No one really wants to think about plumbing during the holidays. Unfortunately you are forced to after Aunt Sally blows up the bathroom and you have to barricade it off so that no one else walks in. As graphic as that sounds, it is all too true. Even though kitchen plumbing is just as important, I am going to focus on bathroom plumbing for this blog post because when you have a house full of guests, that bathroom had better work! Now we have two main areas that need to work for the holidays. The sink, and the toilet. The shower should be just for looks for your holiday guests.
to remove those pesky hair clogs that you may have in your sink preventing people to use it. Then there is the bigger issue of your stool! If that thing clogs up then all is lost! That is the piece de resistance. If Aunt Sally goes in there and clogs up your toilet, you are screwed. I mean, you just are. You can't be a bathroom down when you have all the family over! So let me tell you something, a good running toilet is gold. It may be nothing that you regularly think about, but when it doesn't work, the shit hits the fan, literally.
from working. There is also the time when it just comes that you need to replace the stool altogether. Newer toilets generally come with a larger port from the tank to the bowl. What that means in layman's terms is that the stool just flushes faster. I went ahead and made a live video about this.
Kids getting a bike for Christmas has been an American tradition for generations. I remember when I got my first BMX bike when I was knee high to a pigs eye. I have continued that tradition with my own kids. And I will tell you what, the modern mountain bikes are a lot more complicated then the old BMX ones. With multiple brake systems, suspension, and 18 to 21 speeds, these are not the bikes I grew up with. Not only that, but the prices of bikes can go into the thousands of dollars these days. Of course you still have the big box stores selling affordable bikes, and for the connoisseur your local bike shops sell so many different models that it could make your head spin. I understand many of you out there can't afford the higher end bike store bikes, at least for your growing kids. Unfortunately the bike assemblers at most big box stores have no idea what they are doing, don't care, or both. Over the past decade, I can't think of a single bike that I have either purchased myself or my friends and family that was actually in good working order. They have the potential to be decent bikes, it just takes a little work to get them there. My first piece of advice, don't buy the cheapest ones, my second is to check out my bike repair series that I put together to help you get your bikes to their best working order. Here is the first video of the series, and there are links in the description for every video. Just remember, no kids wants a bike that doesn't work.
That's right, I mean it! No more excuses that it's too hot to handle. The cooler weather of fall is here and it's time to go outside. Whatever your activity is, this is my favorite time of year to enjoy it. Between the cool, brisk mornings and the beautiful color of the fall foliage, this is when I am most alive. If you live in the Ozarks, then there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. I recently had the pleasure of joining some our best friends on their family land with some 4 wheelers and an Arctic Cat. Definitely some good family fun.
one location for everything, and no kid gets benched are just a few. When I say one location for everything, I mean it. As a busy parent I really don't have the time to shuttle my kids around to different towns every week and then some. With the Upward program all the practices and games are at the same location. Now that is a realistic kids sports program. And when I say no kid gets benched, I mean it. So your kid doesn't have to be the star athlete to be able to play. Now, of course, if your kid doesn't work hard with the team, they aren't going to see the best action, but it is one of the best balanced sports programs for kids K-6 that I have seen. Here is a link to their website to see the available programs in your area. www.upward.org Here is one of my videos for the 2016 season.
Let's face it, everyone gets a clogged drain at some point. And those with long hair get them all the time. I am going to focus on bathroom drains with this blog post because they are quite a bit different then kitchen drain clogs. That is because bathroom drain clogs are generally caused by hair, not grease like typical kitchen drain clogs. I know most of you out there have seen the Drano or other brands commercials. You just take this bottle and pour it down, and poof, the wad of hair just flies out of the drain. Well, that's not how it really goes. I mean, I guess if there was some wad just sitting there, then the Drano could move it. In essence, drain cleaners are a bleach based product and they do make anything they touch slimy and that is what the commercial is showing. The problem is, is that hair is almost certain to be wrapped on something. That's why it is stuck there in the first place. And on a side note, drain cleaners are good at breaking up grease and helping those other clogs, but I find them to be pretty useless on hair clogs. So then, how do you attack hair clogs? The old fashion way. Pull the hair back out. Yep, kinda gross, but it's the one way to make sure you actually get it done right. Sometimes you can separate the drain and just pull out the hair, and sometimes you need the assistance of a drain snake. It's really just a process of elimination. Both the shower/bath and the vanity sink suffer from this. Below are a couple of videos that I show the more common ways to clear these clogs. The bathtub one is quite old, but is still just as relevant.
