Ya know your an old house owner if.. (stolen topic)

ks_toolgirlNovember 13, 2010

Hi, all... I saw this topic on a different geri-house forum, & decided to toss it in here. (Gee, hope it's ok to steal other sites forum threads...).

A few of mine...

If you've ever done "the hover" over your OWN toilet - not because its dirty, but because its December and you know how cold that seat is!

The workers @ the local "minor emergency medical facility" know you on sight when you enter the building, & ya just know they're thinking they'll have another "funny thing happened at work/that DIY klutz was back" story to tell when they get home.

The possibility that your neighbors house is older than yours is an insulting thought - the thought that yours is actually "younger" than you think, is almost devastating! (Doesn't even matter if insurance would be easier & cheaper to get).

Anyone have others? I could think of these all day! :-).

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You had me laughing like crazy at the "funny thing happened @ work" part!
-Mine is... when you can now play with crazy foxes and raccoons because you're up tp date on your rabies shots, since you had bats in your bedroom last summer!

...when you secretly hope to find buried treasure in the walls, should you ever (God forbid) have to open one of your beautiful lathe and plaster walls.

...you budget twice as much as you think you'll need for a kitchen remodel because you're pretty sure you'll run into disaster at some point!

...you like your friend's brand new home, but secretly think to yourself it's just lacking your old home's character and charm.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2010 at 7:17PM
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....you get excited at the sight of an old door or window sitting on the curb waiting for the trash truck. It never makes it to the landfill cause you take it home with you. Old glass to repair your windows, the door either replaces one that is missing or busted or is taken apart for it's hardware.

...you offer to help clean out a friend barn who is moving because they said you can have anything in the barn that doesn't go in the dumpster. 8 trips home later you have several piles of old wood for repairs, a old kitchen sink with sideboard, a half a dozen old chairs and several boxes of misc hardware.

....you look up salvage shops when you vacation.

....you carry your house measurements in your wallet.

....you know the names of some very odd looking tools.

....you can change out old grout on old windows almost as fastas you hubby can change the oil on the car.

,,,you know how to boil old hardware!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2010 at 7:36PM
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Great thread!


Ya know your an old house owner if..

~ You had to use almost an entire pack of shims to level your daughter's bed so that she doesn't roll off in the middle of the night because your house slopes so much.

~ You got home from closing/settlement on your new home and the vibration from sliding the bathroom window up made the corroded plumbing pipes to the tub literally explode.

~ You screwed a closet door shut because you just couldn't deal with the spooky ookiness of it.

~ You take a pry bar and bash a hole in a perfectly good wall, just to "see what's behind there!"

~ You have pink splotches all over your walls because you tested for lead and all the tests were positive.

~ You think about all the people who must have walked up and down your staircase over the years, or who possibly could have died or been killed in your home (in my case, probably lots since it began life in 1814 as a tavern!)

~ You look around at your money pit, and lovingly run your hand over the staircase handrail and think...."yeah, I'd do it all again".....

    Bookmark   November 13, 2010 at 7:45PM
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...you trash a serviceable '70s kitchen because you found the original cabinet doors in the garage, and a cast iron double sink with two drainboards by a dumpster....
...you get a sinus infection from living in the cellar for three days in winter right after closing--because your gas warranty company can't come out over the weekend and the gas inspectors found a tiny leak so shut everything off....
...you spend countless hours replicating a short column for the foot of your front steps since the city said you needed a railing for it--rather than go buy some iron pipe to put one in quickly regardless of aesthetics....
...despite not being the grandest house on a historic tour, you are pleased beyond measure that the guidebook praised your authentic interiors....
...you insist on keeping your original separate tank commode when the lead drain pipe needs replacing--even though it would be cheaper to upgrade to a new one....

    Bookmark   November 13, 2010 at 9:26PM
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You know you're an old house owner if:

--you're hot in the summer and freezing in the winter despite utility bills double what they were in your last new home.

--all of your doorways resemble irregular parrellograms.

--most of your floors slope in at least four directions.

--your home tests positive for lead, asbestos and radon but you ignore it because all that health stuff is just a great big pharma conspiracy.

