Day 157: Human chess day.

This didn’t happen how I intended.

I was picturing a bunch of people in the park, looking like idiots, playing a very slow and complicated version of dodgeball. Instead, I matched wits with my house, and lost.

We have a faucet in the backyard, attached to the back of the garage. It’s not particularly accessible anymore, because the previous owners built a deck around it; attaching a hose to it involves ‘harsh language’ during and a stiff drink after.

It started leaking this spring. At first I wasn’t sure what was going on, because the kids use the hose to make mud pies, and don’t always get it turned off all the way; eventually, though, I realized that the faucet was leaking — slowly, but leaking — and would have to be replaced. It was probably as old as the house, which is getting damn old at this point; if I remember correctly — and my wife will correct me if I don’t — the house was built in the late 1940s. (Tangentially: when I was doing the kitchen remodel last summer, I found a Coca-Cola bottle under the house, circa the 1940s, with “Sherman TX” on the bottom.)

So I got up this morning, had a cup of coffee, whatever, went to Lowe’s with the kids to pick up a new faucet and nipple, came home, and went to work.

In order for this all to make sense, you need to be aware that there are five distinct pieces involved: the copper pipe, the elbow, the nipple, the faucet, and the hose. (That’s one of the best lists I’ve ever written.) The plan was to remove and replace the old nipple and faucet; however, the whole mess had gotten so corroded that my attempts to loosen the nipple from the elbow actually loosened the elbow from the pipe. No big deal, though: just go back to Lowe’s, get a new elbow, swing by my dad’s to pick up the soldering stuff, and we’re back in business.

That’s what happened, basically, although it took a few more moves than I intended. By noon-thirty, though, the whole thing was put back together, and I had a faucet that no longer leaked — take that, house!

I went about my afternoon, which involved being somewhere other than my house. When we came home, I checked on the back yard — I’m paranoid about plumbing fixes, these days — and found a small pond.

Fuck. That’s the third time this year we’ve had a broken pipe and a resultant lake. At least it’s not under the house, right?

I checked the new elbow: no leaks. I checked the knob, thinking it might not have been all the way off: not that either. I looked — carefully — under the deck at the pipe coming up out of the ground: it was totally dry, except the part that was under water.

What must have happened is this: there’s got to be another elbow in the line, and my removal of the faucet was too much for the 70-year-old solder, and that elbow started leaking. Fixing it will be easy enough, I guess, but getting to it is going to be a bitch. There’s a deck built around it, for one thing: I’m going to have to remove a section of it in order to even verify that my hunch is correct (which is going to require borrowing a chainsaw and a reciprocating saw from my father). It’s also surrounded by mud, and mud is less-than-conducive to soldering copper pipe. It also another fucking plumbing disaster.

Today, the house wins. I’m going to kick its ass tomorrow, though, because I want to be able to turn my water back on.

If you don’t see what any of this has to do with chess, well, I’m not sure what to say to you.

 

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