Somewhere between hypercompetence & homeownership
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Whatever the hell that means.

Tuesday, September 25
Apple Pickin'!
Last Sunday, we made our first trip to the apple orchard, an annual family Fall ritual. Hannah had a great time!
See for yourself! Be warned, the Quicktime video clip is about 6mb, so be prepared for the download. It's set to play as it loads and I have not tested it for PC compatibility yet.

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Tuesday, September 18
'clogger not blogger.

I'm stuck. Can't seem to blog. I have been really really busy and somewhat preoccupied by "the events of Sept. 11". I am already weary of the media and their hype. It sounds terrible to say, but we need Gary Condit to confess or something to get the news media onto something easier to ignore.

In that spirit, I will regale you with the now aging tale of the plumbing.

If you didn't know (and how could you?), I had decided I needed to do something seriously scary and potentially fiscally disastrous. I decided to replace the old dripping laundry sink faucet, which involved actually cutting existing copper plumbing and soldering on new fittings. Pretty scary stuff for the uninitiated. After numerous trips to the Lowes, I felt I had the essential pieces. I read a whole bunch of explanations and articles online, they all said pretty much the same thing, a good sign. I discussed the process with a co-worker or two, one of which is the wife of a real plumber, the guy I planned to call if I really screwed the job up. I bought a few feet of copper tubing, some practice fittings and the little beginner plumber's kit (solder, flux, torch, etc.). I practiced about 10 times, trying things a little differently each time. The last practice joint went just about perfect. It was time to do the real job. Saturday AM, I sent Lara and H out of the house so I wouldn't be pressured to get the job done. I turned off the water and let it drain from the pipes. The hot water stopped dripping entirely in about 5 minutes and the cold had slowed to a trickle. I disconnected the old fauced fittings, and then (the big step) cut the actual pipes! No going back now. I test fit everything and then dissembled the parts. The hot water pipe had completely stopped dripping so I started with that one. I fluxed up the parts and set up the pieces, using a big old brick to support the pieces and to absorb any excess heat. I had the fire extinguisher and a bucket of water (pre-filled before cutting off the water, duhhhh) standing by. A weird sense of calm came over me as I lit the torch, things were in sort of slow motion. I remembered everything and the job went perfectly. I cut off the torch, smiled and then realized that nothing goes this well, trouble had to be lurking somewhere. It was. I waited another 5-10 minutes for the cold water to stop dripping. It didn't stop. Everything I read said it was impossible to solder a pipe with water in it. I knew they were right so I didn't even try. I'd read in a few places to stuff bread in the pipe, it absorbs the water and dries out as you solder and will wash out of the fitting when you're done. I tried it but I guess I didn't use enough bread, I soon had boiling soggy bread seeping out of the fitting. I was growing frustrated yet eerily calm about it. I gave the pipes another 20 minutes to drain while I went off and did other projects. When I came back,the pipes were still dripping but much slower. I found that I could flex the pipes to drain more water, then prop them up to stop the drip for about a minute. Combined with a bigger chunk of bread, I decided it was enough time. I got all the pieces ready, lit the torch, flexed the pipe, propped it up, stuffed in the bread, and did the job. Success! Amazing. No cursing, no flung wrenches, etc. I quickly assembled the rest of the faucet bits and turned on the water! Yay! No leaks from my almost perfect solders. Then, a slow drip started from the threaded fittings. I was starting to freak when Lara wisely suggested "more Teflon tape!" I said I already used a ton, she said "use more." She was right. I cut off the water, rewrapped the leaking pipe and cranked it all back together. No leaks.

This was about 2 weeks ago and I am still checking it every now and then, marvelling at the site of a dry sink. Pathetic but true.


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Thursday, September 13
Sorry, not me.
Jenny informs me that blogging was up 22% above average on Tuesday (the day). Not me. I can't explain it but I don't feel like it. I guess its more than just that day, I hadn't blogged in a while previous. Oh well. regarding the events of the week, I guess my perspective is somewhat different from those around me. Being a Jew, and old enough to vividly recall the events of Munich in '72 changes my reaction. In no way do I intend to dismiss the shock, horror, sadness, (insert your term here) but I feel like we should have expected this alot sooner. I tend to agree with the politicians who point out that the freedom we enjoy opens us up to this sort of attack. I have become more accepting of government interference in my life as I have gotten older, more law-abiding and concerned for the safety of loved ones. Oh, well, no simple answers but a gradual revision of opinion.


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