Monday, January 15, 2007

Shopping At Gary’s

I thought I was going to get together with Gary on Sunday to go over the drains for the new bathroom. For those who don’t keep up, Gary is my neighbor who has been a plumber for 40+ years and has helped more than I can think of when it comes to all the new plumbing I’ve put in the house. Really, every last piece of water and gas pipe just about as been replaced in the house and Gary either gave me the parts or bought them for me at the wholesale cost, and then gave me detailed instructions on how to put in all in and meet code.

We didn’t get together on Sunday as planned so I started in on the copper supply lines myself. A lot of times this stuff isn’t rocket science but it is helpful when you have someone who can look at your work and tell you that you’re doing it right and it will pass inspection, or more importantly, tell you when you are doing it wrong. This is in addition to the tools he’s more than happy to lend me. Did you know they make a special saw just for ABS?

Anyway, today we went over the whole thing. This is a bathroom from scratch so for someone with my skill level it’s pretty involved. We started with a simple lesson on the different types of fittings and where they are used. Two parts can look similar but have two very different uses. He then came over and I showed him where everything was going to go. I try and be very well prepared when he comes over. I mark all bathroom fixtures with screws drilled in to the floor or wall where I think the center of the drain will go. I mark all places where there is a clear shot through the ceiling for vents. I also dug up the sewer line in the side yard and marked on the side of the house where the center of the toilet will be on the inside.

We spent about 10 minutes in the room and he looked around at what was going on. We then headed back over to his garage where he has crates of ABS fittings and dozens of feet of ABS ranging in size from inch and a half to 4 inches. We went over the whole thing and I started to get a little lost. It’s not really difficult, but it is something you have to think about, or at least I do. Gary can just see it in his head and parts just start flying out of crates. In no time at all I have 2 milk crates full of fittings, several lengths of pipe, a right angle drill and all the bits, saws, ABS cement, and a roof jack. I have to make 4 trips to get it all home.

There were a few parts he didn’t have so while I was laying it all out in the bathroom he ran down to the shop where he works and picked up a few more things. When he got back he checked my work and made a few changes. Tomorrow I’ll start drilling holes and gluing everything up and then sometime in the next day or two we’ll cut in to the sewer line I dug up and tie everything in.

To Gary this is nothing. I think he enjoys helping me, which is great for him. For me the benefits are incalculable. Just not having to run to the hardware store a dozen times over the next 5 days makes his help worth it. If I had to pay someone to do this it would run over a $1,000, I’m sure. Most of the stuff I could probably figure out with a book and a lot of thinking, but this just makes it so much easier. I can’t even begin to tell you.


Leslie said...

I am envious beyond words of your having a skilled mentor. My dream is to find someone who is a master carpenter/cabinetmaker who can teach and guide me through things the way Gary has done for you with plumbing. Hey, I'd even pay for that, but no luck so far finding anyone willing to do that around here.

I love reading your blog!

purejuice said...

once had a boyfriend who had season's tickets to the local pro Bball team -- about which i know nothing. but when some of the great geniuses of basketball came to play, even i could tell the difference between how they moved and the rest of them.
i love reading stories about this guy. tell him he has a groupie.