Think I am just thinking.

Words are but thoughts made visible.

Just an Old bathroom vanity and sink.

If you have an older home, sooner or later you will be forced with doing upgrades to maintain your home.  Well, the time has come to replace the old bathroom vanity sink in the master bedroom.  The old vanity countertop is one of those one piece (plastic) looks like marble, with the integrated built-in sink.  The vanity woodwork is early 70’s, dark wood, which does show some of it’s age in the way of little minor scratches and having some of that rather old faded wood look to it.  Another 50 years, and it would qualify as an antique, but the Mrs and I really do not want to wait that long.

So it boils down to what are my options?  First things first, get out the tape measure and start writing down the measurements.  If you are lucky like us, you will find that you have a very unique vanity, in terms of size.  Everything that was a standard size back in 1970 something, is no longer a standard size.  I have a space between two walls that measures 68 inches.  Try to find something with that width, and you will just not be able to find it.  So, what to do?

Option (1):  is the woodwork still viable, then you could replace just the vanity top/sink unit, except you cannot buy a stock unit in exactly 68 inches.   Well, the stock item purchase is not an option, so you can do a custom ordered marble or granite top, which will only set you back about $400-$800.

Option (2): Replace only the sink.  But, with a built-in sink counter top, the indentation size of the sink area, is likely larger than any drop-in sink you can buy, so unless you like a sink dropped into the fist bowl indentation space, you rule this one out, right away.  But if you could find one that fits over the opening you would need to cut into the top, your cost drops down to $50-$150, depending on exact sink that work.

Option (3)  forget about salvaging the old vanity, and just remove the whole thing and buy a new Vanity and a matching sized counter-top and sink.  Of course your new unit must be narrower than the opening you are working with.  In our case, 68 inches.   Of course now you do have to deal with what’s behind the old vanity.  Be prepared that it will not be a finished wall, or as your old unit is likely a floor based unit, there is likely no flooring under the old vanity as well.  So be prepared to do some wall work, and likely some floor work as well.  And you will not find matching floor tile/wood/vinyl, so you will have to redo the entire bathroom area flooring with all new material.  Thus far, you are likely to be in the $1,500-$3,000 range depending on exactly what type of vanity system and flooring, and wall work you are willing to do.  And buy the way, this is do it yourself cost.  You can double the cost if you have someone else do the work for you.

Option (4)  Ok, this should perhaps have been number two, but this is the last option we have been looking at, and are going to give it a try, as I think it will give us acceptable results at a much better price.   First, paint the vanity, don’t replace it.  No, or minimal wall work and no floor work. Second, replace the counter top,not with a custom marble or granite top, but rather a stock length laminated counter top.  Only issue with this is the stock counter tops at say Lowes or Home Depot, are all 24-25 inches deep.  Vanity tops are almost all in the 22-23 inch depth range.  But you can buy a 8 to 10 foot stock kitchen laminated counter top for as little as $60-$100.

I like that kitchen laminated counter tops price.  but it’s too deep you say.  But, is would be just right if you cut off the typical backsplash and make yourself your 22-23 inch deep counter.  Then just cut to fit on the old vanity, which has not been painted a nice popular white color.  The only things left are backsplash and sink.  You can pick up a drop in sink for as little as $40-$60.  You can also get backsplash material for as little as $20-$30.

So, paint the old woodwork, replace the hinges and handles on the doors, put on the new laminate, add the sink/faucet and backsplash and you have a complete new bathroom custom vanity sink unit for under $200-$300 max.  That’s a fraction of what you would pay with any of the other options and you will end up with a nice new addition to your home, which brings you a nice new modern look to your room.


Well, I am still mid stream in the project, so I cannot fully state what the outcome is.  But, I shall be back and share how it turned out.  In theory, and after much reading, watching do-it-yourself video’s, I have very high hopes.

Hopefully my High Hopes, will not melt my wings and result in a fast decent.  Stay tuned.


March 10, 2016 Posted by | Household Improvements | , , | Leave a comment

Getting rich on trash?

   In the previous post I was noticing just how many different containers there are to put our trash in.  Have you taken a look at the prices on those colorful containers?  Not only are they expensive, but you might just want to read the label on the ingredients that many of these designer trash containers are made of. 

