Sunday, June 10, 2007

Final Water Heater Entry

Back from hiking on the Appalachian Trail and had to finally post this last water heater entry.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Where to start? Last Thursday night was the initial operation of the new water heater. I held my breath as I opened the water and gas valves. The electric power to the unit was turned on, and I opened the hot water control to the outside shower. I heard the inner workings of the heater start up and in no time I had hot water streaming out of the showerhead! Success!!! I took a long, HOT shower to celebrate!

On Monday the 19th I finished up the “tweaking” of the installation. The cold water line was not level, and I wanted to be certain all the connections were tight. That cold water line was fully functional, but just knowing that it was out of level drove me crazy. I could not look at it without wanting to remedy the situation. It only took ½ an hour to cut a section out of the line and re-sweat the thing. Now I can rest easy! So many times the threaded copper fittings and unions will develop small leaks after a day or two. This job was no exception; there were a couple drips that I had to contend with. All seems well now.

The exposed pipes were insulated and attached to a support yesterday. Today I will insulate the pipes in the crawl space and install permanent pipe hangers. The plastic coated wire I used for the installation could suffice, but after all this work, I want the job to be finished up right.

With this plumbing project out of the way, it was time to get back to my workshop roof. The shingles I had special ordered arrived at Lowe’s on Thursday. Saturday afternoon I went to pick them up. Customer service checked everything out and told me to go see George in the building dept. I can tell George is the comic relief of the dept. He is having a great time interacting with his friends and customers. George and his working partner are loading lumber when I arrive. Long boards of pressure treated wood were being transferred into the bed of an ancient truck: an old short bed Ford from the 1960’s. None of the door colors match the body and primer covers much of the trucks surface. A chromed tool box takes up half the truck bed. (It would not surprise me that this tool box cost more than the truck!) The proud owners of this vehicle stand by as this wood gets piled into the back and make no attempt to help. There is long overhang of wood over the tailgate; this is a very unsteady load. You can tell these are trailer people. The man opens the tool box, takes out a hammer and nails a red flag to the longest piece of wood hanging out. Then they drive off. That load was never tied down or secured in any way. Turning the corner to exit the parking lot, the spare tire rolls off the truck bed, bouncing onto the parking lot. Fortunately it did not hit anything. I see this type of thing every day here in the Deep South. People wonder why I hate to drive in the mist of all this?

I get the shingles home and try to get them transferred to the workshop roof. There is a Mimosa tree that grew up in Michelle’s back yard that makes this almost impossible. She told me I was free to take it down, in fact she was very happy at the idea when I suggested it to her. This tree is only a few years old, but things grow so fast here. I get out my axe and try to play Paul Bunyan. The trunk of this tree is very springy; I’m losing all the power of the axe as the trunk moves upon impact. Checking the growth of this nasty tree, I see how it originally started on my property, grew sideways under the chain link fence, and then up into Michelle’s yard. I transfer the chopping to my side of the fence. Once I get some notches cut into the trunk, I take my chains, cables and “come-along” back to Michelle’s yard. One of the chains is wrapped around the huge Pecan tree, the other chain around the Mimosa tree. The come-along is fastened between the two and ratcheted up tight. It does not take much to snap the trunk where the notches are cut.

Gary is cooking dinner tonight. It is getting late, I will just have enough time to shower and shave now. The mess will have to get cleaned up Sunday.

With Sunday being Father’s Day, Debbie calls to invite me to lunch with her, Sherri, and Jammer. This sounds wonderful. I need a day to take it easy. At the restaurant I am bad and get chicken alfredo on spinach pasta. It was so good. This dish is a treat that I ration myself to just a couple times a year!

The Home Builders Association is hosting the “Parade of Homes” this weekend. This is an event where the best of the new homes are showcased. Usually all the appliances are upgraded and things are finished off nicer than a usual “spec” home. We decide to check out a couple of $500K homes to see how the other half lives. I am so amazed at what people will buy. The new trend I guess is to have everything open. The entire kitchen is all in plain view from all the common house areas. Now any dirty dishes or kitchen clutter is part of the d├ęcor! These show homes are all in these new developments that are named after the wildlife that used to reside there: Quail Hollow for example. What was once a meadow is now a cul-de-sac of ugly houses.

I was always under the impression that people moved into these places so they could have privacy and space around them. It just boggles my mind that these McMansions are built right on top of each other. In one of these places the view from the yupped out dining room is the poorly laid brick wall of the neighbors’ house some 10 feet away. Looking out the other direction is the view out the French doors: the back yard, a bare grassy area surrounded by a stockade fence surrounded by more poorly designed houses.

I will take my old place in the city with all its flaws and character any day over the overpriced, shoddily made houses being promoted and hyped today.

My nerves were so shattered by all this: I had to take a nap before attempting to clean up the Mimosa tree mess over at Michelle’s. Michelle is out so I can easily get the wheelbarrow into her back yard and not worry about scratching her BMW.

I end the day moving the last four bundles of shingles onto the roof.

It looks like my next project will again involve bricks and Belgian Blocks...anything heavy and frustrating!!!