--your lights flicker and fuses blow. (Nothing a properly placed penny can't cure.)

    Bookmark   November 14, 2010 at 11:37AM
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Love this thread!!! And I think I need that penny trick! (Darn fuses!!!)

    Bookmark   November 14, 2010 at 11:44AM
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Lol! DH is even laughing @ these. (Perhaps knowing others have the same issues made him feel less alone!).

... If you can't find your checkbook but you darn sure know where both prybars are.

... If instead of the flashlight you know "normal" people use to check out the dark spaces, you carry around a huge halogen spotlight in one hand - dragging an extension cord behind you. (Because you're not just "having a look", you want to see toolmarks & writing on those beams!).

...If your upstairs bathroom doesn't have ONE SINGLE electric outlet & never did.

... If, when opening up a wall void or something that's been sealed up forever, that - for just a second - an image of a human skeleton hidden in there popped into your head. (Come on - admit it, lol).

    Bookmark   November 14, 2010 at 2:38PM
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ks_toolgirl, my upstairs bathroom doesn't have any electric outlets either! And my downstairs bathroom has one outlet, right behind the toilet (and it's not grounded, nor gfci..I sure hope that toilet doesn't leak one day with someone sitting on it with their feet in a puddle! yikes...on second thought..I really should get that taken care of!)

    Bookmark   November 14, 2010 at 10:20PM
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...you spend your vacation patching plaster cracks, scraping paint, stripping woodwork, undoing po's "improvements", when you could've gone to Bermuda!

...you ask your GC for an estimate and he quotes you exactly the amount you have in your savings account (either you've been doing this too long, so you can quote as well as he can, or he has a spy at the bank!)

...your friends and family have asked you so many times if you are "finished with the house yet", that you want to wring their necks! (Don't they know by now this is your life's work?)

...you've paid the purchase price of your home twice over now and you can't think of a better way to have spent your money (ok, so you can't remember the last time you shopped for clothes or had a manicure - ?manicure - what's the point anyway?

...you come home every single day and say "I love my house!"

...you feel sorry for people who buy new houses with hollow core doors, skinny woodwork, and wall to wall carpet... they just don't know what they don't have!

...you are on a first name basis with the people in the city offices to call to arrange for a dumpter, permits and inspections.

...you save the best of the bits and pieces of former lives that you find in walls and crawlspaces because you need to learn the story of your home.

...you hang out at places like this, where the term "replacement windows" is "fightin' words"!

...you never think of her as an old house, you think of her as home.

:-) great thread, thanks for starting it!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 4:00PM
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Lol, kimkitchy... I didn't start it, I stole it! ;-).

I'm going to start a new one though, and NOT stolen! :-)
(Brickeyee, are you getting annoyed w/the forum being cluttered up w/ non-technical "banter"? Hope not!). :-)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 4:52PM
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Kimkitchy, You said the very same things I was going to say!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 8:00PM
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You put your old, broken door bell button back up because it is original and looks neat there.... And then have to say "please knock"! Just did that today :)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 9:41PM
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That's how I feel about the twist doorbell in my door, Mrsrichards!And the whole front door for that matter! Can't bring myself to remove the twist part, even though it does nothing but spin!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 6:32AM
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>The architectural salvege owner adds you to his Christmas card list. He also lets you take things home to try out although this isn't his usual policy.

>You recommend a little-known local lumber yard to your heavily experienced carpenter that he's never heard of.

>The electrical suppy store asks if you'd like to open an account.

>Neighbors recommend you as the local expert on rebuilding windows.

I could think of others but I need to go back to work!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 3:00PM
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Ah yes, Christmas cards... we were getting them from the tool rental shop for a few years there.


-your bedroom is so small that you keep most of your clothes in the living room
-your entrance hall is so small you keep most of your shoes in the dining room
-you bought the house because of the great woodwork but most of it is still in the basement waiting to be stripped, and from where you're sitting you can't actually SEE any moulding or baseboards, just unfinished edges
-you have so many tools and parts and paint cans to store that you haven't really "organized things" yet after 16 years.



    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 7:38PM
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Here's how my life has changed since buying my old house:

You have more than 5 projects going on at once, and can't remember what you started with, or perhaps why!

