How to Make Farmhouse Style Metal Pendant Light

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I admit it, I believe in UFOs. I’ve seen them, honestly! I even captured a picture of two of them, see:

Yup, we have two UFOs that are frequently seen in our kitchen. Why did I purchase and install them when we first moved in? I’ll never know. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t horrible, but they just don’t go with the casual country vibe I want in my kitchen. [Read more...]

Chalkboard Calendar for the Refrigerator

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You may remember when we created our Summer calendar and bucket list. The boys really responded well to being able to see what was coming up on the calendar. And I enjoyed not having to pull up my Google Calendar on the computer whenever I was put on the spot for a play date. So, continuing to use a calendar in the kitchen was a no brainer. But, creating new calendars on poster board each month — although fun — seemed a bit tedious.

In a sheer stroke of genius suggested by Pretty Handsome Guy I decided to paint a chalkboard calendar on our fridge: [Read more...]

The HouseLogic Boost Your Roost Contest Winner is

And the Winner of HouseLogic’s Boost Your Roost Contest is . . . 

The Smith Family!!! (Yes, they were my chosen entry, and I couldn’t be more thrilled for them!)

The votes were tallied and this deserving family came out on top. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am for Allison and Aaron, whose lives will be changed in just a few short weeks. I only wish I could be there to literally help them break ground.

Pouring over all of the deserving applicants, (over 250), and deciding upon only one finalist was so emotional for me.

To all of you who voted and are turning this dream into a reality, I can’t thank you enough. Houselogic will post progress videos in October as mounds of dirt turn into a beautiful wheelchair accessible area that everyone in the Smith family will enjoy. What a wonderful 40th birthday gift for Aaron – to actually be able to enjoy his own backyard! You can read more about the winners on HouseLogic.

Thank you again from the bottom of my heart. I’ll be sure to share the progress video when it is released.

In the meantime, I feel fulfilled knowing that this little blog of mine has helped someone this month. If you are interested, you could enter a giveaway to win a $1,000 gift card! Sign up for HouseLogic emails to receive a reminder when the first video airs and the giveaway begins.

More good deeds to come.

Disclosure: I have partnering with HouseLogic to promote and advertise the “Boost Your Roost” contest. I was not told what to write. I was compensated for my time.

 

Make Your Own Colored Chalkboard Paint

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Making your own colored chalkboard paint is nothing new. The first recipe I found was from Martha Stewart and it worked for me. Since then, I’ve made the recipe a few times, but now I eyeball the amount of unsanded grout I use until it has a cake batter consistency.

The first time I made the chalkboard paint, I freaked out a little because it was so lumpy. But, after working with the recipe several more times, I realized that this is somewhat normal. I figured you might like to see a little video clip showing the consistency of the colored chalkboard paint.

Here is a quick video to show you how I mix the colored chalkboard paint and the consistency I get: [Read more...]

Leapin’ Lizard Birthday Party

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It’s official, we don’t have any babies or toddlers or young ones in our house anymore. Pardon me while I wipe the tears from my eyes. Nope we have boys. Long lean and fat free boys who like to run and do all sorts of death defying take years off of Mom’s life feats.

Talk of farts and laughing at poop jokes is common conversation in our home. Have you heard the one about the boy who went to the doctor? He told the doctor, “Doctor doctor, my bottom is broken. It has a crack in it.” Want to hear another one? I didn’t think so.

I’ve also noticed that my sweet little boys’ feet are slightly pungent 99% of the time (except for up to 30 minutes after bath time.)

These are the ages when they remember and know exactly what they want for their parties. When Pretty Handy Boy #2 asked to have a lizard themed birthday, you know I had to oblige. (Did you notice that subtle name change? He used to be Handsome Boy. Well, he’s still handsome, but he and his brother are getting to be very handy with the tools. Therefore, I’m renaming both my boys, going forward they will be known as Pretty Handy Boy #1 and #2.)

