Sunday, November 19, 2006

Oh, That's Right - I Hate This

I've got a pretty awesome bucket of tools. I sold my truck (which I still kind of miss because my truck was awesome, too) to a contractor, and he looked at my tool bucket and asked, "Who's the electrician?" I wasn't too psyched about confessing any level of electrical skill to him because this guy had just gotten a look at my attempt at auto body repair and was fairly nonplussed by my combination of bondo and spray foam. I can't blame him, but the goal was just to remove any rough edges that render the otherwise awesome vehicle uninspectable. He did buy the truck anyway, because he knew it was awesome. 1993 2WD F150 with the 8' bed, bench seat, dual gas tanks, awesome vent windows, and 4.9L straight six. Automatic. And this was before they got all curvy and dorky-lookin', as if they were going to make those sum'bitches all aerodynamic and whatever. Here it is serving as backdrop for a 1963 Ferrari 250GTE.

Anyway, the tools...

I needed all these tools when we bought this place. We bought your classic fixer-upper. I remember one Thanksgiving, the sight of smoke coming from a wall outlet made one of our guests a bit uncomfortable. It really wasn't much smoke at all, but I unplugged the toaster oven so he would shut up. That Christmas, Mom-in-law decided to gift us some cash and told us, "Use it for whatever you want. New wiring... you know, whatever." She's a worrier. What're ya gonna do?

So I did all the wiring and a lot of the plumbing myself. I learned a lot from a brother-in-law who is a contractor, and I learned a lot from watching and working with a plumber who I had to call before I knew anything about plumbing. It was all very rewarding because the results are very tangible. I was also kind of getting off on the whole "Fuck! I figured that out!" aspect of it. I still like the fact that when I run the water in the kitchen, a) the water gets there, and b) it drains. I did that. Cool.

But I'm done. Just about a year or so ago, I got sick of spending time and money on the house. The work just became work, and the thrill died. The house is actually looking pretty good, so the reward is pretty minimal for me. And, I know what I can do, and what I really can't do (and in the "can't" column, I'd like to place "sheetrock taping and sanding", thank you. That shit is so much harder than you think) so it isn't a matter of proving much to myself. It was all just stuff I thought I should know as a homeowner. I've got a handle on it. Next, please.

So installing this "Christmas gift" is a real ass pain. I've got zero momentum. If I could deal with yet another trip to The Great Satan, I'd be working on it right now. To top that off, I'm catching plenty of shit for doing my own gas work, too. This isn't the first time I've done it, but I didn't exactly tell anyone about it before, and now I remember why. Here's a tip for all of you people (who aren't really out there) reading this; the gas part of this whole installation is possibly the most simple part.

But almost everyday, I hear about "what if something goes wrong and blah, blah..." and "Well, I don't want my kid over there if here's monkeying around with that gas." Hey, I wish I were at the monkeying around with gas phase of this project. That's the end for cryin' out loud. I mean, excepting for a second that I turned the gas off and replaced a tee, gas doesn't have anything to do with what's going on at the moment. And hold on a sec... you mean that you're happy to have some reacharounder come into your house and hook up your gas and not have a fucking clue about what he's doing, or if he's really even competent? Bet your ass you won't be around to sue if it turns out he's not competent.

Look, it's pretty simple. Do you know how to line two things up and screw them together? Ok. Do that, but put some goop on the threads to seal it airtight. Don't smoke. Put some soapy water on the connection and look for bubbles. Do you have bubbles? Then I guess you don't know how to screw two things together. Why did you lie to me like that?

Yes, gas explodes. Know what else explodes? Your hot water tank.

Yup. Most people have one of these in their house right now. And if your relief valve is fucked, so are you. And you probably won't even get any free Gatorade out of the deal like the lucky crew who cleaned this mess.

But here's what I'm gonna do; I'm not going to be offended. I promise I won't be so stupid as to endanger myself and, more importantly, my family. I won't even ask some people to try and be less nervous and have even a little bit of faith in return.

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