Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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Like my brownhouse:
   rainy days and Neville's bladder
Tuesday, September 6 2022

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY

It rained continuous all day. There wasn't any wind to speak of, so I would've thought that there wouldn't be any unusual roof leaks. But evidently the sheer amount of rain was enough to test a number of spots, including one on the east side of the woodstove's chimney and one above the upstairs bathroom sink that somehow routes water into a sconce on the 45 degree wall-ceiling. Additionally, there was so much surface runoff that some of it found its way down the conduit to the well and into the boiler room, where most of it quickly disappeared a drain hole I'm very glad I bored out several years ago.
With unrelenting rain comes the danger that Neville the Dog will say "fuck it, I'm not going outside in this," which manifests as him pissing into some piece of furniture, usually our bed. To forestall this, at some point early this afternoon I carried him down the stairs and out into the yard and stood around until he peed, at which point I said (in the falsetto I use when talking to critters) "Good boy!"
Meanwhile Gretchen was unusually lethargic and didn't leave the bed until the early afternoon. She complains about how badly she sleeps, but I worry sometimes that she might be turning into her mother, someone beset in midlife by chronic pain and diminished ambition.
After work today, I drove to our Wall Street rental, where the tenants had reported leaking from a pipe in the basement. I'd had the tenant send me a photograph of the leaking pipe and knew it was a copper one, but I didn't know if it was half inch or three quarter inch. So I'd brought fittings for both, and had intended to bring replacement pipe in both sizes (though I somehow forgot to load those into the car). But once I was in the basement with the tenant showing me the leak, I saw that it was coming from a tiny quarter-inch copper pipe, the kind made of flexible soft copper and typically used to carry water to a refrigerator's ice maker. But the weird thing about this pipe was that it didn't go to any particular place; it ran parallel to a length of mostly three-quarter-inch copper pipe as a sort of low-flow bypass. But why? The three-quarter inch pipe was not obstructed and any additional flow provided by the tiny quarter pipe (especially given how it was connected, that is, through tiny punctures) would be but a rounding error. It seemed best to decommission it entirely. But to do this properly would require removing the two self-piercing saddle valves on either end. And to do that, I would need to repair the punctures those valves make into the pipes they attach to. I easily fixed one such puncture in a three-quarter-inch pipe using just a blob of solder, though as I was heating the pipe I somehow got the tip of my left middle finger too close to the flame, and the first feeling from that was of pressure instead of heat or pain, which was strange. (I got my finger out of the way before any serious damage was inflicted.)
The other saddled valve had been on half-inch pipe, and in this case it seemed best to cut the pipe at the puncture and then mend the pipe using a coupling. I was using my backup soldering supplies, and either there was a problem with the nozzle putting out enough heat (it also had a nasty habit of self-extinguishing) or there was too much water in the pipe, because I had to flame the hell out of the fitting before it was hot enough for solder to flow into it. Once I had that fixed, I tested the plumbing and was dismayed to observe a very slow pinprick leak from the half-inch pipe about two inches from the mend I'd just made. So I cut the pipe at that leak and soldered in another coupler. After that, my repairs tested okay, so I deemed my landlording mission accomplished.
I went out of my way on the drive home to visit the Home Depot to buy hardware I might use for mounting a pole outside the cabin to support a parabolic dish containing the Moxee hotspot. The best such hardware (in addition to the U-bolts I already have) seemed to be hardware for hanging a gate. So I bought a variety of such pieces and ten feet of three-quarter-inch galvanized steel conduit, which (to my delight) I was able to fit entirely inside the Subaru Forester (though one end was just behind the windshield on the dashboard).
Meanwhile Gretchen had gone off to teach her prison English class, and I'd made a fateful mistake: leaving the dogs unattended on a rainy evening. In such situations, it's common for Neville to act out by pissing in the bed, and sure enough he had done precisely that. If I could climb into a time machine and go back to the moment just before I drove off to repair the pipe at the Wall Street house, I would've carried Neville outside into the rain for the second time that day to make sure he was all peed out before I left. Neville's urine had mostly soaked into the comforter, which I spot-cleaned and then put in the washing machine. There was only trace urine on a blanket and on the fitted sheet, so I only spot-cleaned those (and then used a space heater to dry the sheet so Gretchen wouldn't have to sleep in a wet spot).

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