Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Water Boy

As you look at this picture of the back flow prevention valve for my sprinkler system do you notice anything about it that stands out? How about that the PVC pipe on either side of the brass valve that is a nice clean color of white? Why would this be new when the rest of the assembly is about six years old you might ask?

Well as it turns out, yesterday morning due to the 100 degree temperatures I decided it would be a really good idea to turn on the sprinkler system. So I went out to the front yard and lifted the lid off the control box and promptly dropped it right on to of the PVC fitting that connects to the valve, shearing it off cleanly.

This meant instead of going into the garage and turning the timer to the run position and letting the miles of underground pipe, sprinkler heads and drip emitters do their magic, I would spend the next hour hand watering the entire yard so I didn't come home to a wilted, brown, thirsty yard at the end of the day. Not a big deal really, as I enjoy spending time in the yard, but I did feel a bit silly spending all that time dragging a hose around when my butterfingers move was the reason for it.

Later that evening after coming home from work and relaxing for a short while I decided it was time to fix my little irrigation guffaw. Going out to the shed I soon realized that I didn't have any fittings of the correct type on hand, so it was off to Home Depot for a materials run. Returning home I gathered up all the necessary items to complete the repair: new fittings, primer/cleaner and glue, cutter and of course a Dr. Pepper.

Perhaps I should tell you that the valve is approximately 22 inches below the ground level to protect it from freezing during the winter. Code only requires it to be twelve inches deep, but being the anal retentive type that I am, I decided to make sure that even if the next great ice age were to happen, my sprinkler system would still be operational. Why do I tell you this little bit of trivia? So you will have a feeling for how fun it is to cut and work on this pipe while barely being able to reach it comfortably.

Alright, I have all the parts cut and ready for assembly. I take my time to prime all of them first to ensure I get a good bond. Next I grab the can of blue glue to start fusing them together and when I go to pull the dobber out of the can I realize it has set-up to the consistency of cured rubber cement. (Note to self, blue glue has a limited shelf life once opened.)

So with a fading smile on my face I head back to my favorite place. . . Home Depot. After another fun and exciting trip to the only stinking hardware store left within a twenty mile radius of my house (all the little guys have disappeared now) I am back home and ready...again, to do this simple repair.

I open the glue and low and behold, it's liquid. Things are starting to improve. Unfortunately it's a short lived excitement, because I discover that after I have glued a couple of the fittings together I've miscalculated the size of the valve and now have to re-cut the PVC to accommodate it and best of all the fittings that I've already glued together will now no longer work.

What does this mean? Yep, you guessed it, another trip to Home Foofoo for more parts. It's now eight o'clock at night and I'm tired and sweating like Rosie O'Donnell at an all you can eat buffet and I decide to cut my losses and call it a night. Believe or not I didn't break out the profanity card at this point. I guess it was past that time, so instead I just laughed.

This morning on the way home from work, I grabbed the next round of fittings, (and a few extras,) came home and fixed it without any further incident. Yaaaahooo!

Thank the good Lord there are others who are plumbers by trade, because I will be the first one to admit, I am not one!


Talisman said...

You stayed calmer than I would have. I would have cursed the minute I broke the thing. :P

Congrats on getting it all finished though. Third time's the charm, right? =-)

Jeni said...

If my son-in-law here were the least bit interested in blog reading, I would show him this post so he can see that others often have days that just never seem to go right -one thing after another! Sometimes, I think he feels he's the lone ranger in that department. Glad you were able to get things fixed though and I can assure you, had this ever happened to my ex-husband, way back when we were married -or even now - you'd have heard him cussing clear up in Oregon!

Ron said...

First of all, I cannot believe it was already 100 degrees there!?!

I'd be shitting!

It's only in the high 70's here and I'm already whining.


I totally need to move to Alaska.

Anyway...I can't believe all the crap you had to go through with that sprinkler system!!! You must have the patience of St. Francis, because between the heat and all the trips to Home Depot...I would have been a mental patient!!

You may not be a plumber...but you sure as hell have a great deal of tolorance.

Glad it all worked out for ya, buddy!

P.S. I think you should get a part-time job at Home Depot...I mean, you already know how to get there...

Jeff B said...

Tailsman- I actually surprised myself! I'm thinking there may be hope for my mouth yet.

Jeni- He is certainly not alone. Sometimes I'll have a day like this one where everything I touch turns to crap. Thank goodness they are not all like that though.

