start sweating now–the perspiration will drip inside and fry the smart phone’s stupid brain.

iPhoneParts

I’m pretty sure I had more parts than this.  If I walked away, they would start replicating.  It was like a sci-fi horror flick.  Low budget.  Very low.

After some praying and swearing (I might even have swore while I was praying, God help me) I figured out that my phone was more broken than I had imagined.  There is a frame that should have come out with the screen and did not.  I was able to get that out.

But I realized that the videos were all replacing screens that had home buttons and cameras already in them.  What I had bought, was just a screen.  No home button.  No camera.  WTF?!

Screen1

Just an empty shell of a real phone.

I did consider stopping at this point, but I couldn’t get my old screen to work anymore.  I had to press onward.  But no matter how hard I tried, I could no longer get the phone to work.  With either screen.

So I made a decision.  I would purchase the proper screen with home button and camera.  I still had a week before I was on call.  I could live without a phone until then.  Cavemen lived without phones for years.

I found the proper part and ordered it.  I paid extra for 1-5 day delivery.  Unfortunately, it was President’s Day Weekend.  I still hoped it would be delivered to my office by Friday.  It did not come.  I did get three emails asking me to rate their product and offering me on-line instructions on how to use it even though they have failed to actually deliver said product to me.

I finally got a tracking email that it was being delivered Saturday.  My partner was going to be working Saturday morning, so I thought I’d stop by later in the day and get my salvation.  Apparently, even though the office was actually open (one Saturday out of every five) the post office doesn’t bother to deliver mail, assuming we are closed.  I had to wait until MONDAY.

Monday came.  The mail came.  But the screen was the same one I had already ordered.  No home button.  No camera.  No working phone!

Screen2

I called and complained, but was told that that was what I ordered, regardless of the photo of the product.

Now I’m down $60 and still no working phone.  It’s like a series of Two Broke Girls episodes with the total changing after each episode.  I have a pager, but no way to call back.

On  my way home, I stopped by the paint ball store in desperation.  This time I talked to someone different.  I was afraid since I had already tried and failed to fix the phone that they might not want to get involved at all.  To my surprise, the guy said he could fix it and it would cost me $50.00.

I wasn’t going to argue with him.  At $110 so far, I was still ahead of the paint ball shyster who wanted to charge me $120!

Currenttotal

And my phone works.

I put the money I saved toward an otter box that so far has kept my new screen without a scratch.

I will consider this DIY project a victory.

 

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A long time ago (circa 1992), in a state far, far away (well, Ohio actually) I crossed the line.

Any man with opposable thumbs and a capacity for abstract thinking knows that line.  It is the line between a weekend warrior and a professional, be it landscaping, electrical wiring, painting, or building a space shuttle.

In 1992, on a dark and stormy night, when my wife was away, I thought I could be a plumber.  Crossed that line; here’s my sign.

ProfessionalPlumbing

It was a simple problem, actually.  A clogged sink drain on the second floor that would not respond to Liquid Plumber.

I was not going into this unprepared.  I was armed and dangerous.  (I have arms, and I am certainly a danger to myself and apparently to pipes as well.)  In preparation, I went to the local hardware supply store to find the proper tools and ammunition.

I wandered aimlessly through the aisles of plumbing supplies for perhaps minutes—maybe hours—and I might have come back on other occasions as well.  Eventually, I came to a realization:  I did not know what I was looking for.

I stared at the array of pipes, valves, fittings, soldering guns and power tools, many of which were not designed specifically for plumbing tasks but which I thought I could adapt suitably given the correct circumstances and enough beer.

Eventually, a salesman tried to help me.  After I explained my problem, he asked, “Have you thought about a plumber?  You’ve been in here all day looking for something, and you still haven’t found it.  Worse yet, this isn’t even the plumbing section.  These are auto parts.”

Eventually, I left the store with a “snake” to unclog my drain.  He told me how to use it.  A little knowledge, though, can be a dangerous thing.

To make this long story a bit shorter, I couldn’t get the snake to work, even when attached to an electric drill.  Don’t ask.  Just keep on reading and don’t try to get a mental picture of that.  Then I thought I could unscrew the “J” fitting under the sink without a wrench.  Surely, a wood clamp would do the trick.  It did not.  But it did break the hot water pipe.  It didn’t take me long to discover it was the hot water pipe as I tried to plug the gushing hole with my finger.  By the time I raced downstairs with my scalded hand, heading to the basement where the water heater was located–as if I would be able to figure out what to do once I got there–the water had seeped through the ceiling light  into our kitchen.  I hit the wet linoleum floor at full steam.  I also hit a cabinet, I think.  My ear was bleeding.  I was dazed.

After the fact, I reviewed what had happened and made these conclusions:

(1) It is nearly impossible to retrieve twisted coat hangers out of a drain.

(2) Hardware store owners will sell you anything just to get you out of their store.

(3) Do not attach a drain snake to an electric drill.  (I should also note that it is not a good idea to operate electric equipment in a sink plugged with water.  Just trust me on that one.)

(4) If it looks like you should probably use a wrench, then use a wrench (although with a little practice and patience, I think you could get a clamp to work.)

(5) If you have to break a pipe, make sure it carries cold water.

(6) If there is water leaking through a light in your house, don’t turn it on.

(7) If you have to resort to abstract  thinking, or you are looking for plumbing tools in the auto parts section,  it’s likely best to just call a plumber.

YOU WOULD THINK I WOULD HAVE LEARNED SOMETHING FROM THAT DRAINING EXPERIENCE!

Au contraire!  (French for “I am an idiot.”)

It is now 2014 and I have a clogged drain that won’t respond to Liquid Plumber.

I look at the pipes under the sink, and I think to myself, “I can do this.”  (I am an idiot, hear me roar.  In pain.)

I cross the line once again.

I have a wrench this time.  I didn’t need it, though, since the “j” tube has convenient connections that unscrew by hand.

Water dripping!

I run and get a pan.  It’s a baking sheet of some sort, but my wife won’t know.  I only do plumbing when she’s out of the house.

Too much water!

I need a bigger pan!  Maybe a bucket.  Can’t get the bucket in, but a plastic container works fine.

The drain is indeed clogged and I am able to clean it out and restore flow.  Listen to that heavenly fanfare.

Now all I have to do is empty the pan and the plastic container . . .

. . . which I had to tilt sideways to get them into the sink cabinet . . .

[bleep]

It’s like some kind of macabre Chinese water torture puzzle!

Recreation of Plumbing Problem--do not try this at home.  or at work.

Recreation of Plumbing Problem–do not try this at home. or at work.

Sink_2

I was successful at removing the container and cookie sheet with a series of maneuvers–dumping water out of the plastic container into the pan, and then tipping the pan on an angle to allow water to drain out the door opening into another pan.

I managed to fix the clog without a plumber or a trip to the emergency room.

Chalk this one up as a success!

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