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Owning a home can be a dream come true, but the world of home ownership is more than just relaxing weekends on the deck. To keep your private oasis safe and running smoothly you will need to make occasional repairs. Even if you are not a dedicated do-it-yourselfer, there are a few around the house fixes you should learn. Home maintenance may never become your hobby of choice, but knowing how to perform a few simple fixes will keep your costs down and get the work

done on your schedule instead of your contractor’s tentative timeline. Let’s review several fixes you might want to consider:

-A leaky washing machine. If you ignore this problem, you might end up with a flooded laundry room.

Check the water hoses connected to the back of the machine. The leak might result from a small crack in the rubber. If so, you will need to replace the faulty hose immediately before a major break occurs. Turn off the water supply to the washer, to avoid a potential flood, then purchase and install the new hose. It is worth noting that not all washing machine hoses are the same, jot down the make and model of your machine and do a quick online search for the proper hose before making this purchase.

PRO TIP: Buy steel braided hoses, they are more expensive but much more durable.

-A jammed garbage disposal.

If your disposal has stopped running, try hitting the red reset button on the body of the disposal under the sink first. Flip the wall switch. If this solved the problem, great! If you do hear a humming noise, but the blades are not spinning or the sink isn’t draining, it is probably jammed.

Unplug the disposal or turn it off at the circuit breaker box. Look inside disposal at the sink to see what could be blocking it. Remove any jammed debris with the handle of a plastic spoon or chopsticks, but not metal, and certainly not your fingers. It is critical to remember to NEVER STICK YOU HAND DOWN THE DISPOSAL! Use the chopsticks, or something similar, to nudge the blades to turn. Gently push back and forth until the blades move freely. If you had cut the power supply at the circuit breaker, flip it on, and try to run the disposal again.

PRO TIP: If, after you have tried this process, the disposal still fails to work, it may not be jammed, the motor may be the problem. If this is the case, call your professional plumber and be prepared to purchase a new disposal.

-A blocked toilet. A blocked toilet is not something you can put on hold! First, try a toilet plunger. Make sure there is enough water in the toilet bowl to cover the plunger. Now plunge down with some force 6-8 times. This should do the trick and clear most blockages. If the plunger does not work, try an auger. (these are available at your hardware store or could be rented at a minimal cost). Insert the end of the auger into the toilet, then turn the handle to “snake” the toilet. You should notice the blockage begin to clear. Try flushing the toilet. You may need to repeat this a couple of times.

-Broken tile.

Remove the grout around the tile with a grout saw (a small tool available for a few dollars at paint and hardware stores). Also remember, a Dremel tool and all multi-tools have an attachment for cutting grout. With the tool in hand, remember to work slowly, this is an easy task. If the grout line is thin (less than 3/8 wide), cut along the edge of the defective tile to avoid damaging adjacent tiles. Cutting this grout will be your safety net from cracking other tiles. If the defective tile has

already started to chip, break off little pieces with a small chisel or flat screwdriver and remove the entire damaged tile. If not, make a hole in the center with a masonry drill bit, which will break the tile, and remove the pieces from the center outward. Thoroughly clean the area and glue the new tile in place with a tile adhesive and apply fresh grout around the edges.

PRO TIP: Make sure this new tile is an extra piece stored on site. Matching tile and grout is important since you don’t want the replaced tile to be an obvious repair.

-Torn vinyl.

Use a silicone-based seam sealer to fill the tear and wipe off the excess with a dry cloth. OR…Try this really easy fix! If it is a no-wax floor and the tear is small, take a bar of soap and rub it sideways along the cut until it is filled. You’d think the soap would disappear when you wash the floor, but unless you immerse the vinyl in water and use a brush, the soap will stay in place. It won’t be as good as new, but it will go a long way to hide the problem!

-Worn out or dried grout.

Remove all the lose and cracked grout with a grout saw or Dremel tool and completely vacuum out the gaps. Then apply the ready-mixed grout and smooth it with a wet finger or plastic spoon. After it has dried, apply a sealer to keep your grout protected from moisture and to assure an easy cleanup in the future.

-Mold spots on the wall. IF YOU IGNORE THEM: You could develop allergies and other health problems.

