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Childhood story: The Great Flood

So [personal profile] synecdochic is a new homeowner, and has been wrestling with the various slings and arrows thereof. Discussion in IRC took a general turn for the home improvement topic, and it turned out that she'd never heard the story of the Great Flood.

It helps to know that I grew up in the suburbs of Fairbanks, Alaska; it also helps to know that my father, with a little help from his friends, built the entirety of our house, down to the wiring. (We were outside city limits, so a lot of regulations did not apply to us, but fortunately Dad believed in studying the housing code, then exceeding it.)


[04:56] [personal profile] synecdochic i have two simple rules. i do not do plumbing and i do not do electric. plumbing, if you fuck up, you've flooded the house. electric, if you fuck up, you kill yourself or you burn down the house.
[04:57] [personal profile] synecdochic everything else you can finagle. (presuming you have the ability to identify a load bearing wall.)
[04:58] [personal profile] azurelunatic Even Dad got an expert in for much of the plumbing.
[04:58] [personal profile] azurelunatic Though he did do a fair bit of the work himself.
[04:58] [personal profile] azurelunatic and yes, he did manage to flood the house. That was exciting.
[04:59] [personal profile] azurelunatic Not entirely his fault, though.
[05:00] [personal profile] synecdochic i'm just happy that the wall between the kitchen and dining room (which is slated for eventual death) isn't bearing.
[05:00] [personal profile] azurelunatic After a good ... two? three? four? years of no indoor plumbing, it was time to change that, so he hired our neighbor the plumber and general construction worker, with the backhoe, to get the well hooked up.

Tiny Azz and the son of the guy with the backhoe playing in piles of dirt as the guy digs a trench with the backhoe

[05:01] [personal profile] azurelunatic (that was in the big house; the cabin of course did not even pretend to have indoor plumbing.)
[05:01] [personal profile] azurelunatic so the guy digs this ... 300 foot? trench between the well (at the top of the hill) and the house (at the bottom of the hill)
[05:02] [personal profile] azurelunatic dad not being a fool, the pipe is insulated and there's a line of heat tape on the thing, because it *will* freeze
[05:02] [personal profile] synecdochic heh.
[05:02] [personal profile] azurelunatic and the copper pipe comes up through the bathroom floor into the house.
[05:03] [personal profile] synecdochic ok, with you so far ...
[05:03] [personal profile] azurelunatic and it is winter now, and the inside of the house is not fully plumbed, but at least we have water coming in, that we do not have to make a 200 yard round trip for, and ... I think the priority was on getting the septic tank and the leach field set up before the ground froze?
[05:04] [personal profile] azurelunatic so the copper pipe is coming in, and it will be eventually attached to a pressure tank
[05:04] [personal profile] azurelunatic but for now, it is attached with !!electrical tape!! to a garden hose.
[05:04] [personal profile] azurelunatic (this is temporary. we all know this is temporary.)

A copper pipe, with a garden hose fastened to the end with electrical tape. More sensibly, a band of electrical tape also straps the heat tape to the pipe.

[05:05] [personal profile] synecdochic oh my
[05:05] [personal profile] azurelunatic so it has been working servicably, but now winter has set in, and we wake up to find that there is no water.
[05:05] [personal profile] synecdochic one suspects that the heat tape isn't?
[05:05] [personal profile] azurelunatic Never fear! quoth dad, or words to that effect, and he fires up the heat tape.

My father, who looks not unlike Santa Claus, holds the plug for the heat tape.

[05:07] [personal profile] azurelunatic the heat tape can't be left continuously plugged in, for reasons that I didn't fully understand at the time
[05:07] [personal profile] azurelunatic Dad was very excited, because this meant that he was going to get to test whether the system actually worked, or whether we'd have to rip it all out and do it again next summer.
[05:07] [personal profile] synecdochic *snicker*
[05:07] [personal profile] synecdochic I am very familiar with the way this works, yes.
[05:08] [personal profile] azurelunatic he had borrowed a variac from someone at work, to put the proper amount of load on the system with the heat tape, so he fired up the whole thing, and we clustered around in the bathroom to see what happened.
[05:08] [personal profile] azurelunatic There was a hum.
[05:08] [personal profile] azurelunatic About as exciting as watching paint dry.
[05:08] [personal profile] azurelunatic Then there was creaking.
[05:09] [personal profile] azurelunatic Suddenly, there was an immense noise, the hose flew off the end of the pipe, and water and 1" diameter cylinders of ice began to spew out of the end of the pipe into the bathroom.

A spray of water and ice.

[05:10] [personal profile] azurelunatic What Dad said at this juncture is lost to history.
[05:10] [personal profile] synecdochic *snerk*
[05:10] [personal profile] synecdochic Oh my.
[05:11] [personal profile] azurelunatic Even after he unplugged the well pump (and the heat tape) there was a bit more coming in.
[05:11] [personal profile] azurelunatic My sister and I first retreated to the stairs (get for high ground!) but then I ran and got the rag bag, and the flow stopped, and soon things were restored to normal.

My sister and I are nearly identical at these ages except that I am taller have glasses.

[05:11] [personal profile] azurelunatic but after that, the water was run absolutely every day, whether we needed water or not.
[05:12] [personal profile] synecdochic hee hee hee. yes, i can see where that would be a rule


Crossposted. comment count unavailable comments.
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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