Author Archives: Daniel Stewart

Common Plumbing Issues in North Dakota

Let’s be honest; North Dakota is an impressive place!  However, two facts of life in North Dakota, the cold and potential for flooding,  can wreak havoc with the plumbing in your home.  The prospect of frozen pipes, not to mention a flooded basement, send chills through the average homeowner.  Luckily, we don’t have to succumb to plumbing disasters.  Here are some strategies to protect your home from typical plumbing problems in North Dakota.


North Dakotans pride themselves on their ability to survive and even thrive, during the frigid months.  The biggest plumbing worry during the winter is the potential for frozen pipes.  Frozen pipes are so dangerous because they can crack and break.  Even a small crack can release a startling amount of water into your home.  Cracked and broken pipes cause significant, costly, structural damage to your home.  Plumbers recommend the following steps to avoid a frozen pipe catastrophe.


  • Drain and disconnect garden hoses.  A garden hose attached to the house poses the risk of freezing.  The frozen water in the garden hose builds pressure and can cause damage to the water pipes in your home.  You can eliminate this problem by draining your garden hoses and storing them for the winter.


  • Maintain your water heater so that it has optimal performance during the winter months.  Your water heater works very hard during freezing weather and needs to be in good condition.  Your water pipes might freeze if the water heater stops working so make sure that it is in good working condition before the outside temperature plunges.


  • Keep your house heated to at least 55 degrees.  Frosty temperatures in a building can lead to frozen pipes.


  • Let your faucet drip during the coldest days of the year.  Plumbers recommend a steady drip as a means to keep the water moving in the pipes.  Water in motion is unlikely to freeze.


Once the freezing, icy, snowy weather of winter winds down, homeowners begin to face the second plumbing challenge in many parts of North Dakota.  Flooding.  All of that melting snow and ice often leads to a minor, and sometimes severe, flooding.  There are a few preventative steps that help reduce the danger of flooding in your home.


  • Clean out your sump pump and check that it is still working.  Trust me; you’ll appreciate it when you hear your sump pump click on during a storm.


  • Call a professional to perform routine sewer maintenance.  There is nothing as disheartening as sewer water in your basement.


  • Clean out your gutters.  Cleaning your gutters will keep water flowing away from your house during a storm.


  • Redo your landscape, if needed, so that water flows away from your house.  Sometimes, changing a flower garden can ensure a dry basement.


Finally, who doesn’t want to live in North Dakota?  With a little planning and maintenance, it is possible to minimize the twin threats of frozen pipes and flooding in your home.  Good luck!

Best Plumbing Tools

Every homeowner knows that along with the joys of owning a home come the dreaded horrors of plumbing upkeep and repair in your home.  While hiring the professional for certain household repairs would probably be the wisest move, some of you prefer to be do-it-yourselfers.  That said, you need to have your arsenal of tools up to par.  Particular tasks, such as plumbing, require some specific tools.


Get the right wrenches!  Depending on the date of building of your house or place of business, the type of piping in your walls may vary.  If perchance you have copper piping, a regular wrench will twist and destroy the pipes, and you will have more work on your hands than you originally planned.  You will need two wrenches, both with super strong grips, such as a self-adjusting crescent wrench and telescoping basin wrench.  When you get ready to loosen a nut, one goes on the nut and the other on the threaded end of the pipe.  Loosen the nut while countering the force with the other wrench so that the piping doesn’t take the strain.  Then, you’re golden!


Pipe and tubing cutters are a must!  Let’s say you have a nut and pipe situation where you are replacing some piping, but your new piece is too long.  You need pipe cutters to cut the pipe to size.  Different options are available to you at your local hardware stores, such as pipe shears or the compact, crescent-shaped cutters that work on copper and PVC.


Arm yourself with a plunger.  Let’s have a “duh” moment for a bit.  A plunger is one of the most fundamental tools to have in your plumbing arsenal.  Sometimes a plunger will be the only thing you need to unclog that toilet or drain.  You may as well get a good one with excellent suction power for those blockages that are doozies!


Invest in a hand grabbing tool.  No, a hand grabbing tool doesn’t grab your hand!  It acts as an extension of your arm and hand to reach down into those nasty, narrow places that your hands will not fit into (think down in the toilet neck or deep into the shower drain).  If your toddler flushes your keys down the toilet, a hand grabbing tool just might be able to get those bad boys out of there without you having to get your own real hands nasty.


