Monday, November 25, 2013


I figured it was time to provide an update on my "the sky is falling" post. I was finally able to clean out all of the debris and poke my head into the attic to determine conclusively what the problem was. It seemed obvious that it was the roof because it had rained the night before and when I looked in the attic the roof was all wet. As it turns out it was not so simple. As I was cleaning up the mess I felt a very subtle mist on my head. When I looked to see where it was coming from I couldn't see anything so I waved my hand around until I felt the mist again. I followed the mist to it's source and low and behold it was the polybutylene plumbing. My heart sank. That is both good news and bad news. The good news is that my roof is OK and it is an easy problem to fix. The bad news is that if I have a leak here then there must be dozens of other potential leaks all getting ready to spring forth. I really should re-plumb the whole house. 

After calling my insurance company things went from bad to worse. First of all, I have a $5,000 deductible on my home owners insurance. As it turns out that doesn't really matter. They won't replace the plumbing. They will cover water damage from the leak but I can do that for a few hundred dollars and a couple of weekends. Even if I had a lower deductible it wouldn't make sense to file the claim. 

The leak was a very tiny pin hole and the water jet shooting from the pipe was so small that I couldn't see it even if I got close and looked right at it. I could only find it by feeling it on my hand. The confusing part was that the water jet shot straight up and was hitting on the roof leaving a wet spot and that is why I thought the roof was leaking. The leak has probably been going for several weeks but because it is the kids bathroom we never go in there. It just happened that we went in on the very same day the roof came down. 

So off I go to Home Depot. Half of my home comes from Home Depot but not this time. They have no fittings to repair polybutylene plumbing more commonly known as Qest plumbing. That is correct, there is no "u" in Qest. I did get a repair kit from Home Depot which they tried telling me would last decades but I didn't believe them. I just hoped it would last until I could find a more permanent solution. It is a silicone tape that you can wrap around the pipe. The tape seals onto itself making a sleeve around the pipe. It didn't stop the leak entirely but it did slow the drip down from about a drop every five seconds to a drop every thirty seconds. I went and looked at it the next morning though and the silicone wrap had swollen up like a balloon. Rather scary actually.

I phoned all over town and finally found a plumbing supply house that carries fittings that look like they may last long enough. Tonight I installed them and so far there are no leaks. I'm a little leery of repairing the bathroom with that old Qest plumbing up there but what choice do I have? I'm not about to re-plumb my house right now and my wife isn't terribly fond of the raised ceiling in the bathroom.

The average American High School student will only work on a math problem for two minutes before they give up and ask for help. A Chinese student will work on it for over an hour.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Running In The Rain

I recently started running again. I love to run and I really need to get rid of at least fifteen pounds but I love to eat so it just makes sense. Yes, I know that 80% of losing weight has to do with what you eat and only 20% is exercise but I'll take that 20%.The problem is that I have a really hard time staying motivated if I am not signed up for a race. I've decided that I am going to run a half marathon. I haven't signed up yet or anything but just telling myself that I am running one seems to have given me the motivation that I need. I'm loving it. As it turns out there is a half marathon at Christmas time that I think I will run but whether I do or not it feels good to be moving again. I would actually rather do a full marathon but I just don't have the time it take to train for one. Right now I'm running two hours every Saturday but a full marathon takes four hours every Saturday.

Yesterday I headed out for a 9 mile run and I decided to run up through the Santa Luz area. That is one of the problems with running the longer distances. Where do you run? After a while you run out of new places to go. I've never done Santa Luz before though so off I went. If you look at my map you can see that the five mile mark is about as far from home as I could get and once I got there it started to rain. I was running across a golf course and saw a rain bow in the distance. I thought. Oh what a pretty rain bow. Little did I realize that it was coming my way. As the rain started coming down harder and harder I started thinking about who I knew that lived in the area. I was about ready to head for the Walton's when I spotted a bathroom. It had a covered entrance so I took cover there. 

I got a nice picture of the rainbow. After about five minutes the rain tapered off and I continued on home. I'm getting a lot better at this running thing. For the first three or four miles I was able to maintain close to a nine minute mile. I know that isn't too impressive for some of you but for me it is better than I have ever done before. Maybe it is time to sign up for that half marathon.

A recent survey of America's eleven most popular religions found that they divided roughly into two main categories. The religions with the most successful followers were the least devoted to their religions and the religions with the most devoted followers were the least successful. The one anomaly was the Mormons. They were among the most successful and among the most devoted ranking them far ahead of the next highest ranked religion. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

When it rains it pours (and leaks)

Friday night Lisa and I were sitting watching TV when it started raining outside. Lisa thought it was coming down really hard but I didn't think much of it. Saturday morning we were getting some of the bedrooms ready for guests when I went in the kids bathroom (we never go into that bathroom any more) and I saw that the ceiling was sagging and there was water dripping from the sagging part. I knew right away that our roof was leaking but I was very confused that we could have such a big leak when we have never had a hint of a problem before. I went up on the roof and never saw anything obvious like broken tiles or anything so then I climbed into the attic to get a better idea of where the problem was. I could see where it was leaking so I went back up on the roof and there was still no way for it to leak unless the wind was blowing in just the right way. The wind had to blow the rain up under the tiles on the peak of the roof. 

There wasn't much I could do at the time so I decided there was no immediate emergency and I would call the insurance company on Monday crossing my fingers that they would cover this. 

I worked in the yard for a few hours and decided to go on a run. I was four miles out when  I got a text from Lisa. I could read her panic in the text. Apparently she had been working in the bathroom and the timer on the washer or dryer went off. She ran downstairs and as she was in the laundry room she heard a huge bang from upstairs. When our kids were home that would not have been unusual but since she was the only person in the house she was quite worried. She ran upstairs to see what was going on and the pictures show what she found. 

I'm just glad that the timer went off when it did. That would have hurt my darlings head. She decided that she wasn't going in there and went back downstairs when she heard an even bigger bang. I guess the ceiling hadn't completely come down but this time it did.

I'm not looking forward to fixing this. I really hope the insurance covers it. 

To make matters even worse, I found two new problems while I was in the attic. My house has the infamous plastic plumbing. This plumbing is notorious for springing leaks and flooding peoples houses. They did a recall on the worst kind of plumbing and had to re-plumb everyone's houses. The kind I have also had a recall that if I sprung a leak within the first 15 years they also had to re-plumb the house. When my fifteen years was about up I was sorely tempted to poke a hole in my water line but I was good. Well when I was in the attic I saw calcium carbonate deposits on a water line. A sure indication that I'm about ready to spring a leak. I guess I better take care of that before Alex's ceiling comes down. 
My other surprise I found in the attic was that: I think I saw termite poop. I looked above where the poop was and noticed a few tiny holes in the rafter. It looks very localized so hopefully I can treat it myself. 

So as you can imagine, Saturday wasn't the best day for me. Tomorrow I talk to the insurance company so let's hope they will cover this.

From when the cotton is grown until they are thrown in the trash, a pair of blue jeans consumes 3,480 liters of water.