Welcome to the working week

It’s Monday. Know how I can tell? There’s a plumber in the driveway and my Visa card just spontaneously combusted.

One of the few downsides to living in an old neighborhood like ours is that the plumbing is even older than the residents. I think Hammurabi laid the original pipe, and the Romans handled most of the maintenance (But other than that, what have the Romans ever done for us?) until the Vandals came along and ensured that the pumps would no longer work by appropriating the handles.

Anyway, the lone bathtub at The House Back East™ has become something of a wading pond, and a plumber is over there panning for gold as we speak. I expect he’ll find some.

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26 Responses to “Welcome to the working week”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Sorry about the bathtub. That’s a bummer. Is the House Back East the house next door you all made into a B&B? I might find myself in your neck of the woods at some point and might want to check in at the Inn.

    First day of early retirement. Feels good so far.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      That’s the place, Sharon. We have a listing on airbnb.com and it’s been a surprisingly active draw. Herself’s idea, naturally. If it were up to me the place would be full of ghosts, roaches and ratoncitos, instead of paying guests, and we’d have never learned of the plumbing issue until the vermin started floating down the street.

      Glad to hear Day 1 of the New World Order is going well. Can I retire too?

  2. Ryan Surface Says:

    umm the Aqueduct? Roads? Sanitation?…..

  3. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    If the plumber is a bike rider, maybe you can do a little bartering and reduce the fleet.

  4. Larry T. Says:

    Now and then in Italy I think the progress in things plumbing ended with the Romans! But ah, the joys of home ownership. We avoided that like the plague until our long-time landlord said, “buy or move!” so we took the lesser (I thought anyway) evil. But of course now WE get to take care of all that stuff the landlord never wanted to do…we’ve done the roof, fixed the retaining wall, replaced some flooring..and the carpet guy should be here any minute. I suspect this s__t never ends? Only thing worse is probably being a landlord and listening to the tenants complain, eh?

    • khal spencerk Says:

      I used to think my 1989 Porsche 951 was a black hole for money. This house eats it for breakfast. Latest bit of trouble sucking money out of the savings account is that the garage foundation was never sealed properly. Ca-ching!

      • Larry T. Says:

        We’re fortunate in that department in that we had time to have a real eagle-eye home inspector evaluate the shack before we bought it. Same with the appraisal so we knew pretty much what we were getting into ahead of time. None of that makes the repairs any cheaper, but a few of ’em have pleasantly surprised us by costing less than we thought. But I’m SURE the law of averages will even things out! Here in Iowa I’d bet our house cost less than the MSRP on that Porsche back-in-the-day! The insurance lady laughed when I said her company probably insures cars that cost way more than this house did!

      • khal spencerk Says:

        The MSRP on that Porsche was about 51k. I got it used for a small fraction of that, but suspect if I added up all the bills over the years, I’d faint. Its been seven years since I sold it, and my wife still hates that car.

    • Patrick O'Brien Says:

      Ain’t it the truth. They sell us this “own a home” dream, so they can continue to sell us shit on a regular basis. Why else would they put plumbing behind plywood and fiberboard cabinets? Get a leak, and the whole thing turns to mush. Put round foil duct work in that can’t be cleaned and then sell you air filters. Average subdivision house is designed to maximize profits over its entire life. If people ever stopped to calculate the true life cycle cost of a home, as us logisticians do for military systems, the hosing market would go tits up overnight.

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        I meant “housing” not “hosing”, but maybe hosing is the right word after all.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        “Hosing” is the exact word. We’ve been playing catch-up on some deferred maintenance on the DogHaus and I don’t even want to think about what we’ve spent. At least friends and friends of friends got most of it (carpenters and painters). Next up: The roof of the garage. It leaks so often I’m surprised Obama hasn’t had it arrested.

      • Larry T. Says:

        Thank you for writing that. The myth of home ownership is, well a myth. NOBODY seems to actually keep track of the dough they shove into these places – they just say “I bought it for $X, sold it for $Y, therefore it was a good investment”. I’m keeping every receipt for all the costs of owning this shack just to prove it’s a terrible investment – but finding another place to rent and moving into it seemed a whole lot worse at the time. And Khal, it did cost a bit more than your Porsche, but probably less than a current one!
        As to construction, I always laugh when our Italian friends see homes being built here in the USA – they can’t believe we live in things made from sticks, chicken wire and stucco. “Why, that will fall down in 50-100 years, why not build something to last?” they ask. I have no answer.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Hosing is the correct term.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Of course those were 1989 dollars, Larry. My trusty online inflation calculator puts that at 97k today’s inflation shrunk dollars. Sheesh. I got it for 7k plus the collision value of my ’83, which got pinned between a 4-Runner and a jersey barrier courtesy of a driver backing up on a freeway. The joys of driving on roads full of Americans….

        The closest thing to it now is the Cayman S, which rids one of about 70-75k, if my memory serves me. If I had 70k burning a hole in my pocket, I’d not buy a car with it.

      • Larry T. Says:

        I guess we could have bought a new Porsche Cayman S for what we paid for this shack – but to me it’s just a car. The house has lots more living space and for me, unless it’s a FERRARI…it’s just a car. An appliance just like a washer or dryer….my expensive car and motorcycle lust (Ferrari’s excepted) went away a LONG time ago.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’d be a renter if I were a single man. I was born to rent. Shit, I was born to live in a van down by the river. My dad didn’t buy his first house until he was 50. Herself and I have done four so far — including the old man’s first place, which we “bought” from Mom’s estate.

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        But “The House Back East” is so damn cute, I couldn’t have resisted it either. Bet it has real ducts and exposed plumbing. If yours is similar, then good on ya. Kinda like a vintage Trek 720. Sandy and I need to stay there some day and let Duffy pee on the tree out back.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        It’s a nifty little house, for sure. I think Marv’s spirit loiters around the place and helps the tenants feel at home. Everyone who stays there seems to enjoy it.

        It’s a 1939 vintage, like ours, with a boiler instead of a forced-air furnace and plenty of exposed pipe in the basement and crawl space. It was an old-school drum trap that failed us in this instance — the plumber tried snaking the tub without success, then found the trap was basically FUBAR. Cha-ching!

      • khal spencer Says:

        Fascinating discussion of drum traps. We just passed on a 65 year old house in Albuquerque. Decided a few more years in Bombtown will have to do.

  5. Steve O Says:

    In other news … 50% of cycling’s most influential O’Gradys are calling it quits.


    • Larry T. Says:

      Based on the reports from France, Stuey’s timing is just perfect, eh? As for Patrick, nobody would be surprised if he was doped, but we’re not talking PED type stuff!

      • chri5p Says:

        And sad that he’s become the latest to mea culpa over the use of EPO in ’98. I’m going to think the best of the lad and assume that it was Evening Primrose Oil he was talking about. I hail from Stueys home town and have followed his career forever; I wish I could muster up more disappointment about the announcement but I think I’ll just go put on a big pot of Idontgiveafukanymore.

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