Friday, September 24, 2010

Drying the House: Thanks, Everyone!

A week ago I heard my washing machine's rinse cycle in the small hours of the morning.

And later realized that I hadn't turned the washing machine on.

It's an old house, with uneven floors. That kept the water mostly in the kitchen and laundry room.

And the wall between them.

And the basement on that side of the house.

By the time I'd closed the main valve and was watching the fountain subside into a mere leak, it was about two in the morning. I called a plumber I've worked with before.

I didn't expect Jim Engelbrecht to answer the phone. I was leaving a message on his machine when he cut in. He was at my place about 20 minutes later.

Good news: the pipes were in generally good shape. But I should have replaced the flexible bit that connects to the washing machine a few years ago.

Live an learn.

Jim Engelbrecht told me about a place in Foggton that does cleanup work. They had a crew out here before dawn, pumped about an inch of water out of the basement and set up heavy-duty fans and dehumidifiers that sucked water out of the air. And, over several roaring days and nights, out of the floors and walls.

This could have been a lot worse.

I'd rather not have the bills for the cleanup: But that's better than having mold and rotting wood. And my hat's off to everybody who showed up that night, to help out.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Water Splashing Merrily: So, Why am I Not Smiling?

One of the nice things about owning your own house is that you don't have to depend on the landlord to get things fixed.

One of the drawbacks about owning your own house is that you can't depend on the landlord to get things fixed.

I own the house I live in, and generally like getting things done without having to go through a landlord. Last night, I'd have cheerfully called maintenance and walked away.

Actually, it was 'early this morning.' I'd been up later than usual, getting a 'due Friday morning' piece done. Around midnight I was diligently working at that piece, and heard the washing machine go into its rinse cycle. Nothing odd about that. I generally set it so that it starts using water after I've washed up.

Somewhat later I remembered that I didn't have laundry to do.

And I was still hearing the washing machine going through its rinse cycle.

Or, more accurately, I was still hearing water rushing through the pipes toward the washing machine.

Not "to:" "toward." About a foot short of the machine, the water was splashing merrily out the end of a broken pipe.

The washer and dryer are on the ground floor, off the kitchen. The water there was almost an inch deep. It's an old house, so most of the water stayed at one end of the kitchen before wending its way through the wall and into the basement.

I'll let you know how this turns out, next week.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Back to School: Waking and Sleeping

I wasn't one of those students who seem to live for exams and who react to pop quizzes like most of us react to snow days. On the other hand, by and large I enjoyed being a student.

By and large.

I went to college right after high school. It seemed like a good idea at the time: Maybe it was, maybe not.

The biggest change for me was the new set of routines. Or, rather, lack of routines. Like having huge blocks of time between classes - and being able to plan how I'd fit a job, classroom sessions, and homework around my free time. Or maybe it was the other way around. Learning about priorities took me a while.

I still get dreams about being in college. Generally, it's a day after the deadline for changing or dropping classes. I realize that I've forgotten about one of the classes I signed up for; it's too late to drop the class; I can't even remember which building it was in.

Or I can't find the instructor's office. That actually happened to me once.

Yes, there are worse fates than forgetting your locker combination.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Pheasant Hunting on Pontoons

It's not official, but for most folks Labor Day is the end of summer. Then school will be in session, days will be getting shorter, and the next vacation probably won't be planned until Thanksgiving, at least.

Some of the lake country resorts stay open year-round here in Minnesota, particularly if they have a decent ski slope or trails for cross-country skiing. Then there's Paul Cox's Misty Inlet resort, on Loonfoot Lake. He's been known to keep his place open until mid-September: but that was to accommodate a business group, back in the nineties.

After the first week of September, Paul Cox plans to give the cabins a top-to-bottom cleaning, 'mothball' the outboard motors, and pull the pontoon boat up to the picnic area. The other boats go into a big shed at one end of the property, but the pontoon rig's too big to fit inside.

Besides, Paul Cox has another use for it.

"I wouldn't be in this business if I didn't like being with people," he told me. "But it's nice to have peace and quiet, too." On weekends, anyway. Paul Cox works at Fisk Implement and, during the Christmas season, the Coalworth store when he's not running Misty Inlet.

Most weekends, though, he'll be back at Misty Inlet. "Puttering around" he told me. Also, after the middle of October, hunting pheasant. From a chair on the pontoon boat's platform. He bags a few pheasants each year: but I suspect he likes the view of Loonfoot Lake.
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