Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Let there be light!

Saturday marked the first day of a four-day weekend, which the college calls "October Break," but is really a half-term holiday built around the federal Columbus Day weekend.

I've read some of the history of Christopher Columbus, and I'm with Indian Country Today, who published an editorial listing some of the rapine and murder he was responsible for. It's amazing and disgusting what some human males will do, if given overwhelming physical power over other people, particularly women and children, or other men whose humanity they are somehow able to abstract away as untermensch. Examples abound, from Auschwitz to Rwanda to Homs.

I wasn't in a mood to reflect on the inhumanity of humanity, however. I had some work to do, to begin to get the new extension ready for occupation.

My weekend really began Wednesday, when I was able to get the plumbing inspector in for an intermediate-level check-up of the bathroom plumbing. These kinds of inspections go in stages because the work gets permanently covered up. In this case, we needed to drywall the bathroom, covering up most of the pipes. 

We easily passed inspection, and I even won some praise -- apparently I do "good work"  -- a very male kind of affirmation, but it made me happy. This made my day Wednesday. It's amazing what even a little praise does for a fellow. I won't let it go to my head.

It would, however, be a lot easier to drywall the bathroom if there were light, so Saturday's first job was to finish up the wiring. Aimee, earlier, during a break from sabbatical research, had learned to pigtail and wire the 15 and 20 amp receptacles, so all that was left was bathroom wires, and light switches throughout the extension.

I fitted temporary light fittings with 60w incandescent bulbs. Compact florescent or CFL bulbs are not great to use in temporary construction lighting because of the mercury content. If they are broken, a toxic hazard is created, which requires special clean-up. (Newer bulbs are less toxic than older ones.)

It was nice to be able to look around the new building after dark. Previously the entranceway from the kitchen became a kind of black hole each day after the sun went down, not very welcoming. Now, when the lights are on, the new space invites exploration, perhaps even a little light work (pun unintended) after dinner.

Wiring took until Sunday, including a trip to the hardware store for parts.

The next job was drywall. The bathroom is small, only seven by ten feet, but it needed a lot of utilities. In addition to the plumbing, there were two vents needed, one for the dryer, the other for water vapor, as well as a 220 volt outlet for the dryer, and the thermostat for the hot water boiler (or what Americans would call a "tankless" hot water heater).


Once the drywall was in, the shower needed to be replumbed. The inspector made us switch out our faucet for one with an "anti-scald" valve. Apparently the simple two-handled faucet Home Depot originally sold us is illegal in Maine.

Of course, this made Aimee, the hyper-consumer rights activist of the family, hopping mad. She even consulted the plumbing code, to get the right data for her complaint. Sure enough, they've been illegal to use in Maine since 2009, but the plumbing 'expert" at Home Depot, otherwise a very bright helpful guy, did not know this. Aimee took the faulty faucet back to the store herself for a refund, succeeding easily.

Never underestimate the power of a German-American woman, even if said woman is only five feet and one-half of an inch tall.

Finally, our plumbing now correct to code, we could hang the "Durock" wallboard and tape and "mud" both it and the drywall. I'm not a "good mudder," but I will say, my mudding has improved dramatically with practice this year.

Remember, you should always be good to your mudder. Hopefully Aimee takes that to heart.

But probably not, since my efforts in this extension have so far won more praise from the plumbing inspector than from her!

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Welcome to our Farm Blog.
The purpose of this blog is for Aimee and I to communicate with friends and family, with those of our students, and other folks in general who are interested in homesteading and farming activities.

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