time flies when you're working on an old house
Saturday, October 25 2014
On the way to the Wall Street House early this afternoon, I stopped at Herzogs to get all the supplies I'd found myself needing at the end of my workday yesterday. This included a differently-shaped closet flange (the plumbing fitting that attaches to the bottom of the toilet), as the one I'd bought the other day didn't quite fit my salvaged toilet. But over at the Wall Street, I soon discovered that the second closet flange didn't fit either. I tried reaming it out, but it was just too narrow. The only actual work I managed to complete before heading out yet again for Herzogs was related to the attic project; I filled the inside of the hatch door with sheets of 3/4 inch styrofoam, which I glued in place using a special form of LiquidNails that doesn't contain a solvent that attacks polystyrene. (I'd had to use a similar product when I glued styrofoam to the outside of the concrete block foundation of the greenhouse.)
Over at Herzogs, I decided none of their closet flanges would work, and so I drove out to Lowes, where I bought a different sort of flange, along with a hole saw big enough to cut a hole for it in the floor. But then, back at Wall Street, I found that even this third flange was too small. I was going to have to abandon three inch flanges and use a four inch one, which I would immediately have to adapt down to a three inch pipe. But all the four inch flanges were so shallow that if I stuck a three inch adapter inside it, it had nearly the exact same interior shape as a three inch flange. I would have to get a four inch flange, a short piece of four inch pipe, and then a four-to-three-inch adapter. This required a second drive out to Lowes, something I really didn't feel like doing. So I rewarded myself along the way not only with a drive-time Stewart's Mountain Brew Ice (that's a pretty normal thing for me when tooling around Kingston), but also a $10 burrito (with sofritas and guacamole) at the Chipotle on 9W. There are a lot of ways to get back and forth between 9W and the much easier-to-drive John M. Clark Road (which runs along the back of all the businesses just west of 9W), and near the end of alley I took back there from Chipotle (41.966818N, 73.991635W), I stopped, cranked up my tunes, and devoured my burrito with gusto. It was delicious in all the ways burritos are supposed to be.
Once I had the plumbing bits I needed, I returned to Wall Street with the intention of perhaps finishing the run of sewer line to the nascent bathroom. In so doing, though, I had to consider the situation in detail for the first time. Not only did I have to figure out where exactly the toilet would go, but I also had to take into account the structure and other things beneath the floor. The hole I needed to cut for the closet flange would have a diameter of five inches, which meant that it stood a good chance of falling on a floor joist. Obviously, cutting through one of those would not be an option. Happily, though, I was able to find a place for the five inch hole just east of a floor joist passing near the center of the bathroom. This would put the toilet a little east of the center axis of the room, but that actually was a good thing because it allowed the person sitting on the toilet to take advantage of a little extra room on that side afforded by the doorway. There was, however, a big problem: one of the abandoned black iron pipes that used to go to the removed radiator was in the way of where the shit pipe needed to travel, and there was no way to work around it. The pipe would have to be removed. Fortunately, the pipe was not being used. Unfortunately, it was covered with a clamshell cozy of asbestos. I couldn't bring myself to tackle that problem, so instead I tackled another one that was also rather challenging: opening a rectangular hole into the north wall so that the whole toilet could be moved northward, opening up three precious inches of additional space in front of the toilet. The idea for the rectangular hole would be to frame it out sort of like a window (complete with a load-bearing header) and to cut out a 16 or 18 inch piece of stud that was in the way. The toilet tank would then be positioned very close to the sheathing on the outside of the house, though of course I would place an insulating layer of styrofoam between that sheathing and the tank so that the water inside it would not be tempted to freeze in the winter.
I'd been using a keysaw to cut holes in the drywall for the electrical outlets, but today I remembered my oscillating cutter tool, which I'd been using as a sander along the edge of the floor. Equipped with a blade, it makes accurate cuts in drywall and wood and does so surprisingly quickly (given that all it seems to do is buzz). But the drywall was hard on the blade, and it looked different after I'd cut out the big rectangle in the wall. To remove the section of stud, it was easiest to use a reciprocating saw. By this point, it was after eight o'clock; I'd been working for something like seven hours. Time flies when you're remodeling an old house.
Back at the house in Hurley, Gretchen was trying to solve a meta-puzzle built upon the work she'd done solving a week's worth of New York Times crossword puzzles. She'd revealed two clues for the meta-challenge: "alphanumeric" and "X marks the spot." Gretchen had already circled all the Xs, so I used the numbers next to each of those as an ordinal into the English alphabet, and, we discovered, stringing those together in order produced the phrase "TEMPUSFUGIT," which surely must have been the answer to the metachallenge. Gretchen was amazed and delighted, though of course she'd done nearly all the work.
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