Tiny AskMe October 19, 2020 5:40 AM   Subscribe

In the spirit of the Bad at Life thread, how about a "tiny fixes" thread? Things that are too embarrassing or not worth burning an Ask question on.

Reading through the Bad at Life thread, some folks listed tiny mechanical grievances around the house. Things that might be too embarrassing to have your username attached to an entire AskMe question, but for which fixing would greatly improve near-term quality of life. As a Very Handy Person who nonetheless is currently Sucking at Life, it was both gratifying to see others are also having problems, and frustrating to refrain from "oh, just do this, and you're golden" when people may just want to vent!

What say y'all to a Tiny Fixes thread?
posted by notsnot to MetaFilter-Related at 5:40 AM (116 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite

My vote is yes, please, and thank you for suggesting it.
posted by Bella Donna at 7:13 AM on October 19, 2020


OK, I'll start. In response to sundrop's toilet chain problem:

You can fix the toilet chain. The fact that you knew to reach in the tank and pull the chain is proof you can do it!

If the chain is broken, use a small paperclip as a master link to connect to the flapper or the lever, or span the chain break. (Shut off the water supply if you have to dick with the flapper.) The attachment at the lever is adjustable to take up the extra slack - or you can hook the paper clip through a link that isn't right at the break (leaving some links dangling in the breeze).
posted by notsnot at 7:45 AM on October 19, 2020 [8 favorites]


I’m also a fairly handy person who is dying to come fix your minor household problems.

1) a paper clip will fix your broken toilet flapper chain. (on preview, jinx)

2) my literal hack lately is asking if a hacksaw will help me fix this problem. this often works on wtf problems that have me stumped, like the rusty borrowed wheelbarrow that needed a new wheel last week. don’t have the right tool? hacksaw.
posted by momus_window at 7:46 AM on October 19, 2020 [4 favorites]


WHERE WAS THIS THREAD 20 YEARS AGO
posted by Melismata at 8:49 AM on October 19, 2020 [9 favorites]


problem: forgetting about laundry, re-running loads because they accumulate mildew smell. bad for brain, bad for water usage :(
solution: use a baby monitor when you're doing laundry. :)
posted by snerson at 9:19 AM on October 19, 2020 [4 favorites]


Is there a reliable way to:
1. Keep mildew from accumulating on fabric shower curtain liners? (I wash them with bleach every so often but that's because the mildew keeps forming)

2. Keep hard water rings from forming in the toilet? (I clean it regularly and will go in with a pumice stone but again - how to keep it from being there in the first place)
posted by rachaelfaith at 9:26 AM on October 19, 2020


To rachaelfaith, I've found some success using drop-in toilet bowl cleaners to help keep rings from forming in the bowl.
posted by Lynsey at 9:46 AM on October 19, 2020 [3 favorites]


1. Leave your exhaust fan on longer, and make sure the shower curtain is stretched out (like when you're in the shower) when not in use. Gets rid of excess moisture in the folds.
2. Very gently, so it doesn't get the siphon going, pour a cup of vinegar in the bowl before you go to bed.
posted by notsnot at 9:49 AM on October 19, 2020 [4 favorites]


I want to change my showerhead but I can't get the current one to come undone. Is there a trick to this or am I just too weak? I have been using an adjustable wrench which is maybe not the best. Would something else be better? Or a longer wrench to give me more power?
posted by jacquilynne at 9:50 AM on October 19, 2020


We stopped using the plastic shower curtain liners and switched to cloth. Once a month we wash both the liner and the curtain, using bleach (they're both white) and fabric softener. Dry til they're just damp and then hang. The house smells amazing after, and we have clean shower curtains and no more buying plastic curtain liners!
posted by cooker girl at 9:54 AM on October 19, 2020 [8 favorites]


My most recent tiny fix with the largest reward to effort ratio has been buying these widgets for corralling charging cables.
posted by zamboni at 10:04 AM on October 19, 2020 [5 favorites]


All right, this isn't mechanical but it's something I have actually in the past thought about making into an AskMe question only it seemed too small and stupid. If I want to have a little microfiber cloth sitting around to use on my phone screen now and then, where do I keep it when I'm not using it? Right after I use it, it's damp from the spray cleaner so it doesn't seem like I should put it into a closed container. But if I leave it sitting on my desk it can pick up dust or get lost. Current "solution" is that I have a few of them sitting around and I throw them in the washing machine if they seem dusty or dirty. But I feel like someone must have a better system or storage place.
posted by Redstart at 10:05 AM on October 19, 2020 [3 favorites]


I wash the shower curtain liner when it starts looking mildewed (or when it has considerably more than started to look mildewed, to be honest about it). Polyester liners like mine don't need bleach or any drying; just hang 'em back up and wait the half-year or so for them to get disgusting again. But cotton liners are better because they won't shed microplastics* when you wash them, so if you're looking for a cloth liner and you worry about microplastics, get a spendy linen or cotton one and bleach it.

*Q: should I ditch my poly liner and get a cotton one? Would landfilling it all at once be better than washing it twice a year for the rest of my life and sending thousands of horrorbits of it into the water cycle? Or would it be worse? Or would it be the same? Or should I stop obsessing about this kind of thing all the time and do the dishes?
posted by Don Pepino at 10:11 AM on October 19, 2020 [4 favorites]


I have an longshot ask. Is there any feasible way to fix the broken diverter that sends water to the showerhead in my bath by myself? Hardware is Moen. Difficulty level: hand injuries. Missing: showers.
posted by vers at 10:24 AM on October 19, 2020


Be careful with tank drop-in toilet cleaners and using a pumice stone or other abrasive in the toilet bowl. The previous occupant of my apartment did both, and now the toilet is always moldy in several spots where the enamel was scrubbed/scraped off and the flapper had to be replaced because it had been degraded badly by drop-in tablet use (info from plumber who came to diagnose the issue). He suggested CLR for hard water rings, and said to never put any long term cleaner in the tank.
posted by Stoof at 10:36 AM on October 19, 2020 [9 favorites]

1. Keep mildew from accumulating on fabric shower curtain liners? (I wash them with bleach every so often but that's because the mildew keeps forming)
Wash all shower curtains with vinegar instead of bleach.
For folks with poly/plastic curtain: Occasionally spray the bottom third of the curtain with diluted vinegar in between washings. This won't keep it pristine forever. When the current curtain really dies, get a fabric one and wash it with vinegar. Once the fabric one looks super grungy and can't be refreshed by washing, tie-dye it to disguise.
Additionally, give the shower liner a vigorous shake after every shower and then squeeqee out the shower/tub so that the water goes down the drain instead of evaporating into the air. Open a window if you can, if there is an exhaust fan, install a timer for the fan so you don't have to think about turning it off. (In high school a friend's dad had installed a timer on the bathroom light, and when the lights went off in the bathroom you knew you had been in there too long. It was a clever one time solution to a long term teenage girl problem.)
posted by bilabial at 11:00 AM on October 19, 2020 [4 favorites]


I have an longshot ask. Is there any feasible way to fix the broken diverter that sends water to the showerhead in my bath by myself? Hardware is Moen. Difficulty level: hand injuries. Missing: showers.

