Unexpected DIY: Repairing a Fallen Coat Rack

No one likes that moment when the walls come tumbling down, or in this case the coat rack.  We came home from school and were hanging up our coats when all of a sudden PHOOMP! The coat rack detaches from the wall and accelerates into gravity’s clutches. img_8893

Nothing like a pile of wet coats on the floor and holes ripped in the wall. Of course my Autistic son had to be the one that was standing there when it went down. So I spent the rest of the day trying to calm him down because he thought it was his fault and it started a meltdown.

Well, that was fun.

I sat there in between my son’s bouts of lashing out and apologizing trying to figure out what would be the best way to fix this problem. The holes were a bit big. The current coat rack was just a board that wasn’t long enough to  span the space from stud to stud behind the wall.  Just putting it back up wasn’t an option. img_8895

After a couple of days the poor hamster turning my brain wheel got an idea. Longer board, totally new design and mounting. I scavenged my basement where the spare bits of boards from other projects cowered in the corner and found a 1×6 that looked hardy. I cut it to length and then decided to paint it because I didn’t have any stain that matched the cupboards.

My little brain hamster was really smart on this one. He thought I should make it match the boarder in the kitchen.

It took a while to get all the painting done. I did the bottom coat with some left-over paint from the walls and then I cut out a stencil pattern.  I used craft paint to fill in the stencil. img_8899

Admittedly I didn’t do a good as job painting  as I should have, but by this time I was getting fed up with the whole mess. It had been a couple of days getting it fixed and my son had been upset about it the whole time.img_8900

The circus of getting it up on the wall was a bit frustrating. The cordless drill I was using kept stripping out the heads on the screws. I tried adjusting the clutch but it didn’t seem to make a difference.


I managed to get it up and it should stay this time. It’s held up by six  2 inch screws in the studs. img_8902

I have to say it doesn’t look to bad and my son is no longer upset. So all is well and good in the world.

Read the Warning Label, Dumb Ass

I have a set of beautiful lamps. They glow softly in the evening making my living room quite homey. img_8876

Not long ago one of them started acting up. It would flicker and go out then come back on when some one shook the floor (namely my son jumping around). My husband took a look at it and found the bulb had a loose filament.  He replaced the bulb and all was well. Until a few days ago.  I leaned over to turn on the lamp when I got up and sparks flew out at my face. Not the best thing when you’re not awake and haven’t had any coffee yet.

I checked the bulb and found there was a lovely burnt hole in the side of it. That’s scary!bulb

I checked the lamp fearing that there was something more wrong, possibly a short or something but then I saw the warning label.


Apparently the lamp is only rated for 25 Watt bulbs and the one we used was a 40 Watt. So lesson learned. Read the warning label and use the proper bulb or get sparks in the face.

I Am Woman, See Me Fix Toilet

Toilets have never been my favorite thing. If you look through my posts you will find quite a few that visit the toilet subject and I don’t mean they are crappy. I remember rather fondly the post How to dispose of a stiff with your teenage daughter.

Here is my latest adventure in the House of the Porcelain God.

Our toilet tank had a crack. I can’t say if it was because of manufacturer flaws or if it was because my son leans back against the tank too hard putting stress on the bolts that hold the tank.  Either way, it had a crack. We looked into getting a new tank but surprise, surprise, you have to buy the whole toilet. So like any good homeowner, I procrastinated and himmed and hawed.

Until it was too late.

My son was upset about Halloween. He wanted it to be right now and didn’t want to wait.He had gone to the bathroom and as he sat there trying to make an offering to the Porcelain God he became more and more upset about Halloween.  He began to cry and then to scream and then to sob all the while sitting on the toilet. Now remember he is autistic and this means sometimes he gets into a meltdown cycle and there isn’t a lot to be done.  Often at that point, I try to avoid giving him attention because it only increases the problem. Sometimes he will become calm on his own. But not this time.

Miscalculation on my part. Never let a child in meltdown stay on the toilet.

img_8523 img_8530He did not calm down. Then next thing I heard was gushing water. I thought he’d turned on the faucet or something. I rushed into the bathroom to find him sitting not on the toilet but on the side of the tub staring at the fountain of water bursting from the bottom of the tank.

Bath toys were pairing up and looking for Noah. The rugs were soak and there was a mini waterfall going down the heater vent. I splashed through the flood that was racing across the floor and turned off the water to the tank.

For the next couple of hours it was mops and towels and buckets in full force. Water had not only covered the bathroom floor, but it had also dripped through the floor and into the bathroom downstairs which is right below the upstairs bathroom. So, I had to clean up two bathrooms. The water in the vent headed south down the ducts to drip out at a junction in my basement right next to the furnace. Had to leave a bucket there to collect the drips all night.

Needless to say Momma was not happy.

Once it was all cleaned up and as dry as it could get, we moved on with bedtime. The next morning we headed off to Great Falls to find a toilet. Nothing like looking for a new toilet on a Sunday morning. Bought a whole new toilet and drafted my poor daughter to once again help. This time was more like Frankenstein bringing home body parts to fix the dead Porcelain God. Maybe I should have called this post “How to teach your daughter to resurrect the dead.”

img_8525Any way the box made it home and I img_8527took out the new tank, read the instructions about fifty times and then installed the new tank. I did a total redneck number behind the tank though. Got a Styrofoam chunk and wedged it between the wall and the tank then duct taped it in. Hopefully that will keep my son from banging into it and cracking this new one.

So far so good it hasn’t leaked…yet. I’m trying to be optimistic and believe that this will be the last time I have to mess with the toilet but then again I’m delusional sometimes.

How to dispose of a stiff with your teenage daughter. 

After reading that title, I’m sure most of you are thinking – “OMG! What kind of mother are you?”


Under cover of darkness not for any nefarious reason but because of poor planning on my part. My daughter and I filed as quietly as we could into the back yard. The light from a half moon illuminated bits of the yard more than I had expected. The stars shine brightly and the air was chilly spring fresh. Sitting up against the rain barrel was the “corpse.” 

It was an eye sore and had been there for some time. A while ago my husband and I had replaced the toilet in our bathroom and unfortunately the old dead toilet only made it to the back yard and no further. My husband had to go back to work and never took it to the dumpster. It has added a very redneck accent to the yard. 

Normally I would have carried it to the dumpster myself and that would be the end of it. However with my shoulder out of commission I couldn’t lift the body of the Porcelin God. The City is doing an alley cleanup tomorrow and it’s the perfect time to get rid of the skeletal remains. Unfortunately I lacked the help to get it to the alley until today. 

So after my son was asleep I drafted my poor daughter to help me. I had a great plan. Instead of trying to carry the rather heavy toilet we would use a tool, the kid’s sled. We lifted the carcas up onto the purple plastic sled. She pulled while I steadied it. 

We slid it from one end of the yard to the other on the grass because it was quieter and there was less resistance. We started to laugh as we realized the complete absurdity of what we were doing. By the time we hit the sidewalk that follows the side of the garage to the alley and heard that first scrape of plastic on concrete we had lost all control. 

Simultaneously with timing any comedian would envy, we both put finger to lips, “Shhhhhh!”

Like two drunks trying to be quiet we giggled and scrapped and periodically hushed each other. We were certain that we were probably waking every neighbor for blocks. Once we hit the gravel in the alley it got even louder and honestly so did our laughter. 

Eventually the cadaver of the Porcelin God had been deposited next to the dumpster and my teenager now knows how to dispose of a dead body. 

Life skills, folks. Life skills.