It’s been a little irritating

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.

And with that, the pool was gone.

So, a while back I shared that we’d had a sudden and unexpected installation of an above ground pool. One day we didn’t have one, the next day you could swim in our front garden.

It wasn’t an ideal situation, although the River Birch (or Beech, and possibly not river anything, it’s all rather unclear) does seem to have enjoyed the underground garden-watering-system that was active while we were on holiday. It is looking very green.

Anyhow, we paid a lot of money to plumbers this week. The old, failed water main is still in the ground, but the posh burrowing machine they brought around did manage to get a nice new main under the house. Impressively, you could see a constant flow out of the old main – which had been switched off for days – as water slowly flowed backwards out of the house and into the ground.


The only slight fly in the ointment was that they didn’t bring a flagger with them – so had no means of doing traffic control – which meant that they couldn’t put pipe in the ground as far towards the front of our yard as they’re meant to. Because the digging machine couldn’t go any further back than in the picture otherwise it’d block the road. Which meant that our plumbers got to dig a massive trench for the last 8′ or so. I felt a bit sorry for them, particularly when one of them asked if we had any water bottles…

… which I’d not bothered to bring many of, because I was expecting the water to be back on. Ah well.

I also had a chat with one of them about the heating system – he warned me off the boiler I was looking to get because there are no local dealers. Parts, apparently, take quite a while for them to get if something does go wrong. There is, however, a combi-boiler brand that’s fairly common around here and is stocked by a bunch of places (along with a range of spares). So I’ll be throwing one of them on the wall I guess.

He also suggested something I’d heard of (which is horrendous, but clever) which would mean we would only need a hot-water-boiler, not a full combi, but because we have the heated towel rails which really need a corrosion inhibitor in the water, the cunning ‘use the hot water recirculation circuit for heating’ idea won’t work.

Feh. It is the difference between $1500 and $2400.

I continue to regret choosing to put a gas heating system in. Although the money for putting in gas really would have been a bit crazy for just a cooker. Although, that’s really the deal-breaker. I still can’t stand cooking on any electric stove I’ve encountered, but electric heating and hot water would have been fine had I have thought about it a lot more than I did. Well, I did think about it a lot, but… I wasn’t flexible enough in my thinking.

Still, since we like cooking on gas, we would like to experiment with producing our own gas using a biodigester, but probably not in this house.

So while they were boring a neat hole under our house, I spent the time chopping plywood into chunks and gluing / screwing it to the floor.


The pipe-guides are all done in about 1/5th the house. Some of that, though, is the complex sections – the laundry’s done, for example, as is some of the fiddly bit where these pipe guides cross the hydronic pipework for the heated towel rails (and where I had to be super careful about putting screws). Hopefully the majority of the house should go roughly as quickly as the bedroom did (which was pretty fast once I’d worked out the system).

I was hoping to get the pantry done today, but instead decided to wake up at 3am and spend the rest of the night waiting for sleep to return. As I was already fairly tired the idea of going and working with powertools didn’t seem too clever, so instead I’ve done errands and worked on a long, tedious, but important government form that I’m working my way through completing. Yay.

We have, however, got pricing on our range cooker, fridge, and range hood. We’ve also ordered a biiiiiillion proper light fixtures (as opposed to the temporary ones up in the hall), and we’ve installed… three.

Oh, oh! But I do have to share that our glowy around the door LED ridiculousness…. works!

Yeah, I know, it’s OTT. That’s us.

A couple of the stupid sticky “holds 1lb per inch” bits of tape have, as expected, failed. But I can fix that and I have a plan for when the others fail.

Anyway, it’s pleasingly glowy. Albeit over the top.

And we are starting to tentatively talk about moving in… in a couple of months which is quite exciting. After 2 years of struggle, getting into the house would be bloody awesome.