Adventures in a New House by Richard Bleil
Today I spent much of the day at the new house. It is still painfully cold, but the utilities are supposed to be turned on today. That will give me heat (gas), light (electricity) and a place to go to the bathroom (water). In yesterday’s post I discussed my concerns about the plumbing, so it should not surprise you that I called a plumber. He’s on his way to get fittings as I write this (along with his brother), but I’m glad I called him in.
As it turns out, the water is, indeed, on. I didn’t even know. There is a water meter waiting to be installed, and the plumber hooked it up and tested the water and it is flowing. This is good news, but it’s stopped at the shut-off valve just beyond the meter. If there is no heat, there is the possibility that the water could freeze in the pipes.
Water, I’ve written before, is a very strange compound. It is the only compound known to science (and one of two materials, the other being an element) that expands on freezing. If it did not expand on freezing, there would be no problem because, if it froze, it would contract and would not require more volume. Unfortunately, as we all know, water expands on freezing, a proper that allows one, should it be so desired, to create literal (and quite powerful) water bombs, such as in your basement. The house I bought with my wife (back when I had one) had not been winterized. Nearly every pipe in the house had burst and needed to be replaced. So, here, my plumber only ran water up to the secondary cut-off valve so if I don’t get heat, it can be drained back out quickly without fear of damage.
But back to the original train of thought. As it turns out, many of the items in the house are not even hooked up. Two toilets (and I did notice this but I had forgotten) don’t have water attached. The water heater (which I’m ashamed to say I did not notice) does not have gas hooked up. So today, my plumber (and his brother) are doing two things. First, they’re hooking up the toilets, and taking care of things that must be fixed immediately (installing the water heater, replacing shoddy fittings, things like that). Second, they will be creating a list of things that should be done very soon.
Okay, I should start over, but it’s too poetic not to just keep going. I requested all of the utilities on the same day (I thought), but apparently, electricity is tomorrow. Until I have electricity, I cannot have heat, and I cannot run water, so I really have nothing. While the plumbers left my house to get supplies, they ended up with family problems. After I was sure they surely would have returned, I resisted calling to be sure everything was okay but didn’t want to intrude. The electrical company provided an excuse so I could give them an update. They informed me that, in fact, a family dispute erupted and they wouldn’t be back today.
Now I’m back in my friend’s apartment. Now, it’s not really a big deal. See, here’s the way I figure it; I have to give an exam at 8 AM, and I can do that from my new house even without electricity. The plumber said he would return tomorrow at 7 AM as well, so hopefully by noon I’ll have all utilities running, heat in the house, and working plumbing. That’s not bad. Plus, I unrolled my spare mattress today, the one I will be able to sleep on until my main bed is delivered. Usually they say not to sleep on them for 24 hours, so by tomorrow, it should be ready so if I want to take an afternoon nap I can.
With heat, I’ll be able to spend more time in the house. I need to install the last deadbolt that I purchased today, the video doorbells I purchased, and clean up the yard so in the afternoon, I should be able to get started on those chores. So, it’s all okay.
The house has rooms that are in horrible shape, truly not fit for occupation. However, there are plenty of rooms that are clean enough and good enough for immediate occupancy, so with working plumbing and heat, I can move in any time. I’m hoping to return this bedroom where I have been living to my very generous roommate by the weekend, and my storage shed filled with what remains of my belongings can be moved in over the month of December hopefully before I have to pay for yet another month. So, wish me luck; things are moving in the right direction!