Iron Pipe Wrenches make life easier.  Not all piping in your home is fragile like copper piping.  Some pipes are made of stout iron and will not be easily loosened or tightened securely without lots of muscle power.  In these cases, you will need the sturdy iron pipe wrench to give you a bit more leverage and muscle to loosen or secure those pipes well.


Many other plumbing tools line the shelves of your local hardware store awaiting your desperate need for them.  For starters, the above-listed tools should get help for those projects that the handy do-it-yourselfer wants to tackle.

Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service

Going out to local establishments is a favorite of mine.  Probably why I started a blog devoted to writing up my thoughts about my visits.  But, every now and then a business walks into your home.  Sometimes those are not fantastic experiences.  Sometimes they are.  I am about to tell you about a really bad experience and a really good experience.

The Problem


The wife and I came home from a recent weekend getaway and immediately thought something was different the moment we walked thru the door of our home.  Looking around, the room wasn’t any different.  Nothing was out of place.  It wasn’t that the home had appeared to have been entered while we were gone.  We didn’t hear anything in the house that left us confused.  We weren’t seeing something that left us scratching our heads.  It was what we smelled.  Something didn’t smell right.  The air smelled dank.  Damp.  Musty.  We began looking around and everything appeared to be fine.  We looked at each other scratching our heads.  THEN, we decided to go take a look in the basement.

The moment that I thought of the basement, a big “OH NO” thundered thru the fibers of my being.  You know that moment when you’re filled with dread?  The worst possible scenario?  Yup, I was living in it and I hadn’t even rounded the corner of the stairwell.

My wife beat me to it.  The gasp as she walked down the stairs and turned the corner told me that I needed to make a run for it.  I fought my inner selfishness and decided that I would summon up the courage to take charge of the situation.  Besides, if I take charge, then that meant I could delegate the clean up to my wife, correct?  Wrong.

The site that greeted me as I timidly followed in her footsteps was astonishing.  Our (thankfully) unfinished basement easily had a couple of inches of water standing across the entire slab of concrete.  Pulling my shoes and socks off and rolling my pants up, the only logical thing to do was to jump down into it and splash around for a few minutes!  Just kidding, I definitely didn’t do that.

The Scratching Our Heads Period


So, we scratched our heads…what’s wrong with that?!  I’m not a DIY-er.  I’m not a Mr. Fix-It.  I don’t know the difference between a wrench and pliers, a hammer and a screw driver, a stiff drink and a wine cooler…  Okay, I’m wrong there.  I definitely know the difference between those two, because I know that in a situation like this, the first solution is a stiff drink!  “Vodka straight, please?”  Wife didn’t want to play bartender, so looks like I am off to pour.

I don’t know what happened downstairs, but I know “turn around don’t drown.”  So I hightailed it up to the safety of drowning myself in Smirnoff, one responsible glass at a time.  Only, a mason jar is generally not considered an appropriate shot glass size.  So what, right?

Look, I don’t have to be Jacques Cousteau to know that this was one sea bed that I was going to get to the bottom of.  So, I picked up the trusty old water-proof phone and started doing my research.

The Solution


To dampen the story a bit (see what I did there), I made a call to our insurance company, and to our local Roto-Rooter.  When all was said and done, we had a water line that ran thru the concrete floor that busted.  By all accounts, there was nothing that should have caused it to do that, but it did.  We hired Roto-Rooter to repair the slab leak in our basement.  The guys at Roto-Rooter did an absolutely fantastic job and were very knowledgable about what had happened and how to fix it.  I know that (heaven forbid) I ever have to hire a local plumber again, it will be guys at Roto-Rooter!

Leave A Google Business Review

One of the things that we commonly find ourselves doing is leaving business reviews on Google.  We’ve had several friends and family members recently along with a handful of folks who have corresponded with us thru this site who have asked how to leave a review for a business on Google.  Instead of us attempting to give a lengthy written out explanation, we figured that we might as well just leave this video here.  If you were wondering how to leave a Business review for businesses listed on Google’s Google Map Listings, this is how you do it!

Lambert’s Cafe – Roll Heaven!

I absolutely love bread. I could not imagine my life without it. I don’t think I would ever last on a diet that denied me bread! Any restaurant that has warm, fresh, mouth-watering, delicious bread has my attention. One of those restaurants is Lambert’s Cafe with their signature Throwed Rolls! Yes folks, if you want amazing rolls, you’d better be a good catch or else have someone with you who is! The Throwed Rolls are definitely the main attraction at Lambert’s Cafe, which is located at 1800 W State Highway J in beautiful Ozark, Missouri. If you are in the area, you have to try it at least once!

