Posted by Cantor Harris Shore, The Handy Hazzan
Early one spring morning, a widow and her small son sit playing together on a quiet beach. The serenity of the moment is accompanied only by the soft snapping of little waves and the intermittent caws of soaring seagulls as they cast racing shadows across the water. Suddenly from out of nowhere – BANG! - a huge breaker crashes on the beach, lifting the little boy high in the air, and sweeping him out to sea. After momentary shock, the woman cries out to God. “Adonai, please I beg you… return my son to me. I promise I’ll send him to synagogue three times a day. I’ll raise him to be a Tzadik. I’ll even stop the Lashon Hara. I promise, Lord Almighty. Just PLEASE….PLEASE save my son and bring him back to me!” A moment later the woman hears, “Mommy, Mommy!” She rushes to the little boy who has miraculously been returned to her, looks at him, then looks up to the heavens and says, “He was wearing a sweater.”
Some people are never satisfied … not truly thankful for the blessings that have been bestowed upon them. Not so with my experience last Sunday as Project Captain for a “Big Sunday” clean-up, fix-up and paint at the Mid Valley Family YMCA in Van Nuys. There was so much giving, love, gratitude and just plain fun abounding. Our project was a perfect example of all kinds of people working together to do a mitzvah (Hebrew word often translated as “good deed” although really means “commandment,” as in doing God’s commandment in this case to help one another… for the YMCA). We reflect upon “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Leviticus 19:18).
This YMCA is much deserving. They don’t turn anyone away and their funding has been reduced. Besides, it was a great opportunity for me to give back to an institution that meant so much to me when I was a kid growing up back in the 60s. I was one of the few boychicks - affectionate Yiddish term for young, Jewish boy - who belonged to the Y in my hometown of Phoenixville – you remember, the iron and steel town where the women would iron and the men steal?? - and one of my greatest childhood mentors was an African American man named Don Coppedge. Don was dark…. and yet we didn’t see color when we looked at him. (Remember, this is the 1960s.) Instead, we only saw a great human being who loved kids and got up in the morning with the purpose of helping us grow. Don was all athletics. He taught me so much about how to play sports, and more importantly about sportsmanship. I remember one moment when he came to our house. I forget what it was for. Don had never met my mom before. All he could say the next day was….. “Gee, your mom has good biceps.” We laughed at the house plenty about that one.
So…. I jumped into this project less than three weeks out, and it called for some quick assessing and organizing. Before I get to the great work and wonderful volunteers who made it all happen, I first want to thank a few donors without whose generosity we could not have had such beautiful results. We were refurbishing the Block Room, which is a small building apart from the main YMCA. This room will be used as a teen center. The carpeted area on the north side of the room was badly in need of replacing. Regional Group Wellbeing Director Patricia Cuffie-Jones and her associate Sopha Pok wondered if we could just shampoo it. I told them “No way. We have to get a new one.” It reminded me of a saying the Wild West sheriffs had for the most extreme outlaws: “He needs killing.” This carpet needed killing. But where was I going to get a new one? It couldn’t possibly be covered in the budget granted me by my pals at Big Sunday. The Handy Hazzan got on the phone and fortunately found a generous donor right in the neighborhood. DW INTERIORS at 6205 Van Nuys Blvd (818-786-0681) is owned by a great guy named Dan Warshauer. Dan agreed to supply the low pile carpet plus installation, and invited Patricia and Sopha to choose the color. It looks wonderful and we are still deciding on what base molding we want to complete that part of the room.
