Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Tuesday after work we got some things done:

- finished cleaning out the crawl space
- repaired the kitchen sink drain that broke under the house
- fixed the open-ground electrical issue in the tool room
- brought the bathroom electrical up to speed

After work, we made a quick stop at the hardware store for an elbow, threaded end piece, and adapter. On the way home, we detoured to look at some fence boards that Erika found offered on Freecycle. Unfortunately, we never found the house, which was a little disappointing because we're dying to check out these old 16' fence boards that this family apparently has an ongoing supply of, free for the taking. We'll try again Wednesday.

Erika got suited up and mentally prepared to get into the crawl space and clean the last remaining bit of it, the section directly under the kitchen and extending to the bathroom. No one was looking forward to this. Earlier in the week, she noticed that the old sink drain, which passes through the floor and elbows 90 degrees right inside the crawl entrance, had come apart. So, in addition to having been unknowingly washing our dishes right into the crawl space, the unmistakable smell of dead rat was evident. Yeah, I guess we never followed up on that rat post, eh? Two days after we set the peanut buttery trap, it was missing. Part of this crawl space cleaning would be dead rat hunting.

I got to work cutting and assembling new pvc to replace the old broken stuff, and Erika took the droplight under the house and began removing rocks, wood, insulation scraps, and snake skin. She found the rat, too. Ew.

I really wanted to help out in there (no, really, I did!), but we've decided that I really need to give my arms a break for a little while since I feel like I've strained something in an unfamiliar way. Even the small amount of slithering around on the ground to fix the drain brought on the cramps. So I went inside to track down the problem with the tool room electric.

Last week, I swapped out the old black wiring, ungrounded outlets, and old switch in the tool room, but after I finished, my tester indicated that the new outlet had an "open ground." That was a quick fix last night - took it out and saw that the ground wire pigtail had separated from the rest of the wire. Fixed. Electric restored to that room.

Then I worked on the bathroom. For all this bathroom celebration (it's still exciting to use this room!), we never did tuck the outlet and switches into their boxes and put in some lighting. We figured we'd wait until we had the fixtures that we want, so we've been using a drop light that clips to the door frame. This is the same light that we use to light the dining room, so there's always an extension cord and we've always got to move the light from one room to the other. So, I tucked and screwed the outlets and switches into their boxes and attached the face plates. Then I wired up the basic pigtail socket overhead that my dad left for us and screwed in a light bulb. Hooray! There's electricity and switchable lighting in the bathroom now! Amazing how good it feels to have a light on a switch.

That was pretty much it. Not bad for a Tuesday!

- John

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