Sunday, April 19, 2009

Estoteric Knowledge: the Plumbing Merit Badge

When I was a Boy Scout in the early 80's, I wanted to work on the Plumbing merit badge. It fascinanted me to imagine the network of secret places, like miniature tunnels, that were formed by the hot water, cold water, and sewer pipes. They ran behind the walls, underground, and to imagined sercret chambers which, if we were only small enough to enter, would be an endless labrintine playground, nevermind the sewage.

And so the sailing ships of childhood dreams crash hard against the rocks of reality. As adults, we are called forth to repair our own homes by the siren song of Home Depot and chased forward by the high price and questionable hygene of professional plumbers. And so began my Saturday.

It seems the foul smell that filled my kitchen whenever I ran the diswhasher was the result of a broken rubber fitting that connected two pipes in the crawlspace under the house. So when the dishwasher emptied its rinse water, it simply pooled under my kitchen, not availing itself of the sewer lines that were made for such mechanical discharge. Water full of tiny food particles tends to rot, of course, and hence the lovely aroma.

Instead of crawling under the house (and through the puddle of yuck) I decided to come from above and cut a hole through the subflooring of my house all the way to the broken fitting. It is repaired and not leaking. It took three trips to Home Depot, about $50, about eight hours, and lots of prayers mumbled in utter frustration. I still have a bit of a gaping hole in the floor under the sink, but at least the hemoraging has been stopped!

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