As I’m sure you know, lizard themed birthday parties are not exactly a common party choice. Running to the party store to pick up everything was a lost cause. (I didn’t think he’d accept Miss Spider plates and decorations.) With not a lot of time (and on a tight budget), this is what I came up with: [Read more...]

The Girl Behind the Blog – About Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl

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This post has been running around in my head for quite a while now. I feel like you don’t really get to see the real me when you read my posts. You don’t get to see the me in my pajamas and messy desk (and dirty dishes) as I proof read the post I finished at 1am in the morning.

You don’t get to see the real me who rushes out the door to pick up my kids in my paint and sawdust spattered clothes.

And you don’t get to see the family that has been behind me from the beginning. You can thank my friend Roeshel from The DIY Showoff for giving me the old kick in the pants to finally share those pertinent details with you ;-).

Have you ever wondered who the real Pretty Handy Girl is? Is she tall is she short? I’m 5′ 6″. What’s her favorite food? Definitely dark chocolate! Is she a coffee or tea drinker? Coffee. Mac or PC? Been a Mac girl since 1990! And what really scares her? Read more to find out: [Read more...]

Family Fun at Hanging Rock State Park, NC

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Have you ever been to Hanging Rock State Park in North Carolina? If you haven’t, it is definitely worth the trek from the nearby NC or VA area. Our trip was organized by my inlaws and they couldn’t have picked a more family-friendly and fun destination for us.

Hanging Rock State Park is a mere 30 miles north of Winston-Salem, NC and located near the quaint town of Danbury, NC. Danbury is so small that the town hall is in this little historic building:

[Read more...]

Tiled End Table Makeover – Guest Post by Design Megillah

Rita from Design Megillah is here today. This gal has more creative talent in her little finger than most people have in their whole body! I’ve been following Rita’s blog, for over a year now. I was first drawn to her blog because of the clean look. But, I was soon hooked by all her creative decorating ideas. Rita was a magazine art director in her pre-parenting life. You may have heard of some of the publications she worked on: House Beautiful and Good Housekeeping.

She left the publishing industry to become a mother and lived happily ever after in Connecticut. Just a few weeks ago she became a grandmother (congrats Rita!) She is also an accomplished author of two books published by Simon & Schuster: Jewish Holiday Style and Jewish Weddings. See what I mean? Talented I tell ya’!
Despite the fact that her posts slant toward Jewish holidays and decorating, readers of all faiths can benefit from her clear design and crafting tutorials.

How to Make a Gear Bracelet – Junk Warrior Jewelry

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Did you pass your Junk Warrior testing? Congratulations if you did! And now I assume you want one of these highly coveted gear bracelets that will identify you as a Junk Warrior. Get set to follow this easy tutorial to make your own!

[Read more...]

Lessons on Becoming a Junk Warrior

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Becoming a Junk Warrior doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of training and effort to achieve toughness and the ability to withstand the elements while junkin’. It was touch and go, but I eventually passed all ten tests to become a full fledged Junk Warrior.

Want to take the online lesson to become one too? Follow these video tips to earn your Junk Warrior status: [Read more...]

Day 5 Reveal of the Moore Habitat for Humanity House – End of the GMC Hidden Treasure Adventure

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And now the moment y’all have been waiting for! The end of our journey and the culmination of all our efforts were revealed to Alexcia, Jaydon & Jurnei Moore on Sunday, August 5th 2012. Alexcia thought she was just getting the keys to her empty home. Little did she know, that GMC, OnStar, Habitat for Humanity and 6 bloggers had conspired to fill her home with furniture, beddings, and home decor.

(Alexcia thinking, “You did what to my house?”) [Read more...]

Day 4 Pulling It All Together on the GMC OnStar Hidden Treasure Adventure

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After yesterday’s diversions, we were all feeling the pressure to purchase the final items on our wish lists. This would be our last day on the yard sale and the last day to prep any items we purchased before placing them into the Habitat house.

We decided to create a master wish list for everyone so we could all be on the lookout for each other. There was a lot of texting with photos attached as we shopped in the in the morning.

[Read more...]