One thing I hadn’t counted on was how tough it would be to pull up the old carpet, which was probably installed back when Robin Roberts was pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies and Ritchie Ashburn was hitting inside the park homers. (Remember those two you baseball buffs?) On Big Sunday I was fortunate to have one mighty strong volunteer worker named Ventura Hernandez…. and he was a speedy, professional painter, too. Between his pulling and my grunting – okay, I pulled a little too; plus the additional assistance of Juan in maintenance and my amazing cousin Ben Gaffin, piano tuner and handyman extraordinaire – we were able to get some of the carpet up. We even tried heating up the carpet with a torch to loosen the glue. However, I chose to stop that because the fumes can be very toxic and using fire was dangerous. I soon realized we simply didn’t have the right tools, and we had so much to accomplish in six hours that I decided to have the carpet installer remove the old carpet. If you have old carpet that is glued down onto cement or hardwood, here are some methods I discovered for removing it:
1. Use a chipper. A chipper is an electric device fitted with a removable/replaceable blade (razor sharp) that can prove quite helpful clearing concrete from glued down carpet, hardwood, vinyl, etc. You might make a round of calls to your local rental yards to see if they have such a device on rental. It might well damage hardwood or vinyl that is under carpet, and could be ideal for “chipping up” carpet from concrete as in this situation.
a. One source I read suggested first spreading DRY ICE on top of the carpet. You have to be very careful handling dry ice—it’s extremely cold. Wear gloves or other protective covering. DO NOT LET IT TOUCH YOUR BARE SKIN. IT WILL FREEZE BURN BARE SKIN TO THE TOUCH. The nice thing about dry ice is that when it melts it’s gone. It leaves no residue. Unlike normal ice that leaves water in its path, dry ice evaporates into thin air (well, foggy air anyway). Meanwhile dry ice will freeze the old glue, vinyl, etc. almost instantly allowing you to chip up pieces much more easily than not.
b. Use a medium-sized chunk (1/4 to 1/2 pound at a time) keeping the remainder in the freezer or in a special insulated box (styrofoam 2 - 4 inches thick). Be forewarned: It will continue to melt in the freezer and it will freezer burn items it lays against unless insulated by a packaging material (e.g. styrofoam—it’s cheap, easy to find and works very well).
c. Place the 1/4 to 1/2 pound piece in an old metal tray. One with handles at both ends. Set the tray and ice on top of the area you want to chip away next. After a few minutes time, the area directly underneath and around the tray becomes VERY BRITTLE and much easier to remove. Meanwhile, move the tray and ice to ready another area while chipping away at the first spot. Depending on the size of the floor you need to clean, figure you’ll go through 5 to10 pounds of dry ice per day. You don’t need it everywhere. Anything helps to make a hard just a little easier.
2. Try a product called “Panda Stripper. Fumes are nominal and I have used it in commercial applications in enclosed office buildings. They do have a website to get all the info or safety issues you require.
3. I also read about another product called 747 by Sentinel. It’s low odor and eco-friendly. Although it’s a bit work intensive, I understand it works very well. Be prepared to apply the solution twice to remove the old mastic, the second time wiping clean with paper towels. Use a product like this when you are removing carpet laid over hardwood floors, otherwise the chipper might be your best bet to remove carpet from concrete. (Why would anyone glue carpet to beautiful hardwood floors?)
That’s a lot of info on removing carpet from concrete. Let’s get back to THE PROJECT AT THE YMCA. A built-in storage unit was on the wish list, and I was fortunate to find a generous, professional licensed contractor named Smithie Chi Lu. I sketched the storage unit and Chi and I shopped for the materials at Home Depot. (Home Depot donated over $10,000 worth of materials to Big Sunday.) Chi built the unit all by himself, donating his time and talents to the project. The name of his company is SLC Construction. They’re located in Van Nuys and the telephone number is 818-926-9042. Next time you need a bid, call Chi. Say you read about him in the Handy Hazzan.
Furniture including desks, bookshelves, file cabinet and more filled out the rest of the wish list. Who else would I call but Jerry Goldman, owner of Advanced Furniture Liquidators in North Hollywood at 10631 Magnolia Boulevard, telephone (818) 763-3470? I met Jerry when I first moved to Los Angeles in 1989. I was living up in his neighborhood and got all my first office furniture from him. Jerry has one of the largest selections in the city, and rents a lot to the studios. He made a sizable furniture donation to the teen room. Thank you, Jerry, for your kindness and generosity.