First off, make sure you go hungry! Don’t even eat breakfast. You might not be hungry for dinner later either. If you arrive at peak times, expect to have a long wait time at this popular and iconic restaurant. There is an antique shop and several other shops you can peruse behind Lambert’s while you wait. Another important tip is this is a cash or check only establishment, but they do have an ATM available. These minor drawbacks are well worth it to experience the fun atmosphere, friendly staff, and great homestyle cooking served in large portions!

Once you’re seated, you’ll find a range of classic American entrees. Some of these are country fried chicken, roast beef, meatloaf, chicken wings, burgers, and fresh catfish just to name a few. I decided to try the country fried chicken and it was great! The drinks come in huge plastic mugs, so you might not even need a refill. Once your entree arrives, you’ll get to experience the Throwed Rolls and the Pass-Arounds. I told you that I love bread, and these rolls completely fulfilled my expectations! They are fresh, warm, soft, and buttery, plus very fun to catch! This was the first time in my life I could say I caught my own food! There is also molasses offered with the rolls, which I highly recommend trying. The Pass-Arounds are a tasty selection of sides, some of which are fried okra, black eyed peas, fried potatoes, mac and tomatoes, and more! The fried okra is absolutely amazing! I would go back for the fried okra and rolls alone. If you can make it through the generous entree portions, you are welcome to seconds as well. I couldn’t do it, the rolls were just too good!

I have seen some people complain that there are not any healthy options at this restaurant, and I would tend to agree. Homestyle, southern cooking has never been praised as health food. But, there is something to be said in enjoying a heaping portion of comfort food in an exciting atmosphere every now and again. Wait for your cheat day and you’ll be a happy camper.

So, if you aren’t dieting, love comfort food, enjoy a great atmosphere, enjoy excellent staff, large portions, and warm rolls, you’ll be very satisfied you stopped to partake in the Lambert’s Cafe experience!

Andy’s Custard – Your New Addiction!

It’s difficult to define an Andy’s concrete without using the words, “Amazing”, “Stellar”, “Mind-Blowing”, and my personal definition “ADDICTIVE”!  Andy’s has been around Springfield for as long as I’ve lived here and they just continue to get better!  My all-time favorite, automatic mood changer, and go-to concrete is the Pretzel Caramel Crunch.  It has it all.  It has the sweet creamy custard, the salty crunchy pretzels (if you are able to eat it quickly!  Which is difficult because you want to slowly savor it ALL!), and then the sweet salty creamy caramel hits you.  It’s incredible.

Their seasonal menu and specials are always a lovely thing to behold.  Their Pumpkin concrete comes out every September and after having one, you will first thank me and secondly know what I mean when I say it just isn’t fall until you have one!  They use fresh, seasonal ingredients like blackberries, peaches, apples, Girl Scout Cookies (they taste good enough to be called fresh!), and other mouth-watering toppings will keep you coming back again and again in a sane but frenzied search for your favorite flavor.

I have been to all their locations across Springfield and a few others across Missouri and in Tulsa.  The first experience I ever had at Andy’s was on an overly warm summer night and it was packed!  I thought we would be there till the next ice age since there were only 3 visible workers taking and making the orders.  Even though we were in the back of a crowd, the line moved very quickly and we had our first of many concretes.  They has never been a time at any of their locations that I have been disappointed by their service, freshness, or flavor.  Some of their restaurants have a retro feel to it while some of their others blend a retro and modern look.  Any way you slice it, they have consistently been clean, courteous, and always a place we look forward to taking new people to.

There are other things on the menu I have bought less frequently due to my enduring addiction to their concretes.  They have a line of drinks from Milwaukee called ‘Sprecher’.  They have Root Beer, Cream Soda, Orange Dream, and Ginger Ale.  The Root Beer is among the best I have ever sampled.  It puts the big name brands like A&W to shame.  The best of the lot is their Ginger Ale.  My grandma told me years ago to drink some whenever I had an upset stomach or case of the nerves.  This brand will make you want to get sick so you have another excuse to buy some.  Very high quality sodas at a high quality store.  Win-win!  Some other items they have on menu are their banana splits and sundaes.  Just picture all of the fresh ingredients I mentioned above laid out on a large cup of their frozen custard.  It really is a life altering experience to eat here.

Last thing I want to mention and perhaps warn about are the sizes.  They are usually plenty big enough to share depending on your degree of addiction.  I don’t generally share my concrete willingly, but I acquiesce to my lovely wife who threatens me bodily harm if I don’t hook her up with some!