Thursday, September 27, 2007


I'm trying to get my photo into my profile.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Rest of the Story

I just reread my last blog and decided to finish the story. Our company arrived Sunday afternoon and we had a great time reconnecting. The house was clean, the drain repaired and all was well. NOT! We ran the dishwasher Monday and experienced a backup into the kitchen sink, but all was well because the sink drained albeit slowly. Tuesday, the sink backed up and took several hours to drain. That night we put Drano Foaming Drain Cleaner in the sink for a last ditch effort to clean the drain. The next morning we ran water in the sink to push the Drano through the pipes. No go. We had gray water in the sink that would not drain. Jean refused to let me go under the house to attempt a repair while we had company. So, we ate out for the rest of the week. Our company left Friday morning and by Friday afternoon I was under the house cleaning out drains. I decided to remove all of the 60 year old galvanized drain pipes and replace them with ABS plastic pipe. Gunk doesn't stick to the plastic as well as to the galvanized. I used about $10 worth of saw blades in my Sawzall trying to remove the galvanized. I finally got it out and replaced it with the plastic by 8 PM. I was sure I had solved all of my problems. I plugged in the water softener and it started to cycle by back flushing the softener cylinder. The sink immediately filled with water and threatened to overflow onto the floor. I rushed in a stopped the softener and then bailed 20 gallons of water out of the sinks. I knew then that my plumbing efforts had thus far been in vain.
The next morning I was back under the house and started at the main sewer drain and reamed out the pipe with a 1 inch wooden dowel. I had not done this before and it was plugged. Got it cleaned, had Jean turn on the water and waited for it to flow out of the long length of plastic pipe I had installed a number of years ago. I knew it was clear because I had run a snake completely through it at least twice in my earlier attempts. No water! I was astounded! I was so sure that I had cleaned everything out I hadn't even brought the snake under the house with me. So, I crawled out and got the snake and ran it backwards through the pipe. I hit a clog! I worked it out with with the snake. Much of the gunk that came out was a cement formed out of the Drano we had poured into the drain. I got it out and ran the water and it rushed through the drain. Success!! After at least 30 hours of work on the drain I had it cleaned out and working well. I saved over $65. My time was worth about $2 an hour! And, four days after the successful end of my work my joints have quit aching too. Next time I call the plumber, so what if I have to wait a week for him to come.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Bad Week

It has been a difficult week around our house. We have been working to get the house in shipshape condition for visiting relatives. It used to be cleaning for a Mother's visit, but now that they are both gone a visiting relative or friend becomes the reason for a big housecleaning. I got the power washer out and washed the house, shop and shed. That went well and I got it done in a timely fashion. Next up was washing the windows, my job was just the outside windows. That went well too, except the microwave quit working. I got hold of a repair man and he said he would get me the needed parts for about $30. I got them and installed them, but they had extra plugs and when I installed them the microwave didn't work. Called the repair guy and he said, bring it by and he'd fix it. That was two days ago and I haven't heard from him, I can see a large labor bill piling up. The next task was to shampoo the carpets in the house, a task that I figured would take about 3-4 hours. All went well until I broke for lunch. When I returned to work the shampoo machine was leaking all over the floor. I had to go rent a carpet cleaning machine from the store. It didn't work as well as our own machine, but it didn't leak all over the floor. Then the sink plugged up. I spent most of Friday under the house in the crawl space trying to unclog the drain. I didn't have much luck. Then I got under the sink with the idea of running the snake from that side. I was very careful, put plastic down so the floors wouldn't get dirty. Then I put a 2 gallon bucket under the P-trap and unscrewed the joint. There was about 10 gallons of water in the pipes so about 8 gallons went onto the carpet. So I had to vacuum up all the water and clean under the sink. I got it so it would flow a little, but very slow. Got up the morning and the water softener had cycled and the drain had plugged up and the brine water overflowed the sink and onto the kitchen carpet. Got that cleaned up again and worked on the drain again, a little luck, but I can see a large plumbing job coming up. Well, we have most everything under control for our visitors who will arrive Sunday afternoon. We are thanking God in advance for no more problems, and planning the replace the kitchen carpet with tile. That way it will be easier to clean up after a plumbing disaster. Thank God these little disasters occur only every 10 years or so.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Working My Butt Off

