Sunday, July 15, 2007

This Old House

Well.

First the hot water shut off under the old kitchen sink wouldn't turn off all the way. Then we couldn't find anything that looked like a shut off valve for the hot water heater. Then when we did find it, it wouldn't turn off all the way, either. We would have turned off the hot water heater and let it drain while we worked on the sink, but the only thing that looked like a hot water heater off switch were two antiquated rheostats left over from a Frankenstein movie. I looked at our breaker switches and none of them was conveniently labled "Hot Water Tank," and I concluded that to turn off the hot water tank I would have had to cut power to the house. Mark found the main shut off for the house, but he couldn't budge it. So then we called the Water Company.

In between all of this, we give ourselves a crash course in home plumbing by reading three library books and the manuals that came with the new sink, the new faucet, and the new water filter.

The nice man from the Water Company took off the metal cover to our house's water meter, took off the concrete jacket the metal cover sat on, reached in, and turned off our water. "So you've just got to believe you can do it," I said. "Yep," he replied, then rode off in his Water Company Truck to do more hydrological good deeds.

So. Meanwhile, we have no water. Period. Arthur has discovered the various plumbing tools we have and got busy asking "What's this?" (translation: "Gee this shiney sharp metal object looks like it would be fun to stick into my eye.") and grabbing the heaviest tool most likely to slip through his tiny fingers and smash onto his toes.

Mark took Arthur away, and I started to take apart the sink. And do some counter top demolation prep. I probably should have taken a photo or to of the original plumbing because I'm pretty sure that we're missing some piping and I'm only vaugly sure how the pipes connect. Anyway, after taking out the old sink and undoing some of the plumbing (which really isn't that much harder than, say, uninstalling the Eudora Email client), I have to go to the hardware store to get a spud wrench, plumber's putty, kitchen sink calk, some more piping, a sink net and drain, a contact adhesive, and a plastic spatula.

The sink is more or less assembled and ready to be put into our new kitchen countertop when Mark and Arthur return (after about about six hours of Mark trying to run Arthur ragged at the playground). We go out for pizza (and so that I can wash my hands), and when we return home, Arthur refuses to fall asleep. This might have something to do with the fact that he said "Damn it," in front of Mark too many times and lost video privileges for the night. Two hours later, I wake up Mark (who has fallen asleep next to Arthur after moving from Arthur's room to the couch and finally our bed) and we get ready to put on the new counter.

So. The new counter is a lovely particle board and formica construction. It is a lovely color that goes incredibly well with our cabinetry and, in fact, the rest of the house. The cabinet it rests on is 1950's tongue and groove construction of a quality that is very expensive now adays and out of wood that you simply can't get any more. If we had a larger budget, we'd be preserving the cabinetry a little better. Now that Arthur's asleep, we can glue the new top to the old cabinets, with the theory that if we want to restore things, we can remove the new top. Mark applies some contact cement, we wait, and...

...the hole for the sink in the new counter top doesn't exactly match the hole in the old countertop. Mark pulls out a rasp and starts to work on the exposed wood on the old cabinet that is preventing the sink from resting properly on the new counter top.

We still don't have any running water. It's a good think that I did a load of Arthur's dirty laundry before this all started.
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