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Bad Timing

Tomorrow I will be replacing a water valve. Replacing this valve will involve shutting off the water to ten houses during one of the coldest spells of weather we have had for a very long time. This involves working with galvanized steel pipe that was installed when Harry Truman was President, so putting a wrench on it always includes the possibility of it snapping off in a very inconvenient place.

I got stuck with the job because most of the real plumbers have gone out of business, and the few that are left can’t handle the volume of work, but are afraid to hire help.

This affects my Mother, and involves a friend. The friend is a computer technician and should never have touched a pipe wrench. Electron flow and water flow are not the same, no matter what your physics teacher told you.

They wanted me to do this at 9pm, in the dark, in the cold, with no access to parts. They think that you just take out the bad part and put in a new one. They don’t consider the possibility of something else breaking in the process. They are young – they will learn.

7 comments

1 Heidi Vornbrock Roosa { 01.06.10 at 12:12 pm }

Hi Bryan – I tried to leave this on the post you did about St. Nicholas, but it was closed. I’m trying to find some information about Mettendorf, where a branch of my family is from. (We also celebrate St. Nicholas Day, even now!) If you could email me, I am hoping for some info to use on a trip with my mother this summer.
Thanks.

2 Bryan { 01.06.10 at 4:02 pm }

I’ll send you an e-mail as soon as I get a minute, Heidi. Just remember that I was there in the late 1950s, early 60s.

3 oldwhitelady { 01.11.10 at 1:59 am }

Last night was the coldest we’ve had – it was below 0. When I got up, I found my water didn’t work. The pipes froze over night. I turned off the valve, and opened the spigots. I’ll wait to see if they’ll unfreeze, by themselves, tomorrow. It’s supposed to get to 30, and then later in the week, to almost 40. I hope you were able to get the pipes fixed for your mother and friend, without too much trouble.
.-= last blog ..Lessons learned. =-.

4 Kryten42 { 01.11.10 at 4:43 am }

Our news tonight had stories from all over the World where many countries are either experiencing their coldest days on record (in the North of course) or their hottest (South). We just had 45C (about 113F) after 3 days in the 40’s, and it’s expected to stay around 28-30C tonight. The pump on our water tank died. There were about 120 fires recorded in the State today, but all were quickly under control, except for one in the largest Chicken processing plant in Vic which destroyed the plant. All 400 workers were evacuated safely. That’s a lot of charcoal Chicken! 😉 Glad nobody was hurt.

Ah well… onwards! 🙂

5 Bryan { 01.12.10 at 5:45 pm }

While it has been cold, and broke records of the number of consecutive days with lows below freezing, no individual day was an actual record. We normally have three-day bouts of cold and then bounce back. We have had a winter’s worth at one time,

We had windchills that bad, OWL, but not air temperatures, and have gotten above freezing during the day, so the pipes haven’t frozen shut, although there was ice forming ,

We have never had any air temperatures above 105°, Kryten, and even heat indexes in that range are extremely rare.

Temperature extremes real beat up the physical plant, and especially the plumbing and electrical systems. The different expansion/contraction rates on the components really come into play, and often fail.

6 Heidi Vornbrock Roosa { 01.18.10 at 9:24 pm }

Thanks!

7 Bryan { 01.18.10 at 9:27 pm }

In case you missed it, my DSL was down for almost a week. I haven’t forgotten you, I’m just trying to catch up.