As much as I hate to say it, I guess I am getting older. Yesterday I went over to a friend's place to help her DLI (designated love interest) build a framework and covering for her furnace/AC ducts. The unit is the kind they put on top of houses but in this case it is placed on the ground and the duct work goes up the side of the building and into the attic crawl space. The furnace installers left a pair of bright foil covered insulated ducts into the house, and there was a worry that a windstorm might rip the insulation off the ducting. So, Chuck and I went to work Saturday to build a covering that matches the rest of the building. It was not a good day for me, Chuck is a hard worker, but has no experience in building. I laid out the plan by drawing on the pump house next to the building and we went to work. I has a terrible time, I cut the wrong angles on the studs, I built the side using the measurements for the front, and I cut notches on the wrong side of the sheet of plywood. It took us twice as long as it should have because of my mistakes. On top of that, I ran out of steam about 5 PM. I was so sore I had to sit down, and if I walked more than 3 steps my gluteous maximus hurt so that I could barely walk. We ate dinner and sat down to watch a bonfire in the fire pit using the scraps from our project. Chuck couldn't sit down. He proceeded to pick up the weeds he had pulled and put them in a pile and burned them. He continued to work and pick up around the place while I sat in a lounge chair and ached. Still sore this morning and evening, fortunately it was Sunday and I vegged out all afternoon. I'm not sure why it's my butt that aches, but it sure does. I'm trying to invent some disease that will explain it. It couldn't be that I'm nearly 70 years old...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Spammers and Phishers

I get really upset by the volume of Spam and Phishing e-mails I receive every day. I'm sure that I get between 20 and 30 offers every day, and some of them are really well done especially by the Phishers, company logos and all of the official sounding words. It is not surprising that many folks fall for this crap. The Nigerian letters and all of their offspring are, on the other hand, pretty crude, but they appeal to our greedy side. Some of it is my fault, I fill our registration forms for stuff that I have bought and I know that those outfits sell their lists, so I get lots of offers that I just cant refuse. I mean, who wouldn't want to split $12 million (USD) with some poor unfortunate widow. I can also tell which ones bought the Episcopal Clergy Directory because they ask me to get the funds to use for my church's outreach programs. They are almost always addressed to: My Dear Friend in Christ. All they need is a bank number to send the money to.

I get upset because of all the space on the net that they take up. I have to empty my GrayMail folder once a week because it fills up my 20 M of e-mail space. I tried to send all that crap back to the sender, but of course, they have also pirated someone's e-mail site or spoofed an address that doesn't exist. The law that was passed to halt spam and Phishing is a joke, but I don't want to see the government sticking their nose into things either. (espicially the current administration) I guess I'm ok unless I wear out my delete key.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Larry Craig's Downfall

Senator Larry Craig of Idaho resigned his position yesterday in a very brief press conference in Boise. Not a lot of fanfare or anything. I'm kind of surprised at my reaction to the whole thing. I am a liberal Democrat from Eastern Oregon and all of our local TV comes out of the Boise Metro area, so I am well acquainted with Sen. Craig and his stance on most issues. I have always disliked the Senator and hated his positions especially on homosexuality. He has always pontificated on the sin of homosexuality and advocated that Gays have none of the civil rights granted to us all. So, I should be pleased with his downfall, but I'm not, I feel sorry for him and his family. Whether he has homosexual tendencies or not, what I read in the paper about his arrest in Minneapolis smacks of entrapment. It is kind of scary to think that if you glance at the guy at the urinal next to you you could be arrested for making a pass at him. Besides, homosexuality is not a crime, what is next? Being arrested for asking a person of the opposite sex for a date? Hypocrisy is not a crime either, if it were, there would be a lot of folks in jail. Probably more in jail than out, if the truth were known.

I cannot revel in Sen. Craig's downfall. I would much more rather see him stomped by some unknown Idaho Democrat in an election.