Saturday, June 25, 2011

Things have been going better.

So naturally I had to do something to shake things up. Our newest dog, Sandy, is terribly afraid of thunder. So much so that nothing will stop her from getting to a place where she feels safe. When we're awake, she's happy to be with me and Helen. At night, she will only settle for a place on my bed. I have put up gates and she just muscles through or over them. I tried putting a gate a bit higher, with the bottom about six inches off the floor. The height is enough to deter her (I think), but she will not try to climb underneath. The height is low enough that I can cross the gate with out raising the pitch of my voice, usually. Yesterday Helen called me to the pool and as I tried to navigate over the gate my left foot got caught and I found myself on the tile floor and in a lot of pain, I mean A LOT OF PAIN. I screamed for Helen. I was in great pain and couldn't move. Helen came in and gave me an ice pack for my leg and a pillow for my head. I laid there as the pain subsided, but it was about a half hour before I could get up.

Going to the ER was out of the question as I go there often enough when I think I'm dying and I didn't want to waste a visit on a stupid fall. I'm on pain killers and crutches and that will have to do for the time being. If I sit just right and don't move too much, it doesn't hurt at all. If I don't sit just right or move the wrong way, I get a really sharp pain. Monday morning I will try to get in to see a doctor. In the meantime, I'll just have to sleep with all the dogs, again.

Sam says "Stay safe". I should listen.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I just can't get enough leaks!

After the last few days, you'd think I'd have had my fill of leaky things. No so!!! This morning Helen advised me that there was, indeed, a leak coming from under the washing machine. I pulled the machine out a ways, and ran through a whole load of laundry, keeping my eye on the underside of the washer. NOT ONE DRIP! Not as drop. I went to tell Helen and when I returned with her, to show her, there was the drip. It was not coming from under the washer, but was a small leak where the hot water hose connect to the washer. A quick tighten with channel locks and it was fixed.

I put the washer back in place and went to reconnect the dryer. There was a lot of lint behind the dryer and I found that the vent hose was not connected properly. After ensuring that the hose was well connected,I put the dryer back in position and I was done for the day.

A short time ago Helen started another wash. She was quick to react and shut the washer off and came to get me. There was water flowing out of the laundry room that Helen was trying to contain, but the water had already gone beyond the laundry room and almost all the way to my workbench. I connected my shop vac and sucked up all the water I could. Apparently, when I pushed the washer back in place, I caused the discharge hose to become dislodged from the drain. It was easy to correct the problem, but now we have a lot of wet stuff in the garage.

It's a good thing that I have so many friends, because it seems like I have enough enemies in myself. I don't just have bad luck, sometimes I go to great lengths to make bad luck for myself.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I'm reaching a point where I'm beginning to get anxious as the clock approached midnight. Well, not exactly midnight, but 11:00 PM. A short time ago we realized that the air conditioned wasn't running and it was getting warm. That was as we were about to watch the 11 o'clock news. Two days ago at 11o'clock, I started to make a cup of coffee to drink while we watched the news only to find that we had no water. With no water we also had no air conditioning because of the air-to-water or geothermal heat pump. I spent much of yesterday toiling in the hot sun to get the water back. I* went out in the motorhome and set the thermostat to 73 degrees so we would have a cold spot if we needed it. By last night I was completely worn out. At 8:30 I took my night time pills and went to bed. I tossed and turned for about one second and went right to sleep. Helen had assured me that I could have today off. No plumbing. No trees. Just relax.

Around the unholy hour of 11, Helen woke me out of a very deep sleep. Well, perhaps not completely awake, to tell me that there was a leak in the garage. Oh Boy!!! I stumbled into the garage and assured Helen that there was no real problem and that I would fix it in the morning, ON MY DAY OFF. I was in such a stupor, that if water was gushing out of somewhere and was threatening to wash the cars right out of the garage, I would have told her the same thing. Anything to get back to bed.

I was again at Lowe's first thing in the morning and I have finished re-plumbing the water supply to the heat pump. At least I'm done for now. There is still a little leak that will have to be addressed and there is a small leak at the well that has to be addressed, but not today!