Last time this happened to me, I called asking about the part and they sent me a whole new bathtub spout for free.
posted by bfranklin at 11:01 AM on October 19, 2020 [1 favorite]


Here is the dilemma.

I am usually a side sleeper who is most comfortable with legs slightly bent. However, I have been sleeping on my back by necessity for the past two weeks because of a big-ass heavy plaster cast running the full length of my right leg, surrounding a splint to keep my knee straight. I also need to sleep with my leg elevated to reduce swelling on my knee.

However - I am also prone to seasonal allergies and the occasional touch of heartburn, both of which are exacerbated by sleeping on your back. Also, sleeping on my back with my legs elevated has given me back pain bad enough to wake me up at 3 am a couple times. However, sleeping with my leg in a normal position makes my leg prone to swelling a bit inside my cast.

So.

What is the magic sleeping position and/or magic configuration of pillows that will let me balance between a non-achy back and a non-swollen leg?

(there is some hope that the cast will come off in 3 days and be replaced by a brace and things should be MUCH more manageable by then fingers crossed)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:17 AM on October 19, 2020


Our shower curtain liners always get mildewy at the bottom long before they’re bad elsewhere. To easily treat just the hems, I soak them in a bucket of strongly vinegary water WITHOUT TAKING THEM DOWN.

Chair (or overturned wastebasket) in tub, bucket (actually also a wastebasket) on chair, hems stuffed in bucket, soak until clean.

Saves about three-quarters of taking them down, and also if someone needs a shower mid-treatment the whole arrangement can be undone and reassembled easily.
posted by clew at 11:19 AM on October 19, 2020 [22 favorites]


What is the magic sleeping position and/or magic configuration of pillows that will let me balance between a non-achy back and a non-swollen leg?

I have an adjustable bed, and it provides the "Zero Gravity" sleeping position, which is like some kind of freakish magic. I could never in my life sleep on my back no matter how hard I tried, but in this position, I sleep on my back and I sleep hard -- I often go to sleep and wake up seven hours later without having moved at all in the interim.

Obviously you aren't going to buy a $2k bed frame to get through the next few days, but if you can approximate that with pillows? Removable couch cushions can help get some of the loft you need, if you have those.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:25 AM on October 19, 2020 [2 favorites]


To easily treat just the hems, I soak them in a bucket of strongly vinegary water WITHOUT TAKING THEM DOWN.

!

!!!

I legit heard heavenly trumpets sound!
posted by Don Pepino at 11:33 AM on October 19, 2020 [18 favorites]


Empress, can you sleep on your left side with a pillow or two between your legs to elevate your right? Or try a wedge pillow under your back to help support your spine?
posted by hanov3r at 11:35 AM on October 19, 2020


Obviously you aren't going to buy a $2k bed frame to get through the next few days, but if you can approximate that with pillows? Removable couch cushions can help get some of the loft you need, if you have those.

No, that's what I'm asking - I have a gabillion pillows on my bed of varying thicknesses, and no matter what combination I use it either seems to be too high or too low or put too much strain on my back or my foot flops forward and puts a strain on my calf or I twitch slightly and the pillow shifts or the weight from the cast gradually just pulls my leg out of alignment and the whole thing gets thrown out of whack. And I have indeed tried on my side, but I have the same problem finding the magic perfect ratio of how thick the pillow between my legs should be and so as I'm falling asleep I am futzing with pillows every five god-damn minutes to try to raise and lower and fix and fiddle and GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:38 AM on October 19, 2020


However, my mother has shared with me a story - my aunt apparently also broke her leg once, and the thing that apparently helped her through her own recovery was that every night, a friend would turn up at her house just before she was going to be going to bed and they would do a shot of Wild Turkey together. I am wondering if this might be something to consider. (My leg may not be in the right position....but I may not care.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:41 AM on October 19, 2020 [7 favorites]


Are you doing both the leg raise and the upper body raise? I find that bend in my body to be necessary to keep my back from hurting.

For the leg falling out of position, try tucking some pillows along the side of your leg so they can't easily roll to that side. You should almost kinda but not quite be laying on top of them. The cast might overcome that, but I find it helps me keep my hip aligned.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:45 AM on October 19, 2020


How about elevating the foot of the bed for a ~5° slope toward the head? That might reduce swelling in the knee w/o making you dream you're hanging from your ankles.
posted by jamjam at 12:18 PM on October 19, 2020


Cotton-liner shower-users...tell me your ways.

Maybe we just have a narrow tub or maybe we are just enthusiastic shower takers, but we tried a cotton-inner-lining and wound up with water dripping down the outside of the tub and puddling all over the floor. I'd like to get away from the plastic inner lining, but it has been such a failure in the past. What are we doing wrong?
posted by Gray Duck at 12:58 PM on October 19, 2020


How heavy is the liner's hem? Add-on weights and other ideas.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:51 PM on October 19, 2020


When I last had a shower curtain, I kept a spray bottle of vinegar in the shower and spritzed the curtain when I remembered to, which was probably every 3rd shower or so. You could also put up a suction cup clip on the opposite wall and clip the hem/corner to hold it up to airflow.

For the little lens/cleaning cloths, Command makes a clothespin clip, which you can stick to the side of your desk, the back or side of a monitor, and other places you might want to stash a cloth.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:05 PM on October 19, 2020 [3 favorites]


We have a shower curtain hanging from a large metal oval suspended above the tub. The oval metal bits separate into a few pieces, for some reason. And they've gotten so loose, that they now separate in at least one place almost every time the shower curtain is moved (unless you hold the metal bit firmly in place). Occasionally, all four pieces separate and it takes two people to reassemble. Fun times. How can we fix this so we can just pull the curtain as necessary?
Level of handiness: can hang pictures
posted by Margalo Epps at 3:30 PM on October 19, 2020


I would just use duct tape. Go slowly, in not-too-long pieces, so it doesn't wrinkle up, but it would take a pretty significant wrinkle to snag a decent curtain ring so don't worry too too much.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:39 PM on October 19, 2020


How do I get rid of that pink mold in my shower stall without actually having to do a lot of work? Is there anything I can spray there, like, once a week, that will destroy my enemy but not kill me as well?
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:40 PM on October 19, 2020 [4 favorites]


> You can fix the toilet chain. The fact that you knew to reach in the tank and pull the chain is proof you can do it!

I'm so glad you said this, because I thought the same thing but didn't want to offer unsolicited advice in a venting thread.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:40 PM on October 19, 2020 [5 favorites]


The problem with mold is most sprays just bleach it white, it's still there, and it spreads more and more. You gotta get it up. If bending to do it is a challenge, get a long-handled scrub brush. If you don't mind bending if you can get done fast (you can also sit on an overturned bucket) and have a cordless drill, get these scrub brushes - which are also amazing on the grout, fixtures, and glass doors. Any cleaning spray will do, whatever your homemade or all-purpose spray of choice to help break it up, but it's the physical scrubbing that really gets it gone.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:46 PM on October 19, 2020 [4 favorites]


Shower head: you may need a Stillson wrench, shown as "fig 158" in the second picture. For a one-off job, a very, very cheap one will do. It may not be obvious, but the trick to those type of wrenches is to make sure it's placed on the thing you're trying to turn so you're pressing on the handle opposite the jaw opening. So on the picture, the left side of the handle. If you're trying to undo a showerhead, and you're facing the wall the pipe comes out of, if there's room on the left for the handle, the jaws should face down (you'll push on the top of the handle). If there's room on the right for the handle, the jaws should face up (so you're pushing up on the bottom of the handle). Don't forget, lefty-loosey. When you put the new shower head on, rub the corner of a bar of soap on the threads as a poor-(wo)man's anti-seize.

