Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Snow, Taco Soup, and a Sinking Feeling

We've had some interesting weather here lately and more than our fair share of snow days (with and without snow)... Maybe we should call them Ice Days.

The most recent snow day was right before Valentine's Day, just like Last Year

It wasn't nearly as thick or as wonderful as last year's snow, but it was still beautiful.


Wesley tried to play in it, but declared it was "too shallow to even make a snowball" and came back in for hot cocoa instead.

Last Friday, I realized there was really only one way to warm up in such cold weather...

A big ole pot of soup ought to do the trick!

And what better soup is there than Paula Deen's Taco Soup?

It's what I'd call a Can Can Recipe. It calls for a can of this and a can of that... but, surprisingly, not one single stick of butter! The Dr. Pepper in the photo is an optional side, but not required for the recipe ;)


I browned the beef, dumped in all the cans, added my homemade taco seasoning and simmered away...

Ok, so it's not very pretty to look at, but the kitchen smelled divine by the time Brad came home!

When it finally came time to EAT the soup it was as delicious as I had hoped...

But what would my toughest critic think?

Oh well.

At least Brad and I were happy.

After dinner it was time to clean up. Then came something that made us all UNhappy.

I had drained the meat after I browned it just like I had done hundreds of times before...

Only THIS time, the drain got clogged. No big deal, right? Sweet Brad came to the rescue... But it wasn't a quick fix. He had to work under the sink which meant moving all our cleaning supplies out of the way. When the cabinet was cleared out, he discovered a leak had been going on for quite some time and part of the wood was actually rotting!

After a little trial and error the leak was traced back to our sprayer nozzle. So, Saturday afternoon we headed to Lowe's in search of a replacement. I thought we'd go, pick out a pretty new faucet set and be done with the problem.

Boy, was I mistaken!

First of all, the sink we had at home had 4 holes, but all the sets we liked needed fewer holes... SO we checked out a new sink. Despite the new styles of faucets, it seemed like the sink selections still came with 4 holes... So we went back and forth looking at faucets and sinks. Frustratingly enough, those two items AREN'T on the same aisle. Finally, we found a lovely Delta faucet that we both loved ... We went to pick out a sink only to find that none of the stainless options came with the right amount of holes... oh, and our faucet was out of stock. ug! So, starting the process over... We looked for a new faucet... and a new sink... and then back at the faucets.... 45 minutes must have passed when (finally) Brad found a winning combo! It was a sink and faucet set. Perfect! We loaded up in the car and headed home! (Wesley was at a birthday party, thank goodness, or he probably would have gone nuts at Lowe's!)

Back at home, it was like Christmas :) We opened all the million and one tiny plastic baggies full of parts and hoses, etc. Brad meticulously read the instructions and pieced together shiny new pipes under the sink.

I cleared the way for work space in the kitchen. By this point, dirty dishes are piling up with no way to clean them. The dishwasher was fully loaded and ready to go on Friday only to be unhooked when the leak was discovered....

Somewhere along the way it was discovered that a new part.. or connector? was needed for the disposal.

That was another trip into "town." Actually, this ended up taking two trips and we wound up with *surprise* a new garbage disposal.

Meanwhile, Saturday and Sunday, Brad works tirelessly on the new sink and faucet and getting them ready for their new home :) I even got to help apply plumber's putty all around the edge of the sink... and maybe a little in my hair for good measure.

Late Sunday night, everything is all set. The moment of truth arrives... I turn on the water while Brad scopes everything out under the counter.

And a new leak is discovered.

This time, it's coming from inside the faucet... and there's nothing we can do about it. It's a faulty faucet.

Oh, and we needed a new hose clamp in order to run the dishwasher...

Sunday night was not a good night.

Monday, Brad called Lowe's and they let him trade out the faucet without having to take the sink in, too. (Thank goodness!)

After both of us having a full day at work, we got started on our plumbing business after dinner (and that trip to Lowe's for the new faucet) Hooking everything up from the underside wasn't working so out the sink came once again... While Brad pulled hoses and connected everything, I reapplied Plumber's Putty around the perimeter...

Then it was time to put it back into place. Time for the moment of truth, again.  We turn on the water and watch for leaks. Success! Everything seems to be working this time! Sighs of relief :) Brad doesn't trust it though.. So he laid out a layer of paper towels under the counter so he'll be able to see if anything leaks. We tidied up a little and then he peaked in to check the paper towels....

And there's a leak.


THIS time, it's coming from around the left side drain. :(

Turns out, we needed to apply dope around those threads before that drain is screwed into place. So... this morning Brad headed to the hardware store before work to stock up.

And a new hose clamp was put on the dishwasher hose last night, but we STILL couldn't run the washer because of the drain's leak  :(

Tonight, we'll be fixing that leak and then I will gleefully (hopefully) wash dishes! I have never EVER looked forward to washing dishes, but after this week... after sharing a bowl with Brad and rinsing it out for the next use... I am very much looking forward to Clean Dishes!!

After ALL THAT... I have to say the new sink will be nice. I didn't say it will be "worth it" because we were perfectly content with the old sink ... But this new one sure will be nice :)

And maybe one day, the backsplash will all be one color... Oh well, one project at a time!

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