The way I feel right now is that if I were to spend some time in the yard, buzzards would start circling, waiting for me to keel over. It's 11:04 as I write this and I feel that's plenty late enough for my afternoon nap.

Night all!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fixing the well pump.

After writing the blog last night I went right to bed as I figured I would need the sleep to cope with all I had to do today. It didn't quite work out that way. A couple of thunder storms passed by, and although we didn't get a drop of rain, there was some awesome thunder. Shortly after the first loud thunder clap I was visited by all the dogs. They pushed through the gate and jumped on my bed. I ordered them off and Jodie and Coco complied, but Sandy looked like she was trying to grow roots into the mattress. She absolutely would not get down! I lifted her off the bed and put her on the floor and she jumped right back on the bed. I picked her up again and moved her to the computer room where the three dogs have beds. I put up the gate and went back to bed. I think I fell back to sleep. Sometime later there was another boom and the three dogs were back on the bed in a flash.

Again Jodie and Coco got off when I told them to, but Sandy was not going to go willingly. I picker her up once more ( and she was getting heavier each time) and removed her to the computer room. I set up the gate and reinforced it with a couple of dining chairs. I was bothered no more.

My plans to get a very early start got off to a bad start as I slept until 8:30 AM. Helen used bottled water to heat for coffee, and had a cup waiting for me. I drove up to Lowe's to get a pump as I know just what I need and I know just where they keep them. Looking at the system last night I realized that the pressure switch is looking pretty bad, so I bought one of those too. The only things I forgot were the crimp and seal connectors for the pump. These are crimp connectors with a special shrink tubing. When you add heat, the sleeve shrinks to give a very tight seal on the underwater connections. At the end, a waxy substance oozes from the ends of the tubing ensuring a tight seal. I sent Helen up to ACE hardware to pick up four while I worked on pulling the old pump.

This is my rig, three 14 ft 2x4s with a threaded rod going through the three of them.

I sent Helen off with the directions and I was sure that the guys at ACE would help her. No such luck! They gave her a couple of packs of normal shrink tubing instead. I took them back myself to exchange then for the correct type. Again, no such luck. Then I tried Hopper Electric.....Nope! I ended up at Golden Plumbing Supply and got exactly what I wanted. I don't know how I forgot to get them at Lowe's. They had to be right in front of me at the pumps.

The well is about 120 feet deep, with the pump down around 35 to 40 feet. IF the pipe should slip, all would drop to the bottom and cause all kinds of trouble. I use two sets of short 2X4s bolted around the pipe. I've done this several times and so far I have not had a problem. I do not loosen one until I have the other one tight and holding the load.

I use an old block and tackle that has been in the family for a couple of generations. It works very well.

I had all the tools in the cart behind the lawn tractor. It's much easier than lugging everything from the garage.

At first the water is very dirty as I've really disturbed the rust that has formed in the well casing. I let it run for awhile to clean it out.


I was doing OK, but Helen and I were supposed to join friends in Crystal River for dinner and Helen would not go without taking a shower, So I kind of rushed near the end. That never works. I connected everything, but didn't give the PVC cement enough time to set properly, hence the leak you see above. It was getting late and in spite of the leak, there was enough water flow available for a shower, so I let it leak until Helen and I had showered and I even ran the A/C for a little while. The temperature got up to about 84 inside. I shut down the pump and we went to dinner.

When we got back I took the time to do the job properly and allowed a significant time for the PVC cement to set properly. Now I'm sitting here in the comfort of the A/C. Helen says I can take tomorrow off. Of course the remains of the trees are still there waiting to be carted out back.