Tub spout diverter: replace the whole spout. As mentioned above, if you call the manufacturer, they may just send you a new one. They thread on. With reduced hand strength, you might need a friend to get it off. Again, a cheap pipe wrench is your friend.
posted by notsnot at 4:00 PM on October 19, 2020 [2 favorites]


How do I recruit a friend to get together every night and do a shot of Wild Turkey together?

if you wash a plastic shower curtain, use hot water, or it may get brittle and tear. I got a polyester fabric shower curtain at Ikea, has lasted years, gets washed/ bleached as needed.
posted by theora55 at 4:31 PM on October 19, 2020


Thank you everyone for this engaging discussion about FABRIC SHOWER LINERS.

I have been struggling (emotionally) with what to do about my irredeemably grungy and broken-holed plastic curtain for a while. I think I will bite the bullet and throw away the plastic, as much as it pains me. Thanks to this thread, I now have my eye on this white liner from Linen Chest in Toronto. I can't undo my plasticky past but I can make better choices now.

Sadly, the curtain itself is a dark brown waffle print that made sense in a previous bathroom but not this one. But there's a chance someone might actually want it... I have a lot of problems "disposing" of items because I don't want them to end up in a landfill. Slowly but surely I am finding homes via various local "free" groups on Facebook...
posted by cranberrymonger at 4:44 PM on October 19, 2020 [1 favorite]


I have put my shower solution elsewhere so sorry for repeats but this solves mold and shower curtain problems both but was originally a solution to the fact that one of our new kittens loooooooooooooves water and would splash around and spread any remnant water from the shower *everywhere* until I began: a. Wringing out the shower curtain - works for both cloth and vinyl - gather it all very narrowly and squeeze down to push out excess water- then prop to dry (so it’s not stuck against the tub all day and b. Wiping the tub bone dry - I give the whole thing a quick squeegee and then use one of a pile of old grubby washcloths to dry it up. Tub stays so clean (kitten and belongings stay completely dry). Thé hard water grub on the fixtures us also cleared up-woo hoo!
posted by Tandem Affinity at 4:45 PM on October 19, 2020 [1 favorite]


How do I recruit a friend to get together every night and do a shot of Wild Turkey together?

You might find a couple takers (so they can alternate nights) if you're willing to pony up for the hooch.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:51 PM on October 19, 2020 [2 favorites]


I have been struggling (emotionally) with what to do about my irredeemably grungy and broken-holed plastic curtain for a while. I think I will bite the bullet and throw away the plastic, as much as it pains me.

I deal with this kind of emotional struggle, too. Thoughts that help:
- remembering that there is no ethical consumption under capitalism
- remembering that if the only reason I'm delaying throwing something away is my emotional distress about adding to a landfill, that doesn't change the inherent worn-out/broken/used up nature of the object, and that I am not reducing the amount of trash by not throwing it out, but rather just hosting trash in my home
posted by ocherdraco at 5:18 PM on October 19, 2020 [33 favorites]


coming in late to clarify that yes, I did also try the head-and-leg raise thing. That just put what felt like a pressure point on a couple of spots on my butt.

* sigh * I am probably just whiny.

I did find some kind of weird position last night where a floppy pillow somehow ended up as a sling between two firmer pillows and my leg was cradled in that, and that kind of worked so I may try that again. Also, I just got a body pillow today via mail order that I'll also apply to the problem. It only has to last me two more nights anyway.

How do I recruit a friend to get together every night and do a shot of Wild Turkey together?

....Well, for my aunt, breaking her leg worked.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:48 PM on October 19, 2020 [1 favorite]


Just a note regarding using a paperclip to fix your toilet flapper chain - choose it wisely as some paperclips will corrode quickly over time. And yeah the drop-in tablets for the tanks seem like a great fix but they can corrode some of the parts in the toilet tank over time and can cause leakage.
posted by Ashwagandha at 6:02 PM on October 19, 2020 [1 favorite]


* sigh * I am probably just whiny.

You have a broken leg, a cast up to your hip, and you're struggling to find comfortable sleep. That's all super irritating - feeling irritable and wanting to vocalize that is super normal and not "whiny". I hope the body pillow helps with tonight's comfort.
posted by hanov3r at 6:04 PM on October 19, 2020 [14 favorites]


So let's just keep the bathroom questions going...

I've lived in my house over 10 years, and never had an issue with gunk growing in my bathroom sink. Until maybe 6 months ago. Now I need to scrub it out every week or so because there's gunk that just starts growing right at the drain. I've tried letting bleach sit in the sink. What can I do to go back to the before time when I didn't have to scrub my sink's drain out every week?

Ditto the toilet, by the way. For the first few years I had the toilet, it was fine. Now, if I don't scrub it within a week, it just collects crud - the pink mold and then some.

What's the magical bullet to kill off whatever nasties are doing this?
posted by hydra77 at 7:02 PM on October 19, 2020 [3 favorites]


This is a good thread.

EmpressCallipygos, you're not being whiny and also, I appreciate you asking. I don't have injuries, I just struggle every single night to find a comfortable position to sleep in (ever since the pregnancy - note that I am not pregnant now - before that I'd never thought about sleep position). It is very frustrating to have something so basic not working right.
posted by Cozybee at 9:15 PM on October 19, 2020 [1 favorite]


the pink mold and then some

That's probably not mold. It's more likely to be a pink-tinged bacterium called Serratia marcescens.

Which I am fascinated by because it was used in secret biological weapons testing programs carried out all over the US from 1949 to 1969:
In August 1949, the Special Operations Division operatives infiltrated the world’s largest office building and sprayed bacteria into the Pentagon’s air handling system, which then spread them throughout the structure.

The operatives moved to larger scale testing, releasing clouds containing supposedly harmless bacteria from Navy ships off Norfolk, Virginia, in April 1950, and the San Francisco coast in September 1950. The San Francisco experiments showed exposure among almost all of the city’s 800,000 residents. Had the bacteria released been anthrax bacteria or some other virulent pathogen, the number of casualties would have been immense.

The St Jo Program and Large Area Concept
The success of the first field tests only increased demand for more experiments. In response to an Air Force request, in 1953 the Chemical Corps created the St Jo Program and operatives staged mock anthrax attacks on St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Winnipeg. The bacteria were released from generators placed on top of cars, and local governments were told that “invisible smokescreen[s]” were being deployed to mask the city on enemy radar. The next stage was to increase dispersal patterns, dispensing particles from airplanes to find out how wide of an area they would affect. The first Large Area Concept experiment, in 1957, involved dispersing microorganisms over a swath from South Dakota to Minnesota; monitoring revealed that some of the particles eventually traveled some 1200 miles away. Further tests covered areas from Ohio to Texas and Michigan to Kansas. In the Army’s words, these experiments “proved the feasibility of covering large areas of the country with [biological weapons] agents.”