Remove the fungi with a mixture of 1 cup bleach and 1 gallon of warm water. Be sure to wear latex gloves and scrub the area thoroughly, then rinse with clean water. When the spot is dry, repaint

the area. (If the problem is widespread, you must consult an expert).

PRO TIP: Consider using a mildew-resistant latex paint to prevent further growth.

-A stained bathtub.

Mix equal amounts of cream of tartar and baking soda and enough lemon juice to make a paste. Rub the mixture onto the stained area with your fingers or a soft cloth. Let sit at least 30 minutes (longer, if needed) and rinse well.

-Stuck sliding windows.

A little silicone lubricant will grease the skids. Spray it into a rag, then wipe along the tracks whether they are metal, wood or plastic!

-Squeaky floor. (this is a temporary fix) Sprinkle baby powder over the noisy area and sweep it into the cracks. Be sure to remove any traces of it if you ever plan to refinish the floor.

PRO TIP: Squeaky floors are often the sound of the nail, attaching the subfloor to the joist, moving up and down against the plywood (a veritable string instrument) which is quite annoying. To stop this motion, the floor needs to be screwed to the joists, since screws are less likely to move.

-Squeaky door hinges.

Spray a little WD-40, move the door back and forth to distribute the oil. If you don’t have WD-40, petroleum jelly will also work.

PRO TIP: If the door hinges are squeaking because the hinges are out of alignment, this fix will help, but only temporarily. In that case, ask a carpenter to adjust those hinges for smoother action without the rubbing.

-Repairing small holes in the wall.

Using a flat knife, apply some Spackle (not caulk, since it remains flexible) over the holes. Allow to dry. Once dry, lightly sand over the Spackle with sandpaper to provide an even surface. Touch up with paint.

In summary, before calling in the experts, check to see whether the problem is something you can fix quickly and simply. Of course, use common sense. Always keep safety in mind. There are amazing videos these days on U-Tube to walk you through most problems. The more you learn, the more comfortable you will feel about trying to tackle small jobs around the house. Don’t try bigger jobs, which require unique tools and years of experience. For the smaller jobs, there is often a simple, inexpensive solution. AND, you can say you did yourself! Frankly, this is how we learn, one step at a time.


Some Saturday mornings I make my way to the back of the now demolished Ward Warehouse for the Kakaako Farmer’s Market. Fortunately the parking lot remains intact to I can park in the shade. Some of the vendors also frequent the Kailua Market (which I previously reviewed) including Farm Lovers kombucha and breakfast items. Jessica’s Forage company featuring locally sourced meats and Local

I’a featuring fresh fish. They supply the restaurant Fete with fresh fish so you can enjoy her fish at that fine restaurant or eat it fresh right there on the spot!

A new vendor is Roscoe’s Sourdough Breads. They carry an amazing selection of breads, from sesame and ulu to olive-garlic and tomato-rosemary focaccia. Look for the longest lines and you will see Wicked Hi Slush. Cool down immediately with their slushy sorbet-like creation made with honey and fresh tropical fruit juices.

I then shop for garlic-roasted peanuts that my son and I love for snacking.

Breakfast options abound, including fresh pastas from Onda Pasta, Mexican dishes and falafel plates with humus (Vegan and gluten-free as a bonus) from Surfers Wife Kitchen. I did not mention the plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables.

I suggest you try this market even if you must drive a distance as you will not be disappointed in the least!

Kakaako Farmers Market

1050 Ala Moana Blvd. Honolulu, Hi.

Hours: Saturday 8 am to noon

Wednesday 4-8 pm


January 1st…. This is the first day of a bold new year. Enjoy life, embrace friends and try something new. To quote C.S. Lewis, “ You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

January 1st to the 31st. Victoria Ward Garden Lights Show will be on display every day from 6 PM to 10 PM at Victoria Ward Park on Auahi Street. This unique art display of lights sculpted as flowers, which illuminate in synchrony with the live music, is quite amazing and a must see. There will be live music, food and drinks for purchase and carnival style rides.

As the weather and tides cooperate, the Eddie Aikau big-wave surf contest will be happening sometime from January through February at Waimea Bay on the North Shore. Stay tuned to your favorite TV station to provide the days the monster waves will roll in and allow this contest to take place.