Earlier in the week while waiting for Erik’s Guitar Repair to set up my new guitar, I wandered into Galpin Restaurant, which is part of the huge Galpin Ford dealership at 15505 Roscoe Blvd in North Hills. Manager Geovanni Euceda happily donated two trays of cookies and breakfast muffins and cakes to get everyone on our way first thing in the morning. One of my B’nai Mitzvah student’s moms, Suzanne, donated some coffee. We also brought juice and fruit, and everyone was happy. After a brief prayer to thank God for giving us the health and strength to gather together that day, twenty-one volunteers dived into an amazing morning of cleaning, patching, priming and then painting the first coat for the teen room walls.
Lunchtime! One phone call to Dominoes Pizza at 6262 Van Nuys Blvd. had introduced me to an enthusiastic young man who was anxious to help. Manager George Parra donated five pizzas to some twenty volunteers who worked up some hefty appetites after a busy morning.
With all this organizing, yes, I did get a chance to do some work besides yanking at a dirty, old carpet…. especially in the painting department. Two other huge donors to Big Sunday are Glidden Paints and Purdy brushes. Our thanks to Manager Edward Eskelin and Brian Wilson at the Glidden Professional Paint Center at 7554 Van Nuys Blvd. (818-997-7072) for mixing our colors. We were able to paint the walls to represent the logo colors of the YMCA, and I found a can of bright yellow paint in my personal storage that we used for the bathrooms.
This week I wanted to express my gratitude to all of our volunteers and donors: Thank you Sopha, Patricia, Robert, Rae, Irene, Alejandra, Caroline, Alyssa, Ben, Christine, Andrea, Allan, Peri, Nora, Suzanne, Carmell, Alicia, Crystabel, Ventura, Sylvia, Nick and Claire….and especially to David Levinson and his incredible staff at Big Sunday for providing me this opportunity to assist the YMCA.
I’ll reserve some time in the next few weeks to give a lesson on just how to prep before painting, and then how to “cut in” with your brush (e.g. at the top of the wall to meet the ceiling), before rolling the walls. If you would like to volunteer at Big Sunday headquarters – Big Sunday is now ongoing year round – just go to their website at www.bigsunday.org - and find out how you can make Los Angeles a better place. Let’s just say….”Tikkun Olam starts at home…. and continues at Big Sunday! You can do it! - HH
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May 9, 2011 | 12:07 am
Posted by Cantor Harris Shore, The Handy Hazzan
I’ve been away for a couple of weeks and it’s good to be back. I hope you all had a fuzzy wuzzy Mommy’s Day. We had fun in Santa Monica. Next Sunday, May 15th is Big Sunday – the giant mitzvah day for all humans wishing to participate as created by tikkun olam guru David Levinson right here in Los Angeles. I am honored to be a Project Captain for some cleaning, painting, building and more at the Mid Valley Family YMCA in Van Nuys, 6901 Lennox Avenue CA 91405-4002. Our project is #461 and WE STILL NEED VOLUNTEERS. The following link will take you to Big Sunday’s “all about” page. From there, you’ll easily figure out how to sign up: http://www.bigsunday.org/about-us/who-we-are/. Next week I’ll feature photos and possibly a video about what promises to be a great day (9 a.m. – 3 p. m) at the Y.
During my break I spent lots of time learning to play the guitar, thanks mainly to my clergy pal Rabbi Cantor Mark Goodman of Congregation Valley Beth Israel in Sun Valley, who introduced me to a great guitar teacher named Tim Murphy. Tim teaches privately in Burbank, California. Come join us at Valley Beth Israel Friday, May 20, 2011 at 8 p.m. for “Rockin’ Shabbat.” Rabbi Mark created this several months ago with Rabbi Steve Finley, another Academy For Jewish Religion graduate right here in Los Angeles,….and it has become a bit hit. Yours truly Cantor Harris Shore, AKA The Handy Hazzan will be playing guitar and singing. It’s a lot of fun. While I love having the services I lead accompanied by piano and other instrumentation, being self contained with my very own guitar is a new tool in my bag of “Do-It-Yourself” tricks. It’s never too late to embrace change …. and dance with it!
