The Mechanics of It All

iron water 0120

It’s just as well we didn’t get a flow meter installed on our water line when we were supposed to, although what this really means is more money needing to be spent on a new house.

Yesterday an employee of the plumbing company owned by our neighbors arrived to install the flow meter we were supposed to have when we moved in. Now, no one along the way mentioned this at that time — not the well drilling company, not our contractor, not our plumber, not even the agency requiring this, the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District. The first we knew of it was when the UGRWCD sent us a letter requesting the monthly readings from our meter.

Out here in the country, the city doesn’t send an employee to read our water meter and then send a bill. We have to head into the crawl space on a monthly basis and report how many gallons of water we’re using, a number the UGRWCD then passes along to the state. I don’t know what happens if it turns out we’re using more water than we’re entitled to, which, the way things work around here, will certainly be the case.

But yesterday, when Avery came up out of the crawlspace, he had two pieces of tubing in his hands and he wanted to know how old the house was. I said we’d been here six and a half months, and he showed me the tubing. “These are exactly the same thing,” he said, except that one was white and the other orange. The orange one had come out of our line where the flow meter was going. “You really need an iron filter,” he said.

The irony of it all! Shortly after we moved in here, my doctor put me on an iron pill because my numbers were deficient. When Tia, Ben and I went to blood donation on Tuesday, my level was at the high end of normal. I’ve been self-medicating just by drinking our water.

And then it turned out we have no main shut off valve from our well. There’s a little one, but it’s 50 feet away from where pipes enter the crawlspace. So while we can shut off water to our sinks and appliances, the crawlspace could fill with a lot of water in the event of a rupture, and no way to stop it. Avery said with the ground water this high, sometimes the pressure is so much that a little shut-off valve isn’t enough, either. Here’s the good news: it’s a $12 fix if he’s already here installing an iron filter.

While he’s at it, he needs to replace some connector that isn’t up to manufacturer’s standard. The existing connector is another small piece; the one the manufacturer specifies has a big, thick collar. I noticed he was careful to say, “not up to manufacturer’s specs” rather than “not up to code,” and we did pass a plumbing inspection, but these seem like a couple of significant oversights by our first plumber.

And while we’ve been watching pet water dishes and other white vessels holding water turn orange, we didn’t know there was an option such as an iron filter in our line. Now I feel like a more informed plumbing consumer, richer in knowledge while poorer in cash.

Moving on to my favorite topic, electricity, I just got off the phone with Mr. Baker from our co-op. I was sad to hear, even if he wasn’t sad to report, that their quality monitor found nothing amiss. However, the act of turning our electricity off and back on during the process to remove the monitor caused yet another breaker to trip in our house that has nothing wrong with it.

Mr. Baker touted the intelligence of the type of breakers we have in our house, saying it sounds like they’re doing their job, reacting to arcing and other electrical terms I failed to absorb in my disappointment that everyone is finding normality where we are finding it to be lacking. He figured the tripping as the power turned back on was something surging in a “cold start,” but the breaker was for the rooms on the east side of the house, so unless Lynn has some super-duper electronic item plugged in, there really shouldn’t have been anything to set that off.

Mr. Baker did offer to put the monitor back on, and he said something about a test that would load the line up to check for an underlying fault. We’d have to be home for that one, and I can tell he doesn’t see any need for it at his end.

I told him I will just keep tabs on things as they happen, and when we blow enough fuses to blow my fuse, I will call and request this test. In the meantime, Tia will bring her smudging stick over, which can’t work any worse than anything else we’ve tried.

I haven’t mentioned the blinking light I’ve discovered at the back of my steam shower that creates an ethereal glow in the wee hours whose purpose I can’t begin to explain, but I did discover, in trying to track down the alien light at play in the shower, that the reason one of the radio speakers doesn’t work is not because I broke it but because it was never plugged in.

There are two unconnected connectors on top of the unit, but they don’t line up. And I guess whoever was in charge of hooking things up at that point decided to just leave them sitting, as detached in his concern for my happiness as these wires are.

Which leaves me waiting for Dusty, who is supposed to arrive shortly here to install the vanity cabinet and replace a cracked plate in one of the solar tubes. I’m going to ask about what look like water stains in the other tube, but I’m already sure this is something that will be our responsibility and not his. Either way, he’s going to charge me to fix it, I’m sure.

And then Dusty’s work here will finally be done. I’m quite certain he wanted to be over us months ago, although we personally have enjoyed walking around a vanity cabinet in our living area for three-plus weeks and I’ve luxuriated in the impermanent state of my bathroom since August. (Which I can’t blame Dusty for — I went to True Value all on my own. I’d still like it to be someone else’s fault.)

We will now have to be self-reliant, or at least reliant on an entirely new set of mechanically-minded people like our new plumbing company and our new electrician, who has yet to come put the freezer on its own circuit as promised a month ago.

It really just feels like more of the same, doesn’t it? This house will never really be finished.

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