You're afraid to start/finish a project because you never know what can of worms you are going to open!

You have three lists on the refrigerator: groceries, home projects, and last years, "this is what I hope to accomplish on the house" list that you still haven't finished!

I don't have to carry the measurements for my windows, doors, cabinets, etc. in my wallet because I have them memorized.

All of the bookmarks on your computer are related to home repair, remodel, or those amazing knobs that would look so good on your cabinets if you could only afford to buy them instead of more insulation!

You cancel all your plans and don't want anyone to disturb you at the time that "This Old House" or "Ask This Old House" is on TV, so you can learn how to do the next project without spending a fortune that you don't have.

You stop spending money on the things you used to: clothes, pedicures, new Coach bag, so that you can save it instead for that cool, new cordless nailer.

And, in my case, all my girlfriend's husbands call me for advice on how to fix something after watching me fix (while learning as I go, 'cause I can't afford to have the pros do it) my plumbing, electrical, etc, etc.

And my favorite: all my coworkers ask me how my house is doing, rather than how my family is doing!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 1:12PM
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If you wake up in the middle of the night and hear someone walking down the hallway to your bedroom, and it's only the cat. Those old wooden floors - you gotta know just where to place your feet without waking up the neighborhood.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 1:33PM
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Oldhousegal, I read your post, looked at my bookmarks, and yup, all those you listed are there! My kids are looking at me funny because I'm laughing to myself! Can't wait to but those craftsman knobs...they're SOOOOO pretty!!!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 3:10PM
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schoolhouse, you aren't kidding! I always think my cat sounds like a HORSE going through the house in the middle of the night.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 3:04PM
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And the squeaky creaky wood floor, staircase and hallway make you feel safe- no one can ever sneak up on you.

Its 20 years later, a few projects still not done because having a family and a life stops progress at times, but it still feels like love, not work.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 11:02AM
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I really enjoyed reading this. 27 years in, they ring true.

Nothing is ever "not finished", it is "in progress". For many years, trading the "bare bulb count" with other old house renovators at family gatherings was accurate shorthand for a progress report.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2010 at 9:39PM
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You know you've got it bad if you'd rather spend money on restoration than sending your kids to college.

But hey, isn't restoration so much more interesting than degree work? Maybe they could skip college and become expensive tradespeople instead? Or we could go broke on restoration and qualify for tons of financial aid?

I go round and round like this, but don't worry, I'll work three jobs and let the roof fall in if that's what it takes to send them to school.

But I went to college and I'm convinced I would have been happier if I'd apprenticed to a master stonemason instead.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 1:26PM
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Our house isn't even old in comparison to any one of you. BUT, DH says it was mostly put together on Friday afternoon after a two beer lunch so nothing was level.

I cannot put my lipstick or eye liner on the bedroom dresser, because they roll off and go under the bed.

DH always rolls on to MY side of the bed, it is a floor issue.

All the crown molding had to be made custom because the walls/ceiling did not work together.

The fireplace had to be refaced because it kept leaning further and further into the room as it rose above floor level. But the fireplace works really well thank heaven.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 1:42PM
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Ya know your an old house owner if...

you have moved to a new city and know more people in the building trades than not.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 7:43PM
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you have multiple tape measures scattered around the house, preferably on every floor, so they are handy when fantastic ideas strike!

your partner groans every time you say "honey, I had this great idea"

and, to expand on the This Old House mention - your favorite magazines are This Old House, Old House Journal, and the like.

