It's more than a house. It's an adventure.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Day of frustrations

Whew. Got a few things done today, all of which required extreme patience and involved several attempts.

First was mounting the child seat base in the Subaru. Although the recommendation is generally that one put the seat in the middle of the rear seat, our Subaru is a wagon, and without LATCH anchors in the middle position, that's a very long run for the seat belt as far as I'm concerned. Plus, Subaru has outstanding side-impact ratings. So, I mounted it on the driver's side. Here's the short version:

  1. Unpack seat protector mat. Discover that there's nothing that holds it to the seat other than the child seat itself.
  2. Place base on seat. Scratch head wondering why the hell the straps won't reach the anchors. Finally look at the label again and realize the base is backwards. Who puts an arrow on something that goes into a car and makes the arrow point backwards?
  3. Spin base around and hook strap to anchor bars. Attempt to tighten. Strap moves a little.
  4. Attempt to get into car to apply full weight to the base, as recommended, to draw strap down more. Discover that 200 pound American male cannot kneel backwards in the back seat of a Japanese car. And damn, that plastic's hard on my already-unhappy knees.
  5. Flip driver's seat back forward all the way. Push driver's seat forward all the way. This creates enough room for me to get in.
  6. Attempt to kneel on seat base. Still very hard and uncomfortable. Get a little more pull on the strap. Seat still rocks too much.
  7. Get bright idea to put fleece jacket on the plastic. Knee can now handle it.
  8. Give the strap a few more tugs. Finally, the rocking is within tolerances (1" max).
  9. Restore driver's seat to correct position. Curse a few designers.

There's gotta be a better, more dignified way than that.

Next was replacing the lamp in the master bedroom closet. We purchased a 3-light track setup at Lowe's this morning and I pulled the old fixture down. What a surprise - everything in the box was normal! Standard Romex, plastic junction box, nothing weird going on. The instructions were a little unclear, but I got the fixture ready and made the connections. Then I attempted to slide the fixture over the mounting screws and attach the nuts which would hold it up. No dice. Shuffle wires some, still nothing. It took quite a bit of pushing wires around before I could get enough threads for the nuts to grab onto. The mounting bracket between the fixture and the box just took up too much space. Finally, I managed to get it secured somehow. Then it was on to the lamps themselves. Here's where the instructions were very unclear - apparently I was supposed to mount the lampshades and bulbs before putting the fixture up. More struggling, more fighting, finally those were in.

The day's final challenge was cutting and installing 2 threshold/transition pieces in a couple doorways to compensate for some very large height differences between 2 floors. The first was very difficult - I chose a hard wood, and my coping saw didn't like making straight cuts in it. I got the piece cut pretty much in line with the contours of the doorway, and then just used a rubber mallet to bring it home. The second piece went much easier, but I again had to shave some extra wood off due to irregularities and then use the mallet to finish things off. In both cases, I made more than a couple trips between the installation site and my work area in the family room.

Lots of effort, lots of frustration, only 3 projects. But they all needed to get done and we're much better off for it.

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