Day 3: Surviving the GMC OnStar Hidden Treasure Adventure

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On Day 3, despite our best efforts to maximize our time, we ran into a few distractions. Here are a few words of wisdom and things we learned today: [Read more...]

Day 2: The Start of the GMC OnStar Hidden Treasure Adventure

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I made it home safely on Sunday night after an exhausting but fulfilling week. I apologize for not posting in real time, but there was truly no way for me to do it. Sleep was a bit of a priority for me ;-). But, we’ll just roll back our clocks and I’ll take you along for an adventure of a lifetime!

As you know, GMC flew six of us (Brooke from All Things Thrifty, Donna from Funky Junk Interiors, Lindsey from Better After, Cy & Traci from Beneath My Heart, and myself) to Michigan to take part in the World’s Longest Yard Sale and for a charitable cause. After our arrival in Detroit, we toured the OnStar command center, did some quick shopping at the Habitat ReStore in Detroit and then headed to our hotels for the night.

The next morning we woke up early to start the adventure! We each drew a piece of paper from our GMC organizer’s hand. On the paper was a room name. The room corresponded to a REAL room in a brand new Habitat for Humanity house in Birmingham, AL. The owner, Alexcia Moore, was set to receive the keys and move in on Sunday, August 5th.

[Read more...]

Creating Open Frame Radiator Screen Cabinet Doors

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A few months ago when I got the call that Woman’s Day wanted to send a photographer to photograph me and my garage, I kind of freaked a little. I mean, it was my garage, the least attractive room in our house! Part of the unattractiveness stemmed from my workbench with a huge gaping hole in it.

It was suggested that I could just cover the hole with some fabric (which, yes, I could have done.) But, being that it is my workshop and a sawdust producing place, I felt I could do a little a little better than just some fabric. I decided to build custom doors for the opening. Luckily they turned out to be less of an involved project than I originally anticipated. (I love when that happens.)

Come on in the workshop and I’ll show you how I built these open frame cabinet doors. [Read more...]

Day 1 : GMC Hidden Treasure Adventure

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Well, I arrived safely in Detroit and hit the ground running. It is going to be a whirlwind of activity from now until Sunday, August 5th! Are you up for the adventure? If so, I’ll take you along for the ride.

First, I met up with fellow Junk Warrior, Donna. I know y’all know this famous junkster as Funky Junk Interiors. Donna is such a sweet gal (errr, I mean a tough chick!) [Read more...]

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers

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Let’s give a big round of applause and a thank you to Jeff from Home Repair Tutor for his tutorial on Changing Your Garage Door Extension Springs.

Today I’ll help you learn how to replace your garage door rollers! After that, with a little maintenance, your garage doors should continue to operate smoothly for a while.

Materials:

  • New Garage Door Rollers
  • Clamp
  • Pliers
  • Large flat head screwdriver
  • Prybar
  • A Helper
Instructions:

Start by opening  your garage door completely.

Place a clamp on to the track about 2/3 of the way up the door opening.

Release the garage door from the power opener by pulling on the attached release rope.

For added safety, unplug the garage door opener from the outlet.

Near the top of the track use pliers to bend the track slightly open.

Line up the first roller with the opening. Use the flathead screwdriver and wedge it between the roller and the track. Pry the roller out of the track.

Remove the old roller.

Slide a new roller in and insert the roller back into the track.

Roll the door down to the next roller and repeat the same process for removing and replacing the rollers.

When you have replaced the bottom 4 rollers, you’ll realize that you won’t be able to replace the top one because it won’t line up with the opening in the track. Bend the track back into alignment and then roll the door all the way open.

Bend a section of track in the middle of the overhead section.

Be sure to have your helper spot the door or it could slip from the track and bonk you on the head. (Home Repair Tutor shows how to use a 2×4 clamped to the track to support the door if you don’t have a helper available. He also has a different method for replacing the rollers, so be sure to watch his video.)

(Oh yes, this did happen to me! I got knocked hard enough to have me down for the count, but I got right back up and kept right on swinging.)

Pry the last roller out and replace it. Use your pliers to bend the track back into shape.