Airports and Subways
Serratia marcescens bacteria. Open-air testing continued through the 1960s, with the Special Operations Division operatives simulating even more audacious assaults. In 1965 they spread bacteria throughout Washington’s National Airport; a year later, agents dropped light bulbs filled with organisms onto the tracks in New York’s subway system. “I think it spread pretty good,” participant Wally Pannier later said, “because you had a natural aerosol developed every few minutes from every train that went past.” President Nixon’s 1969 termination of the United States offensive biological weapons program brought an end to the open-air testing, but the American public did not learn of this testing until 1977. Relatives of one elderly man Edward Nevin who had died of a nosocomial infection six months after the San Francisco tests sued the government in 1981, arguing that the supposedly harmless Serratia marcescens bacteria used in that test had in fact caused his death. In the event, the courts ruled against them, the main reason being that the plaintiffs could not prove that the bacteria used in the test were the same as those that killed Mr. Nevin.
With modern techniques it might be feasible to find out whether the bacteria in your bathroom are lineal descendants of the bacteria used in the tests, and I'd like to know.

I think it's entirely possible that American showers didn't develop a whole lot of 'pink mold' prior to these tests.
posted by jamjam at 10:09 PM on October 19, 2020 [16 favorites]


THIS JUST IN

APPARENTLY THE PROBLEM WAS THAT NONE OF THE GABILLION PILLOWS i HAD WAS A BODY PILLOW

i ADDED THAT TO THE MIX LAST NIGHT AND IT MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE

I HAVE FOUND THE MAGIC SLEEP PILLOW CONFIGURATION

HOSANNAH
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:56 AM on October 20, 2020 [58 favorites]


In re shower mould, if you remember to squeegee down the shower walls when you're done, there will be a lot less moisture to dissipate. Meaning less need for harsh chemicals and vigorous scrubbing.

As far as shower liners go, we have an outer fabric one and the inner one is a $1 cheapie because it's going to get gross anyway and the cats play in the tub and put claw marks in it anyway so we just replace it when it gets funky or too many holes in it, maybe 2-3x a year.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:43 AM on October 20, 2020 [3 favorites]


What is the best cleaner to get rid of mold in my bath and shower?
posted by NotLost at 6:00 AM on October 20, 2020


Gray Duck: I once bought a fabric shower curtain liner from Target that the water just sprayed right through. If looking close, I could even see through the weave. This is because it was defective garbage, not because I was doing anything wrong or my expectations were wrong. I went to Bed Bath & Beyond and spent like $2 more for a better fabric one and it's fine again and the water stays on one side of the liner because that's THE WHOLE POINT.

I was complaining about it and a friend told me it's normal for the water to spray through, and that you have to put both curtains inside the tub. That friend is very nice and meant well.
posted by fritley at 6:17 AM on October 20, 2020 [3 favorites]


Two tiny asks, I need decent underlayers for a toddler who barely is a 2t, and mittens that are actually made for tiny hands. Outdoor playschool recommends wool underlayers, but we are having some price shock about that. Options?
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:29 AM on October 20, 2020


Haha - thanks to everyone for the replies on my toilet problem! I should have added this: The chain is fine, it's the flapper cap (made of rubber) that is the problem. The loop that the chain attaches to is torn somehow, so re-attaching the chain doesn't work. Add to this the fact that I live in a condo (rent) and any time one has to shut the water off (even in just an individual toilet), the management company and the other tenants in the building have to be notified, etc, etc.

Another interesting point is that this flapper mechanism was just replaced 1.5 years ago. Prior to that, I had no issues for the previous 4 years, so I'm thinking it was a faulty flapper cap.

But hey - thanks for the tips!
posted by sundrop at 6:31 AM on October 20, 2020 [1 favorite]


Bleach works on mould. Spray it on full strength and let it sit for a while, then scrub it with a firm bristle plastic brush. Use the vent fan in the bathroom. Don't use any other cleaning product at the same time tho, seriously, rinse first if you have other cleaning to do.

Note if the mould has got into the silicone caulking and won't all the way come out with a scrub, then it's dug its way in and you will always have little flecks of mould there. Live with it or re-caulk.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:37 AM on October 20, 2020 [1 favorite]


For all those in the other thread unable to change the battery in their fire alarm bc of its location, my sons, both volunteer firefighters, said to call your local fire house. They will send over a few guys with a ladder and change them for you free of charge. If you are covid concerned about having someone else in your house, they all wear masks.
posted by AugustWest at 6:59 AM on October 20, 2020 [21 favorites]


If anyone wants to get serious about cleaning their bathroom, allow me to recommend some products!

-Barkeeper's Friend: the liquid stuff, not the Comet-like powder. Really gets that tile and chrome shining!
-CLR: the foamy kind. Spray that shit all over any hard water deposits, let sit, then scrub a little. Made a 20+ year old shower head look brand new.
-Whink Rust Remover: HOLY SHIT THIS STUFF IS MAGIC. It's super toxic, though, so wear gloves. Removed 20+ year old rust stains from a bathtub in seconds. SECONDS.
posted by cooker girl at 7:31 AM on October 20, 2020 [16 favorites]


Oh boy, this thread was made for me. In order to explain this, I need to share some visual aids:

Vexing windowshade

What you see here is a 7 foot wide cordless cellular shade. Although it looks fine in the photo, it is not. In fact, it is precariously hanging above my head and could be the cause of my death when it comes crashing down on me.

If you look at the first photo, I've labeled where the four mounting brackets are, each spaced 20 inches apart (approximately).

The second photo shows how all four brackets are *supposed* to look when correctly installed, with the lip of the bracket firmly in place on the shade and the rear of the shade firmly in place in the notch of the bracket.

The third photo shows the problem, as the first two brackets are popped out of place. If I snap those two in, the opposite side of the shade will pop out of place.

This leads me to believe that the windowsill itself is bowed and because the shade is so long it naturally bends and the pressure causes the bracket to pop out.

On the "handiness scale" I'm probably a 5, so not great. My brain tells me I probably need a few shims or something, but fuck if I really know. Any advice on how to address this would be great! Here's the twist: I'm doing this solo. I suspect having another person helping would be much easier, but that is not an option at the moment.
posted by jeremias at 7:46 AM on October 20, 2020


That Whink product is Hydrofluoric Acid, which is the one that if you spill it on your skin you will die. Rust stains are much preferable to having that stuff in the house.
posted by fritley at 7:50 AM on October 20, 2020 [10 favorites]


I’d love a techie tiny fix: On my iPhone, I want to swipe email on the main inbox screen, and have the choice to archive it or to move it to Trash from there, i.e., without clicking into each email. In settings, I got both Archive and Move... to show up when I swipe. If I pick Move..., it sometimes brings up my folders, including Trash, which is what I want. But sometimes it doesn’t — instead it has an intervening choice to move the email to either a default folder or Other Mailbox... and I have to choose the latter to get to my folders including Trash. Which behavior I get depends on which of my email addresses that email was sent to. Can I somehow make it act the first way all the time? Or can I somehow change the default folder on the intervening choice to Trash? I’m on an iPhone 6 with 12.4.8, and I’m using Mail.
posted by daisyace at 7:58 AM on October 20, 2020


Okay, this cotton shower curtain liner business: Do you recommend a particular type? Does it keep water in as well as a plastic one? I would like to switch but my housemate has very, very strong views on this matter and I will need to be tres persuasive.
posted by Frowner at 7:59 AM on October 20, 2020