Ron- Almost evertime I go to Home Depot I see someone with that look of "where is such-and-such?" I can usually point them in the right direction faster than the people who work there. That's just scary.

Diesel said...

I've been messing with sprinklers lately too. (Hence all the trench-digging...) The other night I turned off the water, cut the main water line to our house so I could add some valves... and then realized I didn't have the fittings I needed. Good thing Home Depot is open late.

Diesel said...

Oh, and it was 106 here yesterday. :)

Akelamalu said...

Oh for a 'simple' job once in a while eh? :(

Mel said...

We finally hit 80 degrees yesterday! :-)

And Jeff.....I AM the sprinkler system at this house......

(smart remarks about my plumbing will NOT be appreciated....LOL)


buffalodickdy said...

It's good to know someone else averages 3 trips to the hardware store to complete one project- I thought I was the only one...

Odat said...

I hate when that happens! (It's never really happened to me but, what the heck, I figured I'd be right there with ya!)

Jeff B said...

Diesel- 106...Yikes! If I never had to touch anything related to plumbing again that would be just fine by me.

Akelamalu- This one certainly was up there on the frustrating scale.

Buffalo- The old "misery likes company" theory I see. I feel your pain brotha.

Odat- What i need is a nice retired person who has lots of time on her hands to do some of these things for me. Know anybody?

insane mama said...

I would have cursed throughout the whole thing...
are you on meds? or is the therapy working for you"?

Kimmie said...

I would have cursed throughout the whole thing...
are you on meds? or is the therapy working for you"?

ROFLMAO!!! Of Course...I think the world should be "Happily Medicated"! ;-)

So sorry to hear about the sprinkler woes! You must be a Type B person...not to throw out any type of curse word puts a Halo over your head! You are one Special Guy! :-)

Jo said...

When my men folks start working on projects like that I know the fowl lanquage will soon follow, so I slowly disappear from sight and hearing range until the job is done. I think you did quite well considering the evil plumbing grimlins were helping you with your fix it project.

jennifer said...

First of all, it's a really cool thing that you can do that at all. But with knowledge comes responsibility, and headaches.

Props for not throwing the cuss card. Seems all it takes to make me throw that particular card, in front of my kid, is to spot a policeman as I am driving through 'his town'. Sheesh.

Have a lovely 'rest of the weekend'.


Jeff B said...

Insane Mama- Trust me this goes against my natural tendencies. The no curse thing is something that I have to keep working on all the time.

Kimmie- Sometimes there is a fine line between wearing a halo and horns. The four letter words are generally the first things off my lips when things like this happen, but I keep working on it little by little.

Jo- I detest anything to do with plumbing! As a result I think I was already prepared for multiple trips to finish this job. Funny thing is I don't look at that as being pessimistic, just being realistic.

Jeff B said...

Jennifer- Unfortunately I seem to have a whole stack of cuss cards on the dashboard of my truck at the ready for my daily drive amongst the masses.

I've got to work on that one too.

Rhea said...

Oh, don't you just love little projects that turn into trouble?! And, they always, always do.

But, you do sound pretty handy, and I'm impressed you were able to fix everything. That's a curse and a blessing for you though, I know.

Home Depot is an awesome place...but no fun after your third trip in the middle of a project in 100 degree weather.

It's so good to hear from you again, Jeff! We've missed you!

Travis said...

My stepdad says "There is no such thing as a simple home repair".

San said...

Jeff, I have no mechanical aptitude whatsoever, and I am so impressed by wonders such as you (and my husband) who can figure out how to fix such things, let alone have the patience to apply their abilities. Is Dr. Pepper the secret to your success? My husband is a connoisseur of that beverage also.

nitebyrd said...

I would've been swearing from the minute I dropped the damn cover.

You have great fortitude, hun.

Raven said...

I don't know which is more impressive - that you know how to fix such a thing when it happens, that you didn't START out swearing, that you didn't swear your way through the whole task or... I'm impressed. My poor yard lives by rain and a stubborn refusal to die. Thanks for popping by Raven's Nest earlier. I hope you'll consider playing the Saturday Wordzzle game. It's fun.

Jeff B said...

Rhea- The real curse is that all of my neighbors know I can fix most things. My doorbell rings a lot. And thanks, it's nice to have some time to check in with everyone again.

Travis- Sounds like he speaks from experience. This one certainly qualified as a "not simple" one.