Oldhousegal, this is my fave "You're afraid to start/finish a project because you never know what can of worms you are going to open! " Every time DH talks about replacing the shower stall I cringe!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 10:03PM
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- you've nursed a baby squirrel who got left in your attic when you chased off the others
- you have circles under your eyes cause of the squirrels waking you up early in the morning so they can play basketball in the eaves or dormers. You know when they're playing, fighting, tearing up your insulation, storing nuts, or doing the nasty. Sigh...
- you have "pee staines" on your ceiling that show up every so often.
- You get seriously distressed when you hear about other owners of old homes removing original features (!)
- For fun - or to help you sleep at night - you have at least one time in your life mentally walked through either your house or someone else's old house, to see if you remember all the details like you should.
- You get very excited if you discover something about your old house that you didn't know before! E.g. that there's no skirt under your kitchen window as there once was, or if the previous owner who's old shows you a picture of your kitchen in the 1940's and you now know what that countertop and backsplash used to look like - except for not being able to see color! Or that if you feel threads so screw in the skinny bulbs that flicker into these weird candle-holder looking things poking out of the built-in buffet, you find out that they work!
-you've struggled with paint colors and finally found one you're going with, only to find out that many years ago, past owners used the exact same color in the exact same place!
-you feel claustrophobic in houses with low ceilings
- you know what little tricks will get your bathtub pipes to stop moaning
- you imagine your feet are starting to change based on the hills and valleys in your old, sloping floors!
- you choose to keep something original that's inefficient (e.g. servants' stairs and door to kitchen that hog up valuable space in your already-too-small kitchen)
- you love ghost stories, and history - and have a general reverence for those who have died long ago (probably just hung up on the fact that you too will die someday!)
- you fantasize, about once a year, about moving and living in a modern house with no issues, but then you realize you could never abandon your old house
-you get excited when you see the word "period" on an internet forum
- you go on historic home tours, if they're offered near you
- you love antique shops
- you fantasize about having an antique music box someday (or else you already have one), or a cuckoo clock
- you probably love old books (?)
- you sometimes get creeped out if you're the last to turn off all the downstairs lights and head on up the stairs at night
- you've searched for either a horse ring in front of your house, by the curb, or else a screw head imbedded in the sidewalk, that will hint as to where your property line actually starts/stops
- you probably know about Rejuvenation House Parts and Schoolhouse Electric and House of Antique Hardware and Vandykes and a handful of others
- you feel sick to your stomach when you think about some of the stupid decisions you've made in the past, which involved altering or getting rid of something original that you didn't have to (but back then you didn't know better)
-you have at least one inconveniently poking-out chimney, somewhere inside your house, taking up space, like in your kitchen
-you own a level
- you get really jealous when you hear about other people who've found neat old things buried in the floors or walls of their old houses and wonder when it will happen to you!
- you have at least one mystery about your house that you can't solve - something that just doesn't make sense.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 6:26AM
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You know who has lumber large enough to get actual 2 inch by 4 inch studs out of.

You had to learn how to repair wiped lead drain lines.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 7:40PM
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You don't flinch when the guys working on your new porch tell you they have to replace a beam.........you already factored that into the equation along with a few other things cause you know what it's like when that can of worms get opened.

You have two types of friends. Those that understand your obsession because they have it too and those who think you are nuts and should sell the place for parts or better yet just burn it down and start over.

You get excited when you see a house similar to yours and pray maybe you can get a look inside to see what they've done.

When someone says they have plaster walls you have to ask do they mean plaster and lath or plaster board. The fact that they don't know the difference tells you they know nothing about old houses!

Physically you are in better shape than many of your friends. It comes from all that toting of lumber supplies, climbing ladders for repairs and having to dump rubble into dumpsters for the last 15 plus years!

When you find a good old house contractor you guard his name and phone number like he was a international spy for fear someone might steal him away from you.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 8:54PM
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Carol, I swear you read my mind! There's a house in the same town a few miles away the looks EXACTLY like mine on the outside. I drive by real slow trying to peak in the windows. I'll bet they lock to doors when they see me...lol! I SO want to see the inside!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 6:24AM
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...If you finally confess to your mother-in-law, after she begs you to tell her what you want for christmas, that... Sure, pretty sweaters or new pajamas would be fine... But what what you'd LOVE would be a gift-card to one of the local lumberyard or hardware stores!
...This was yesterday, & met with a moment of silence.. As though she were burying forever the "girly" daughter-in-law that she'll never have, lol!. Followed by "...ooo-kay... If that's what you'd really like..". It is! It is! I swear! :-)
Santa Claus is coming to town!! :-)

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 9:12PM
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When your birthday presents are a pink hardhat and toolbelt.

When your contractor asks to borrow "your" sledgehammer, 'cause its bigger.

When you aren't surprised by hidden electrical junctions in the walls, and it becomes a treasure hunt.

