In Triplicate

January 10th

Broken fixture

My shower faucet broke three weeks ago. The plastic handle cracked in two and eventually fell apart, leaving a steady trickle of water pooling in the tub. I didn’t want to think about calling my handyman, but I knew something had to be done. There would be the $65 an hour he charges, plus the parts and the time off of work to be home so he could come over to fix it. I tried ignoring it as long as I could, but each night I could hear the water drip, drip, dripping in the bathroom and it was slowly but surely driving me nuts. Plus, as a Phoenician who tries to tread lightly, the dripping sounded like drought, drought, drought, with the ocassional splash of waste, waste waste.
Coincidentally, I was cleaning out my wallet one morning last week when I found a Home Depot gift card I’d forgotten. “What the hell!” I thought. Off I went to the giant orange box with the broken part in hand and a nice pair of jeans firmly in place. I’m no fool. If there is ever a time to use your feminine charm and a good lip gloss — Home Depot’s the spot. Forget your pride temporarily, play dumb and ask lots of questions. Soon enough, you’ll have the part you need and some advice on how to install it. You can pick your independent spirit up at the door on your way out.

New $5 repair

For $5 (on the gift card no less) I got just that. And in a rare turn of home repair events around my house, I didn’t get in to a project way over my head. Viola — new faucet. Success!

crop of lemons

In other “use what you have” news, my neighbor’s lemon tree is dripping in golden fruit at the moment. They keep asking me to take as many as I’d like. I’ve been in their backyard a couple times with my basket and this weekend was no exception. I’m not sure where I read about this trick, but it’s worth repeating.

ready to be frozen

When you find yourself with a crop of citrus and don’t have an immediate need for the fruit, the juice freezes nicely in ice cube trays. When a recipe calls for fresh lemon juice — voila. Each cube is about two tablespoons.


I never thought I’d get plumbing and juicing in the same post, but this year continues to surprise.

Posted in
Journal, Reduce, Reuse
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34 Responses

  1. Well done on fixing the faucet – plumbers are so expensive, in London the call out alone would have cost the equivalent of $150 !!!

    Recently I read another tip about lemons (pretty sure it was somewhere in blogland) where you cut them into wedges, freeze and use as ice cubes in drinks.

  2. Good girl putting the tight jeans on!! WORK IT Kelli!!!!

    The lemons look so wonderful…I’d love one thinly sliced in a tall glass with ice water. Never mind, change that to a nice thick wedge and a shot of Jose Cuervo please πŸ™‚

  3. WooHoo- how nice when a home improvement turns out NOT to be the nightmare you were dreading! Got to love the under $5 repair (even better when the $5 is on a GC!)

    Look at all your lovely lemon bounty…

  4. Good for you for tackeling that project. Job well done!

    Oh, how I love fresh lemons! I NEED a lemon tree in my yard. Now only do they produce that wonderful fruit, but the blossoms in the spring smell heavenly.

  5. that lemon stuff is good news, I hope. I spent a couple hours two weeks ago juicing 3 GALLONS of fresh oranges from the back yard. I froze 1 gallon, and intended to use the other two over the next couple of weeks in my morning fruit smoothies. By the time I got to gallon #2, it had gone terribly bad. Something about the sugars in real fresh-squeezed OJ doesn’t lend itself to even medium-term storage in a refrigerator. I was going to just throw out the other frozen gallon, but now I’m going to thaw it and see how it’s done.

  6. Great tip on the lemon juice! πŸ™‚

    Home Depot is one of my favorite places to go. I can get into far too much trouble there with wanting to buy things for “upgrades” in my home. Glad that you were able to diy and save a bundle.

  7. fabulous lemon juice idea. i am forever wasting half-cut lemons that get buried in the back of the fridge.
    and good for you with the faucet! home depot makes me quake with fear.

  8. great tip! (why didn’t i ever think of that before?)

    my mom’s neighbor has a lime tree. a girl can only drink so many coronas to use em up πŸ™‚ i’ll have to remember this.

  9. Great job on that shower faucet! It’s so much fun when you can do that stuff yourself and save money to boot!

    I brought a bag of oranges and grapefruits back with me from Mesa, I guess I should see if they’re still good.. I might try that ice cube tray trick!

  10. A friend gave me a book a few years ago called “Dare to Repair” and it’s a home improvement/repair book written specifically for women like yourself and myself….hell, even Kevin consults it…anyway, it’s great! It helped me fix my toilet all by myself.

  11. hooray! it sounds like you’re your own handyperson. my solution might have been–could i stand the dripping–to collect the water to use for your plants!