San- The secrete is in the Dr. Pepper. It seems to stimulate the cerebral cortex into just the right mode.

Nitebyrd- I wish I could say it happens all the time. One cuss free fix-it at a time will hopefully lead to another and so on.

Raven- I may give your Wordzzle's a go, but I don't want to say definately next week only because I'm quite busy with work this time of year. Bare mimimum, I'll be by to read them anyway.

Giggle! said...

100 degrees?????

HOLY HECK!!!!! xx

Dianne said...

My son, like jeni's son-in-law, doesn't spend much time online BUT I did e-mail this to him.

He appreciated it, he felt your pain.

I love your sense of humor turned on yourself - "irrigation guffaw"! - priceless.

Here at my house I AM the irrigation system. Heave the hoses, set up the little plastic sprinker, position, get soaking wet, re-position. Water and repeat, water and repeat.

I hope you try the Wordzzle when time permits. You have a casual, easy to read style and I'd love to read what you come up with.

Stay cool! :)

Gene Bach said...

You're a clutz. I'd sure like to say I feel sorry for you bro...but mom said I shouldn't lie.

Been hot here too...mid to upper 90's. What happened to spring? We went right from winter to summer.

Desert Songbird said...

You brought back some very vivid nightmares of the time when hubby and I decided to do all of our own landscaping at our old house, which included laying our own sprinkler system.

Which explains why when we built the new house, we hired landscapers to do the job.

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

This is roughly how it would have went if my husband was faced with the same task. Okay, he would have made a couple of more trips to Home Depot, but about the same. Glad you got it fixed. Have a great day. :)

Bond said...

OH I have done this...the multiple trips to H.D. all for a repair that should have taken 30 minutes and a few hours later I am cursing like a drunken sailor

Matt-Man said...

I am fortunate enough to have a cousin who is a plumber. Comes in handy. Cheers!!

the teach said...

Jeff, we would have had to get a plumber to fix that. Neither my husband nor I have ANY talent in that direction...thanks for visiting my post. Glad you liked Oscar! Ha!

Jeff B said...

Giggle- Holy Heck for sure. It's now 55 degrees and raining. Gotta love Oregon this time of year.

Dianne- Thanks for the kind words. I firmly beleive in order to laugh at the rest of the world, we must first be able to laugh at ourselves.

Gene- Since we're going to be honest're ugly and your breath stinks.

Songbird- Sounds like a wise move. Some things are just better left to professionals. Plumbing woud be one of those things for me.

Sandee- I don't know that I've ever fixed a plumbing issue with just one attempt. Arrrgh

Bond- My past outbursts should qualify me to be a fleet admiral!

Matt- Now that's the kind of relative to have.

Teach- Next time I may just do the same and avoid all the frustration.

Jules~ said...

goodness I am sorry for your troubles. How many times to I find myself ... shooting myself in the foot just for the sake of making sure I do it REALLY well.

So your sprinkler system is up and running again...just in time for the cool rains today. wink wink

Sandi McBride said...

Rosie O'Donnell at an all night buffet! I love it!

katherine. said...

this is one of those posts I'd like to hear your wife's

Jeff B said...

Jules- Rain, rain, go away. Come againg another day!

Sandi- Sorry if that visual left an imprint.

Katherine- Yes there was plenty of mumbling going on, but no cursing! She would back me up on this one.

Marilyn said...

I have a couple of drippy valves for my outdoor hose spiggot thingies. Sometime this summer... after I finish painting my house, I am going to learn how to fix them and fix them. Maybe.

I like the composite stuff way better than wood. Everybody wants signs made out of wood till they realize how short a lifespan they will have. I wonder if vinyl lettering would stick to that deck stuff.

CrazyCath said...

LOL - this is a typical "simple" job gone wrong eh? My hubby helped his mate (who IS a plumber!) to fit a patio door. They measured it, bashed the hole in the wall and stood the door into it...only to find they had bashed an extra foot width than necessary! How did that happen? Anyone's guess. They have now refilled and replastered the wall where there was an unnecessary gap...

Jeff B said...

Marilyn- "outdoor hose spiggot thingies" Your technicle jargon is quite impressive!


You might see if you can get a sample of some of the material from a local lumberyard and try it out.

Crazycath- The ole carpenters addage, "Measure twice, cut once" comes to mind.

Why do I have a feeling they won't be living that one down anytime soon?