Remove the clamp from the track. Plug the door opener back in. Re-attach the door to the garage door opener by pressing the button that controls the operation of your door (usually on the wall of your garage.) The door should automatically re-attach to the opener.

Close the door and watch for any misalignment of the track.

If you need to adjust the tracks, loosen the bolts on the side of the track and re-align the track. I used a prybar to give a little leverage to move the track small increments.

Tighten all the bolts. While you are at it, make sure all screws and bolts on the garage and the tracks are tightened because the vibration of the door can usually shake things loose over time.

And that’s it folks!

For more maintenance tips on keeping your garage in tip top shape, check out Home Repair Tutor’s post on garage door maintenance.



 

How to Replace Garage Door Extension Springs – Guest Post Home Repair Tutor

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Hey guys and gals, I have a special guest for you today! Today I have a real life Handy Man today. That’s right we’re bringing in a little testosterone to mix things up.

This is Jeff aka Pretty Handy Man:

Jeff writes Home Repair Tutor, a blog that shares tips on saving time and money when doing home repairs. He shares his experiences, both good and bad, to help you with what sometimes seems like overwhelming home repair projects. He also likes the Steelers, (I’m supposed to tell you that because guys find that stuff important. So, if you hate the Steelers, boo on you. Can you tell I’m naive on how to talk sports?)

Plus, he always adds a little humor to his videos. (My favorite is garage door testing the unorthodox way. Don’t you just love a man who isn’t afraid to ride a pink bike?)

I’ve been following Home Repair Tutor for a few months now and Jeff’s recent post about garage door maintenance saved me some cash. I had been trying to solve why my garage door was running so rough and had already replaced the rollers. But, Jeff had one tip that I had forgotten to do: Lubricate all the moving parts! Duh, a few squirts of lubricant had the doors rolling smooth again. I hope you’ll check out his blog and follow along. You won’t be disappointed.

So, today I give you handy man and comedian, Jeff from Home Repair Tutor! Woooohoo!

Thanks Brittany for the opportunity to guest post on Pretty Handy Girl. You’ve set the bar high for home remodeling tutorials and I hope to empower your fans with another great DIY project. But first let me briefly introduce myself.

My name is Jeff Patterson and my remodeling blog is Home Repair Tutor. In my spare time I manage and fix my own older rental homes here in the Pittsburgh area. I’ve been doing this for almost a decade and have experienced numerous projects that include kitchen remodels, bathroom installations, hardwood floor restoration, and more. My goal is pass along all the tips and tricks that I’ve learned so others can benefit.

Today’s post deals with a project that anyone can do:

Replacing Garage Door Extension Springs

Garage Door Extension Spring Repair

A squeaky garage door has a penetrating sound that can drive anyone crazy. The average garage door is opened and closed over 600 times every year. This repetitive action is what leads to the creaks you hear on a daily basis.

But regular maintenance can help your garage door run smoothly and safely. Two of the most used items on your garage door are the extension springs that help lift and lower it. Extension springs are found on most traditional roll up garage doors. They’re dangerous if not properly maintained since they hold a tremendous amount of tension.

(Pretty Handy Girl notes: Torsion springs are the other type of garage door springs. They run directly over the garage door opening on a rod. Serious injury can occur if you don’t know what  you are doing or have the right tools to replace a torsion spring. In my opinion, these should be left to the pros.)

This tutorial will take the mystery out of how garage door extension springs work and will show you how to safely replace them on your own without spending a ton of money. By the end of this post you’ll confidently be able to perform this home repair project, and tell your neighbors you’re a garage door Jedi :).

Are Your Garage Door Springs Misbehaving?

This tutorial is going to address garage door extension springs that run along the door’s horizontal track. But how do you know if your springs need replaced?

The picture below is a good example of what a spring looks like at the end of its life cycle.

Warped Garage Door Springs

If this spring breaks it will release an extraordinary amount of tension that can be unleashed on a person or item in your garage.

