End of Insanity


Its amazing how relieved I am that this year is almost over. In fact, I think this picture best sums up how I feel about 2021.

Finally got to see the opthomologist and learned my problem started as a normal side affect of cataract surgery, but since the pandemic meant all eye clinics were closed for 14 months, something that would normally be easily addressed became a nightmare. Long/short: Minor laser surgery was done to correct the problem, am now off of the horrific mass of meds with all the debilitating side affects, and am now able to function “normally.” I will need eye drops every day from now on, but that is no big deal.

The huge cysts in my elbow have also been surgically removed, the cast is off, and am now able to use my arm again. Am still doing the final healing from the surgery, but I have full use of my arm, so I am thrilled.

As a result of being functional again, we have started working on the house again. Before getting to the home project, we spent a few days cruising thrift shops. The treasures we found are so thrilling! We found a wonderful electric washing machine that is also able to do dry cleaning. At a different thrift store we found the perfect sink and cabinet to replace the set in the bathroom. Lastly, we found a few things I thought I had lost forever.

Several years ago (when I still lived in Albuquerque), my apartment had been broken into. Jewelry was stolen, some of my suits, and my hand-crochet pillows (set of 4). I actually was able to find two of the four pillows! They said they don’t know who donated them, but I was more than happy to give them $5 to get these two back!

When we went and reviewed the property, we decided to focus on the bathroom. Again, what we thought would be a one day project to replace the tiny sink and collapsing cabinet became a week long mess. We discovered the plumbing was done wrong, so the piping had to be redone before we could install the new cabinet and faucet. The picture below shows a corner of the tiny bowl-sized sink and collapsing cabinet. Here’s the result of replumbing and installing new.

We decided to keep the old clawfoot tub, but we could see we would be having some issues there. Little did we know!

Not only does the wall require massive rework and repair, but the plumbing was the biggest surprise. The fixtures are going to be replaced with fixtures made for a clawfoot tub, but we found out the plumbing from the floor and up was done with swamp cooler hoses, not pipes! This means poor Jim is going to have to tear out the wall in order to redo the shower as well as redoing all the other plumbing. We now know why the water never had any significant water pressure.

The beautiful old tub also needs TLC. After we moved it out of the corner we discovered that the legs, the underside and the side against the wall are rusted. We’ll patch the wall first as a joint effort. Thereafter, while Jim works on the plumbing, I’ll be sanding and cleaning the tub, coating it with Rustoleum and then spraying it with paint. All I have to do is remember to buy a wire brush the next time we’re in town….

Progress & Problems


We finally got the main cabinets in the kitchen installed. The sink and plumbing proved to be a challenge. The stainless steel sink was a little too big for the cabinets, so Jim had to trim the wood a little. The faucet set fit perfectly, but the plumbing under the sink required extra effort and attention because the old pipes were not correct. Jim redid the plumbing and the overall results have me smiling.


We had planned that I continue painting base coat on various walls while Jim removed the water heater. Last year we purchased one of those tankless water heaters and set it aside to install later. It was decided that to celebrate our first set of cabinets in the kitchen we would install the tankless heater. And so the next nightmare began — although the discovery explained why one of the livingroom walls was in such bad shape and continuing to worsen.

We opened the water closet and discovered water all over the floor. It looked like the tank was leaking near the front, but it seemed odd that there would be so much water from that one drip. So, the water was turned off at the main hook-up and the work to remove the tank began. First, disconnection of the pipes leading into the tank and looping them together. The tank was drained and Jim dragged it outside. The water pipes were secured and the main hook-up was turned back on. Then, the fun began.

When the tank had been disconnected, the main pipe leading into the tank had snapped apart just under the ground, so when the water was turned back on it looked like a geyser! Panic to turn the water off….

Jim had to literally dig for a while to find that the pipes had rusted completely apart, so when jostled, they snapped apart. He dug a sizable pit to find the first joint down, removed the remains of the useless pipe, investigated whether the remaining pipe was usable, and then he capped it. Then it was time to turn the water back on. Hallelujah — the geyser was gone!


The next challenge… when the water had last been turned off, dirt and mud fell into the line before the broken pipe was exposed, so all that yuck fell in and plugged everything! When we tried to run the water in the bathroom sink or bathtub, nothing came out! Turn the water off again….

Poor Jim’s simple project of removing that huge, antiquated water heater turned into an all day nightmare! He now had to remove the piping in the sink in order to flush out the mud and debris. Of course, the shut-off valve under the sink didn’t turn in order to accomplish the mission. Oh no, it had to snap off and come apart.

Bottom Line: Jim flushed out the lines, the sink and tub work, as does the toilet and kitchen sink. Hurray!

Behind the water closet is one wall of the living room, which is in nightmarish condition and kept getting worse. We assumed it was a leaky roof, but it didn’t make sense that the deteriorating adobe was happening from the bottom up. We know now! As you can see from the picture, this is a problem that has been going on for years. The ground under the house was completely saturated from years of leaking due to rusted out pipes, there is mold in the water closet and it was destroying two other walls. So, we are going to let that area completely dry out and we’ll treat the mold to eliminate it — all before being able to install the tankless water heater. Guess its cold showers for a while!