Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Working For The Weekend

Behold my latest nemesis.

My task was simple: take out the old toilet bowl. I'd done it before. There's nothing to it. The house we live in was built in '75, and I'm guessing that we've been squatting on the original toilet. It suffered from internal bleeding and sweat like Jorge Garcia doing squat thrusts in a suana wearing ski pants and a parka. The old valve was nearly rusted solid, but I managed to turn the water off. After emptying the water from the bowl and basin, I started to disconnect the water hose from the basin and had almost succeeded, but I reached a point where I couldn't loosen it any further, and I only had one or more turns to go. So naturally I gave it one last hard twist and felt it give. I was laying on my back so I couldn't see the damage. Water blasted me on the head with the force of a firehose, and I thought irrationally that it was coming from the basin. The old valve had snapped clean off from the elbow. I was laying in a pool of water that was getting deeper. My whole family was in shock and screaming. Thankfully I had the well replaced and paid attention, because I knew where the water cutoff switch was and ran downstairs to pull it. Water cascaded from the basement ceiling and pooled on the floor.

The damage was minimal, as the bathroom was right above the unfinished basement.

I made a new friend this weekend. His name is Joe. Joe was a plumber for twenty years who now works at Home Depot. It isn't known for it's customer service, but once in a while you find someone at Home Depot that is really passionate about the products he or she supports. Joe assured me that I would be able to solder another elbow onto my water pipe, as the old one was beyond reuse. I bought a torch and soldering kit, and listened intently to what I needed to do. I was up until one in the morning with no success. I Googled. I called my dad but he wasn't around. Finally I gave up and called a plumber.

By now it was Sunday. The house had been without water for a day and a half. Mommy was getting cranky, and she held her breath when I walked by (I needed a shower--badly). I had to leave a message with the plumber for emergency service. The plumber called me and told me that, sure, he could come out, for one million dollars. I think he was getting ready to watch the Patriots game, so he gave me a pep talk instead.

"Three things will kill you every time when trying to solder a joint. First: water. Go outside and turn on a hose. That will drop the water out of your house lines. Second: clean the pipe and the elbow until both shine like a new penny. Third: flux both liberally, or the solder won't stick. It wouldn't hurt to cut open an old can and put it behind the pipe so you don't burn down the house. "

Ooops. You may notice the blackened char in the picture. I had to back off with the torch because the wood was lighting up.

So I followed his directions. I heated up the elbow and applied the solder to the joint, and like magic it melted and disappeared up in. I was so happy that I applied way too much, as you can see. But not a drop of water escaped when I turned the water back on.

There is a lot more to the story. Like how I sawed through the wall--and my drainage pipe. I have some experience working with PVC from my sprinkler system in California. You can see on the left the wood that I cut like a jackass. I never even considered what could be behind it. Anyway, the couplers I put on didn't seal right, so now I am going to try to caulk around them. Like my aunt Rosanne Rosanna Danna once said, "If it ain't one thing it's another..."

15 comments:

jenbeauty said...

Oh geez what a weekend. That really sucks, my dad has made a friend at our local home depot and now I am worried he will be spending a fortune there.

My hubby, well the garbage disposal still isn't working the best, but it does not leak...shrugs!

Sadie Lou said...

one project will lead to dozens more.
My husband and I have owned our own home since we were in our early twenties. We've learned a lot through trial and error as far as home improvement goes. My husband is pretty dang handy. He even tiled a hearth for our woodstove once.
Good job being a manly man and going at this on your own. I think it's awesome when a guy can do his own repairs.

trinamick said...

Glad you got it all worked out okay. That's never a fun job. At least it didn't flood your whole house!

Scott said...

Jen - Home Depot is definitely a place to waste money, especially for the men who have to have tools. Yeah baby!

Sadie - I can't stand to spend money for things I should be doing myself. My dad alwasy taught me that I can do what any other man can do.

Trina - It was gratifying in the end. Like I said, I was lucky I knew where the water cutoff was. Usually I'm not that clued in.

Jason said...

I feel your pain...eight weeks now and still no kitchen sink and dishwasher functioning...

Scott said...

That's rough Jason. That means skyhigh dishes, and it doesn't take long to mess a kitchen up.

Tee said...

Oh my gosh! My poor friend Sandy, has been having plumbing problems as well, (Along with flooding)...

My husband has flooded our place a few times trying to repair plumbing.

Glad you got it done. Do you feel proud? LOL.

By the way, I could have done without the Jorge Garcia description. LOL.

Mrs.T said...

Okay, I understood about NONE of that plumbing crap... but I am sorry you're having to go through the elbow things and water damage stuff..

Chloe said...

Ahhh, the beauty of home repairs. I'm looking forward to it, one day in the very distant future...

Shesawriter said...

You poor dear. I know how frustrating it is when you think something is gonna take say ... ten or fifteen minutes, and then it turns out to be a weekend ordeal. ARGH!

Tanya

A. Darcy said...

DUDE, you should have called me. I replumbed the entire bathroom, with a little help from MrBig ofcourse, just last month. If I never see another quarter turn shut off valve it will be too soon!!

The Zombieslayer said...

"If it ain't one thing it's another..."

Quote of the year, right there.

Beth said...

Scott, you're a man who loves his metaphors. I started lmbo when I read about the black charred part. OMG, I just find that so funny!

magnetbabe said...

Scott that's hilarious. I completely agree with wanting to do stuff on your own. I'm immensely proud of myself when I do home improvements, but I HATE Home Depot. I feel like I'm walking into a time warp back to the 1950s when women were clueless about power tools. You're lucky the plumber gave you free advice instead of charging you an arm and a leg. I swear plumbers make more money than lawyers. I'll have to remember next time our toilet breaks to call him right before a football game to get instructions.

Scott said...

Tee - I couldn't be prouder--I actually did it myself.

Mrs. T - We escaped with no damage. The toilet had molded out our wood anyway, so the explosion was just the exclamation point.

Chloe - It has it's moments.

Tanya - You said it. What a weekend.

AD - Thanks, I got a good chuckle out of that. My wife wouldn't have the foggiest clue how to even light the torch.

Zombie - Good ol' Gilda. Digging Self Editing for Fiction Writers!

Beth - It wouldn't be the first time I accidentally burnt something down.

MagnetBabe - Talk about timing huh?