Water Heater Fubar of 2013 (part 2)

So...the water heater did, indeed, get fully installed and just in time. Joel and Janet arrived just as our fabulous plumber, Clint, was packing up to go home. Water heater (woohoo!):

I know, it looks like every other water heater in the world, but we're dang glad to have her.

Steve and I have been rebuilding the damaged wall. I'm the insulation installer and he's the master of correct measurements for the drywall. We team up on the actual installation, then I follow up with the tape and joint compound.

Still looks unimpressive, but we're happy to get the wall sealed up. The joint compound is drying as we speak, and I'm still trying to decide if I want to take the trouble to prime and paint that wall since everything's moved away from it right now.

On the bedroom side, there was previously only one outlet on that wall. As we all know, that's never enough in this here 21st century, so I worked my girl-power magic and turned one into three.

I am now in the process of re-insulating the bedroom side but with our schedules it's likely we won't get that side of the wall sealed up until next weekend.

Meanwhile, this happened.

Happy Thanksweddingmas!

Sandwiched between Thanksgiving and Christmas, on 12/14/2013, Koby and Breanna exchanged vows. There was a short but very lovely ceremony, followed by a buffet and dancing.

During the reception, Koby came up to me with an "Oh crap I don't know what I'm gonna do" look on his face and said, "Mom, can I talk to you?" We went off into a small room and he said, "I didn't want to tell Bre but this morning the sewer system at my house exploded. My back yard is flooded with shit and we can't go home!"

Bre's mom stepped up and got them a hotel room for that night. The next morning they were leaving for a quick honeymoon trip to Cambria, so they'd at least have a good night's rest with functional indoor plumbing prior to their departure.

Since I had been assigned cat feeding duties, I had the key to their house. I got Clint over there on Sunday afternoon to take a look. Then I had to go to Tacoma for a two-day business trip. While I was gone, Steve gave Clint and his crew access to the yard and they started digging.

Koby's house was built by the military in the 1950s. It was typical at that time to dig a trench, lay in Orangeburg pipe (fiber pipe made from layers of wood pulp and pitch pressed together) for the sewer, throw in a little soil, then lay the water lines in the same trench and bury the whole thing. Fast forward to now and you have a mess. The Orangeburg pipe had collapsed and there were big holes in it as well as in the small amount of steel pipe leading to it.

Thanks to Sacramento hard pan, it took the crew two long nights of work and a jackhammer to get the trench re-trenched. By the time I got back from Tacoma they were installing new ABS pipe. Since the two water lines sat directly above the Orangeburg, they had to connect the ABS to the house via a couple of elbows so it could lay next to the old stuff. They worked six hours that night in the freezing cold to get the job done and make sure Koby and Bre had a functional bathroom when they returned from their honeymoon!

Water Heater Fubar of 2013 (part 1)

Sunday morning we got up and discovered the shower water just wouldn't warm up. Suspecting the pilot in the water heater may have gone out, Steve went out to check it and this is what he found.

The ~15 year old beast had burst inside and was spewing water out the top, up into the vent. Of course the water would then trickle back down and all over the damn place. No telling how long this had been going on.

The "man cave" shares a wall with the garage. Steve checked in there and, sure enough, the carpet was sopping wet. I grabbed a pair of pliers for him, he started pulling the carpet back. As he pulled, the baseboard just kind of melted off like it was made of mush. That's when we discovered the mold behind the baseboards.

Steve tried to clean up a bit and set up some fans* while I called the insurance company. As soon as the claim was opened, I tackled Angie's List and began calling plumbers. Remember, this was Sunday.

*It turns out that's a no-no. Air movement blows the nasty microbes around.

Monday I got three quotes, then called my neighbor's husband's brother's neighbor who quoted me half what everyone else had. Same unit, just not gouging me on the labor. He gave me his company's name and I learned the BBB gives them an A rating. No complaints!

Also on Monday, the insurance adjuster contacted us. He was very nice and said he'd have a restoration company call us within an hour. They did, and that afternoon they were out to inspect and measure.

Tuesday, right on schedule, the Rainbow Restoration crew arrived and started demolishing the affected areas. The drywall and insulation had to be removed across the entire wall and up about four feet.

They sanded and hepa-vacuumed all the areas that showed mold. Then they sprayed everything with an anti-microbial solution and set up a machine that allegedly sucks up any stray microbes floating around in the air. They also set up a big dehumidifier. All this is on the bedroom side. The garage side got a big sheet of plastic stapled to it which will stay in place until we can reconstruct the garage wall tomorrow.

The box/stand under the water tank also had to be removed. It was pretty badly rotted.

Tomorrow Steve and I will fetch some drywall and rebuild the area where the new tank will go. (Yes, I investigated replacing it with a tankless system but it would have been three grand - t'would pay for itself in a mere 20 years or so.) We will also, of course, need to put in a new stand.

