Sunday, May 29, 2011

Plumbers gone and the Eastern Market

So the Plumbers finally wrapped up. And then I found another leaking sewer pipe. It's a little leak and it's on the sewer from the bathroom that hasn't been used... So I will investigate and see how bad it looks, maybe we can just patch it. Otherwise I think it means ripping up two bathrooms to get to everything that needs getting to. This is also another case of the previous bozos (see how I'm keeping this PG) cheaping out. They redid the bathroom in question. They had it all exposed and should have replaced the 100 year old sewer line that BTW showed signs of leaking. They knew that because they patched the ceiling where it had been leaking!

Anyway I have a small list of things to do and then all the bathrooms will be 100%, not counting this sewer line that may need to get replaced.

But as always the Eastern Market shined up the week.

Next weekend is this house and garden tour through Indian Village so I got some flowers to liven up the front. I could let people in as a "before" experience ;~) I don't think it's quite the image they want to convey.

So stuck them around the tree (that I now suspect may be an almond tree).

And around the front shrubs.
I have a very brown thumb so I kind of doubt they will last much beyond next weekend but? Maybe Aislinn will arrive in time to save them.

Ho right prices, they were $8 a flat. So about like buying cut flowers for the day.

Also got a bunch more herbs. I like plants I can eat. Actually there are some tomatoes and a bunch of peppers in there also.
$20 a flat

Potatoes and Garlic. $1 each I think. Maybe $2 for the spuds?

Peaches $2

In the back is a mix of honey tangerines and Oranges $4 for the lot. To the left are those cherry peppers that are just a bit hot but oh so tasty $2 and the jar is an extravagance. I read about these brothers that make pickles from their grandfathers recipe. They both have other jobs because this is a small company. Anyway the Eastern market is one of the few places outside a restaurant you can buy them. Wow. I like pickles but I'm not fanatic about it but these are GREAT. I think it was $7, so it definitely won't be a regular thing.

Carrots and some more of that great "German Bacon" and some Italian sausage from the same farm. Your literally buying from the people who raised the hogs. I think $2, $3.75, $3.50 respectfully. The meat was about a pound and that was the per pount price.

Carrots and onions. Yes I know I already bought carrots but the dog goes through them and these were $1 a basket so... The onions were also $1.

One note about yard work. One should always do it in 70/70 weather, it cleans the pores. And you should always plant a lot of grass around old trees. That way all those twigs are in a good location for mowing.

The tree in front sheds more twigs than??? I filled three yard bags with stuff that fell off that tree and that does not include the big sticks that I save so Monty can turn them into wood chips.

Well I'm off to take a shower, cuz I can!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

There is never an Ark around when you need one

We had a little rain yesterday and the basement leaks a bit.

but then we had more rain.

and more

and then it got heavy

Kind of dark but it was coming through the bricks like we had installed plumbing!

The sewer backed up and the basement started filling, no shots because I was busy plunging at that point.

A nice shot of lake Seminole under the deck.

I think it's safe to say waterproofing the basement just made the big list.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Plumb interesting and Superman safety

Now I'm not getting homey, just puny*.

So I think I mentioned I plunged the bathtub, it wasn't draining, and ended up with dripping water in the entryway. So today they they dug in and found something none of them had ever seen before.

This is a custom made piece of lead pipe. It's a specially made Y that shrinks down to fit into the top of some very weird cast iron piece. If you look close you can see the brush strokes in the lead where the Y was formed. And it's still shinny after 100 years or so...

Now what turns out to be leaking is what is called a barrel trap. You can see the bottom of it here.

This is also lead and has some other custom made piping that goes into the bath tub.

That is shown here.

The part that snakes over to the tub drain (just over the armored cable and below the 100 year old hay) is not even round. It's an oval so it could fit in the space needed. And it goes up inside the the drain feed from the tub.

Anyway the short story is that this stuff is not replaceable, at all. You would have to redo it in lead, which you probably can't even legally do these days. I guess if you tore this stuff out of the floor with out damaging it you could get someone to custom cast a plastic replacement for $$$$. And you might just get away with it (I'm sure it's not code) since this is a "historical building" but I haven't won the lottery recently so...

The reason to not just rip out all the old junk is this very cool old bath tub with original fixtures. If we rip out the pipes below the fixtures will have to go and as you can sort of see here.

The fixtures were made for this tub, so getting rid of the fixtures means getting rid of the tub. Since this is the only pretty intact original (or close) bathroom that is something we are trying to avoid.

This is the enamel toilet that is also original.

And this is the sink. Also enameled Iron. The tubs stopper should have a know that looks like this one on the sink.

Anyway our star plumber is going to try and chip away the concrete subfloor around the barrel trap and see if they can find the leak and then seal it up with epoxy. The fresh water feeds also appear to have some pinhole leaks someplace so that portion is going to PEX. In theory this should all hold together till we win the lottery and can redo the bathroom.

OK so some progress shots.

New PEX to the Bathroom #2

This is also the bathroom that got the second new sewer line.

This looks sort of like it did except that at the top it used to go into cast iron (the collapsed Elbow) and below it used to go into a cast iron bell fitting.

Now it goes plastic into the basement and makes a proper connection to the old pipe.

While we are down here let me show you something interesting.

We were wondering what all the dirt build up in the sink was from.

Here is some scraped off.

I snaked the drain and we have roots to clean out. The mess in the sink is what comes out of the back end of a garbage disposal. The kitchen sink backs up in the basement sinks.

But that also lead to another discovery.

Out lovely predecessors in their ever cheap single cheeked way didn't put a vent on the kitchen sink so the P trap gets syphoned out and you get a lovely direct connect to sewer gasses.

OK last of all.