Let's face it, this is one of the most versatile tools in your garage. And possible the one most forgotten about, that is until you really need. it. Some of you might just know this as the vacuum that you use for your car. Sure, it works great for that, but it can turn a bad situation into a not so bad one. Water is one of the most damaging things to your home. And in case of a plumbing emergency, say like a supply line broke and has now started to flood your home, Shop Vac to the rescue. With the change of a filter, this vacuum just became a lifesaver. Getting that water up fast is key to preventing hundreds, if not thousands of dollars of damage. So, I say this with all seriousness, every homeowner should have one and have the vac along with it's filters readily accessible, not buried in one of 3 possible places.
So what about the brand. Which one to get. I know that this blog post is titled Shop Vac, but that has really become a general term for any wet-dry vac. The three main ones to pick from are Shop Vac, Rigid, and Craftsman. I will be honest and say that I don't have much experience with the Craftsman models, more just of the Rigid and Shop Vac. And as far as those go, I have found them to be very comparable. You will always get that one person that swears by their own and everything else is junk, but I have found that if you are comparing similar priced models, they are very close in almost every aspect. The one thing that you will find wrong is the Black Friday models. And this seems to plague the Shop Vac brand more. I know that some of you out there love Black Friday deals, but here is the thing. Some products are regular stocked items, but some are manufactured just for that day. Meaning, what you are buying is junk. The old saying "You get what you pay for" rings true here. I have not only talked to store associates that talk about the plagued Black Friday models, but I have been on the receiving end of that as well. So, now that my warning is out of the way, my suggestion is to get one that is sold by a store near you. Seriously, that simple. I say that because generally you will not see the brands of wet-dry vacs competing side by side. And the accessories do vary so get one at the hardware store that you frequent so you can also easily get the accessories that you need when you need them. So down below are some videos of mine going over the different filters available and showing you some tricks for them. Or you can click on this link to go to my page about shop vacs. www.greatwhiteninja.com/shop-vac.html
A lot can be said about this little tool. A couple of years ago this tool seemed to come out of nowhere and took the tool world by storm. Now I will be honest, it really doesn't replace the tools that you already have. It just defines itself as that tool that sometimes you wish you had, but never did. This is really a strange category of tools, but I will get to that later. Let's focus on what this thing can do. Most models will come with a few blades to start off with. Usually they come with a standard wood blade, very similar to what is pictured here, a half moon blade for multi purpose use, and a sanding pad for detail work. Some of the more common uses of this tool include cutting the base of door jams off to get flooring under, removing grout, and sanding. This is a detail tool. It does not replace your jigsaw, Sawzall, or your circular saw. It does jobs that they can not. I recently just used mine to cut out a part of a cabinet where my Sawzall just wouldn't reach. It was slower to use, but the cut came out precise. Along with it's smaller size, these saws also have the ability to mount the blade in different positions along a nearly 280° range. Now, let's talk about the strange part. And if you are thinking about getting this as a gift pay close attention to this part. The blades and the blade holders are very different from brand to brand. This is not true with other saws. You can buy any Sawzall or reciprocating saw and most of the blade holders are identical in use and you can buy any reciprocating saw blade and you are good. Same with a jigsaw or circular saw. But not the Oscillating Multi Tool. For whatever reason the way this came out just about every brand has a different way to hold the blade and a different blade.
system. These should be your main points of interest in your decision making. I have a could of videos below showing my multi-tool and a little that you can do with it.
