The joys of home ownership!

I’m on the last day of a vacation from work. No, I didn’t do anything fun. I worked on the house. Or, more precisely, under the house.

I had started a project last year replacing all the drain pipes under the house. The pipes were all cast iron, and probably installed at the time the house was built at the turn of the century.

Erm… last century, not this one.

The first phase consisted of replacing all the pipes from the kitchen and the laundry room to the central drain, under the bathroom. That was a chore, but fairly straightforward. I replaced it with black PVC pipe and special, durable rubberish sleeves that tighten down with screws to form a tight seal. This way, if there’s a problem with a pipe or a coupling, it’ll be much easier to replace than cutting out metal.

Amusingly enough, while I was cutting out the pipe last year with my grinder, it made one of my daughter’s panic. She could see under the house through one opening, but it was dark. When I started cutting, there was a flurry of sparks and, of course, loud noises. Whenever I stopped the grinder, I heard her crying outside the house. “Daddy! Don’t die!” She still refers to the grinder as the “evil tool.”

In any case, when the shower started backing up due to a blockage, I figured it was time to finish the rest of the project. The pipes didn’t have to go as far, but there were more bends and a lot more other things to try and navigate around. This made it trickier than the first stage, as I had to use a mini-hacksaw for a good portion of the cutting, since the area was too cramped for me to get my grinder in place.

It really doesn’t take a lot of knowledge to do plumbing. A simple grasp of physics, knowing that water flows downhill, and how to look for leaks is all it really takes. The more difficult part is dealing with the environment. It is cramped, smelly and sometimes painful work. After my experience with replacing our drain pipes, I can understand perfectly why plumbers charge so much for their work. If I had to deal with other people’s crap in such a cramped area, I’d charge $100 an hour, too. And no, as profitable as it sounds, this isn’t really something I’d want to do as a career.

Still, it’s nice to get a complicated project off the to-do list. Now to see what else I can finish before I have to head back to work.

Hmm… maybe a blog post to my sadly-neglected blog! Check!

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