Sunday, April 20, 2008

Plumbing for dummies

I don’t know who designed hot water tanks, but they should have thought things through. Understandably, they didn’t want them blowing up all over town, so they put a pressure valve on the side in case of emergency. However, that valve goes no where except onto the floor.

As I was doing post vacation laundry the other day, thank goodness I was home or it would have been bye-bye cork floor, I opened the door to my laundry ‘room’ only to find about half an inch of very hot water on the floor. I quickly turned off all the water, threw towels down to prevent it from going under the flooring and helped the rest down the drain with a squeegee.

Satisfied that no more water was coming and with a bucket under the valve pipe, I headed out to teach my classes. Images of a huge plumbers bill floated in my head as did one of a fresh torrent of water occurring in my absence.

Mentioning my dilemma to my sister and one of my students, they said all I had to do was flip the little leaver at the end of the valve. Apparently this happens sometimes. Arriving home I found a dry floor and gave the valve end a flick. With crossed fingers, I turned the water on and all seemed well.

First thing next morning I went to Canadian Tire and bought 2 feet of tubing so I could extend the overflow pipe directly to the drain. For extra measure, I also built up a bead of caulking around the drain in case any errant water did not quite hit the mark.

Somewhat pleased with my self, I went to shower – yeah! But had no hot water – boo. In my turn-off haste, I had apparently flicked the heater off as well. I followed the instructions, got the heat back on and went about my day. I came back to get a load of laundry from the machine and hang out to dry, only to find more water on the floor! The idea of my caulking was good, but in reality did nothing. I did not quite get the force with which the water comes out!

Off once again went the water. I almost called the number of the plumber on the tank but thought “why bother? They did such a bang-up job putting it in!” Instead, I called my dad and told him what was happening. He calmly explained that one of two things was happening, one I could fix, the other, the gas man would have to come.

Following his instructions, I partially (and very nervously) drained the tank to below the level of the leaking apparatus, removed the (as it turns out) faulty valve and headed to the Home Depot. My plumbing wrench wasn’t big enough to do the job, but Pink Girl had one that worked like a charm. It is amazing what you can do with a big tool (hee hee).

Silicone tap in place, I screwed the new valve in place, turned on the water AND the heat and sat down to wait. As it turns out, option two was that the heater was not turning off, so new valve or not, once it got too hot, the tank would overflow. I listened tentatively and smiled when I heard the heater click off and saw no water on the floor. YEAH!

To put my mind truly at ease, I drilled a hole through the wall and into the garage and put the pipe extension there. This is where the overflow now goes. I would rather come home to a wet concrete floor than a floating cork one.

THANKS DAD!!!! Woot woot.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Bad me for not writing sooner….but quite the little birthday party (thanks for baking CJ!!!) was quickly followed by a trip to Puerto Vallarta! My SFVF is now my PV08SFVF. We were going to try and pretend that the trip was no good and we took separate flights home, but woot woot, it was too much fun.

We didn’t think it possible to actually sit on a beach for 5 days and do nothing but drink. Snaps for us though as we overcame that challenge with flying colours. Breakfast, dinner and dancing were our only physical exertions and that was enough. No day trips, no shopping, just sitting. Mmmmmmmmmmmm, sitting. I did manage one yoga session, but that was it. We didn’t even have to move for lunch (if we bothered with it) as they had waiters right on the beach!

Pictures will follow as I had to borrow CJs camera as mine died last minute. Wait until you see my new mini Speedo!

They say you should start telling a story at the beginning, but I have to start with our last night there as that is what is most fresh in my tequila/gin/beer soaked brain. After our daily 8 hour sit on the beach, we headed to Brasil (correct spelling) for dinner. If you are vegetarian, look away. There is NO menu, just a non-stop onslaught of meat. All you can eat of 10 kinds of meat – new york steak, flank steak, rib-eye, turkey, chicken, chorizo, pork chops and three more I can’t remember. Oh, and they all come wrapped in bacon. The waiters just keep coming with huge skewers of meat and cutting more and more onto your plate. Yum! There are nice light salads like macaroni and potato to keep you going as well.

After decimating an entire ecosystem, we thought some dancing might aid the digestion. But being only 11:30, it was too early to hit mañana “the” club in PV. So, La Nocha got us started with Pacfico (the local 9% beer) and Stereo kept us going with about a half gallon of gin. Our stay at our hotel included a wrist band that allowed us free access to mañana. And no waiting in line! Woot woot. On certain nights, beer was only 15 pesos. $1.50! Dangerous!

Our plans for grabbing one last hour on the beach the next day sort of fell through and we had to pack for the airport. Boo. I am sure PV08SFVF will miss his new husband – “aye Papi” and the charming little ear rub that went with him. LOL. Good times.

More later once I get some picture locked and loaded. If you want to do PV09, sign up now! Seating is limited.