January 4th-16th the Da Hui Backdoor Shootout will be a happening at Pipeline on the North Shore. Watch pro surfers capture those big waves and glide though the tube rides. There will also be bodysurfing, longboarding and stand-up paddle-boarding.

January 6th-12th the Sony Open will be at the Waialae Country Club in Kahala. For tickets and more information about this exciting event, checkout their website:

On January 11th, the Magic Island Biathlon will take place at Ala Moana Beach Park. This includes a five mile run at the park and a one mile swim along the beach. For more information about this event and others in Honolulu, check out this wbsite:

The annual Pacific Island Arts Festival will be held in Kapiolani Park on January 11th and 12th. There will be nearly 100 artists displaying their work, plus lots of food booths, music and a lion dance. The festival runs from 9 AM until 4 PM on both days.

The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii will hold the New Year’s Ohana Festival on January 12th at the Cultural Center and Moilili Field from 10 AM until 4 PM. For more information about this event and the schedule for upcoming events, go to :

This is the Year of the Rat. The Chinese New Year’s Celebration at the Chinatown Cultural Plaza (100 N. Beretania St) will begin a 5 PM on the 17th and 18th of January. The festivities include the Lion Dance, fireworks, a parade and plenty of food and crafts. Parking will be limited, plan accordingly.

January 26th the 5 K Bubble Run will be held at Dillingham Ranch in Waialua. This is a race for all ages and includes foam waves to push through every 3-5 minutes of the race. This as colorful as it is fun. To learn more, go to: running/bubble-run-hono


January 4th and 5th …. The Hawaii Symphony Orchestra will kick off the new year with Beethoven’s Ode to Joy at the Blaisdell Concert Hall. Tickets can be purchased at or at the Blaisdell Box office.

The country group, Old Dominion, is currently on their Make It Sweet Tour. They will be performing at the Blaisdell Arena January 5th.

January 10th…Six time Grammy Award Nominee, Amy Hanaiali’i , will perform at the Blaisdell

Concert Hall at 7:30 PM.

If you or a friend will be married in 2020, you don’t want to miss the Hawaii Bridal Expo, which will be held at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall from January 10th-12th. The professionals you are searching to find will be there to assist you to plan your wedding, honeymoon and the wedding reception.

January 11th and 12th, the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra will perform Mozart, featuring pianist

Norman Kreiger, at the Blaisdell concert Hall.

January 14th, comedian, Daniel Tosh, will dish out some of his humor at the Blaisdell Concert Hall at 7:30 PM.

Jason Isbell, a four time Grammy Award winner, singer-songwriter and guitarist from Alabama will perform his latest hits at the Blaisdell Concert Hall at 8 PM.

January 18th, stand-up comedian and actor, Ken Jeong will perform two shows at the Blaisdell

Concert Hall.

January 19th, country singer and song writer, Aaron Lewis, who was a founding member of the alternative metal band Staind will be performing his best known hits at the Blaisdell Concert Hall at 8 PM.

January 23rd and 24th magician, Shin Lim, will entertain you with his tricks set to music. Both shows will begin at 6:30 PM. Contact Ticketmaster or the Blaisdell box office for tickets.

January 24th-February 9th, Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” will be performed at the Diamond Head Theatre. For more information and to purchase tickets go to:

January 24th-26th…It is a new year and time to tackle delayed projects around the home. Right? Conveniently, the BIA Building and Remodeling Show will be held at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall for three days with contractors and consultants to give you advice and help to get your projects started. Expect to be part of a crowd of thirty thousand people! Arrive early for coveted parking at the Blaisdell.

January 25th …Jim Brickman, pianist, songwriter and radio show host, will be in concert to perform his inspiring and uplifting music at the Blaisdell Concert Hall.

January 29th…If you are searching to find a new job in 2020, The Work Force Career Fair will be held at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall/ Pikake Room. There will be over 300 employers discussing positions available with their company. The fair is open from 10AM until 3PM.

January 31st and February 1st the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra will present Star Wars: A New Hope- In Concert. The orchestra will be performing John Williams’ score along with the complete film. There will be three performances of this iconic movie with live music! Purchase your tickets soon at Ticketmaster.

Kind regards,

Cathy, Mary and Jeff