i went down in the basement to try out the self-sealing silicone tape that arrived a few days ago. i wanted to patch up the water main pipe which i discovered weeks ago that it was slowly leaking. i thought the silicone tape would be sticky but it felt more like dry stretchy rubber. it did however stick to itself. i put a loop of tape above the top of the shutoff valve, but noticed it was still wet. then i realized the leak was actually coming from the solder joint further up. i figured i could just remove the tape and reuse it but by that point it'd already fused together with itself and i peeled off the tape in usable clumps instead of a single strip.
i applied new tape and right away it didn't seem like it was working, as water trickled out from underneath the tape. i figured maybe i didn't stretch it out enough, so i removed the tape to put on a new layer, hopefully with more stretch.
before i did that though, i noticed a thin cobweb coming out from the pipe. i went to go brush it away but my hand just passed right through it. it took my brain a few seconds to realize what it was: a pressurized jet of water shooting out from the pipe! whatever i did actually made the leak worse. i applied a new layer of tape. it stopped the stream of water but it didn't fix the leak, as water trickled down from the silicone wrap. i put a bucket underneath to catch the drips and wrote my upstairs neighbors an e-mail.
technically this was a mistake made by the plumber who came to replace our water main last year. he should be the one to come out and fix the leak, free of charge. i waited to hear back from paul and steve. my neighbors are really good at not taking responsibility for anything when it comes to house maintenance. paul gave me the number of the plumber and said i could call him. when i did i just got a message saying the subscriber wasn't taking any calls at this time. steve resent me the contact information, that's when i noticed the phone number was off by 1-digit. i tried calling again and managed to get in touch with sean. he said he could come take a look. sometime next week. the thing with our plumber is he actually lives in new hampshire. i don't know how my neighbors found him, but for a plumber you want somebody local, who doesn't take a week a make a housecall.
sean asked me to send him some photos of the leak, which i did, but he didn't write back. getting anxious, i decided to call my own plumber, frank from arlington. he did a good job removing the cleanout drain at my parents' place a week before thanksgiving. the work didn't seem too hard, i figured he'd get it done in under a hour, quick and easy. so i called him and he answered right away. i asked if he remembered me, and told him i had a small project in cambridge if he was interested, a leaking pipe. he wasn't able to come out today (his car was in the shop) but he could be here tomorrow morning at 8:30am. i figured i could wait 24 hours. he then asked for directions. apparently frank is very old school, doesn't do GPS or google maps (of course doesn't own a smart phone), and apparently don't regular maps either. fortunately he was somewhat familiar with the porter square area (coming in from arlington), and we agreed to meet at the beacon street star market tomorrow morning.
i informed paul and steve, and wrote sean a courtesy text as well, telling him i was going with a local plumber since i couldn't wait until next week. he was fine with the decision, but said he could come out friday if it still wasn't fixed.
so what was supposed to be a simple morning ended up with a lot of drama. but i booked a plumber, and hopefully by tomorrow everything will be fixed. the other important thing i did was to write lucas from united solar another e-mail asking him for a schedule update. i'm starting to get that sick feeling of being swindled, since i'm always the one contacting him, and he never seems to call me back with any updates. with just 4 more weeks left in december, this solar project must be finished this year otherwise my parents won't be able to claim the tax credit, which is a pretty big chunk of change (30%).
i went to clean out my community garden plot around noontime. i was hoping to do this in the morning but ran late because of the plumbing drama. i just did a quick clean up, still need to come back later this week to pull up all the invasive buttercups trying to take over. i was there for less than 30 minutes, came back home to finally have some lunch (oatmeal). later in the afternoon i rode the motorcycle to my parents' place to do some yard work there as well. the last garden refuse pickup is tomorrow, so i spent some time moving out nearly a dozen yard waste barrels, besides doing some final front lawn raking and pruning the wisteria and ivy vines.
my father has been carrying everywhere the two ham radio catalogs that i received last week, circling things he wanted to buy, including an MFJ 1699S HF/VHF tape wire mobile antenna ($70). domino's pizza has a special 50% off all pizza deal so we could an extravaganzza pizza along with a chicken caesar salad. i believe domino's doesn't actually make a lot of money off of their pizzas, but instead all the profit comes from the other dishes (salads, sandwiches, appetizers, drinks) which aren't worth the advertised price. normally we'd go pick it up, but tonight we decided to get it delivered ($2.50 + $3 tip). later there was some drama as the store owner called me asking if he could have the credit card number again because they charged us an extra $11 by mistake. it sounds pretty shady even though the owner called me back from the store phone, but my father had left by that point (to take care of my grand uncle) so i didn't have the credit card we ordered with. instead the owner said next time i pay he'd give me store credit.
i was nervous when i left the house and immediately raced down to the basement when i got home (cold but the motorcycle thankfully started without a hitch, condensation billowing from my mouth as i rode), fearful that the plastic catch bucket would overflow. fortunately it didn't, but in 5 hours it managed to fill half the bucket. i emptied it and then put it back, hoping it'd big enough to last overnight and not overflow.