surprises of all sorts

So the Tucson house (which I was available to come home to and take care of, having been swatted out of the sky last Thursday) is suddenly a plumbing job site at a thousand dollars a day. All of the old galvanized pipes from the 50’s that remain here at the Ranch must be replaced on an urgent basis; I knew it was coming one of these days, but it doesn’t mean that I was prepared for it. Can one ever be prepared for total disruption? Only perhaps by never fearing it, and having good strategies to handle financial emergencies.

One-story desert ranch houses tend to run the services around in crawl spaces, either below the house in a two-foot space (so revolting, so full of snakes and bugs, so absurd) or between the ceilings and the roof; we don’t generally have basements in Arizona (thank God).

Ceiling piping works until it doesn’t; I’m not a big fan of services being in places that ruin your life when they fail. Because it isn’t if with plumbing, it’s when, and everyone knows that. We should build smarter, with some eye to the future.

Smart place to run water pipes, right, over this ceiling? Facepalm, 1950s people. What were you thinking/not thinking? I just can’t stand to watch people doing dumb things on endless repeat. Which is how I get involved in everything I ever get involved in. I look at things, and say, how long has it been since you thought about why you are doing that, and what your options are? Most systems are improvable.

Personally, I like running services behind baseboards that unscrew for access, or around the exterior of a space, boxed in like an envelope house, with a veranda/greenhouse that encircles it on three sides, or a knee-high service wall that acts as a planter on top for a seasonal food garden. Encirclements keep houses warmer and cooler, provide flooding redirects, make great sense, and are cheap to add.

So. Anyway. Great ideas aside, one of the galvanized supply pipes up there burst the other day, as you might recall if you are a regular reader. There was a lot of feet of old pipe up there, rotting away, needing replacement. Thankfully I’ve got a great plumber, a guy who really understands old houses and doesn’t waste any time. A day of his time is like two or three days of another person. Carlos. I love you.

I didn’t plan on this. But it’s amazing that it’s happening. And it’s exciting – some things that haven’t worked for a while are working again. The outdoor shower has a beautiful new valve; I’ll probably never shower indoors again. The laundry room and the little bathroom down there have hot water to them for the first time in three years.

My kitchen sink has nice hot water flowing again.

tucson kitchen window

The plumbing is in for the outdoor sink, and why not; all new pipes were going in and it was just a bit of extra copper. We may as well sort them out as we like them as it’s an entirely new pipe job.

Slowly, bit by bit, things get done around here. Weeds gradually get eradicated, trees form canopies, old pipes get replaced… we’ve gone solar; we’re doing greywater on our sinks and shower. Gardens grow, soften, the lizards wake up already knowing my name. The curved-billed thrashers come dig their little holes around my feet.

Orangelina ate a worm from my hand yesterday, gently, as she does. It filled me with happiness.

first rain on the Miata

I didn’t plan for the timing of this either (freaking pipes!) but my car was in the shop this week for its annual checkup and tuneup. This time it got new clutch hydraulics. It wasn’t too expensive, though, as car repairs go. Nothing about my car is expensive, which is part of why I love it so hard.

My mechanics (the fabulous British Car Service) also love it (they even get excited about it, which is amazing if you know many mechanics) because it’s a gorgeous, original, well-cared-for example of the very first edition, 1990. And it’s actually (as you also may know if you are a regular reader) the exact car (the very one!) that would have been mine if I had ordered it new; I almost did, but just couldn’t swing it in my 20’s.

That the very same little vehicle found me 20 years later (and in perfect condition) is one of the delights of my life. I adore it, and I’ll keep it for as long as I possibly can.

I sing to it when I wash it, Roger Taylor-like.

I’ve been working like a fiend; not just to pay for the car and the pipes, but just because it’s springtime, almost summertime here, and I’m full of life. I’m doing things.

Sometimes the things I do aren’t really things I’m doing as much as they are like, hmm, course corrections … like you might turn your wheels in the direction of a skid, or lick up the edge of the meniscus quivering at the rim of a drink before it breaks, and spills.

Oooh!  Jay just said that he heard Bill McKinnon on NPR, talking about Enceladus I presume. So excellent. My husband is… magnificent. I can’t wait to see him as soon as all of this improvement is finished up. And I’m so grateful that I have him to split the plumbing bill with.  ; )

Off to the plumbing supply store I go, to get a faucet.
Good luck with your morning or your evening, your challenges, with falling in love at least once today…

3 thoughts on “surprises of all sorts

  1. how ghastly – all at once –
    and I love how you transform it into hopeful, adventurous, lovely things. The mundane can’t win against a force like Kate

    The shell must break before the bird can fly – Tennyson

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