Back to work



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.

14 comments:

lotta joy said...

You've got a mighty clean crawl space. The plastic sheeting looks like mine did in Indiana. I had a half basement with no outside crawl entrance and "someone" would have to jump to clear the wall, while ducking at the same time, to get their shoulders through the tiny space under the sub floor.

Getting in was only half the job.

My husband had to scoot on his back, then roll onto his stomach to inch over the furnace duct work. One day his back went out while halfway over the pipe.

We waited for about an hour for the spasm to pass because NO ambulance personnel could have gotten to him.

Snowbrush said...

"You've got a mighty clean crawl space."

In the 22 years I've been in this house, I've replaced the Bisqueen twice. I've also lowered and leveled the the soil, and removed all the board ends and chunks of concrete that were left there in 1955 when the house was built--as well as a lot of stuff from later as well. I found some interesting things. For example, a woman's bra. What a place to have an affair! I can but suppose that her lover was a plumber.

"NO ambulance personnel could have gotten to him."

Good thing he didn't die under there; he would have stunk worse than a dead opossum.

kj said...

this is nice. i 'm glad.

i also like your new font arrangement. easy peasy to read and enjoy

good for you, snow. since the present is all we have, you are doing well and you've lived to tell about it!

xoxo :^)
love
kj

ladyfi said...

Your crawl space looks very clean!

So glad you had a good night and a great sense of achievement!

Helen said...

This job feels like being in an MRI tube ... without the dripping sewage! Can you tell I'm claustrophobic? Seriously, I can tell you are feeling better and that makes me happy!

rhymeswithplague said...

I, on the other hand, fell out of bed in the early hours of Monday morning, something that hadn't happened since I was about four years old. I'm none the worse for wear, though. The only thing bruised is my ego.

Work fascinates me. I can sit and watch it for hours.

rhymeswithplague said...

Your type font is way too large.

Snowbrush said...

"i also like your new font arrangement. easy peasy to read and enjoy"

"Your type font is way too large."

That's IT! I'm going to close the blog except to invited readers, and I'm going to be the only reader I invite.

"Work fascinates me. I can sit and watch it for hours."

You and Walt Whitman.

"This job feels like being in an MRI tube ... without the dripping sewage!"

I've been in many of those, and you're right, there's never been a single instance of a single drop of dripping sewage.

"Your crawl space looks very clean!"

I hope I'm not repeating myself when I say that in the 22 years I've been in this house, I've replaced the Bisqueen twice. I've also lowered and leveled the soil, and removed all the board ends and chunks of concrete that were left there in 1955 when the house was built--as well as a lot of stuff from later as well.

All Consuming said...

I love that picture of you, so relaxed and covered in muck. It's a keeper. I get much satisfaction from doing jobs round the house too,(hubby has no D.I.Y talents at all really,which is fine) it's the cleaning, washing up and hoovering I can't stand.Good to see you getting stuck in sweetie xx

kylie said...

i make it a point never to go into a crawl space, freaks me right out!

i like the picture!

Robin said...

Snow...just time for a quick note before I *fly off* to Santa Fe....I love this post! Of course I am like Peggy...these kind of tasks are beyond me....too hard, too complicated! You look WONDERFUL in the photo Peggy took...I see pride and I see some *sparkle* in those eyes! This project was good for you!!!!

Sending all four hugs and love,

♥ Robin ♥

p.s. The font looks perfect!

Myrna R. said...

You look happy in the photo. The look of accomplishment is a good one on you. Glad you're feeling better, (oops, like the meddling mother I sometimes tend to be, I was about to say please take care and don't overdo. But I won't say that. I'll stay positive and supportive.)

Really, I'm glad you enjoyed the plumbing tasks. (Can't say I understand it, but... Ooops, there I go again.)

rhymeswithplague said...

I must say that the photograph of you in this post looks incredibly like my friend Stanley who lives in Rome, New York.

Have you moved to Oregon, Stanley, and taken up a new identity? Does it have anything to do with the witness protection program? Are you on the lam from the law? And just who is this Peggy person you keep mentioning?

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Excellent news! I hope you continue to improve and be able to do work you enjoy!