THE ICEMAKER WORKETH
With all this strumming and other business that needed my attention, I let a few things go around the house. Repair needs seem to multiply when you’re sleeping and then creep up on you (like “THE BLOB” - filmed in my hometown when I was just a kid), if you don’t conquer them when they first appear. Several items needed my attention. The first one I took care of the day before Passover …. hooked up the water source for the ice maker in the refrigerator. The previous owner had already installed the ¼” copper tubing leading from the water source to the previous refrigerator. All I needed was a ¼” ice maker stainless steel water supply line – DO NOT USE THE PLASTIC ONES, CAN BREAK OR CRACK EASILY - plus one or two compatible compression fittings, both of which I purchased from a plumbing supply house. Remember that “1/4 inch” refers to the diameter of the nut, one female nut on each end…. With no offense to all the wonderful gals who read my column! The length of the line could go as much as 18-20 feet, which makes it easy to roll the refrigerator away from the wall for cleaning, etc. You’ll need two adjustable wrenches, or one wrench and channel locks. See detailed instructions below. First, attach one end of the new supply line to the rear inlet on the refrigerator by hand-tightening the female nut to the male threaded inlet post on the back of the refrigerator, probably located at the bottom. This has a built-in compression piece. Attach the other end to one of the two male, threaded ends of the in-line (saddle type non-piercing – that means you don’t pierce the copper tubing - shut-off valve, which is a necessary and convenient precaution. This way, you can turn off the water on the supply line instead of having to turn off the water main. The old shut-off valve was still intact and working. I used the new compression fitting to connect the other end of the shut-off valve to the ¼” copper tubing leading to the water supply. I’ve not done anything with the old in-line water line filter. It’s still in place. I trust that our new, whole-house water filtering system is delivering pure drinking water now. Let’s be clear on the “how to” steps for attaching the water line. Here’s a copy of the instructions (Kenmore Elite) to which I referred when connecting the line:
Installation - Connecting Ice Maker To Water Supply
To avoid electric shock, which can cause death or severe personal injury, disconnect the freezer from electrical power before connecting a water supply line to the freezer.
To Avoid Property Damage:
• Copper tubing is recommended for the water supply line. Water supply tubing made of 1⁄4” plastic is not recommended since it greatly increases the potential for water leaks. Manufacturer will not be responsible for any damage if plastic tubing is used for supply line.
• DO NOT install water supply tubing in areas where temperatures fall below freezing. •Chemicals from a malfunctioning softener can damage the icemaker. If the ice maker is connected to soft water, ensure that the softener is maintained and working properly.
IMPORTANT: Ensure that your water supply line connections comply with all local plumbing codes.
Before Installing The Water Supply Line, You Will Need • Basic Tools: adjustable wrench, flat-blade screwdriver, and PhillipsTM screwdriver • Access to a household cold water line with water pressure between 20 and 120 psi. • A water supply line made of 1⁄4 inch (6.4 mm) OD, copper tubing. To determine the length of copper tubing needed,
you will need to measure the distance from the ice maker inlet valve at the back of the freezer to your cold water
pipe. Then add approximately 7 feet (2.1 meters), so the freezer can be moved out for cleaning (as shown). • A shutoff valve to connect the water supply line to your household water system. DO NOT USE A SELF-PIERCING TYPE SHUT-OFF VALVE -HH • A compression nut and ferrule (sleeve) for connecting the water supply line to the ice maker inlet valve.
NOTE: Water line kit number 5303917950, available from your appliance dealer at additional cost, contains 25 feet (7.6 meters) of 1⁄4 inch OD copper tubing, a saddle type shutoff valve (nonpiercing), (2) 1⁄4 inch brass compression nuts, (2) ferrules/sleeves, and instructions for installing a water supply line.
To Connect Water Supply Line To Ice Maker Inlet Valve
1. Disconnect freezer from electric power source.
2. Place end of water supply line into sink or bucket. Turn ON water supply and flush supply line until water is clear. Turn OFF water supply at shut-off valve.