Another sign of worn springs is creakiness or uneven closure of your door. Bad springs can put pressure on the garage door rollers and cause them to screech. If one spring is bad but the other is in good shape the door may close unevenly, too. You’ll notice this if the door is closed and one side is higher than the other.

Extension springs are colored coded. In my case the springs had red paint sprayed just on one end, and this indicated that we had a 150 lb. garage door.

Garage Door Springs are Color Coded

You can go to Home Depot and buy your replacement extension springs based on the color code. The picture below shows the wide range of springs you can buy.

Garage Door Extension Springs are Sold Based on Their Color Code

Now that you know how to choose your springs you can get started on your project.

Become a Jedi of Garage Door Springs

But even Yoda would agree that safety comes first.

Completely open your garage door and unplug the power cord to the opener.

Place a C-clamp on each track underneath the the bottom garage door roller. This will prevent the door from rolling down to the ground in the next step. For extra protection you can put a step ladder underneath the center of the door.

Use a C-Clamp Underneath the Bottom Garage Door Roller

Pull down on the garage door’s manual safety release. This allows the garage door to be moved up and down without the help of the opener.

Pull Down on the Garage Door Manual Safety Release

The door weight should now rest on the C-clamps.

This next step is a smart tip that will ensure your extension spring installation was done correctly. Place a piece of blue painter’s tape on the garage door track underneath the pulley that’s attached to the extension spring. Then place a mark on the tape to indicate the center of the pulley’s bolt.

Place a Mark on the Tape to Indicate the Center of the Pulley's Bolt

Since the spring has no tension in it you can safely remove the steel safety cable that runs through it. This cable is in place so that if your garage door spring snaps it won’t shoot across the room and hurt someone. The safety cable runs through the spring. It’s tied to the horizontal support bracket closest to the garage door opening on one end and is simply tied to the vertical support bracket on the other end.

Before removing the safety cable from the support brackets you should take pictures of how it was tied together. This will help you when you have to re-tie it after the new extension spring is installed. I also numbered the holes on the vertical support bracket as 1 & 2 to help with this process.

Take a Picture of the Steel Cable Before Undoing It

Since the steel safety cable will only need to be removed from the horizontal support bracket I also decided to make a reference mark on it. This mark will allow you to reinstall the safety cable to how it was originally setup.

Place a Reference Mark on the Steel Safety Cable

The next step is to remove the garage door extension spring.

There’s a steel cable connected to the bottom of your garage door. This cable runs over a stationary pulley that’s attached to your garage door track. This steel cable continues until it goes over and around a second pulley that’s attached to your extension spring via a pulley fork. The steel cable then is attached to the horizontal support bracket via an S-hook. This S-Hook is also attached to a three hole adjusting clip.

Mark where the S-hook was positioned on the support bracket then remove it.

Mark the Position of the S-Hook Then Remove it From the Support Bracket

Now you need to disassemble the pulley that is connected to the spring. This is simple but again take a picture of your configuration for reference. Remember that the steel cable that runs from the bottom of the garage door goes over the top of the pulley then to the horizontal support bracket. You’ll need two wrenches to undo the nut and bolt that hold the pulley to the pulley fork.

Remove the Pulley from the Pulley Fork by Undoing the Nut & BoltRemove the pulley and pulley fork from the extension spring. The spring can now be taken off the eye bolt hanger. The eye bolt hanger is attached to the vertical support brackets that come down from the ceiling.

Remove the Extension Spring from the Eye Bolt

The picture below shows the old spring on the left and the new spring on the right. Is there any doubt the extension springs needed replaced? :)

Old Versus New Garage Door Extension Spring

A New Era of Garage Door Efficiency Begins

The installation of the new spring, as you can imagine, is opposite that of the removal process. It’s easy but requires attention to detail.

Attach the non-color coded end of the spring to the eye-bolt and run the steel safety cable through it.

Pull the steel safety cable through the vertical support bracket. I labeled the two holes the steel cable will pass through.

Hole 1 has the cable going through it right to left. The cable should then pass through Hole 2 from left to right.