When you move a door and reuse the old frame, perfectly leveling it in the new opening, only to find that now you can't open or close it.

When you get excited because your grandmother sends you a skeleton key that fits all your interior doors.

Thanks for this thread, I couldn't stop laughing!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 5:46PM
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Toolgirl, I put the bug in my daughter's ear that is anyone asks, a gift card to the hardware store would be PERFECT!
I was talking to my boss yesterday, and she said when they sheetrocked over the plaster in their 1890-something home, they pushed the gas lamps INTO the wall rather than removing them. Someday someone will have so much fun finding those!!!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 6:26PM
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Kindred, I don't have the gas lights but I have the pipes - & I made the contractor cut a hole where they extended through the ceiling when he put up drywall. He thought I had lost my mind when I didn't want them chopped off & hidden.

I love this thread - every response is so familiar!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 10:10PM
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You live in a house built in 1959 in a Dallas suburb and the local landmark preservation commission considers it old.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 9:24AM
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In a town with lots of old houses people know who you are not by your last name but by which old house you live in.

Setting mouse traps, wrapping windows in plastic and digging out draft stoppers are part of the "normal fall routine".

Quilts, wool blankets and curtain rods of various sizes and shapes and condition have been hung over least used hallways,doors,windows.

Down comforters are on all the beds not because they are fashionable but because they are required to keep the chill out at night.

The idea of a heated toilet seat now makes sense to you.

You gladly share your bed with the cats and dogs you have. That extra body heat comes in handy on those cold nights.

The phrase "making do" takes on a whole new meaning when you are going thru a major project and either the bathroom is shut down or the kitchen. Hopefully not both at the same time.

You know more about the house's history and PO's than you do your own family tree.

You treasure every little tidbit of information you find on the house. Be it a pic, a mention in a book or just someone you know who knows someone who played in the house when they were a kid.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 10:53AM
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...your house gets more of your time, money, and attention than your own body does.

...you keep secrets from your friends and family about some inconveniences you put up with in your home, because you just don't care to see the disbelief/horror/pity on their foolish faces. (They just don't get it. Which is why we migrate to places like this!)

...you have a priceless box somewhere with random treasures that you've collected from your house's cracks and crevices. (In mine: old marbles, a rusty padlock, a 1950's spaceage style water gun, and scraps of original wallpaper...)

...replacing your original windows is considered the 8th Deadly Sin.

...you secretly think all those new-house types in your life are total fools. (You may love them, but they're still fools.)

    Bookmark   December 19, 2010 at 1:06AM
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This is fantastic! My boyfriend and I have just bought our first home, and it's a brick Victoria farm house that's been around since at least 1900 (haven't found a build date, yet). So many of these things are already ringing true! While right now it's a disaster...I love my house!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 3:36PM
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when you're retired father tells you about the dead people he hauled out of there 30 years before (he was a firefighter>.
your walls have at least 3 layers of wallpaper over plaster, our living room has rounded corners!!!
your kitchen has at least 3 decades of different cabinets (1940's, 1960's and 1970's)
the only heat to the 2nd floor is a floor vent located near the 1st floor fireplace.
but i truly love my 1929 home... :)

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 6:01PM
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when at least 2 people have told you about the dead baby buried in the yard...

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 2:48PM
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Marvin Forssander-Baird

Oh, Theresse. Alas, I own a level, but it must be defective. Had a frustrating time trying to hang the chandelier in my 1885 house. I could not for the life of me figure out why it wouldn't hang straight until it occurred to me that the chandelier WAS straight and the house was leaning. Replacing chair rail was fun with the "defective" level. I finally pulled it back down and just eyeballed it.
I cringe every time my ex-wife's husband pulls out original hardware and woodwork from their house a half block away that was in much more original condition than mine. However, it is a mixed feeling because she always deposits the hardware, wood, doors, etc at my back door.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 11:57PM
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The elderly man whose parents built your house before he was born drops by every few years for a look around. You consider him not a stalker, but an old friend and a valuable resource.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 7:57PM
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Know the OD of DWV piping by size and type so you can purchase Fernco connectors to fit lead DWV.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 4:29PM
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