even with the hot water turned off in the basement, some hot water was still dribbling out from the pipes upstairs (i mustn't have released enough pressure). unscrewing the hot water valve under the bathroom sink, i had to use a towel to keep the water from spraying everywhere when i removed the valve, and even then i still managed to get wet. the valve was missing its washer. fortunately i had a whole box so replacement it was easy. i had to bang it on a piece of wood to get the new washer to fit onto the valve. it took some time to rescrew the valve back onto the pipe, armed with my bucket and wet towel. i wasn't on planning to check the cold water valve because that wasn't leaking but i did it anyway. it took was missing its washer, but i found it inside the pipe. that made me realize that the old washer for the hot water valve was probably still in the pipe as well, i just didn't check. oh well. after putting on a new washer, i screwed the valve back in.
after i turned on the water downstairs, i quickly ran upstairs to make sure nothing was leaking (i had visions of water spraying everywhere). everything seemed to be working. valve washers replaced! now all i need to do is to replace the washers in the faucet handle cartridges.
for those i went to watertown supply in watertown. if you've ever done any home plumbing work and needed to score a hard-to-find part, you've probably been here before. it's not the most descriptive name for a plumbing supply company. most of the people who shop here are professional plumbers and there's even a sign that says pros get first dibs on services during busy times. i showed the guy what i wanted and after a lengthy search he found the washers. apparently they're made in germany for grohe. i was going to buy some spare washers, but at $6.30 a washer it wasn't worth it (considering buy a simple brand new faucet costs $20-30), so i just got a pair instead.
the sun actually came out today. i rode the motorcycle to speed up my errands. leaving watertown supply i went to belmont briefly to grab a tube of silicone caulk and some tomatoes. i stopped by the cafe to fix a weird bug on my parents' ipad. in safari, there seemed to be a grey highlight over the browser window that blocked all gestures. i flushed the cookies/history/cache but that didn't fix anything. finally i went online and found the solution. when you turn off an ipad it's actually just going to sleep. to really turn it off, you need to hold the power button until you're given the option to shut down. once we powered back up that seemed to fix the problem. my parents were also trying to buy some cheap delta airfares to taiwan next spring using their mileage, but the flights were all sold out before they managed to buy them.
back at home i got on my bicycle and went to retrieve an old bike helmet somebody had thrown out. i already have a helmet (which i only sometimes wear); maybe i can give this to somebody.
after putting on the new washers, i installed the cartridges back into the faucet housing. turning the knobs felt softer with the washers, but alas, the sink was still dripping. it could just be residual drip, i'll have to check on it periodically to see if it stops.
it was a day of sandwiches, alternating between tuna fish and ham/mustard whenever i felt hungry. i went to the dollar store in the afternoon to get some clothesline (to hang dry some area rugs outside i plan on washing) then market basket to get some groceries. i fell asleep on the couch for an hour in the early evening, waking up when it got dark.
there seems to be no end to my plumbing fun: later in the evening i caulked the edge of the faucet fixture, to prevent water pooling on the sink from dribbling onto the floor through the fixture opening. i used silicone and smoothed out the beads with my finger, which felt siliconey afterwards no matter how much i washed it.