Since Sunday, we've been "bucket bathing" -- warming water in pans on the stove, then carting them to the shower to wash. It's actually not feeling like too much of a hassle (thank you, Lexapro) and the new tank's scheduled to be installed either Wednesday or Thursday evening. Just in time for house guests!

Something to celebrate!

As many of you know, I am an avid supporter of Love146. This fine organization was established to put an end to child trafficking and exploitation.

Although it appears to be unrelated to Love146, some very exciting news came out of Toronto today. Click the link below to read the write-up on NPR. That article includes a link to the press release from Toronto.

Police Arrest Hundreds In Global Child Porn Sting



if you would like to make a donation to assist Love146.
to read how your money will be used to help survivors.

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Good grief. This is what appeared this morning beneath a news story I was reading online. How macabre does KCRA think I am?!

His Own Freedom March

Koby finally quit his job today.

He completed his certification as a gunsmith this past November and since then all he's wanted to do is leave behind his back-breaking, soul-crushing job as a hosehead and use his gunsmithing and artistic talents as a means to pay the mortgage and put food on the table. After five years of stoically enduring bullying and general ass-hattedness, he was able to resign his position today and he did so with grace and professionalism.

Koby was approached a couple of months ago by a local gun dealer looking to add someone with the skill and knowledge Koby could bring to the table. They've been working jobs here and there together since then, and today Koby was finally offered full time work by this gentleman. As of September 1, he will be a full-time, gainfully employed gunsmith!!

Kudos to you, CCFM. You did it!

...and now a word from our sponsor...

Here are some examples of the work Koby's been doing lately, and the descriptions in his own words:

Kimber 1911, .45 caliber.  Was rusty, now, isn't.

Dragon was painted on a Springfield sa-xd 9mm.

Purple woodland camo on a J.R. 9mm carbine.

Revolver needed a shine.  

Be careful what you wish for

Last Fall I got this

Now I want this

Thursday I got this

Introducing Bailey, the newest member of our family. She's a 7.5 month old German Shepherd whose favorite pastimes are opening doors, turning lights on/off, chasing the flies that swirl around her poop, singing opera, and ignoring Kashi. 

Bailey will be starting doggy school in 10 days. We are saving for college, as we want her to be professionally trained until she's able to make coffee, mow the lawn, and pick up her own poo.

The calm won.

Once upon a time I had to go on a pointless business trip. Actually, they make me do that a lot. And the only thing worse than the utter frustration I experience on pointless trips is when bad shit happens on those trips.

Like a couple of years ago when someone creepy jumped on the hotel elevator just before the doors closed and then followed me when I got off at the 15th floor. And when I stopped walking, he stopped walking. And when I started walking again, he started walking again.

So I turned around and looked him right smack in the eyeballs and said, all authoritative-like, "Do you need help with something?" And then he mumbled and fidgeted so I spun around and got back on the elevator and finger-tap-danced on the "hurry up, close the fucking doors!" button until I escaped with my shaking body intact.

And like last week when I felt like a walking crap factory while having to host a stupid "party" (which I put in quotation marks because it really was just a chance for a bunch of people to get some free lunch) and walk around chit-chatting with people I mostly can't match their name to their face onaccounta I only deal with them by phone all year long.

I get home from the airport that evening and I go to pull my iPad out of my suitcase and it's not there. So, like any normal human being in that situation, I start looking in each of the three zipper pockets of my bag approximately 200 times per pocket, chanting, "This is bad. This is bad. This is bad." I can feel the rumbling semi truck start to four-wheel over the boulders in the pit of my stomach. One side of my brain is yelling, "Fuck fuck fuck this can't be happening! It's not that old! Do you realize what that thing cost?!" 

while the other side is doing its Lamaze breathing and trying to be all Zen and saying, in its most controlled and calm voice, "You must stay calm. The best thing we can do is go on with our daily routine."

After filling out the lost and found form on the airline's website, I chose to lean into the calm. While others around me said, "Oh, you're screwed." and "Somebody just got a free iPad!" and "No way will you ever see it again," I chose to believe my loyal companion would make its way back to me. Because, really, what other choice did I have? I could - and did - panic for a while, but the truth was I really couldn't do anything about it.

Well, dear reader(s), last night I got the call from the airline. My iPad went on a little vacation without me, but it was back and waiting patiently at the airport for its ride home.

My cat needs a tummy tuck

I think I’m having a mid-life crisis, which is really frightening when you do the math. It means I’ll live to be 110 and I just can’t afford that. Nevertheless, I’m becoming very introspective and analytical about my life. I’m seeing all the aspects that I really don’t like and thinking about what I can do to change things. This is both good and bad. Change of this sort can be very good for me, in the long run, but bad for others who would be impacted by changes I might choose to make.

I think I will die when I’m 84. All things considered, doesn’t 2042 sound like a good year to die? And if that is the year of my last breath, that means I have 29 years left.