What a Week. I Need a Vacation.

I could talk about the great flight I had coming home from Kauai last week.  The two full-length movies (The Matrix and Chocolat) I watched on my iPhone through great-sounding Skull Candy earbuds.  I could talk about how perfect the timing of the flight attendants was when they came around at just the right time each of the three times they gave me free coke that I could slyly empty my rum miniatures into.  I could talk about how the people sitting next to me had just the right talk/shut up ratio.  I could talk about how amazing the early evening landing was, with the waning sun lighting everything up as we flew north toward SeaTac airport.  I could talk about how I saw four volcanoes at one time out my window as we neared home: Mt. Hood, Mt. St Helens, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Rainier.

No, I didn't come to talk about those things.

Last Tuesday when I got in at the airport, Sarah picked me up and took me home.  She needed to finalize a project she had been working on for school, so she was going to hang out at the house for a couple hours when she was printing stuff.  When I walked through the door I noticed it smelled musty, bit it had been two weeks we had been gone and I figured it just needed to be aired-out.  I was putzing around and checking on stuff (computer, mail, etc).  I wasn't too concerned about my bedtime (even though the next day was a workday) because I was still 3 hours behind on Kauai time.  Finally, at about 11:00 I started to fade.  My energy levels were running low.  I decided I'd better put my clothes and stuff away before I kicked Sarah out and went to bed.  I walked back to the guest bedroom where all my shirts hang in the closet.

Squish, squish, squish.

That was the sound my stocking feet made as they trod on the carpet in that bedroom.  What the...?  I went over to the water heater in the closet and the whole top of it was wet.  Fortunately it wasn't squirting.  I went for a towel to mop things off to try to get a handle on what was leaking.  It was not a line, it was the heater itself.  Water was welling up out the top from below.  The carpet was wet and musty-smelling, and all the particle board under the carpet was also saturated.  Ditto the particle board under the water heater.  I had no choice but to turn the water off and loop the lines, bypassing the water heater completely.  That gave the house water at least--just not hot water.  By the time I had gotten to this point it was somewhere around 12:30 and I was dragging both physically and emotionally.  I wanted to come home, put my feet up, and relax.  Now I was in the midst of a crisis.

After getting only a couple hours sleep that night, the next day when I got home from work (and it was a heavy day of it too), I badly needed to sit and rest.  No.  I ran down to Home Depot and bought another water heater and feed lines.  Little did I know I couldn't install it yet.  With the water heater drained and tossed out in the back yard, I had to do exploratory surgery.  The same thing happened Wednesday and Thursday too.  No rest.  Instead, I dug deeper.  .  The more I dug, the worse it looked.  The particle board that lined the entire closet was so bad I removed it with a large scraper--one scoop at a time.  With that out of the way, the 2x8's below were visible.  Rot.  Lots of rot.  The drywall was rotten all along the bottom too.  By Friday night (3 days without hot water at that point) I had pretty much decided my course of action:  Remove and rebuild.  There's no way I could put another water heater on that floor.

It's weird to stand on dirt while you're inside your house, waist deep in a hole where a closet should be.  To have to put a door mat outside the bedroom to wipe mud off my feet before I walked through the house was also weird.  It took careful thought to repair the damage without going even deeper.  There were plenty of wall studs that had water damage but I forced myself to adopt a stopping point.  I came to the conclusion that what I was looking at was water damage from at least two water heaters.  Wood generally doesn't rot the way this stuff was rotted in only a decade or two.  I spend a lot of time doing this job.  I had to rebuild a lot of things to restore solidity to the area, and that's no small feat for someone non-carpenter savvy like myself.

I took lots of pictures.  Here are a few of them:

Notice the black mold and
the water heater imprint?
Particle board removed
along with rotted drywall
The top of this floor joist was
rotted so I removed some of it
A spacer board to take the
place of the rot I removed

Digging for treasure?
New support in place
Other new supports
and boards coming in
Sub floor complete
Or is this the sub floor level?
New plywood over tar paper

Floor done, careful drywall removal

New drywall!

Freshly mudded, and new vinyl

Just like new!
It's been five days without hot water.  I skipped a shower or two, took one cold shower one night, and took nice, hot showers across the street at Rachyl and Tony's house (bless their heart and proximity) a couple times.  I'm glad that's all over.

Now we just have to move the bed out and roll the carpet back so all of that can totally dry.

The Space/Time Continuum of Air Travel

It's amazing how much of an impact something can have on air travel.  During this trip over here to Sue's parents' house on the island of Kauai, I studied things that had a major impact on the space/time continuum of air travel.

I know there's a rule for bladder function as it relates to air travel.  Like the fact that buttered bread always seems to fall buttered side down, similarly, you always have to pee as soon as the wheels leave the runway.  The feeling that you have to pee increases exponentially as you climb in altitude.  Maybe it's an air pressure thing.  Most times Sue and I choose window seats, and this year was no exception.  That means there is a stranger occupying the aisle seat next to us.  I call him the gatekeeper.  Just the very presence of a human sitting there that you don't know keeps you from getting up to pee.  Just so I don't appear to be a pain in the ass, I always try to talk my bladder out of it.
"You can't be serious... We can't pee now--we're climbing."
"Are you sure?  You can't really under that much pressure--you just peed a few minutes ago in the terminal, remember?"
"Come on--it's going to be at least fifteen more minutes before they even turn the seat belt sign off, and when they do half the airplane is going to want to pee at the same time."
"It's embarrassing standing up and having the whole plane looking at you when you get up."
The flight attendants don't help things either.  They block the aisle with a beverage cart.  Yes, the beverage cart that gives you more things to make you have to pee.
Yes, I have observed that the very fact that you have to pee can double or even triple the duration of your flight.  If you don't want your 6-hour flight to feel like ten or twelve, you need to pee as soon as the urge hits you.

An uncomfortable seat can also be a contributor to doubling the length of your flight.  Just having a seat that feels like it's leaning the wrong way is all it takes.  I need to consider a memory foam cushion that conforms to my aging buttocks.  Yeah... That's what I need.

Conversely to the above items, I have found that watching a movie is a sure-fire way to shorten a plane flight.  Sue and I both went out of our way to put multiple full-length movies on our iPhones.  That way we would have choices.  Everybody loves choices.  I ended up watching a whole movie... Listening to a few songs, then watching another movie.  I actually almost got annoyed when we got to a point in our descent when they made us turn off all our personal electronic devices.

What?  We're here already?