3. Unscrew plastic cap from water valve inlet and discard cap.
4. Slide brass compression nut, then ferrule (sleeve) onto water supply line, as shown.
5. Push water supply line into water valve inlet as far as it will go (1⁄4 inch). Slide ferrule (sleeve) into valve inlet and finger tighten compression nut onto valve. Tighten another half turn with a wrench; DO NOT over tighten.
6. With steel clamp and screw, secure water supply line to rear panel of freezer as shown.
7. Coil excess water supply line (about 21⁄2 turns) behind freezer as shown and arrange coils so they do not vibrate or wear against any other surface. (HH: I USED SEPARATE WATER LINE INSTEAD OF COILING THE COPPER TUBING.)
8. Turn ON water supply at shutoff valve and tighten any connections that leak.
9. Reconnect freezer to electrical power source. 10. To turn icemaker on, lower wire signal arm (see ice maker front cover for ON/OFF position of arm).
IMPORTANT: It takes approximately 24 hours for the icemaker to begin producing ice. (HH NOTE: IT TOOK OURS NEARLY 48 HOURS TO BEGIN PRODUCING ICE.) Air in new plumbing lines may cause ice maker to cycle two or three times before making a full tray of ice. New plumbing may cause ice to be discolored or have poor flavor. Discard ice made during the first 24 hours.
SECOND HH TIP: DISSOLVE A FEW CUBES OF THE NEW ICE INTO A WHITE DISH OR BOWL. WAIT FOR IT TO MELT OR PUT IT ON THE STOVE TO SPEED MELTING. WHEN THE ICE HAS MELTED, YOU MAY SEE SEDIMENT PARTICLES, ETC. CONTINUE TO DO THIS WITH EACH BATCH OF ICE UNTIL THE ICE MELTS CLEAN AND CLEAR.
If your freezer has an automatic ice maker, it will provide a sufficient supply of ice for normal use. During the initial start-up of your freezer, however, no ice will be produced during the first 24 hours of operation. Automatic ice makers are also optional accessories that may be installed in some models at any time. Call your local dealer for information.
TURNING YOUR ICE MAKER ON
After the plumbing connections have been completed, the water supply valve must be opened. Place the ice container under the ice maker, pushing it as far back as possible. Lower the wire signal arm to its “down” or ON position. New plumbing connections may cause the first production of ice cubes to be discolored or have an odd flavor. These first cubes should be discarded until the cubes produced are free of discoloration and taste.
TURNING YOUR ICE MAKER OFF
To stop the ice maker, lift the wire signal arm until it clicks and locks in the “up” or OFF position. The ice maker also turns off automatically when the ice container is full. If your model has an adjustable freezer shelf, place the shelf in the lower position, so that the wire signal arm will hit the ice when the container is full.
ICE MAKER TIPS
1” or less
IMPORTANT: Your icemaker is shipped with the wire signal arm in the ON position. To ensure proper function of your ice maker, hook up water supply immediately or turn ice maker OFF by lifting the wire signal arm until it clicks and locks in the UP position.
IMPORTANT: Check the leveling bracket on the icemaker to ensure the ice maker is level. If the gap between the freezer wall and the icemaker is the same at top and bottom, then the ice maker is level.
If the icemaker is not level, loosen the screw and slide the bracket to the correct position to make it level. Retighten the screw.
You’ll need a 1/4” socket wrench for this task.
• Ice cubes stored too long may develop an odd flavor. Empty the ice container and ensure that the wire signal arm is in its “down” or ON position. The ice maker will then produce more ice.
• Occasionally shake the ice container to keep ice separated. • Keep the wire signal arm in its “up” or OFF position until the freezer is connected to the water supply or whenever the
water supply is turned off. The following sounds are normal when the ice maker is operating:
• Motor running • Ice loosening from tray • Ice dropping into ice container • Running water • Water valve opening or closing
• Wash the ice container in warm water with mild detergent. Rinse well and dry. • Stop the ice maker when cleaning the freezer and during vacations. • If the ice maker will be turned off for a long period of time, turn the water supply valve to the closed position.
