It really wasn't so bad. Erika handled the long-needed task of moving certain large items out of the basement and finding another home for them (been getting really tired of moving the same things from one side of the basement to the other while we work), while I drilled the last of the holes in the joists for the manifold.
Our cat, Toes, came down the basement stairs after a while and we decided to let her hang out down there, which is something we usually discourage. She came down, went straight over to the cluttered corner with the old wooden shelves, boxes, and dehumidifier, and flushed something out almost immediately. Didn't see what it was, but she had moved quickly with it right next to where we were standing. Whatever it was was behind a piece of plywood now, which was leaning against the wall. "What have you got there? Is it a bug? A mouse?" Aaaeey! It's a big freakin' rat! It ran out from behind the wood, right past our feet and got itself under the pallet by the water heater, with Toes in hot pursuit. It was our screaming that distracted her, and possibly preventing her from completing the hunt. So Toes just staked that rat out for the next 10 minutes or so, keeping it trapped under there. Finally, being a rat, it quickly ran up the wall and disappeared into the crawl space, leaving our less nimble cat behind.
(pic not taken last night, but relevant...sorta!)
We took a few minutes to plan out exactly how this manifold was going to work and then began assembling it. We'd measure and cut a length of tubing, push it through the holes, and dry fit the T fittings and crimp rings (we'll rent the crimper this weekend and go around crimpin'). It went smoothly and the only thing that really held us up anywhere was that we didn't have our plates to complete the rest of the last two circuits, so we couldn't really attach them to the manifold. But the supply manifold is pretty much in place now, and that feels good. The plan for the weekend is to finish up the plates and construct the rest of the manifolds (2 downstairs and 2 upstairs). The upstairs one will be trickier because we'll need to run a whole lot of tubing from the basement to the attic.
This morning we got up well before the sun and stopped off at a lumber mill on the way to work. We were there eyeing up wood species to mill our posts and beams from. One week from today, Erika's dad will be coming to town to help us install them between the kitchen and dining room so we can safely remove the existing exposed studs and doorway. Exciting!