Jack wrote this in September 2006:
Morning to you.
I think I’ve got my realities all sorted out from dream-stupidity an hour and a half later. Enough, at least, to mind-wander through a blog entry, but not enough to begin anew working on the Unified Random-Numbers-Behavior-Theory.
Sorted out sufficiently for mundanities, but not enough for labor-thought.
For instance, this old abobe I live in is threatening to become a Communist. I’ve lived here a couple of years now, and most of it was during the most severe drought anyone remembers, which is friendly times for an adobe. Water is the enemy of any structure built of mud.
Anyway, the guy who originally built the place probably never dreamed it would still be standing a century later. He thought he was building a milking barn. His son, or maybe his grandson changed it to a turkey barn for a while, then later poured a thin veneer of concrete on the dirt floor and moved his daughter into it. Eventually his grand-daughter and her husband used it as a residence while they were in college.
Afterward came four decades as a rent-house with erzatz maintenance, which no adobe will endure without protest.
By the time I moved in the interior adobe was in a state of last-ditch crumbling. The vigas supporting the flat roof are visibly sagging. I’ve jury-rigged enough wiring to allow lights in the bathroom, but things keep failing and it’s nip-and-tuck. When I moved in they’d already condemned and shut down one of the two interior gas heaters, leaving no heat to the front of the house, but still allowing hot water to the tub/shower, sinks, but leaving things awfully wanting insofar as temperature.
The landlord’s a diplomat living somewhere in the Middle-East, married to the grand-daughter of the guy who converted the place from a barn. He and his wife lived here when they were in college. So they don’t want to hear about any kind of difficulties, deterioration. They just want a rent deposit in their bank account every month.
The results of all that are becoming interesting. I use a five-gallon propane bottle with a heater on top to heat the front of the house wintertime. I locate and plug roof-leaks as best I can, and put pans under those I didn’t find last moisture-fall. Which is further cause for melting in the structural adobe walls, as manifested in floor deltas of mud on the floor after every moisture event.
But recently, things got critical. A major plumbing leak developed in the shower-tub, causing me to have to break out the adobe wall to get to it. With the sound advice of RickG I tried a number of fixes, but they were all doomed to failure within a day or two, and the only way I could stop a constant water-flow was to cut off the water to the entire house.
Eventually, thanks to RickG, I isolated the plumbing to the tub and lost the water-availability there, but regained water to the remainder of the house, such as it is.
Which was a major inconvenience, hauling water from the kitchen to the tub five gallons at a time to bathe or do laundry.
Ha! Solved it yesterday, the shower part, anyway!
I went down to Bernalillo figuring to resume my old Y2K cabin showering methodology. Found a one-gallon pump-up insecticide sprayer for $5 Clearance Sale. Now I can fill that with hot water, pump it up, hang it on the shower-head, and do showers again in a way that I don’t consider inferior to what I could get in this place before-plumbing-holocaust.
Laundry will still be a bit more difficult than before, but not so much as to be concerned about.
Life’s always been good, but it’s better again.
(Edited in: I never got around to describing that whammo red moonset just before daybreak this morning, nor to talking about wooly mammoths and the kind of winter all us old timers are thinking might be on the way. I’ll maybe do it later.)