Do Not place the ice container in your dishwasher.
Enjoy your new ice cube harvest.
TOOTHPICKS SAVE THAT MESSY DEADBOLT ON THE FRONT GATE
It was only getting worse, and I knew it was easy to fix. THE TRICK IS TO SET A DEADBOLT INITIALLY SO THAT THE BOLT SLIDES INTO THE MIDDLE OF THE STRIKE PLATE ON THE DOOR FRAME. That way, if the gate sags slightly due to change in weather, there is some vertical leeway. (I designed our front gate with the assistance of a representative from a wonderful company in Oregon called Pacific Gate Works. I chose Western Red Cedar for it’s beautiful texture, workability, durability and high resistance to decay from the elements. We stained the gate with a highly durable and beautiful stain manufactured by Sikkens. Check out their wood finishing products at: http://www.arcat.com/arcatcos/cos41/arc41336.html.) As for repairing the lock, I had to lower the strike plate just about 3/16” to line up the bolt down the middle. After removing the plate, I chose the right size chisel and, hammering it perpendicular to the wood gently but firmly, cut into the bottom of the area I wanted to remove so that I could lower the plate. Then, from the top down, I delicately chiseled out the tiny area of wood necessary to extend the indented setting for the plate. I set the plate in first without screws, then closed the gate and turned the key to test the setting of the bolt into the strike plate. It was perfect. I drew a pencil line right at the bottom of the plate, just in case it were to fall off. With a cordless drill, I predrilled a hole a bit smaller than the shaft of the rustic, slotted screw I was using to affix the plate to the door frame. I hand-turned that screw for a snug fit, then repeated the procedure for the bottom screw. BUT WAIT…what’s all this about toothpicks? You’re right. I almost forgot. One of the reasons the striker plate AROUND THE BOLT OPENING ON THE GATE had become loose was because of the stress created by constantly having to boost the gate a little bit with my foot to get the bolt to slide into the hole in the middle of the striker plate. The holes for the screws had become torn up and finally too large for the screws, which were loose and falling out. I plugged the holes with (wooden) toothpicks, thus creating new “grab” for the screws. If you can choose toothpicks over some fancy plastic wood product, do it. It works better….every time.
MORE TOOTHPICK MAGIC: Some of the WINDOW GLIDES on the interior of our windows are original 1913. I had the rest of them cast in sand (like the old, Craftsman days) to replicate the originals shortly after we moved in. I then installed all of the hardware, window by window…some thirty in all. This hardware is very cool although, alas…. not very functional… which I suppose is why we don’t see this kind very much anymore. And, like I’ve told you, I am a restorer and fixer. All were working just fine until just the other day when I opened one of them a little too far so that I could step out on a flat area of our roof to throw down a tarp until I can get to a leak that revealed itself to me during our last deluge. When I bumped up against the window … oy! … I tore the screws right out of the wood. This morning, I filled those two holes with toothpicks, trimmed smooth, and then easily reattached the slider arm.
There’s always more to do at the Shore Shack. The latch on the pots and pans storage area compartment of our Wedgewood stove has been staring at me with little stove puppy eyes to please replace it. It’s broken because I made the mistake of replacing the original, all metal one with one of those flimsy, cheap cabinet latches intended for wooden cabinets. It’s got a plastic piece in there that melted from too much stove heat. This time I’ll call my friends at another fine company, ANTIQUE GAS STOVES P.O. BOX 9507 Alta Loma, California 91701 USA (909) 484-2222 email cookin@AntiqueGasStoves.com. They’ll have the right part, or they’ll know where I can find it. They walked and talked me through a thorough replacement of the gas lines and repositioning of the gas valve. That was quite a journey that will be the grist of an upcoming Handy Hazzan. Meanwhile … happy fixing. WE LOVE TO READ YOUR COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS. PLEASE POST! Remember: Tikkun Olam starts at home. You can fix it! - HH