   As it turns out, there are a number of plastic trash containers, that are made from the very trash which is placed in them every day.   In years past, all of our trash was hauled away to landfills to be dumped, covered and buried to decompose at the speed of dark.

   Today, about 30-35%, of all trash is recycled, depending on what city you live in.  Of this volume, much of it is paper products, which have one of the higher percentages, at around 50%.  Of all the plastic bottles used everyday, some 40% of them are recycled back into new products.  The plastic bottles are ground up in to small pieces, cleaned and ultimately turned back in to new plastic items, such as trash bins!

   So back to the original question of “can you get rich on trash?  Well the short answer is absolutely.  If you own a trash hauling company, you can count on there always being a customer.  Of course the hard part is being large enough to attract customers and being able to hold your costs down enough to attractive in pricing, as well as service.  If you are a recycler, you can make lots of money, if you can process huge volumes of recyclable material, and have manufacturers lined up to purchase the material from you in bulk. 

  You will note, the key to making money on trash is being able to handle tons and tons of trash.  unfortunately, this typically means you must already have the financing (MONEY) in order to put together a trash business model that will end up with a profit at the end of the day.  Then, if you can increase your business (trash volume) enough, you will indeed get rich on trash.

   As for myself, I will be content to put as much recyclable material into the green bins each week, and just feel good knowing I have helped to reduce the volume of trash just being buried each week.  Currently this amounts to just over 50% of all the trash from the house.  Some weeks, a bit more.  If I can get this up to 75%, I do feel I will have made a difference.  The difference I make, may not make me richer, but it will enrich the lives of others by helping to create new jobs in recycling, and making a cleaner environment for my descendents.

   I feel richer already.

January 25, 2011 Posted by | Household Improvements, Things at Home, thinking, Trash | Leave a comment

Trash everywhere and so many places to put it!

A place for every piece of trash.

   Who would have thought that garbage could be good-looking?   Well, just take a walk through any store which has items for the home and you will find a varitiy of garbage and trash cans which will decorate about any abode.  We can buy trash cans with lids, or flats, open tops, flip lids, solid sides, open web sides.  We can get trash container that are silver, blue, red, black, yellow, green, brown, and a multitude of other colors, and yes even white (the biggest seller).

   Just goes to show you that everyone can have personal trash which anyone would be happy to show off.   Personally, I still prefer the stainless steel with the flip lid for the kitchen.  After all, there is always one aspect of trash that we always have a hard time covering up!

January 20, 2011 Posted by | Household Improvements, Things at Home, Trash | Leave a comment

What happened to the water?

   Every day, people go to the faucet in their home; turn, pull, or lift the handle and an endless supply of clear clean water flows out for their consumption or use.  We are so accustomed to this daily little piece of life we take it totally for granted.  And then there is an evening like todays.

   Arrived home after a long days work, and noticed that the when getting a glass of water, the water was not flowing at the normal high rate of speed into the glass.  Made a comment to the mate, “Hey the water pressure seems low”.  Her response: “What would cause that?”  About fifteen minutes later I went to rinse a diner dish off and no water!

   Well it hasn’t been cold enough to freeze lines yet, so I knew that could not be the cause.  So we made a call to the neighbor asking: “Hey Nancy, you guys got water?”  The confirming answer was: “Nope, heard one of the neighbors driveways collapsed from a blow water main.” 

   We have lived in the same house for the last 12 years and we have lost electrical power, but never have we lost water!  Prior to that we lived in a home about two miles from our current home for over 10 years there and also never lost water.  Needless to say, we have become very complacent about water always being available.  But, we still have heat, lights and the water was still going down all the drains, at least while the water was running anyway.

   So as the evening wears on, the though crosses our mind, “what do we do if there is no water yet in the morning?”

   We would both like to shower in the morning and I would like to shave.  Not even having a bottle of water in the house we may be forced to clean up camping style.  After all, there are still a couple clean reservoirs of water available for heating up in a pan on the stove.  But then of course we would not be able to flush!  As we don’t use the chemical treatments, the water is clean.  Most people forget about the tanks.  And then, in a pinch, there is the drain on the hot water heater.  Then it’s the old fashion, shower in a wash-cloth routine.

   Do you think anyone would notice if I am wearing extra aftershave tomorrow?

December 2, 2010 Posted by | Household Improvements, Things at Home | Leave a comment

Just a spoon full of paint, helps the wallpaper go away.

