sometimes you just want to find a cave and crawl all the way into the back and hide for a while until the weird stuff blows over. That's what it's been like since last Friday morning around here.
It started out on Friday morning when KeeWee noticed that there was a faucet on the outside of the house that didn't have a handle (hand wheel?) on it, and since it was close to one of her gardens, she asked if i could put a handle on it so she could use it for watering. What could possibly go wrong, right? Check the size of the shaft on the faucet, run down to the hardware store, pick up a handle, come home, and put it on. One screw, shouldn't take ten minutes for the whole job. Right.... There are two hardware stores in our area. The closest one didn't have anything even close. The store farther away only had one, but it didn't look quite right as it looked like the faucet required a bit of offset to the hub as part of the hub fit down onside the faucet. Maybe the one choice they had in stock would work until I could find a better one. I brought it home to give it a try. To put it on required removing the center screw threaded into the faucet shaft. The screw wouldn't unscrew, as it was frozen into the faucet shaft. 45 minutes of penetrating oil and very careful Vise Grip work and the screw was finally out without breaking it off in the hole. Was the tide finally starting to turn on this project? Nope. The new handle didn't fit into the faucet far enough to engage the square portion of the shaft. Well, I'll just go rob a handle off of another faucet and use that one until I can get the right one, I figured. Sure enough, I grabbed a handle from another faucet and put it onto the desired faucet without problem. I opened the faucet, and a good stream of water came rushing out, just like it was supposed to do. I hooked up the garden hose for KeeWee and off she went merrily watering the flower beds. Everything was finally working like it should, and I could get back to the things I had planned for the day, or so I thought.
As I was walking by the corner of the house I noticed that there was a solid sheet of water coming out of the wall behind the siding. Oh Joy! Since it is a daylight basement type house, that means that the pipe is probably split inside the wall and is now flooding the basement. I shut off the faucet and headed downstairs to discover well over an inch of water standing in the basement. I shut off all the water supplied to the house and went out to the barn to grab a wet-or-dry shop vac so I could start sucking up the mini-flood. KeeWee started moving boxes and other stuff now standing in the water. A couple of hours later we had everything that got wet set out so it could dry, and most all of the water sucked and mopped up. Now I could try to find the broken pipe and replace it. Fortunately I could just reach the frost free type faucet up between the floor joists, and I could see a definite split in the pipe. After a bit more fun I finally managed to unscrew the frost free faucet assembly and run down to the hardware store for a replacement. They had the right length and thread version in stock, and it was only forty bucks for the faucet. I brought it home, teflon taped the threads, and carefully installed it, being careful not to break the copper pipe supplying the faucet. I turned the water back on, and checked the joint and faucet for leaks. Not a drop! Perfect!
I went out and put in the screws anchoring the faucet to the siding and re-connected KeeWee's garden hose. KeeWee's watering could now get back underway. Right? Nope. Being prone to double check everything, I went back down stairs and the bone dry connection was now starting to drip. Ok, back outside, disconnect the hose, unscrew the faucet's flange from the siding, then back down stairs to take one more turn on the pipe to further tighten the connection. I was just barely able to get the full 360 degrees I needed, 370 probably wasn't an option. The additional turn tighter had stopped the dripping, so I went back outside and put the rest of the project back together. Finally everything was working.
KeeWee could water, nothing was leaking, and the new faucet came with a brand new handle, so the original issue was now resolved. By now, most of the day was gone. I cleaned and checked over the race guns, and made sure everythingwas ready to go for Saturday morning, as we had a fun day planned. We were going to go over to Bremerton and shoot the KRRC fun Steel match, then go have a meal with some of our friends fro mthat club, them return home. Murphy, however, had other ideas.
Saturday morning we loaded the van, and headed for the Clinton to Mukilteo ferry to get to the mainland. From there it was a few miles East to I-5 South, head South for five or ten miles, then pick up 104 headed back West to Edmonds, where we would catch the ferry to Kingston. From Kingston it's about a 25 minute drive to the range. We made it to I-5, and headed South.
We had only gone a mile or so when the right front tire started making an odd sound, sort of a whining-shimmying-thumping sound. Clearly not a good sound. I dove for the nearest exit and just as I was entering the exit the tire pretty much exploded. There was a large amount of noise and rubber pieces flying in the air. Keeping it straight was a bit of a challenge, too. I managed to get down the off ramp to surface streets, then into a parking lot. At least we were stopped, and out of the freeway traffic. I got out to have a look at the tire, and it didn't look so good. The tread and steel belt was mostly there, but the sidewalls were mostly gone. So was the hub cap. I checked the spare, and it didn't seem to have a full charge of air.
A few months ago I decided to join AAA, so we gave then a call, and within 15 or 20 minutes a truck pulled up. The driver aired up the spare and swapped it on for us, and we were back on the road. I called the range and sent a message to the Match Director to bring a couple of score sheets with him and we'd catch up with him somewhere on the range and shoot as much of hte match as we could.
As we got within about a half a mile of the Edmonds ferry dock we could see there was another problem. The traffic was backed so far up the hill that we couldn't even see the water from the back end of the line. If we waited in line we would not be able to get to a ferry boat for several hours as the ferries run every hour and there were enough cars backed up to fill two or three boats, maybe more. The match would be over before we even could get there. The only sensible thing would be to retrace our route home and write it off as a lost cause. By the time we got close to the Mukilteo ferry, though, it was now backed up too. We had to wait for about an hour and a half before we could get on to a ferry and get back to Whidbey Island. Finally we made it home, and I was, by then, bushed, so I took a nap. As a small highlight of the weekend, the nap went well.
At least the next day was Sunday, and there was nothing planned for the entire day. Maybe I could even get out and do a little practicing. So, Sunday morning I was leisurely having my first cup of coffee when KeeWee comes in the front door and announces "You better not go look in the well house!"
. Translation: "You better go look in the well house ASAP, but you aren't going to like what you see!"
She was right. One of the 80 gallon pressure tanks had sprung a leak and it was spraying out water, flooding the well house. Here we go again!
I shut off the power to the well, closed to gate valve to the two pressure tanks, and rounded up a couple of pipe wrenches. Since one tank was more than enough for our needs, all I needed to do was to drain both tanks, disconnect the leaking tank, and cap the pipe that had been connected to the bad tank. While I was at it I decided to put in a faucet so I could drain the tank in the future through a garden hose without flooding the well house. The hardware store had the plumbing pieces I needed, and an hour or so later I was able to turn everything back on. Since both tanks are the same age, I know the other one could let go at any time, so I better track down a replacement as soon as possible. It looks like one of the main pipes is starting to weep a bit too, so I'm seeing some major re-plumbing and a new tank before this system can be trusted. The saga never ends..............
Today I went back across the ferry to head down to the Pull-a-Part auto wrecking yard to pick up a good pair of front rims and tires for my van. While I was there I grabbed a pair of rear brake drums, as my current drums aren't the best, and should soon be replaced. The trip was successful, and earlier this evening I installed the new rims and tires. All four corners now have good rubber.
In the midst of all the excitement over the last few days I also picked up a project boat that was priced so I just about couldn't pass it up. It belonged to a friend of a friend, and he hadn't used it in the last two years and had decided it was time to get rid of a lot of his stuff that was lying around the place. It's going to take some work to get it shipshape, but there doesn't seem to be too much beyond a lot of elbow grease to get it seaworthy. Overall it looks really sound, but it needs some cleaning and tuning, for sure. I'll try to get some pictures posted once I get it home. That happens tomorrow morning.
................... and that's why I haven't been posting for the last few days!