Position the Steel Safety Cable Through the Support BracketA loop is created. Thread the cable back through this loop. Notice the black reference mark that was made on the cable. I used pliers to pull the wire tight such that this mark stops short of going through Hole 1.

Thread the Steel Safety Cable Through the Support Bracket

Pull the steel cable through the hole on the far side of the support bracket.

Weave the cable back and forth in the same manner as it was before being removed.

Tighten the Steel Safety Cable to the Support Bracket

The other end of the steel safety cable that runs through the extension spring should be tied to the horizontal support bracket closest to the garage door opening.

This next part is where your attention to detail is somewhat critical.

Place the pulley fork onto the color coded end of the extension spring. Ensure the plastic bushing that has the steel safety cable running through it is facing away from the garage door track.

The Plastic Bushing on the Pulley Fork Must Face Away from the Garage Door Track

Pull the steel cable that comes from the bottom of the garage door over the top of the pulley. The S-hook and 3-hole adjusting clip attached to the steel cable should be hanging down from the pulley.

Make sure this steel cable is not twisted with the steel safety cable. (I didn’t check for this and had to undo the entire pulley/pulley fork assembly — not fun.) The steel cable should run freely from the stationary pulley closest to the garage door opening to the pulley that will be connected to the extension spring.

Position the pulley into the pulley fork then place the nut onto the pulley fork so that it is next to the plastic bushing.

Place the Nut for the Pulley on Top of the Pulley Fork Next to the Plastic Bushing

Pass the bolt through the pulley fork and pulley. Tighten the nut and bolt until they’re secure.

Attach the S-hook & 3-hole adjusting clip to the horizontal support bracket where it originally was located.

Place the S-Hook & 3-Hole Adjusting Clip into the Support Bracket

At this point you can use the reference mark on the blue tape to check the tension of the steel cable. In this case the pulley’s bolt lined up perfectly with the mark and tension was good to go.

Check the Tension of the Garage Door Extension Spring

The tension of the garage door springs can be adjusted by doing the following:

  • Move the S-hook to different holes in the horizontal support bracket
  • Adjust the cable in the 3-hole adjusting clip connected to the S-hook (this is a pain!)
  • Moving the eye-bolt up or down on the vertical support bracket. Do this with the door open and C-clamps on the tracks. (Moving the eye-bolt up will increase tension while moving it down releases tension)

Use great care when adjusting the spring tension. As mentioned before, garage door extension springs can cause serious injuries and that is the last thing anyone wants. This is a safe project to perform as long as you follow all of the steps :). Remember that both extension springs need to replaced at the same time. So, while this tutorial only shows one spring being removed you need do the above steps for the second. Otherwise your door may close unevenly. Besides, if one spring is bad, chances are the other isn’t in good shape.

Queue the Chariots of Fire Theme Song

Plug your garage door opener into the outlet and remove the C-clamps. Hold your breath (just kidding) and hit the garage door opener. With any luck you’ll see the garage door close smoothly, safely, and with a resounding feeling of accomplishment.There’s a chance that your door may not close completely due to the new springs having more tension than the old ones.You can adjust how far the door travels by turning the adjustment screws on the door opener.
Adjust the Travel of Your Garage Door by Turning the Travel Screws

Now you know how to safely replace your garage door extension springs. Give yourself a high five! New springs will help your garage door run smoothly and efficiently while eliminating annoying squeaks.

For more garage door maintenance tips, you can read my post on regular garage door maintenance.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask them in the comment section, I’d be more than happy to help you with your project.

Thanks again Brittany for the opportunity to bring this tutorial to your fans. Hopefully this showed that it’s not difficult to do any project when you’ve got the right mix of patience and curiosity.

Make it a great day!

Thank you Jeff, what a great tutorial! I can always count on Home Repair Tutor to help me learn something new.

Keeping with the theme of garage door repairs, I’ll have a tutorial on how to replace your garage door rollers on Friday! And how I fought the garage door and I won!

Stay tuned and don’t touch that dial (bonus points to anyone old enough to know what the heck that means.)