The woven polyester shower curtain liner keeps in water fine and doesn't stick to itself and in general is much less irritating than a plastic liner. But it's polyester, so when you wash it, it's shedding bits of itself that make their way into rainclouds from whence they will fall upon pristine mountaintops and untouched canyons and ancient kelpforests the world over, hence my joy at learning of the vinegar dip solution to keep it out of the laundry longer. My friend had a cotton or linen one that seemed to work, but she's on another plane of housecleaning prowess to which I could never aspire. For all I know, she laundered it every week. The other thing is, where do you even get those? If I find out the details I'll report back.
posted by Don Pepino at 8:15 AM on October 20, 2020 [1 favorite]


(I keep reading this as Tiny Foxes, and since I'm sure other pepole are also in it right now, here is a baby Fennec Fox)
posted by ChuraChura at 8:35 AM on October 20, 2020 [8 favorites]


I am suspicious of vinegar as a miracle substance, but it really does work on shower mold. Spray on full strength, scrub with a stiff brush, wipe off the surface, then spray again and let it dry. This has bought me 3-4 months of mold-free surfaces but that will depend on your shower habits and air circulation in your bathroom.
posted by corey flood at 8:36 AM on October 20, 2020 [2 favorites]


Ok, here's another techie question that is too shameful for Askme... did something HAPPEN to Facebook last week? Like did they do a major upgrade, or restore from a big backup, or something? For a couple of years now, some of my favorite sites (The Onion, Mental Floss) were NOT showing up on my newsfeed, and I looked everyone to see if I could change that. I don't think they were showing up on my "Groups" feed either. If I searched for the site I could look at it and it would say that I was Following the group, but it just never showed up anywhere! Very annoying.

But all of a sudden last week, they started showing up again, along with many other group sites that I had liked years ago but forgotten about. Hooray! But what happened? I don't want to lose those sites again. Facebook, as we know, never bothers with release notes at all, so I'm wondering what went down, or if it was just my stupidity in not noticing a setting somewhere.
posted by Melismata at 8:42 AM on October 20, 2020


Anyone ever spilled the blue toilet water and stained their grout? I've tried so many things but haven't been able to make the floor un-blue.
posted by brilliantine at 8:49 AM on October 20, 2020 [1 favorite]


jeremias, I would say, based on your description that the issue is not an up and down issue but a front back issue meaning that I do not think a shim is the answer. Moving say the two right side brackets forward a bit or the other side back would likely keep them from popping out. It sounds like they are not aligned with the window ever so slightly. That is what I would do before I called in a window treatment person.

It also might be the angle that the brackets are set at. Rotating one screw a few millimeters back or forward might help.
posted by AugustWest at 8:51 AM on October 20, 2020 [1 favorite]


Oh, a tiny tech thing.

I had to get my hard drive replaced like a year ago, and they were able to save everything from the backup - but my outlook file is not the default Outlook file when I open outlook. My file is THERE, but it is sort of a secondary account. I have email through my ISP (pipeline.com, which is HELLA old and has been bought out by about six subsequent people) and I had to manually map Outlook on my new computer to their ISP POP file or whatever you call it.

When I open up Outlook now, I have the option to view two inboxes - "outlook data file" (which is empty) and my own email (listed with my email address as the name). Outlook defaults to showing me the "outlook data file" inbox as the opening view, and it's easy enough to just click on the inbox under my own email and get my email that way. But I'd love to make my own email the default if possible and kill that extra step. Help?

(Handiness level - I can walk through somewhat complicated instructions if they are explained somewhat simply and with lots of visual guideposts. So "migrate into your POP portal and deselect the .asd file" wouldn't work, but "pull up the program named [blah] and run it. On the left you will see a menu named [blah], pick that and select option [blah,] and then...." would be fine.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:53 AM on October 20, 2020


Redstart, I think a tiny clip for your microfiber cloth, something that goes on the side of your monitor maybe? I have this thing which I got from a thrift store for a quarter that I use to thread all my weird cords through so I can find them (clipped on to the side of my monitor) and it's been helpful. Thing about a butterfly clip and where you could put it.

daisyace, I think the default setting for Mail on an iPhone is to only Archive and not put things in the Trash (except with the workaround that you found). If you use gmail you may find more functionality from the gmail app to do what you want.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:18 AM on October 20, 2020 [1 favorite]


Rust stains are much preferable to having that stuff in the house.

Not when you're trying to sell the house the tub is in and other than the rust stains the tub is in perfect working condition so you don't need or want to replace the whole thing.
posted by cooker girl at 9:25 AM on October 20, 2020


jeremias, I would say, based on your description that the issue is not an up and down issue but a front back issue meaning that I do not think a shim is the answer. Moving say the two right side brackets forward a bit or the other side back would likely keep them from popping out. It sounds like they are not aligned with the window ever so slightly. That is what I would do before I called in a window treatment person.

It also might be the angle that the brackets are set at. Rotating one screw a few millimeters back or forward might help.
posted by AugustWest at 11:51 AM on October 20 [+] [!]


Nevermind. Upon closer inspection of the photo, I think you are correct, a shim is the answer. I did not realize they were on the molding on top of the window. Mine are hung on the inside of the window from the top of the window frame.
posted by AugustWest at 9:25 AM on October 20, 2020 [1 favorite]


I have gone through every setting and set of settings that I can find on my android phone, and it absolutely refuses to play a sound for incoming texts if the screen is dark. I mean, really this is probably a good thing, but it's still annoying that I can't figure out why.
posted by JanetLand at 9:43 AM on October 20, 2020


Okay two tiny things that I would never burn an Ask for:

first: I have a bunch of shades that are long, and there were strings that connected to other strings to pull the shades up and down via this kind of connector piece that held them all inside. I cannot make this work. Is the connector piece broken? Am I broken? How did they ever fit inside? This feels weirdly 2020 meta as well.

second: no matter how well I think I connect the hose faucet to the hose itself, or a hose tree, it always sprays. Why is this? What am I doing wrong? How can I do it right?
posted by corb at 10:38 AM on October 20, 2020


>jeremias, I would say, based on your description that the issue is not an up and down issue but a front back issue meaning that I do not think a shim is the answer. Moving say the two right side brackets forward a bit or the other side back would likely keep them from popping out. It sounds like they are not aligned with the window ever so slightly. That is what I would do before I called in a window treatment person.

> It also might be the angle that the brackets are set at. Rotating one screw a few millimeters back or forward might help.
posted by AugustWest at 11:51 AM on October 20 [+] [!]

>>Nevermind. Upon closer inspection of the photo, I think you are correct, a shim is the answer. I did not realize they were on the molding on top of the window. Mine are hung on the inside of the window from the top of the window frame.