It was supposed to rain but since it was sunny instead I mowed the lawn, my god does this stuff grow around here. So I finish, the plumbers are off because they need to let some things set and suddenly it starts getting dark. It's four so?

three minutes later the wind is howling and lightning and it's coming down in sheets.

Yes that is water dripping off the blinds. The window was open and the wind blew the rain right threw the screen and inside. It was a mad sprint to check all the other windows.

Monty has found a new "thunder safe zone"

I wonder if he would put up with a bath to avoid thunder???

The rain stopped but it still sounds like a naval assault out side.

Oh and we got some Big ants around here.

*The pun for those that didn't get it. The word Plumbing comes from the fact that most plumbing originally was made from lead and the latin word for lead is Plumbum. Plumbers were lead workers.

Lead was the one thing you could stick Kryptonite in so it wouldn't weaken Superman, but you knew that.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The house crawls on but the Eastern Market saves the post

OK so the bad news. I tried to take a bath in the "newly working" "blue" bathroom and all was well till I tried to empty the tub, which just would not drain. So I got a plunger and got that baby going. Great.... except that uncovered a leak in the drain someplace because it was dripping in the entryway! GRRRGRAHGRRRR!!!! So that has to be opened up farther to find where the "new" leak is coming from. I went and got a shower curtain because I though better test that while were ripping things up. But I forgot the rings! So maybe later I'll go and see if I can get some. I'm a bit dubious about the shower looking at some of the "repair" that was done to the tiles but better find out now. Probably won't fix it now if it's a problem just because of the logistics?

I bought a lawn mower the other day. Doesn't sound exciting but it's actually the first lawn mower I have ever owned. If you told me a year ago that I would spend more than a nanosecond in the rest of my life thinking about Lawn Care I would have laughed in your face. It's a gas powered beast with drive wheels, huiour! (Tim Allen moment). I resisted but this is a BIG place with a lot of lawn and it was/is growing like it's been radiated. Even with the monster it took two hours to do it all. The last lawn mower I used I was in high school and it was cast iron and wood. It was probably about the same vintage as the Model T's that made Detroit famous. If there was any resistance it just slid across the grass.

Anyway considering that today the dandelions were about six inches tall (in less than 24 hours) I'm guessing I'm going to get good at cutting lawn.

But the saving grace of the week is the Eastern Market. I read someplace this week that food is becoming a big thing in Detroit. It would be very ironic if I moved from the last new big food place to the next new big food place. Maybe that is what I need to get into?

So this is this weeks haul. $20 in food and $10.75 in plants

Organic Tomatoes, $3 a box

Bell peppers 3 for $1, green onion 2 for $1

Georgia peaches, $2 a basket. Don't know the weight but this is a basket.

Cheery peppers and limes, $3 a basket and 4 for $2

Cucumbers $1 a basket

Raspberries, 3 baskets $2

Lemon bars $1 each (about 3" square

And the splurge. Rosemary $7 for the pot and Basil $1.25 a piece.

I'll have to try and keep the later ones alive. But I'm making Gazpacho this afternoon.

And berries for desert.

I may have to make pasta sauce for tomorrow.

The one thing about most of this produce is that it's ripe. So keeping it a week is about as far as you can stretch it. Some things hold up better than others but the berries are not going to last and the tomatoes... So you kind of have to plan your meals around the shelf life.

I need to find a mid week shop, though the Eastern Market is going to start happening Tue. also so?

The reason is that there aren't any real food stores I have found. One can go to Grose Point and hit the Trader Joe's but remember my $1 strawberries, they are $2.75 at TJ's.

So while in the Bay Area TJ's was often around the same as the Farmers market here the Market is THE discount place to buy produce. Actually not just produce there are farms selling meat and eggs, bakeries selling all kinds of stuff and the local Coffee Roaster has a stand.

I also have not found an asian market yet, though Hamtramck probably has one. TJ did have Ginger but things like sweet pepper sauce and toasted sesame oil may be things we need to get in care packages from SF.

off to cook.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Seatle but with more rain

I think we have been victims of bate and Switch!

So after a touch of spring weather we got a bunch of rain and are back to near freezing temperatures (40's but feels like 30's). It's been almost a week since I saw any real sun, I could be living in the Sunset!!!!

However I need to mow the lawn soon. It got nice and green, then had some dandelions and something small and blue scattered about and then boom it looks like an abandoned lot. That was way too fast. I though I had some time but I guess not.

On the generally depressing front, more destruction.


A little roadrash.


The entrance way with the old bad sewer line exposed. Aside from the crack in the basement it also had cracks in the upper section and the elbow was all caved in. This wasn't freeze damage but a problem that someone tried to cover up and forget about back when they were trying to sell the house when the market was up.


The newly expanded openings in the "Parlor" room to try and get to the last bathroom that needs re plumbing.




OPening this up they discovered that the sewer line elbow is collapsed like the entryway.

So time to open up the Kitchen!


Darn there is a cabinet in the way. Well a bit of deconstruction and some yanking and it gets separated from the wall. and surgery can start on the wall.


Well looky here. They had a problem and replaced pipe, well at least till it got complicated. Then buried it and left it for the new owners to figure out.Of interest in the first one is that they did something you "can't do" and that is stick a plastic pipe into a cast iron bell fitting. There is just no way to truly seal that mess. But heck it was easier.


On the it's getting better front.


The new front sewer line in the entrance and in the basement.So now with some internal toilet repairs we should have three working bathrooms. Though #1 is actually out of commission again because it feeds the same sewer pipe that we just found broken in the kitchen. It's still usable since it doesn't actually go through the broken pipe but why take chances.



And looking up into the kitchen from the basement.

But the warm room is still warm and we have running water.And I finally have real internet service.