Few things in the building business have changed as much as plumbing.
This week I added some new red and white plumbing pipe to replace some broken copper lines, from the house being empty last winter when it was quite cold.
I remember when all fresh water ran in galvanized steel pipe, each piece cut to exact dimension and threaded on site. Drain pipes were all cast iron and were chinked with a thing called “oakum” and then hot led was poured in to seal the joint.
When I was a kid our pastor built himself a new house and he plumbed the whole drain system in Copper! I looked with awe at those 4” Tees and Weys all in gleaming copper. Copper never caught on for drain.
Along the way someone invented ABS plastic pipe, and you GLUED the stuff together. No hot lead, no solder, just a can of stinky sticky black glue.
Copper replaced galvanized steel pipe for fresh water a long time ago. There were a few steel pipe houses being built when I plumbed my house 37 years ago, but not many. Now copper has given way to a new system that is another type of plastic, for BOTH hot and cold water. Cast iron was Black, ABS still is black, but this new stuff comes in half a dozen wild colors.
For no real reason (I am not sure which line is hot and which is cold) I decided on red and white tubing for this project. It just seemed a waste not to use some of that Red pipe! I ran two lengths of pipe/tubing across the top of my cabinets, down the wall, then behind the cabinets to the location of the sink. All in ONE piece of bent tubing/pipe.
To join the new pipe you slip the end into a fitting, slide a copper ring on top of the joint and then with a tool that looks like a fair sized bolt cutter, you crimp the copper ring and there is a joint. It can swivel but it won’t leak. Wow. It is fast and it works.
To make it all even nuttier, there are fittings that are called Shark fittings. Just clean the mud off the end of the pipe and slip the fitting on. That is all. No glue even. I had a plumber agree with me that you can tell by looking that it won’t work, but it does and works very well.
The icing on the pipe is that you can remove those shark fittings and use them again if you choose.
When I think of how things like the simple piping in a house has changed in my lifetime I really feel like an old guy!
It can be argued that it never was really finished. And that is ok.
It is a small house 1080 square feet in it’s original form. With three daughters still at home (the oldest was off to college and would get married the next year), it had to have two bathrooms, though they are small there are two. One upstairs between the girl’s bedrooms and one downstairs off the master bedroom.
In the front of the house was a 6 by 32 foot area that was designed to be a greenhouse and hopefully to provide some solar heat in the winter. The city thought it was rather dumb idea and did not "charge me for it."
Last year the flood (though I must be careful using that term--floods are generally not covered by home owners insurance!) gutted the building. It was a mass of wet and awful.
A company that specializes in such things came in, pumped the water out, removed and inventoried the contents before thoroughly drying the interior and treating to make sure mold was not a problem later.
I had a licensed electrician make sure the wires and outlets that had been under water were good and then I hired a friend to install the sheetrock. I know how, but I sure did not want to do that job.
Basically that is how it was when I arrived the 2nd week of July.
This blog began as a spot to vent about my life with Miriam and her time with Alzheimer's disease.
She was diagnosed in '99 and her decline has been quite slow. In fact some of our best years of our long marriage have been these recent years.
Alzherimer's, at least her version is a disease of waiting. One shoe drops and it can be a very long time before the other one drops.
So life goes on.
At the beginning of this blog I told the story of our courtship and marriage, about out family and our personal journey with this disease. The part that scares the most is the anticipation as the disease slowly progresses.
So, I will touch on that subject from time to time, but the entries will tend toward comments on life. I'll leave politics and religion for others to worry about, not that I don't have strong opinions!
I have my hands full just looking after my wonderful Miriam.
We met when we were 6, began dating at 15 and have been together since. We will have our 56th anniversary this June.
We have four wonderful daughters. Smart, independent, awesome. They have given us 7 grandsons and 4 granddaughters. None of them are little any more. The oldest is 28 and married, the youngest is 14.
Until this last fall we lived in a hosue I designed and built in the '70's and it is pretty weird and wild, but very comfortable. Last summer the girls came to the conclusion that I really did need help dealing with Miriam. Now we live on a couple acres with daughter 1.
Life has been good. There is not much I would do different even if I could. We are rich beyond belief but chronically short of cash!
And, unless stated otherwise all the photographs are mine.