Yes, they are outside mounts, not inside. (I actually tried doing inside mounts first, but that also went poorly). What I'm trying to figure out is how thick the shims should be, and specifically, if there is a relatively foolproof way to figure this out before going through the time-consuming process of trial and error.
posted by jeremias at 10:42 AM on October 20, 2020


Moving out of the bathroom, is there an easy , foolproof way to dispatch the wasp that's been hanging out in my living room for days now? I was going to just wait for it to die, but it doesn't seem to have any plans in that direction. It's staying a good foot above my head mostly just against the glass, though it did fly around a bit on Sunday and kept bonking against the ceiling. I was going to try squirting Windex on it, then scooping it into a jar, but I chickened out. Since it's on the sliding glass door, if it falls from the Windex, it could go into the door tracks, so I couldn't necessarily just stomp it with a boot. The Internet says that Windex may not kill it, but will slow it down. The only wasp spray I have in my house is probably ten years old, and I don't know if it still works. The wasp is not in a place where I can easily let it fly outside. Did I say I'm really, really terrified of the thing? As far as I know, I'm not allergic.

I could say it's not really bothering me and I'm not really bothering it, but it's adding a kind of low-level stress to my life that I could really do without.
posted by FencingGal at 10:49 AM on October 20, 2020 [1 favorite]


Corb: your hose fitting is probably lacking a rubber washer. They fall out very easily. Replacements are available in dozen packs for cheap at home diy centres.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:53 AM on October 20, 2020 [3 favorites]


FencingGal: have you tried a vinegar trap? Leave out a cup with vinegar, something fruity (jam or wine will do), some water, and dish soap. Maybe 1 c of mixture total. I'd leave it out on the counter at night, underneath one lone light.
posted by snerson at 11:08 AM on October 20, 2020


not saying this is the best solution, but my general go to with bugs is to vacuum them up and then quick rubber band a piece of paper onto the hose.

depending on how concerned you are for the bug and how bad you need the vacuum:
1. the vacuum is now unusable until the bug dies or
b. you put the vacuum outside, quick pull off the paper, and then run back inside. watch for the bug to fly away.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 11:20 AM on October 20, 2020 [1 favorite]


This thread is making me feel less alone with all the 'little' but insurmountable problems that i am stuck in the house with until who knows when, and also a little better about the need for nuclear options i have also resorted to when 'needing to sell the house'.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 11:22 AM on October 20, 2020 [7 favorites]


Hit that wasp with some hair spray, if you have any. That should knock it down to the floor, though it may not kill it immediately. Then you can deploy a shoe or a big catalog.
posted by jquinby at 11:26 AM on October 20, 2020


What you need for the wasp is a fly swatter. If you don't have one, you can buy one at the grocery store, probably for a couple bucks. If it's just a foot above your head, sitting on the glass, you should easily be able to give it a good whack and kill it.
posted by Redstart at 12:18 PM on October 20, 2020


Melismata - This may not be related, but Mother Jones has noticed Facebook's affect on their revenue (hint: negative) and the stories just came out this week. It is possible Facebook has drastically changed their algorithms again, either in light of these stories or the upcoming election.
posted by soelo at 12:19 PM on October 20, 2020 [3 favorites]


Yes, some stuff has changed in the FB algo. I use Fluff-Busting Purity to clean up as much as I can, but stuff that used to be filtered out (like seeing an individual post for every photo someone uploads, where I used to just get whatever post they made using those photos; people posting on other people's walls) is showing back up, and my groups are posting into the TL way more frequently than I used to see. The creator of FBP has noted a number of things have changed in the past week or so.

This kind of low-level shakeup often precedes a larger sitewide update.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:45 PM on October 20, 2020 [2 favorites]


Someone upthread was looking for a lens cleaner cloth storage place...I have a catch-all box on my desk that is large enough that there is airflow but small enough to be not annoying. It's a little bigger than a shoebox and it holds all the lip balms, coupons, change, chargers, etc. the stuff that is important enough to not lose, but not important enough to carry around all the time. The cloth lives in there and dries out fine.

You can also use disposable alcohol wipes to clean your phone and no storage is required.
posted by blnkfrnk at 1:19 PM on October 20, 2020 [1 favorite]


Zep bottle and murder spray works for all large flying insects. Murder spray = rubbing alcohol + Dawn + water in pretty random quantities--it seems to work no matter the concentrations. (But don't go overboard on the water.) I'm pretty sure the rubbing alcohol is what does the trick. I add Dawn partly because insects don't like soap and mostly because it's blue, so the crucial Zep bottle stands out from the other Zep bottles that have vinegar and such in them. I don't want to lose precious moments studying my own masking tape label scrawls when some fearsome winged creature has the drop on me. Zep bottles are the best because they have a powerful, long-range stream and hold a lot, so you can stand pretty far away from the offender and go at it with barely any skill and still make a kill.
posted by Don Pepino at 2:48 PM on October 20, 2020


I have an iPad mini 4 I'd like to remove the anti-glare coating from.

Does Listerine Zero really work?
posted by jamjam at 2:59 PM on October 20, 2020


Uniqlo does warm clothing under layers at a reasonable price for children. I bought them for the last toddler trip to NZ and wasn’t shocked by the price and they were very warm. I think they’re called Heattec. I also went to a secondhand clothes shop there and got very cheap outgrown winter clothes for the child including woolen stockings.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 3:41 PM on October 20, 2020


Jeremiah's, what I would do is unscrew one side (2 of the brackets then put the brackets that you unscrewed on the shade and let it go to its natural place. Then the size of the shim is the distance from the trim to the brackets. It should not be very big
posted by AugustWest at 3:53 PM on October 20, 2020 [1 favorite]


At last, I can reveal the secret to gleaming, mold-free showers. Go to the CarPart store, and buy a service station style windshield squeegee with the fabric webbing covered sponge on the opposite side. Obtain the largest you can find a suitable bucket for (mine is 12" wide, and I got a square bucket it fits in.) While at the car store, buy some windshield cleaner that you dilute. Put about an inch of diluted windshield cleaner (ammonia based) in the bucket, soak the sponge real well, and start at the top and work down. Use it on ammonia day, when there is no chlorine bleach in use.
These squeegees are designed to remove dehydrated bug splats from glass, and they do a great job on pink mold, black mold, green fuzzy mold, whatever you got.
If you are not tall enough to use the squeegee without a stool, buy a kitchen sponge mop with the fabric webbing and go to town with that. I hose my walls down with the hand held shower, but you can dip and rinse almost as easily.
Both the squeegee and the mop are cheap enough to replace once or twice a year, and they will change your shower cleaning life. I perform this ritual every two weeks here in the mold/mildew capital of the world.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 5:17 PM on October 20, 2020 [15 favorites]


Fritley, I have to admit that it never occurred to me to put them both inside. It seems like the inside curtain goes inside, the outside one goes outside, and thus the universe is balanced. But putting them both inside makes sense for keeping water out (although why do I need both of them then if they're both inside and smudged together?)

My current shower curtain is a big world map. If I tucked it into the tub I wouldn't be able to see antarctica. That's not that big a deal I guess!! 😁
posted by Gray Duck at 5:35 PM on October 20, 2020


Jeremias:
If you take the shade down completely, you should be able to pull a string from bracket 1 to bracket 4 and see what's out and what's in.
However, from the look of it, the long skinny box that makes up the top of the shade seems to be twisted. Could just be the weight of one end drooping funny and adding a camber. Might want to confirm or deny that when it's down. If it's only twisted a little, you can probably twist it back a little into the brackets.
How I would re-install the shade:
1. nail two pieces of cord to the top of the window molding (so the nail holes can't be seen from the ground) about 1/3 and 2/3 down the length. Tie each cord with a loop (use a bowline) about 5" in diameter (ish).
2. feed the shade into the loops. You now have something to hold the damn thing up while you dick around with it.
3. Hook the shade on the tips of the brackets. It will hang at a funny angle.
4. Standing on a stepstool or ladder at mid-shade, rotate the shade about the shade/bracket-nose until the back of the shade snaps into the semi-circular cutouts in brackets 2 and 3.
5. Now worry about the ends. Ten bucks says they'll be almost snapped in, but just need a little persuasion.