I mentioned before that this is the first time in many years that Helen and I have stayed in Florida for the summer. The loss of the main A/C unit last week or the loss of the pump would have been a major problem for us. We would have come home to a house darkened by mildew and musty to boot. Also, the pump and parts cost just under $400.00. The last time I had the pump changed by professionals was more than 20 years ago and cost $900.00 then. I've earned myself some kind of reward. Hmmm. I'm thinking. I already got the new Koni shocks. Plus, we recently bought a new camera. My laptop is up-to-date. I'll have to check a few website to see it there is anything I need. Any suggestions?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Things are not going WELL

It has been a couple of weeks since my crossing with the yellow jackets. The stings went away overnight, but I ended up with an itchy rash at each spot that lasted for over a week. According to information in the internet, I am apparently a little allergic to those stings, at least in that number. As a tot, back in the later 50s, we were spending a Sunday at a lake. We were somewhat bothered by the yellow jackets that were hovering around the food. Walking away from the family, I spotted a hole in the sand where the yellow jackets were entering and exiting. Aha!! I took a stick and jammed it in the hole. Well, not all the way in the hole and I was soon swarmed with the nasty wasps. I was told that I had over 50 stings on my upper body, but I survived, so I had no allergy then.

I'm still working on the trees every day, at least until it gets too hot. Though I cut the logs into smaller and smaller pieces, they are still so heavy and I have to make more cuts so the pieces are smaller. I put an ad in the paper for free firewood....cut into short sections need to be split. I got two replies and they both said they would be here the next day. No one has come, so I will just burn it all in the back yard.

Last week our main A/C unit failed. I did a quick check, but it was beyond my talents so a technician was called in. It was the low voltage transformer that powers the thermostat and the control circuits. It failed at night after it started to cool down, so it caused no discomfort. The bill was $204.00, but this is the first time we've had to have it repaired in 27 years.

A short while ago, at almost 11:00 PM, I decided to make myself a cup of decaf coffee. Surprise!!!! NO WATER!! My household A/C is water cooled, so no water=no A/C. I heated bottled water in the microwave to make my coffee. With the pool just outside one bathroom door, we have 30,000 flushes available. I've been down this road before and I have the tripod and tools to remove the well pump and install a new one. Lowe's is open at 7:00 AM and I bet I'll have water by 10:00 AM. I noticed that the pressure switch is looking pretty bad, so I'll replace that at the same time. I will take some pictures of my rig. Who knows, they might spur someone else into doing it themselves. I SHOULD have more to say tomorrow.

I will ensure that the breaker to the well is open so there will be no chance of getting hurt.

We were supposed to be in Nova Scotia now. It is fortunate that we were home for the first summer in many years. With a failure of the A/C or the well, it would mean that the house would be without A/C for the summer and we would get back in September to be greeted by a moldy house with mildew everywhere. How lucky can you get?

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Not exactly the bees knees

I was out again this morning, getting ready to remove another tree or two and I was running my heavy rope from the tree to the back of my Jeep. I do not use my Boy Scout knowledge to cut the tree in such a way as it will drop where I want it. Besides, the trees are slanting so far in the wrong direction that without the rope, they would fall into the telephone lines. The power company trimmed them back far enough that they would not hit the power lines high on the pole, but the telephone and cable lines are much lower and would not hold a tree well.

Apparently I stepped into a yellow jacket nest that had been unknown and unseen and all hell broke loose. I was stung several times as I ran into the house with more stingers behind me. Helen told me to immediately take to Benedryl and I went into my bathroom to do so. In the mirror I could see yet another yellow jacket on my Tee shirt and quickly did it in before it could sting me. However, there was another one flying around. I grabbed the Benedryl and ran, closing the door behind me. My protectress, Helen, went back in with a swatter and killed TWO that were in there. By now, several minutes had passed and I thought the problem had passed.

That was not the case as one more had worked its way under my shorts and nailed me RIGHT IN THE BUTT!!! What a nasty little........... I have at least ten welts from the damn things and I still have to retrieve the rope. Perhaps later. Helen is keeping her eyes on me looking for any indication of a reaction. For my part, I sort of relaxing as I contemplate how to rid my yard of those nasty bugs. First, I'll have to find out where they are (I'm guessing pretty close to where I dropped the rope). Then I will find some spray that will kill the whole underground colony.

Many years ago Helen's parents had a problem with an underground colony of yellow jackets back in Massachusetts. They all go home at night and are vulnerable then. We got a large pot of boiling water and poured it into the nest. The problem was solved. A day or two later and we dug up a nest the size of a football. I'll keep you posted.

Sam.......sometimes it's difficult to stay safe or be careful!