Interesting House Fact:

September 30th, 2004 § Comments Off on Interesting House Fact: § permalink

The kitchen is large enough to spin a 13′ ladder… without hitting anything.

Water, Water Everywhere (a poem in 4 lines)

September 10th, 2004 § Comments Off on Water, Water Everywhere (a poem in 4 lines) § permalink

Not really everywhere.

Just in the basement.

Bring your bathing suit…

We’ll go for a swim.

The Nature of Old Houses

September 10th, 2004 § Comments Off on The Nature of Old Houses § permalink

Part 1 of an undetermined number.

Because old houses are, well… old, they were built before many of the modern conveniences we take for granted existed. Things such as running water, central heating, and electricity weren’t part of the house building process. These amenities had to be added as they came along.

This means that almost everything is a retrofit. This also means that old houses are forced to do things they were never meant to and therefore some things don’t make a whole lot of sense until you look at them through the eyes of a previous homeowner.

Certain things like electricity are especially curious because they have gone through at least three revisions. The first one would have been from no electricity to knob-and-tube, the second from knob-and-tube to paper-insulated Romex, and the third from paper-insulated Romex to the plastic sheathed Romex we use today. Somewhere along the line the electrical service would have had to be updated as well from the old 60-amp service to the current 100-amp service.

The heating system required the cutting of holes in the floors and walls for ducting. When looking at the curious placement of a heating grate you have to remember that the homeowner at the time was trying to install a new system in the least intrusive and most convenient manner.

Plumbing is another issue altogether (see other posts).

Old houses require patience (you’re teaching an old dog new tricks), understanding (there are some things that old dogs simply cannot do), and a sense of humour (because the things your old dog can do won’t be done in the conventional manner).

Bless This House

September 9th, 2004 § Comments Off on Bless This House § permalink

I met one of my neighbours. One of my neighbours is nuts.

I have seen this particular neighbour a couple times since I moved in but I hadn’t formally met her. We were either coming or going or cutting the grass so we just waved. The other night I was cutting the grass and she was out so I thought “Enough is enough, I’d like to meet the people I live beside”, I stopped the lawn mower and introduced myself.

“Hello, I’m Ryan.”

“Hello, I’m nuts.” (She didn’t say that, I’m just paraphrasing)

I was informed that I had to get my house blessed. Ok, sure. I’ll get right on that.

I was further informed that having a house blessed lets the restless souls living there (I don’t think she was referring to me) know it’s ok to move on. Having a house blessed is one of the responsibilities of owning a house and it is for the benefit of the restless souls, not oneself.

Wait a minute… Chico is a reverend: Rev. J-Man. I’ll get him to do it the next time he’s over.

I feel better now that I’ve got the house blessing arranged.

Other things I learned:

1) I have a family of groundhogs living either under the back part of the house or under the deck.

2) The people before me lived in the house for about 4 years, before them a lawyer lived there.

Damn Wasps

September 4th, 2004 § Comments Off on Damn Wasps § permalink

I found a wasp’s nest while cutting the grass the other day.

Ow.

Bang Bang Pipe Bang Bang Chugga Chugga Thump

September 2nd, 2004 § Comments Off on Bang Bang Pipe Bang Bang Chugga Chugga Thump § permalink

Pipe bang is the noise you get when you have loose water supply lines in your house. Turning off the water too fast makes the pipes jerk and if they are loose they can bang or rattle against something.

There are generally two ways to fix pipe bang. The first and most straightforward method is to secure the pipes so they can’t bang. (It sounds stupidly simple doesn’t it?) This method should be used when the water supply lines are exposed, such as in an unfinished basement.

The second method is more complicated but is more often the only method available. When water supply lines are inside finished walls it is impractical to break holes in the drywall/plaster in order to secure the lines. When this is the case, a small stub is installed inline at a bend in the pipe, as close to a faucet as possible. This stub acts as a shock absorber, allowing the moving water to flow into it as it slows down (once the faucet is turned off) and thereby reducing the pipe movement and the related pipe bang.

Before I changed my kitchen faucet (see previous post) I had a fairly loud case of pipe bang when I turned off the kitchen faucet. The “bang” was a single loud thump that came from the basement about halfway between the kitchen faucet and the 1st floor bathroom faucet.

I didn’t worry about it too much because I knew what it was, knew how to fix it (secure water lines in the basement) and it was on my list of things to do.

After I changed my kitchen faucet the original bang disappeared. Hmmm. Pleasant side effect.

No… wait… what’s that noise.

(I’ll try to describe it as best I can, it’ll help if you read it aloud)

CLANGA CLANGA TWANGA twanga CLANGA CLANGA CLANGA THUNKA thunka CLANGA CLANGA CLANGa CLANga CLAnga CLanga Clanga clanga clanga thunka tick tick tick BANG!

As you can see it lasts a long time and is very loud. It’s so loud I can hear it clearly in any part of the house. And I’m not exactly sure it’s pipe bang. I can make the noise happen lightly by turning off the kitchen faucet suddenly, and distinctly by turning off the second floor sink or flushing the second floor toilet. Here’s the strange part: it sometimes happens all by itself. The first time I experienced this I was drifting off to sleep when the noise awoke me. I was alone in the house and I hadn’t taken a shower recently so it couldn’t have been the hot water tank refilling.

I think the only possible explanation is ghosts. I’ve traded pipe bang for ghosts. Remember Casper the Friendly Ghost’s mischievous uncles? That’s the picture I have in my head.

Lesson learned

Sometimes fixing a problem only means trading that problem in for a new one.

Corollary

Chances are, the new problem will be worse/more difficult to solve than the original.

Paradox

By continually fixing problems you will continually worsen the situation, thus, leading to a catastrophic climax where you either accept the situation as it is or the situation destroys you.

(cheery, aren’t I?)

For the time being I’ve accepted the problem.

Damn ghosts!

Where am I?

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