If it's *really* twisted, get a cheap bar clamp and clamp one end to a table. Use a cheap but big adjustable wrench (or, hell, use another bar clamp like an adjustable wrench) on the other end to take the twist out.
posted by notsnot at 5:57 PM on October 20, 2020 [1 favorite]


Redstart, I think a tiny clip for your microfiber cloth, something that goes on the side of your monitor maybe?

Oh, a clip! I never would have thought of that.

And I like blnkfrnk's idea of a big enough box, too. For some reason I always pictured using a container that was just big enough to hold a couple of cloths and the moisture issue seemed like a problem. But I actually have a drawer that seems like it could be a good home for them.

So now I have two good ideas that seem obvious now that I've heard them but that I was too dumb to come up with on my own. Just what this thread was meant to accomplish. Yay!
posted by Redstart at 7:02 PM on October 20, 2020 [6 favorites]


For spluttery hoses -- if a new squishy hose washer doesn't do it, a couple wraps of plumber's tape might help.

corb, say more about your window blind string problem? Was the plastic thingy a very narrow way of splitting one cord into many, or do they have to slide past each other within the plastic thingy? Maybe some jewelry-making fitments of the kind one needlenose-plierses onto thin slippery cord?
posted by clew at 9:51 PM on October 20, 2020


This is a very good thread, but I want to encourage those of you with more meaty questions to go ahead and use an ask question! Some of these would make excellent asks. The green is one of my favourite parts of the site.

My little thing, not worth an ask: baby nappy changes: is it ok to change a nappy (diaper) in public with portable nappy mat, or must I find a parents room or other suitable place? (I know not to change on tables or other food prep places!)
posted by freethefeet at 3:51 AM on October 21, 2020 [1 favorite]


Maybe not in the middle of a fancy dinner, but go for it. Same with breast-feeding. It's pretty much the most basic thing we do as living organisms.

(I never understood the scolds - on both ends of the political spectrum - who get noisy about public breastfeeding. THATS WHAT BOOBS ARE FOR, YOU TWIT!)
posted by notsnot at 5:20 AM on October 21, 2020 [3 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos, I heard the angels sing from here! I'm glad you figured out a solution.

I was also going to suggest that memory foam pillows might be something to check into. They hold their position much better than regular pillows, and imo are still very comfortable. I have one I bought at Kohls years ago, and it's still perfectly supportive and comfy.

Good luck with your leg!
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:44 AM on October 21, 2020


baby nappy changes

I find for most people the line is if you are in a place people are eating/drinking. Flat bench in a public hallway where you've clearly got a mat and all your gear sorted? Go for it.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:24 AM on October 21, 2020 [7 favorites]


I need decent underlayers for a toddler who barely is a 2t, and mittens that are actually made for tiny hands.

Do you know any knitters? Tiny mittens would be a cinch, and there are a lot of patterns for knitted leggings for babies and kids.
posted by See you tomorrow, saguaro at 7:46 AM on October 21, 2020 [1 favorite]


Save that plastic shower curtain liner if you don't want it in the bathroom any more. They make excellent drop sheets for painting or untidy small messy eaters; protect mattresses floors and furniture when some one is incontinent or bleeding excessively; can be used as a tarpaulin to protect something that has to be left outside and would suffer from the rain; can go on the grass when it is damp so your picnic blanket doesn't get soggy; and can be used under a layer of mulch to prevent weed growth and can be used to cover plants to protect them a little from frost.

Yesterday I needed to cover up some fresh caulking to protect it from the rain overnight. Sheet plastic, scissors and tape did the trick. I used a garbage bag but your shower curtain is heavier and less likely to tear or blow away.

If you have kids the right age they may enjoy using it in the yard for a genuine water proof tent fly.

There, now you can replace it with a cloth liner and no guilt.
posted by Jane the Brown at 8:18 AM on October 21, 2020 [3 favorites]


Shower head that refuses to come off: have you tried WD40? It's good to have a bottle in the house for hinges, locks and anything else where two metal parts can rust or corrode and stop moving.
posted by Jane the Brown at 8:25 AM on October 21, 2020


We remove wasps from the window inside all the time. Use a drinking glass and a post card or index card. First trap the wasp in the drinking glass, then slide the postcard between the window pane and the wasp to create a safe way to carry it out of the house and release it. Move slowly and don't try to surprise the wasp. It will not be afraid of the drinking glass so it is usually quite easy to do unless the thing is right beside the window frame and there isn't room to put the glass around the wasp.

If this sounds tricky, practice first on a pretend wasp until you are reasonably confident you can get the postcard and glass away from the window without making an opening for the wasp to escape.

Wasps are also pollinators so I don't kill them unnecessarily.
posted by Jane the Brown at 8:33 AM on October 21, 2020 [1 favorite]


If it were my toddler I would look for some really simple patterns and make them myself. Elastic waist pants can be made out of two identically shaped pieces of fabric. Because you are sewing for a small toddler they would be relatively quick to make up and not require a lot of material.

You can re-purpose old clothes for material. I have a couple of wool pullover sweaters knitted in fine lightweight yarn that would work for this. One sweater would make one pair of leggings and three pairs of mittens. You would need to take care to avoid the cut edges coming apart until you had it sewed together. If your toddler is small enough a couple of wool knee socks would make one leg of the pants each.

Buying wool fabric new is expensive because sewing is now a hobby for people with money, but they still sell remnants at the fabric store at a price that is much less than the per yard price when it comes off the bolt, and because you would be sewing for a small person 3/4's of a yard of fabric would be a large enough piece. You would need scissors, needles and maybe a needle threader, fabric, thread and elastic.

This assumes that you have the time to do some handwork in the evening and the toddler doesn't leave you without any hands free.

Here is a pattern for leggings that uses three pieces of fabric. The instructions are for someone who wants to do a precise job and create something to show off. But you would be a beginner and the pants would be underwear so you could skip the step that involves pressing the seams open and just cut out the pieces and stitch them together. Use a short length of a plastic drinking straw to thread the elastic through the waistband or buy a yarn needle. Cheap thread like you buy at the dollar store will work just fine for stitching things together by hand. You'd need decent quality thread if you were using a sewing machine, but you can get all your sewing materials at the dollar store if you are hand sewing and it will work out just fine.
posted by Jane the Brown at 9:04 AM on October 21, 2020 [1 favorite]


I agree that if you're in a place where people are not eating or drinking, changing diapers on a mat is fine, given the caveat that if it's a particularly stinky diaper, it goes into a bathroom trash eventually.

