It’s starting to feel domestic around here. You come downstairs in the morning and it’s warm. You can stand by the radiator and toast up, anytime you want to. The silver bullet (aka our new refrigerator) hums efficiently over against that wall. The attic mouse traps were emptied yesterday, so there’ll be no need to do that any more until at least… this afternoon. If I didn’t know better, I’d say, let’s rest on our laurels. And we started to. We were just monkeying around, trying to figure out where to place our second toilet, in the upstairs bathroom, when something started to feel not quite right. Remember this?
Casey’s arm 3/4 way down a drain pipe? Formerly, the toilet had sat right on top of this pipe, like an angel atop a Christmas Tree. Only one problem. That ain’t right! That drain pipe is what they call, in plumbing parlance, “the main stack.” And that main stack is, as its name would suggest, the trunk that everything else drain-related in the whole place is supposed to connect to. Simply said, that stack obeys a fairly simple rule of thumb: waste down, gas up. Or more accurately, waste down, air down. See, that main stack is supposed to go from the place where it exits the house in the basement, straight up, through the roof. In the process, water and waste that goes into it will flow down, pulling air with it as it does so. If that main stack doesn’t pierce the roof, it can’t suck air in to make the drain flow smoothly. Also, the gas that’s created down below in the drain will have no place to go, except back into our house. Stinky! So we’ve inherited a main stack that terminates in the floor of our second-floor bathroom. Dang! And if we take that stack, as it is, and make it do what it’s supposed to, we’ll have a 3″ pipe running smack through the middle of the upstairs bathroom. Which would be inconvenient. We find ourselves faced with the interesting opportunity to do some major reconfiguring of the plumbing systems of the house. I say opportunity, but obligation would be a better way of putting it. When this plumbing system was installed it seems to have been a catch-as-catch-can sort of an affair. I guess it got the job done for somebody, but it just won’t do for Leonard. He’s really put his paw down, and he’s demanding results. The good news is that it will really give us the chance to dig in to the West Wing of the Hoot, above, and get some good work done there so that a proper bathroom and kitchen can get installed there at the same time. Thank goodness. No promises of rest, laurels, or domesticity anywhere in sight.