  Well, perhaps a spoon full of paint is a bit of an understatement.  The other weekend we tackled the downstairs bathroom.  For years we have put up with a wallpaper selection we never would have picked for ourselves, but it came with the house, wasn’t totally ugly, and was in overall good shape.  So about once every six months or so, the misses would say “I would really like to get rid of this wallpaper” statement.  So what does it take to get motivated to tackle this project?  How about back to back visitors from out of town within a single month?

    Well, knowing that company was going to be arriving, followed by another weekend of visitors, followed by a third weekend of visitors was all it took to finally convince ourselves that it was time to take on the paper.  So our weekend project started with the removal of the old wallpaper, which went fairly well overall.  But, I have learned that it is hard to remove wallpaper without having to basically skim coat the whole wall area with mud compound to get the wall back to a smooth surface that would be suitable for the application of a fresh coat of primer.  Well, that took care of the first weekend.

    The second weekend we were ready to paint!  OH, that’s right, you do need paint don’t you.  So off to the local hardware store chain to pick out some paint.  Did you ever notice just how many paint colors there are.  Though with my picklickness of color preferences, I could have picked a color and left.  The misses picked out a good selection of various color sampled to bring home and chose from. 

     Turns out within the color selections there was just the right choice for the living room and den area’s!  Turns out we had a gallon in the basement which really was just the right thing for the bathroom.  Well, in the end, the bathroom received a nice new coat of paint, as well as the living room, den and ceilings!  Did I fail to mention that you cannot put a fresh coat of paint on walls without putting a nice new coat of paint on the ceiling.  At least the ceiling paint came in a very nice standard white, which made color selection much easier.

    One last thing.  No bathroom is complete without new towel racks and light-switch covers!

July 30, 2009 Posted by | Household Improvements | , , | Leave a comment

PVC Decking – A Warning! – And a cure for White Staining!

  Well, we have now had our new deck for a couple weeks and had our first scare during the first week.  In an effort to protect our deck from dripping grease from the grill, we purchased a nice protective mat to lay down underneath the grill.

   With what turned out to be luck on our side in the long run, we had a couple days of rain the first week.  Having accumulated large amounts of water, we picked up the new mat to dry it out.  What we found underneath drew heartache and fear at what the cost was going to be.  For everywhere under the map the deck had turn white!  We first thought is was perhaps minerals or reaction from the water being heated in the Sun later in the day.  We tried cleaning the deck to no avail.  The white film remainded regardless of what we did.

   Consulting the TimberTech web site, when drilling down to the XLM information page, what I found at the bottom of the page was information which struck a note of fear.  The information warned of the danger of placing a Rubber based mat ontop of PVC decking due to chemical interation between rubber and PVC.  This has nothing to dowith TimberTech, but rather to do with chemical properties of rubber and PVC, regardless of the product.  The two items just do not play well together.

   So now I knew what caused the problem, but I had no clue if anything could be done about it.  So I did what any red blooded American would do, I wrote the company a “HELP” letter.  Using the company web site, I sent a message with what had happened and a request for if there was anything that could be done to repair the damage, hoping that replacement was not the answer. 

   Replacement would not have made us very happy as we had purchased a really nice big rubber backed mat which ended up whitening over six boards which are about 20 foot long.  Estimated replacement cost would have been around $300!

    The company wrote back the very next day with instructions which were somewhat surprising and which I was really hoping would work.  What the compay said to do was:

            1.) Get a heat gun (I used the wife’s hair dyer)

           2.) Heat up the surface of the deck, taking care to keep moving the heat gun around to prevent overheating, to the point where the white coloring fades and disappears from the surface of the deck.

     Though I wondered how this would work, I figured I had nothing to loose?  So, taking a long extension cord and hairdryer in hand, I proceeded to entertain my neighbor by sitting out on the deck, hairdrying my deck.  At first nothing seemed to happen, but then as the deck surface warmed up, suddenly the white film faded and disappeared before my eyes!  Though the hairdryer was slower than a heat gun it did the trick.

   So for the last week we have once again been able to enjoy the beauty of our new deck.  Now I need to figure out a better way to stop any grease dropping from the grill which seems to happen during slow cooking from the back of the lid.  But, regardless, I have learned a lessen and a little chemistry along the way.

July 3, 2009 Posted by | Household Improvements, Remodeling | , , | Leave a comment