My tiny question: We just found a chocolate bar that was in our empty Imperfect produce box that's been sitting outside on our porch for 3 days. The paper packaging seems intact but has been outside for 3 days, buried under a small pile of cardboard packaging. It has not rained here. We did not order this particular chocolate bar so it's quite the surprise. Would you eat it?
posted by Pretty Good Talker at 2:53 PM on October 21, 2020


Honey, I've eaten chocolate that melted into the coin tray of a BMW 3-series and sat there for months until it turned into clay. Admittedly, it was Michel Cluizel 99% but still.

Yes. It's fine. Chocolate doesn't need refrigeration.
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:05 PM on October 21, 2020 [19 favorites]


So I'm struggling to sleep after a little incident with the cat. My final job of any given day is to carry him from wherever he has curled up asleep to his bed in the utility room. No problem, he usually only half wakes up. This evening, carrying him, I pushed open the door and went in, in the dark, but the door caught the tyre of my bike, which caused the front end to twist, squelching on the floor causing cat to go into fight or flight mode, then crashing to floor causing cat to go fully batshit. Scratches on my left forearm, nick on base of right thumb, but nastiest, for one brief moment he was hanging from my left bingo wing by three claws on one paw. Not even scratches, just holes. Surprisingly far apart. Ouch. We found him cowering behind the couch so he has treats and couch privileges. I smell of germolene and sticking plasters.
posted by biffa at 5:45 PM on October 21, 2020 [1 favorite]


I’ve had friends get REALLY sick REALLY fast from cat puncture wounds, biffa - check them often, tell us how you are, please?
posted by clew at 11:37 AM on October 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


One is more likely to get serious trouble from cat bites than cat scratches, which is why one should always, always go to the doctor immediately after being bitten by a cat (wherein one will be prescribed antibiotics on the spot). It is definitely a good idea to keep checking on your wounds though, biffa, and liberally apply Neosporin or your equivalent anti-bacterial product.
posted by cooker girl at 12:17 PM on October 22, 2020


We have horrible rust stains in our tub, thanks to iron-rich well water. I recently found that if I take a bottle of "Lysol lime and rust remover" (gel-based toilet bowl cleaner) and spread a thick layer over the entire inside of the tub & then let it sit for 30 minutes, almost all of the stains wipe right off. It was seriously like the angels started singing in my bathroom because a miracle had occurred. (Make sure you have good ventilation.)
posted by belladonna at 3:49 PM on October 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


any time one has to shut the water off (even in just an individual toilet), the management company and the other tenants in the building have to be notified

Wha?

Anyway. Bend a hanger so that it will support the floater arm that shuts off the toilet tank's fill valve. Flush the toilet and watch the tank not refill because the floater arm is suspended. Replace the flapper. Remove your hanger and allow the tank to refill. You have just done the repair without shutting off the supply line.
posted by fedward at 4:42 PM on October 22, 2020 [7 favorites]


I didn't want to post in the venting thread, because I have done multiple successful repairs around the house. Our washing machine's drain pump failed, but I had already replaced it once six years ago, so I found the order confirmation from the old order and ordered a new one. After replacing the pump I ran the washer through a test cycle and water started pouring out during the drain test (uh oh) so I opened everything back up and discovered that the drain hose had split during the repair, so then I had to go back on the appliance parts web site and order a hose. The new hose held, and the new drain pump is quieter than the one before it (and the one before that too, for that matter).

I also replaced a leaking faucet in our upstairs bathroom, which was uneventful until I discovered that the new drain tube assembly wouldn't mate up with the existing P trap, so then I had to purchase a hacksaw, a new P trap assembly, and PVC cement. I cut the old P trap off, sanded the drain pipe, cemented on a fitting, and then tried to assemble everything. At that point I found that my eyeball measurement had been off by an important ⅛" in the wrong direction, preventing the new P trap from forming a good seal. Then I had to go back to the hardware store and buy another new fitting, cut off the fitting I had just cemented on, and cement the new new fitting far enough back for the P trap to seal. But it all works, and the new faucet is nice.
posted by fedward at 5:02 PM on October 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


A couple of months back I moved into a tiny apartment, new construction, that has a loft ladder that rests against the wall when you are not using it and pulls out to use when you need it. Problem: The hellacious sound the ladder makes when one is pushing it back against the wall. It is annoyingly loud even when I lift it up off the floor. The ladder is made out of wood but attaches to the loft and is adjustable courtesy of something like a metal ball and socket. (I don't know what it is, but that's what it reminds me of.)

Solution? I thought maybe I should just spray some WD-40 but got pushback from a friend. My late dad used WD-40 for basically everything so it is my default. Before I drop money on something that may not work, tell me, is WD-40 the tiny fix I need to make my ladder move more quietly?
posted by Bella Donna at 2:12 PM on October 28, 2020


What's the breakdown on the pushback? I had a sticky lock and my mom told me I shouldn't use WD40 but should instead use graphite because the WD will eventually solidify and gum up the lock. (Boyfriend oiled it anyway and it's been over a year and no problem.)
posted by Don Pepino at 3:27 PM on October 28, 2020


WD is short for water displacement. The product is intended to be used to unstick stuck rusted things, not for long term lubrication.

Here is a quick guide to non-sexytimes household lube.

Machine oil (e.g. 3-in-1) is used for rapidly moving metal parts like sewing machines and razors.

White lithium grease is good for slow moving metal parts like door tracks, hinges and so on.

Graphite is good for locks and things that should not collect lint or dust.

Silicone grease is good for plastics and has the added advantage of helping to make things airtight, which is useful for aquariums, water dispensers and so on.

WD-40 is good for loosening metal things that are stuck/rusty. Once they're unstuck, wipe the WD off and apply one of the above things for long term lubrication.

Keep one small container of each of the above things around in your house and you'll be golden.

Note: Do not use any of the above with sex toys.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:39 PM on October 28, 2020 [21 favorites]


Note: Do not use any of the above with sex toys

I feel like there's a story there.
posted by hanov3r at 5:23 PM on October 28, 2020 [3 favorites]


I feel like there's a story there.

No, more like a precautionary "just in case anyone is thinking of saving money on sex toy lube, HOLY SHIT DON'T these things are HELLA TOXIC".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:48 AM on October 29, 2020


I have to do extensive work within a Google Sheet that is auto=created via a data collecting form that people fill out. I feel like suddenly (but maybe not) whenever I accidentally mouse or hover over an email address, I get that little popup (like so) that suggests I add that person to my contacts. This popup is often obscuring things I need to get to and when I have to interact with these email addresses dozens of times per day, is aggravating. Is there a way to get them to go away in general? I know how to get rid of them when they appear, I'd just like them not to appear. Thanks.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 5:35 PM on October 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


I’ve had friends get REALLY sick REALLY fast from cat puncture wounds, biffa - check them often, tell us how you are, please?

Hi clew, sorry, just saw this, thanks for your concern, I was pretty careful, cleaned the wound out, put some antiseptic on. My tet shots are up to date. I'm pretty careful since my FiL had a bite go really bad a while back. Thank you!
posted by biffa at 3:49 AM on November 14, 2020 [4 favorites]


Lyn Never: I got those scrub brushes and maybe I'm using them wrong? But things don't seem to be any cleaner than if I scrub with a normal brush, and it isn't any easier because now I have to control the drill. It was amusing to try, and I could get the corners where my usual scrub brush doesn't fit, so it wasn't a total loss.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:07 AM on November 14, 2020


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