It’s been a little irritating

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Today was one of those days. A somewhat irritating, less than successful day.

Partly I set myself up for failure. I was planning to finish the office floor’s pex pipeguides for the underfloor heating. This, actually, would be a reasonable target for a day; even for a bit over half a day as it’s a fairly simple layout section, but I was also expecting two separate permit inspections and also our plasterer was coming to fix some minor issues that we’ve noted.

So he arrived first, and while initially I was able to get on fine, eventually he hit the room I was laying the floor in, and… so I switched to putting up an exterior light.

It was at this point that I discovered I’ve installed a lightswitch upside-down. I’m not sure how, but I do need to fix it. Thankfully I discovered this with the voltmeter, not with my fingers.

Now it turned out that the light we ordered was about 1/2 an inch too tall. Having dismantled it and applied some gentle force, it fit, but the process was quite frustrating.

And then things started to go awry. So, our permit inspector turned up, and looked at the floor. Fine, he said, carry on, call him back when we’re done laying it. Which was the plan for that inspection – because we’re not done, but are running out of time on the permit. But then we had a very cross-purposes conversation where I misunderstood what he was talking about, and he, I suspect, misunderstood me. I didn’t realise he was there to do both the plumbing and the pre-hole-digging permit inspection for the garage. And from what I understand, he was confused because I took him to look at plumbing, when he was expecting to look at the ground, and couldn’t find the attached permit.

I think that’s it.

Anyhow, on I went with my day, and looked at the room where our plasterer had been working. The floor, unsurprisingly, was quite wet. Which is not ideal for gluing and screwing things. So I decided I’d switch to looking at the installation of the manifold and such for the plumbing.


It took me a long time to realise that half the bits listed in the generic instructions are not included in our kit. Mainly because I kept trying to keep a list of what I’d identified in my head, rather than on paper, which would have been more sensible. Also because this is more complex stuff than I’m used to plumbing, so working out what things are is more complicated. I’m guessing this is because we’re using a combi, not repurposing a regular water heater. And because it’s designed for purpose, I’m thinking that many of the bits just aren’t needed.

But there’s no specific instructions, and no indication how they’re expecting it to be laid out. Having battled with that for a couple of hours, comparing mismatched diagrams from the boiler company, the makers of some of the parts, and the generic install instructions I threw my hands up in frustration and decided I’d cut the bits where it says to cut them so I can lay them out in front of me and work out what’s missing and what I need.



Now, I knew that lump of adhesive had ended up on there, because I’d fished out the leaking container of glue. However, what I didn’t realize is how well it’d bonded to the thing – and nothing I did could remove it. And my final attempt ended up with it cracking.

Having stared at the plumbing some more I concluded that I might as well go and get a pipe cutter… and since it was now apparent that I would be doing some proper copper plumbing, a new gas cylinder for my torch. A quick google led me to the useful information that Benzomatic is a US-available brand, and it was stocked in BoB. Good.

Then while I was making my list I ran across a rather important list – things for the shower base in the 3/4 bath.


And was struck by a slow-dawning-fact. We’ve put down the PEX plumbing in the bathroom, but I’d forgotten that before that went down, first there was meant to be metal lath, and underneath that, waterproof felt.

Well, bollocks.

At least the pipe’s just screwed down.

So I added the ‘stuff for the shower base’ to my list, and prepared to head out. I got out the door before twigging that I couldn’t leave. I called the permit inspector and finally worked out one- that I’d got him and our other permit inspectors’ names backwards, and two- what our cross-purposed discussion was about. He’s going to come back tomorrow (yay), and I now knew that I needed to lay out the footprint for the garage. Adding that stuff to my list I headed to BoB.

Having got there it became quickly apparent that despite Benzomatic selling blowtorches both here and in the UK, the European one is a completely different thread to the US one. So yay to that.

New torch, and lead free solder acquired (I have no idea if my other solder has lead in it, I’d guess it does, it’s not legal here). I also picked up a pipe wrench, so I can see about separating the sink from its broken drain, and the shower stuff, and a new blade for the battery-circular saw (which was struggling to get through the plywood today).

And then me and pythagoras made friends.


It took a distressingly long time and was startlingly hot in the sun, but eventually, with the help of the inspirational moment when I worked out that if I tied all the posts together with the flagging tape in the right lengths for the sides of the garage and the diagonal, then I could futz about repositioning the corners until it was roughly parallel to the house (made more difficult, because Rebecca is sat right where I need to measure) and so long as all the sides and diagonals remained taut, it should be a rectangle.

And so, it was done.

And it is pretty much the only thing I achieved today.

In other news the Tuff-Shed 5-6 weeks for delivery and assembly has become 8 weeks. Which puts the arrival of the garage…after we’re hoping to move in. Which is…unhelpful.

Some of the lights we ordered came with bases that don’t fit US plastic wall boxes, which means we either need to make new bases, or make plates to go on the wall. Either way, it’s effort we didn’t want to put in. Also, some of them arrived damaged, and they came from a company we won’t be ordering from again (called Beautiful Halo), who’ve offered us a 5% discount (ha!) and told us to spray the one we complained about. Since the discount doesn’t even cover the cost of paint, that’s… not impressive.

It’s all very privileged stuff to be stressing about, and I’m well aware of that. But it wasn’t a good day, not after what’s felt like really good progress on the floor up until now. It’s somewhat of a come-down.


Kate's allegedly a human (although increasingly right-wing bigots would say otherwise). She's definitely not a vampire, despite what some other people claim. She's also mostly built out of spite and overcoming oppositional-sexism, racism, and other random bullshit. So she's either a human or a lizard in disguise sent to destroy all of humanity. Either way, she's here to reassure that it's all fine.