Monday, June 21, 2010

Meet the Great Sump-man!

If you have read some of my past blogs you are likely to be familiar with the Great Stumpman! If not check him out here. Today let me introduce you to a close relative of the Great Stump man, the Great Sumpman!


imageimageThe Great Stumpman cuts down trees, the Great Sumpman does plumbing and installs Sump Pumps.  Sump pumps you say! What do you need sumps pumps for?  Well earlier this year just after the spring snow melt the old homestead was inundated with melt water and due to a sump pump malfunction the water managed to get to an unreasonable high level of 3- 4 inches in a furnished basement. So a little after the fact and the mess is cleaned up it is necessary to refurbish the sump and pump to forestall the high water event from occurring again. This will require some messy concrete removal and digging a rather large hole in the basement floor. Oh and by the way there is water below the floor because of recent rains so the hole is going to be full of mud!

But first a simple plumbing job to warm up with before the heavy duty mess start on Saturday morning.  The resident house maiden of the old homestead has been whining that the only outside faucet in the old homestead is located in the garage and requires her to drag hose all over the place whenever she wants to water here Tomato plants. So a simple outdoor faucet will be plumbed into the back wall of the house connecting to the existing plumbing under the kitchen sink.

The hole is drilled though the outside wall


The Great Sumpman works on the copper plumbing for the outside faucet, along side the new sump that has to be installed in the floor in the morning. That’s a mighty big sump and it will require a mighty big hole!


Pay attention this is how you solder copper pipe:

Get the pipe very clean with sandpaper, apply lots of flux, and heat the pipe and connector until the solder melts when touching the pipe, Then and only then melt a lot of solder into the connection.


Final touches to the outside faucet.


The resident house maiden inspects the final results, and it meets with her approval.


With the warm up job out of the way, and Friday night happy hour done, Saturday morning rolls around too soon and its time to remove the old sump and pump to get ready for the new one.  Below in the cramped space under the stairs you see the old sump hole with the sump removed. The blue circle is the outline of the new sump, and the larger blue square is where we are going to cut the cement with a diamond cement blade for removal. The large square hole will allow us to dig a much larger hole for the sump.


After a 20 minute session with the cement saw and what passes for a cement sandstorm in the small enclosed stairwell, the Great Sumpman withdraws for  breath of fresh air. (note from the editor: the Great Sumpman’s hair is not nearly as gray as it looks here)


The completed square cutout in the cement with the enlarged hole ready for the new sump. Gotta love that mud!


The new sump is in place, back filled with dirt and filling with water. We are now ready to place the new sump pump into the new sump and plumb it in place.


The house maiden and, cleaning crew inspect the work


Finally the total disaster is over and the cleaning crew moves into make the place respectable again.


imageAfter lunch, and the mess is cleaned up the final plumbing takes place and the new Ace hardware sump is dropped into the hole with the backflow valve attached. The final pieces of INCH 1/2 plastic pipe are welded into place and the cover bolted down along with the final wiring to run the pump is put into place. All that is left is to mix up a bag of cement and replace the cement floor around the new sump installation.


The Great Sumpman is making the final touches to the cement


What does the future have in store for the Great Sumpman?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend 2010

imageimageAt last after the long winter the first holiday weekend of summer is upon us. It’s Memorial day weekend. The first long weekend at the lake.
The official reason for the Memorial holiday commemorating our fallen war heroes is certainly a valid reason for a a holiday, but I think that deep down inside everyone thinks that the true celebration of Memorial day is the first days of summer!
Of course this means that Hwy 10 north to the Lake Country of Minnesota will be a parking lot on Friday night and even worse on Monday night on the way back into the metro area. With a little planning like leaving at noon on Friday to go north, and waiting until after 5:00PM on Monday to return we can avoid the bulk of the craziness and stay sane.
Now most of you think that having a place on the lake up north must be all fun and games, and indeed there is times that it is, but to enjoy those few minutes of fun and games usually requires days of work. This weekend being one of the first of the season a lot of work has to be done. The boat has to go in the hot tub has to be filled, and with all the rain the lawn is going to be a hayfield.
Upon arrival the first thing on the list of accomplishments is to get the hayfield mowed. This year we have a new tool for that, a shiny new Snapper.

About an hour of riding and an hour of trimming accomplishes the lawn work and its time to fill the hot tub with water for the season. Usually it takes a couple of days for the water to heat up to 100 degrees but after filling the tub with water filtered from the lake this year and turning it on the temperature reading of the water was already 69 degrees. Wow thats warm water for the lake at this time of year! So now were are going to be able to enjoy the hot tub Saturday, a day earlier rather than having to wait till Sunday for it to heat up.
The Beauty
& the Beast

Just like every year the real owners of the property make their presence known and come out to make sure we don’t destroy their yard.

They love sitting on the rocks in front of the Garden Shed and unless you push them off with a broom they usually won’t move.

Saturday was beautiful. Almost 90 degrees and sunny the day was a picture book of summertime fun. Boats on the lake, a warm breeze, the smell of pine trees in the air makes even the work of keeping up the lake place fun.
Sunday turns out to be a little cooler and overcast, but a great day to get the boat ready and put into the water for the summer. Charging the battery, pulling it out of the garage, checking that everything works on the boat before trailering it over to the landing for first time this year is the task for the morning. Every thing starts out good until I try to raise the motor up. OH OH, tilt and trim is not working correctly! If I press the trim button repeatedly 3 out of 10 times it will raise. This is not good.
Taking the engine apart and digging into the electronics reveled a failing relay. There is an hour of wasted time! I’ll have to get a replacement part, but it works good enough that I can at least put the boat in the water today.
Grabbing Margaret we take the boat over to the landing and launch it. Margaret then took the car back to the garage while I drove the boat across the lake. No problems on the drive across the lake, so now all I have to do is crank the boat up onto the boatlift. Cranking away the boat raises out of the water steadily. Almost to the top when there is a huge “BOOM” & “SPLASH”. The cable that pulls up the lift arm snapped! What a day! Now what?
A trip to Fleet and Farm in Park Rapids wastes another 2 hours, but procures a cable that will work to fix the now collapsed lift.

With the boat tied to the side of the dock the handsome gentleman in the wet suit labors diligently to raise the lift arm and tie it place so the cable can be rethreaded through the pulley systems on the lift.

Once the lift arm is back up and tied the threading begins.

Looks like its going to be long enough!

The final total was 1 hour wasted on the motor 3 hours on the lift to get the boat on its lift for the summer.
The rest of the weekend was enjoyable and without difficulties proving to be a great opening for the summer!
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