I’ve spent weeks preparing for two plumbing jobs under the house. In olden times, I would have taken measurements, bought my materials, and set to work, all on the same day. Now that I’m in pain and out of shape, I’ve been planning every detail with the goal of making the jobs as easy as possible, mostly through breaking them down into manageable portions, and trying to minimize how much I will have to crawl around under the house on any given occasion.
I’m now through with my planning, purchasing, and pipe preparation, and I’m just waiting for good weather to crawl under there, lie on my back in dripping sewage, and remove three 1 ½ ” galvanized drain pipes with a circular saw that will be running inches from my face and burning my scalp with sparks. Oh, the joy! I love hard and dirty projects as much as I love going camping with Peggy. They make me feel like a man. They give me a chance to use my skill and my intelligence to accomplish something that I can stand back and look at with pride for as long as I live in this house, which might very well be until I die.
Peggy has pleaded with me repeatedly to hire a plumber, but the job might suck either way. If I hire someone, I’ll feel that much worse about myself; I’ll miss out on work I enjoy; and we’ll be out hundreds of dollars. If I don’t hire someone, I risk causing myself weeks of pain. Peggy doesn’t understand how important such work is to me because to her it just looks like something hard and filthy that's best left to someone else, no matter what shape one is in. To me, it's what I need if I’m to find value in being alive.
I wrote the above a few days ago, and did one of the jobs yesterday. I spent five hours straight under the house because I had the clothes washer and kitchen sink disconnected (during my next project, the whole house will be disconnected), making it necessary to see the job through. I could have crawled out to take breaks, of course, but I wanted to spare my joints, and I could best do that by not by crawling anymore than necessary. I’m excited to report that I had a good night last night. I was awfully sore, but my joints were no worse for wear. I’ve been slowly getting better for a couple of months now, and the work I did yesterday far exceeds anything I’ve taken on for years, joint-wise. I am becoming guardedly hopeful.
Both photos are from yesterday. I'm not through hanging pipe in the top picture, but I am through replacing it. Peggy took the second picture when the job was done.