Friday, October 24, 2008

Number Crunching 132

I may actually end up with a positive balance this month. I still have about a week to go in the month, so I’m not trying to get ahead of myself, but I have to admit to feeling positive about the situation.

Quicken Cash Flow = 1382.22
STEF Total = 320.69

Enter receipts into Quicken and everything reconciles. I also learned a new trick. I can limit the register reports by date. I’m also considering using Quicken Online, if it works with the credit union account. If not, using a combination of register reports and itemized categories reports when I have to take the math to work with me will work.

I found a mistake in my zero-balance spreadsheet that may have led to the problems I had last week balancing the spreadsheets. I had mixed up my Federal Taxes deduction and my LASERs contribution from my first paycheck.

And I still don’t know why I have to keep making adjustments to make the zero-balance spreadsheet and the monthly tabulation balance when they are using the same data. I’m not worrying too much about it right now. If it keeps being a reoccurring problem, then I’ll dissect them both. What I want is to be able to create a spending plan and analyze my spending trends, something I haven’t found easy to do with Quicken. (You can only set-up a budget year between January and December, for example.) But I haven’t found what works best for me, hence running so many.

Shower Rebuild Experiment
Train of thought from October 23rd as follows.

I need to workout more. I don’t like feeling icky after workouts. I need a shower. I should just build one in the yard. Soon it’ll be too cold for a camp shower. Why not put a camp shower in the bathtub?

I stopped midstride getting off the elevator. Luckily, my legs are used to diverted thought process and kept going so I wasn’t crushed in the elevator doors.

As I have considered solutions to my shower deficiency, that idea had never occurred to me. I only looked at camp showers to add to my medieval camping set-up. There are a few options: propane-heated systems, bags that heat with solar power, and a powered hose that you put in a body of water.

The solar-heated bag looks like the best option. I can fill it with hot water if I can’t get enough sunlight in through the window. I just have my doubts it’ll feel like a real shower or rinse my hair clean.

My other option that I have been holding out on because it looks bad and I tore it out when I moved into the house is jury-rigging a shower. I also don’t want a plumbing disaster which I’m positive will happen.

Here’s the way my logical mind is dissecting the problem.

Step 1. Attach a flexible hose to the cold water garden hose faucet and the hot water garden hose faucet.

Option 1. 2 Whirlpool ¾” flexible connectors 18” long = 24.77
Option 2. Swan 5/8” x 6’ hose reel leader hose = 6.98
4 Gilmour Metal Female Coupling = 12.84

Option 1 has female ends but I have no idea if the size fits garden hose faucets. Option 2 would need to be cut and the female couplings added (disaster waiting to happen).

Step 2. The hot water flexible hose and cold water flexible hose screw into a Y connector.

Plumb Pak Cast Metal Y Connector = 2.78

Step 3. Y Connector is screwed into the end of the hand-held shower.

Water Pic Handheld Chrome Shower Massager = 24.98 (I could go cheaper without massager feature but I don’t recognize the brands. With plumbing, I go with brand names.)

This is also the step that worries me. Do I need an adapter? How to install page is talking about a pipe with a male end and the hose on a hand-held shower having a female end. All the male to male adapters change sizes too.

Male hose adapter = 2.00

Both options assume I can get everything to fit together properly and don’t have to face dealing with really incompatible size differences.

Jury-rig Shower Option 1 Total = 89.63

Jury-rig Shower Option 2 Total = 84.68

Solar Camping Shower Option = 60.09

Cheapest option is the camping shower, but I just saw a different picture with it in use. I’m not impressed by the water flow. My hair is thick and likes to hold soap.

So that leaves the jury-rigging options, IF after all my pricing and puzzling, I can make it work. I’m trying to move between bathroom-sized plumbing to outdoor-sized plumbing, asking of course, WHY can’t it all be the same size?

Still, my 4% raise started on this paycheck (only one week, the first paycheck of November will reflect all changes) and I generally like to celebrate that I got that. A whole bathroom remodel is out of the question until I can save for it. A shower would make me happy. So I guess I’m going to Lowe’s tonight.

I ended up at Lowe’s TWICE in one night. First off, I found a third cheaper jury-rigging option: a Y connecting hose for a washing machine. I hadn’t even looked online at washing machine parts. So first trip to Lowe’s cost $43.88. Because I couldn’t face Wal-Mart, I spent $17.40 at Fred’s for shower curtains and hooks. What I saved on cheaper curtains got spent on heavy-duty hooks. Y hose fits the garden hose faucets I have, and it ends in a male connector so I should be able to screw the shower hose directly to it, yeah! Only that doesn’t work. They are both the same size and the male end needs to be smaller to fit in the shower hose. I have forgotten actual sizes. Back to Lowe’s, where they are out of the perfect adapter piece and I have to buy two adapters to work. Second Lowe’s trip equals $10.20. Still cheaper than the online pricing I had done, so I’m happy.

Screw with plumbing tape all the parts together and test. Have a spraying leak at the cold water garden hose faucet. Tape and tighten with pliers. Then realize the leak is actually spraying from the screw in the faucet (what you turn to get water). Still have no clue how to fix that and decides it doesn’t matter. I can bunch extra shower curtain between the leak and the wall. String up the shower curtain.

Now I was able to save money because many moons ago, someone in my family screwed pipes in the wall and ceiling to make a shower curtain rod. I’m sure it was a way to store extra pipe they had at the time. The pipes make an L over the bathtub and a metal wire was ran along the wall side to hand shower curtains on it.

However when I hung the shower curtains from Fred’s I discovered two problems. First, two shower curtains did not encircle the whole bathtub. Okay, kind of expected that. Second problem, the standard shower curtain length of 70 inches only reached the top of the tub.

I tested it with a quick shower. With the curtains pulled around only half the bathtub so to cover all the wood, me handing to hold the hand-held shower the whole time because the included bracket would only go on the end of showerhead pipe, and having to make sure I didn’t accidently hit the gap between the tub and the curtains with the stream of water while making sure I got clean and kept the other shower curtain from sticking to my ass; the experience was less the nirvana I had been craving. The shower curtains also did not like to stay on the C-shaped hooks I had bought. The packaging was destroyed in my effort to get them out so taking them back was out.

I ended up spending $27.79 at Wal-Mart to finish the project. Good news, they stocked extra-long shower curtains. I also bought S-shaped hooks. I tacked the too-short shower curtains to the two wood walls, cutting holes for the faucets and making sure they got tacked down extra because of the spraying leak. Since I didn’t have to worry about the walls anymore, two extra-long shower curtains was enough to block off the open sides of the bathtub. I worried because I opted for the version without magnets in the bottom, but during the test shower, they didn’t try to attach themselves to any body parts. I ended up not using a whole box of hooks and they will go back.

However, the solution for the lack of bracket is well, less than perfect. I ended up taking two huge nails I had leftover from another project, and hammered them into the wall so they hold the shower head up. I didn’t measure and they don’t let the shower angle downward, so I found out I can stand right beneath it and shampoo my hair under the water stream.

But I have shower now. And Mustard was fascinated by the rain on the shower curtain up until I went to get a camera and document his cuteness. Maybe he’ll forget about it and be fascinated all over again when I take my next shower.

Plans for next week
  • Check out Quicken Online as a way to constantly update but reduce printing.
  • Need to redo Budget_exercise_01 file
  • Post pictures of the shower under a separate post once off of camera.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

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