Sunday, January 31, 2016

Weekend watching

Part of owning a home is doing maintenance on it. Or rather, to be more precise in this case, paying others to do maintenance on it. There are some basic tools in the basement. Some of them are even electrical power tools. Previous of my jobs have required the use of various tools in tasks not unrelated to home maintenance. I've done lots of various home maintenance tasks before.


That was then. I'm much more aware of what can go wrong with plumbing or electrical stuff. There's always a part or tool you need that you don't have, and you have to put things on hold to go get it, knowing, KNOWING, that this won't be your only trip.

Now I'm much more willing to pay others to get their hands dirty, and deal with the inevitable issues that come up. So for example. This tap dribbles. We've done the take it apart and soak it in vinegar and scrub with a toothbrush thing. It just dribbles worse now. Turns out you can't get parts for it anymore, at least not through the plumbing distributers.

Some people take this as a challenge and go hunting. Not me. The kitchen tap is much more than a decade old. The replacement tap isn't expensive. I have a limited (but hopefully large)  number of hours left on earth, and I don't want to spend them chasing tap parts. It's easier to earn the money to buy it, and have the moral satisfaction of keeping the economy going.

This tap is even older, and the handle has got all floppy and takes a bit of doing to turn off the water. It needs a new cartridge, whatever that means, plus a plumber with special tools to replace it. Kind of a pity, because we really like these taps.

In preparation. You don't want to know what we took out of there.

One of the things we took out of there was a video tape (you younger readers can google that, it's a real, if old, thing) giving instructions for the care and feeding of the counter surface. That counter was installed mid-90's or so. It's been sitting there for 20 years. You don't want to know what it's been buried under.

Replacing the taps was straightforward, for him. Once the old ones came out, I was glad I hadn't tried to tackle it. There is a tool that makes some of it much easier as you're working up behind the sinks. Plus there's a bit of fiddly stuff, and the instructions look really complicated. I'm happy to pay an expert.

There was also a bit of hot water tank maintenance, plus piping related to a furnace humidifier. All went well. I'm glad I didn't try that either.

In fact, the only problem turned out to be the kitchen drain line. We'd known the drain was slowing down, so I'd asked him to look at the P trap while he was under there. I just assumed that was full of guck. That was fine, though there was just a bit of "mung," as he called it, in the little almost horizontal section of pipe under the sink. We tested the drain after, and the first few seconds were awesome! Then it slowed down, and drained even more slowly than I had remembered. Then the other sink started filling up.

"Oh oh" he said. We went down to look at drain piping. There's a long run of pipe to the main drain stack. It was clear there was a low spot on the piping. Tapping it sounded full. Shaking the pipe didn't produce any sloshing or draining noises. "Oh oh," he said again. "I don't have the drain clean out tools, and I don't have the amount of pipe to cut that out and replace it. Plus you'd have to move all those books. Drain clean out time."

That guy and his specialized tools arrived the next day, and produced cat frightening noises. He did the kitchen sink drain, and the ensuite shower drain just because the second drain was half price. The kitchen sink drain works awesome now, sucking down with a whirlpool forming. The shower drain works better. Trying to do this myself, even with rented tools would be a frustrating use of time at best. At worst it would be trivially easy to create a horrendous mess from what used to be caked inside the drains. Need I elaborate? I thought not.

The only unfortunate thing is that I didn't get my run done while it was nice Friday afternoon. Thursday was a much needed rest day, and Friday an extra rest day, which isn't a bad thing in my books after 6 days in a row doing something every day. One of the things about the nice weather is that this becomes the running surface.

Saturday morning was a swim. We got in a half hour swim in the dive tank till we got kicked out, but by then the main pool had cleared out a bit. I joined a lane with 3 other people swimming my speed and had a fast K or so, plus some various intervals going harder.

There I am at the end of the pool, looking around wondering where Michelle and Amy have got to, when I hear my name. I can't see squat without my glasses, but it's the two women that had been water running in the next lane. Once she called again I recognized Rose's voice, and joined them to run for a bit as she and Madi had a long run and were looking for diversion. We chatted a bit, then Michelle and Amy dragged me off to the hot tub. Then breakfast. Yummy!

Today was a 100 minute spin. Longish warmup. 40 minutes at 150 to 160 watts in various gears at various cadences. Then some hard short intervals, and a cool down. It's feeling really good.

I'm pretty pleased with my month of workouts. Some people write up a calendar with planned workouts. I write down what I actually do. If you look carefully, you can see the novel writing progress as well. (At this very moment, the project is at 45203 words, and I'll be back at it as soon as I'm done writing the blog. The things I do for you guys!)

In the shower after I had some brainwaves about the book. I know what the next bits are. One of my characters is lying to a cop, and here I thought she was a good girl. Things are getting complicated.


  1. What? you hire professionals to do plumbing jobs? Where's your sense of adventure. LOL! Actually, sounds like a very smart move to me - especially for the jobs you described. Luke's gotten darn good at plumbing (and a lot of other stuff) since he retired but we nearly always call in the professionals for tricky jobs like those.

    Awesome that your training's going so well. Wish I could say the same. Managed 13k yesterday but it wasn't pretty and my legs are feeling it today. It hasn't helped that we've had snow nearly every weekend since Christmas. :-( Still, noodling about a possible to trip to Calgary in May. Are you running anything the weekend of the marathon? If we decide to go, Luke will sign up for a 10k, I think.

    Having a Facebook Free February so hoping to have time for more blogging. Stay tuned!

    1. I haven't signed up for anything, but I should be good for 10K anyways. No way I'll be up for a marathon in 4 months, today's 4 K indoors was a bit rocky. Sure hope to see you here!


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