  12. Kudos on the faucet repair. You never cease to amaze me! The Home Depot 1-2-3 Fixit book is also a good one to have on hand. We’ve saved quite a few pennies by just figuring it out on our own (sure takes longer and is generally messier but saves some $$). πŸ™‚

  13. Good for you on the faucet repair. I play the same game at Home Depot–whatever works so I can learn whatever it is I need to learn.

    I love the lemon ice cubes and am now going lemon begging at my neighbor’s house–great idea! I’ve done the same with ripe peaches that I pureed in the blender–it is ever so splendiferous to add a cube of frozen peach juice to your iced tea (I’m originally from N.C. and absolutely have to have sweet ice tea–winter or summer).

  14. Brava, Kelli, brava! Oh how I wish I had a neighbor with a lemon tree. Wait – who am I kidding? – I wish I *was* the neighbor with the lemon tree. Mmm.

    Great combo: lip gloss & a gift card. Everything you picked up was free, and I imagine the independent spirit came surging back when you used your new “I-did-it-myself” faucet. Well played. πŸ™‚

  15. People complain about Home Depot, but I love it! I would work there if I could afford to. I think women definitely have the advantage there.

  16. You know I love it! DIY ROCKS! And $5 on a gift card – that is extra special. Good job Donk!

    I love that trick with the ice cube trays. I have ziploc bags of wine cubes and lemon juice cubes storing away as we speak. Its great to open the bag and throw a couple into a sauce or water bottle.

  17. those lemons look amazing. if i ever move to Europe, it will have to be somewhere Mediterranean, just to have citrus in my yard…

  18. Bravo, AfricanPlumberKelli!

    And we have a neighbor with a laden lemon tree, but she is ancient and only speaks Japanese, so I’m not too optimistic that I’ll be able to put your genius tip into practice…

  19. You know, when my dad would give me bagloads of citrus back in California, I’d try pawning them off on friends ASAP because I knew I could never eat them all. Obviously I never thought of your idea. Somewhere in BizzaroWorld I actually am smart.

    And word up on the faucet install. Although because Lowe’s has been eating much of Home Depot’s market, HD’s going to do a major overhaul on how they do business (including improving customer service), so you should be getting great service just wearing sweats and a hairnet.

    Although I’m sure a girl wearing nice jeans in a hardware store isn’t going to hurt any – apart for maybe a stockboy up on a ladder…

  20. I like Catrinas idea, particularly as when *I* try the lip gloss thing, it hardly ever ends well.

  21. Great pics!

  22. I froze every type of juice when it’s a left over, and btw, don’t throw away the squeezed lemons, they do wonders in your washing dishes water!

  23. Congrats on the new faucet πŸ™‚

    Great idea on freezing the lemon juice! It’s one of those things that seems like it should be obvious but right now I’m shaking my head in disbelief and asking myself “why didn’t I think of that?!”

    Have a great Thursday!!

  24. Sarah HB January 11, 2007

    Good job doing the faucet handle. Amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it!

  25. As a woman who works in facilities & construction I agree with you on the “ask lots of questions” part – but I STRONGLY disagree on the “play dumb” part.

    Doesn’t it feel good to fix something yourself? Now that you’ve braved home depot and fixed the faucet you’ll be handymanning a lot more around your house, I’m sure!

  26. Good for you Kelli!!!
    And fresh lemon-aid sounds wonderful. I bet your house smelled great!

  27. Okay – now do you want to come over and help me fix my freezer? $175 for “them” to do it. πŸ™ This is after they fixed it for $105 with the wrong part!! Grrrr.

  28. Just a quick note… the zest of the lemons freezes well too. I zest all my lemons first and then juice them. I have a quart bag of zest and it works as well as the fresh. Always handy. Great in baked items!

    Isn’t it a great feeling fixing something yourself.

  29. You’d only lose your independent girl status if you sauntered in there later to thank the boys with homemade lemonade. You did the work and you can feel great rewarding yourself with a nice bubble bath and fresh lemonade… enjoying the “fruits” of your labor. (I know, horrible, but it had to be said.)

  30. what a great idea for the lemons.
    another use: squeezing half of a lemon into hot water in the morning is a great way to start the day.
    smart girl getting what you need at the orange box store.

  31. That dripping would drive me nuts too! Way to work it at Home Depot. Gotta love that feminine charm! Also, great idea with the lemon juice!!

  32. Good job on the Home Depot! I have used that trick before, except my husband stands within earshot and listens to the instructions while I pretty up to the salesperson to get them!

  33. Hi Kelli–Love the jeans and lip gloss at the Orange Box Store. Gotta use what you’ve got. Much like the lemons!


  34. I’ve never done that with lemons, but I just froze up a batchful of curry paste in icecube trays – 2 cubes for a dishful of curry, and they thaw so quickly!

    Now to find a neighbor with lemons!