'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

09 March 2010

Wherein I Develop Plumbers Butt

A couple of years ago Lu and I bought her grandparents home in Hurricane, Utah. It's a modest home, built in sections by her grandfather. The original house and the first addition were masonry construction so, yeah, I have some masonry interior walls. It's going to need some wiring (lots of 2 prong outlets), plumbing (copper attached to iron with no anodes) and flooring (carpeting in the kitchen?!). First was the water heater.

Last time we visited the house was in February. While there I noticed that both the cold water inlet and the hot water outlet pipes were leaking. Not bad but enough. The water had gotten inside the electric water heater and corroded the hookups. Enough to trip the breaker. Yikes. We turned off the water and power and headed back to California so we could decide what to do.

I did some research on tankless and decided against it for now. The electric one needs 3 separate 20 amp 240 volt feeds and a 200 amp box. That means a total re-wire of the old house and I'm not quite ready to do that at the moment. So, new regular water heater.

I went out last Wednesday, armed with tools and an inadequate plumbing skill set. Luckily I have a good friend (Hey Tom) who knows everything. He clued me in and stated his confidence in my ability to do this rather simple talk. Disaster will surely follow such a pronouncement.

For those of you who are home remodel savvy, you no doubt already know about Gator Clamps (also known as Shark Clamps. At least in Utah). These little plumbing wonders are the greatest thing since the invention of sex. They allow even the dimmest bulb to do basic copper pipe plumbing without sweating in the joints. Sweating in is a vast misnomer for attaching copper pipes to various elbows, devices and attachments through the use of solder, the heat from a portable blast furnace and something called "Flux". "Flux" is apparently a magic substance that causes solder to decide to flow into a copper joint when used by a plumbing expert and third degree burns to the digits of amateurs when used by same. They are a wonder and if I ever meet the inventor I will kiss him full on the mouth in public (any chance the inventor was female???). Leakless joints with a simple push. I LOVE them.

Through the use of this fabulous device I was able to install a new 50 gallon water heater in the space where tho old one was. The exact center of my house. Just inside the door from the living room to the bedrooms. In the middle of everything. Yeah, I need to move it. Later. I also installed new clothes washer hoses. Baby, I'm a now a plumber! Got the butt crack to prove it.

Since I got done early I called my best friend (the selfsame Tom of the awesome plumbing skills) and invited him and his dog Mugsy down for some riding. Southern Utah has some of the most awesome MTB trails in the country and most of them are mere minutes from my front door. Go ahead. Be jealous.

I decided it was time to tackle the Gooseberry Mesa. We loaded up and headed out. The trail head is at the end of several miles of very bad dirt road. The area has had some bad rains so those roads were also muddy with water filled potholes approximately the size of Lake Michigan. Still, I am the illegitimate son of Parnelli Jones so we had no difficulties getting there, screams from the passenger seat notwithstanding (Tom, you're such a wuss. We were no where near that cliff. Missed it by at least 6 inches. Big sissy).

This is Tom and his "dog" Mugsy. Mugsy is a 9 month old, 100 pound Bull Mastiff. He's also the biggest goofball dog on the planet. If he's actually a dog and not the unholy offspring of an real dog and water buffalo. That dog is big. His head is the size of a basketball. Did I mention he's 9 months old? Tom figures he's got another 40 to 50 pounds to still put on. Sheesh. BTW, yes, those are Tom's bike riding clothes. No spandex. No cleated shoes. No cool mesh riding shirt and high tech water hydration system. Jeans and a t-shirt. It was cold so he wore his long sleeve with the front left unbuttoned in that hip, Jack Nicholson if he was a dork kinda way. All the other bike guys saw him and I was like totally embarrassed. Love ya Tom.

This is me and Mugsy. You will please note that I am properly attired for a day on the trails. Cool riding jacket, neat riding trousers (not pants mind you, trousers) with chamois padded spandex underneath and cleated MTB riding shoes. Fabulous. Note the Gooseberry Mesa sign for those of you who suspect that I may be making the whole thing up. Also please note Mugsy's head and chest. I'm 6 foot and about 17 1/2 stones (Hah!) for reference.

Tom wussed out part way through the ride. Something about not having ridden for a year and neck surgery and a bad back, Blah, blah, blah. Typical. I suspect he's probably a closet hiker. Still, a good time was had by all. Tom swears he's going to start riding again and kick my ass next time. Heh heh.

I'm heading back at the end of the month. I'm installing some new flooring in the kitchen, water heater room and the man cave (aka the basement. More on that later). Did I mention I'm retired? And bored?

Hey Tom. Up for Gooseberry again? We'll get you some spandex.

And a little scarf for Mugsy.


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