You can feel it in the air. The brisk mornings and cool evenings are here. That makes even more reasons to fire up that grill. I love sitting back, cracking a cold beer, and letting those flames kiss a good piece of meat. First things first. You have to have a grill to be able to grill. So, maybe you are a first time griller, or in the market for a new one. This is a great, inexpensive charcoal grill that you may like.
And now you need something to put on that grill. I don't claim to be a grill master by any means, but I do have a few years experience. I have a couple of grill videos that will hopefully inspire you to get out there and fire up that grill!
Your circular saw might be one of the most common power tools found in garages around the nation. Well that and a drill. This saw is one of the most versatile tools around. One of the things that makes it versatile, other then the ability to cut anything from sheets of wood, to dimensional lumber, to steel and stone. Wait a sec, did I just say steel and stone? Yes, with the right blades you can. Many people think these saws just cut plywood or 2x4's. But with the right blade you can use them to cut of angle iron, tubular steel, aluminum rods, ext. Also, they can cut off stone as well. If you are curious about the different blades available for your circular saw, or if you just have a wood project coming up and you are afraid that you blade will have trouble cutting butter, then check out my video below.
Drones are huge these days, and only getting bigger. Well, I mean bigger by more popular because actually a lot of them are actually getting smaller. The DJI Phantom, pictured here, is one of the most popular and most sold drones ever. But there are so many on the market, you really need to figure out what will be the best for you. I personally have the Phantom 2, because I didn't have over $1000 to spend, and I really like it. You can get the Phantom 2 still for just over $400 right now. But that is a very basic model. There is no camera at all. Luckily I already had a GoPro so I was able to mount that to the drone. For that price there isn't even a mount so I bought a simple one on Amazon for it. The video isn't bad, but to get the really good steady video you need a gimbal, which is another $250. And then there is still no First Person View at all, that is also extra. You might be thinking, well what did you get? I got a great drone that has GPS based stabilization and one of the longer battery run times on the market. I spent only $15 for a mount for the GoPro and now I have a quality drone set up that takes pretty good footage. Below I will post a video that I took at Camp Wakonda that was 90% done on my Phantom 2 that I just described. But....... What if that's not what you want to do. What if you want to just fly around the house and have fun unwinding from work. Then that is not the drone for you. There are many micro drones out there that are perfect for flying around the home. Also, if you fly a drone outdoors that weighs over half a pound then you have to have it registered with the FAA. Check out my drones page for more info on that. www.greatwhiteninja.com/drones.html One thing that I will say is ignore all the drones that you find in the big box stores. They will tempt you, but stay away. Go to your local hobby store and buy from them. They will offer drones and replacement parts for them when they break. If you buy from the big box store and then crash, that is it, ready for the trash can. If you have the big bucks and are looking for the fully loaded drone that is ready to fly right out of the box without a large learning curve, then I suggest you look at the newly released drones from GoPro and DJI. The GoPro Karma and DJI Mavic are smaller fully loaded drones that are great for people that just want to grab the drone and go. Both of these drones fold up and are smaller and lighter then the Phantom models. And for just over a $1000 they offer just about everything that you could want. They are brand new so many of you probably haven't heard of them. I will put video links down below from their companies so you can learn more about them along with my comparison of the DJI phantom 2 and a micro drone.
I know that I posted about this a while back, but here I am again. I love these little ant baits because they work. I love them so much I attempted to make a commercial for them. Some might say I went a little over the top with this, but c'est la vie! So, this will be a short blog post. Just watch the video below to see these ant baits in action against the more popular black ant baits. #itworks
Author - Nathan Cox
I'm just a guy in his late 30's, well 40's now, living in the Mid-West. Just an average family guy hoping to share my knowledge and entertain a little along the way.