more handyness

We rent our house -- from friends, who are also our neighbors. I'm happy to be renting -- on my salary, we can't afford to buy a house in any of the neighborhoods we'd like to live in -- so for us, it's worth it to pay rent and not have a 2-hour commute to work, or to good restaurants/movies/etc. But the terms of our renting this house (at a substantial friend discount) mean that we repair everything ourselves, short of some major appliance breakdown (i.e., if the water heater rusted out or something). So yesterday I spent most of my day cleaning and fixing stuff. I'm most proud of replacing our shower arm (the metal pipe that come out from the wall and holds the showerhead) -- the old one had developed a crack and was dripping onto the drywall. I was nervous about it, because I've discovered a lot of non-standard things about the house in the past 2 years -- and once I removed the old one, if something was wrong with the pipe in the wall, I'd be in trouble -- there's no access panel, so I'd have to cut the drywall, and do a lot of stuff I'm not yet experienced with. But thankfully, that wasn't necessary. I never realized, when I bought my pipe wrench many years ago, how handy it would be. I only bought it because in graduate school, I lived in a beautiful old apartment building from about 1900. The radiators were probably not original, but probably 1940s-ish -- pretty primitive. The only way to adjust them involved a pipe wrench. But now somehow I've turned into a plumbing-fixing handygirl. (Although my caulking skills still need work -- redid the bathtub caulk yesterday -- it always looks easier than it really is, somehow. Guess I never frosted enough baked goods when I was a kid.)

Discovery from yesterday: tea tree oil really does remove mildew & mold -- I'd read this somewhere but hadn't tried it. Mix 1 tsp tea tree oil into 1 cup water, put in a spray bottle. Spray on disgusting grout, let it set for a few minutes, and rinse. Much safer for us and the planet than all the chemicals you can buy at the store.