With surgical precision I used the Dremel Multimax cutting tool we bought for last year's hardwood flooring project to slice away some of the drywall around my leaky pipe. My goal was to see what the problem is. The pipe is bone dry on either side of the drip, and dry above and everywhere else save under the drip - so I surmise that the pipe has a very small pinhole leak which results in a drop of water every nineteen seconds. Yes, I timed it.
I went to Fischer's Hardware - where one goes to avoid the Home Depot language barrier problem - yesterday and talked to the plumbing guru, one of the Grand Old White Guys working there, about how this was caused and what to do about it. His response: "Fluorine, chlorine, minerals, deposits - no telling. This can happen. I've seen it before." Swell. Any copper line in my entire house can sudden start dripping, creating that abomination of abominations, wet drywall.
At first I found a sort of diaper fitting with a rubber insert that one can attach to the pipe and tighten - leak fixed. Only for a while, according to this fellow, shooting me a look of disapproval as if to say, "This isn't how we middle-aged guys do it. Do it right and join the club." The better solution is to cut the pipe in half at the leak and put a Sharkbite fitting onto it. I had never seen Sharkbite fittings before... they're neat. Watch the video on the website.
Anyway, looking at where this line is, I won't be able to get the SB fitting onto where the leak is - there isn't enough room and it's too hard to get to - so I'll have to shut off the water, cut the pipe and put in a new section, soldering on one side and perhaps Sharkbiting (new plumbing verb) the other. That's my goal for tonight. It gives me an excuse to not attend the scheduled cub scout pack committee meeting. Besides - I like to solder copper pipe. It's fun, watching the solder magically wick into joints, making watertight connections.
I first learned to solder in junior high school in an electronics class, where, in 1970, I built a five tube superheterodyne Heathkit AM radio that made the strangest amplified "BOIIINNNG" sound wherever I switched it off. I wish I still had it. I really learned to solder, however, in the Marines. The soldering section of the Comm-Elec class I had took a few days, and we learned to soldier to NASA specs. That's what the instructors claimed, anyway. The experience stands out in my memory for one reason: a radio used to be on while we did our soldering exercises, and it was then that I first heard Harry Chapin's guilt-fest tune "Cat's in the Cradle." GAHHHH. But I see that I have blogged about this horrid song before.
Last night I watched one of my favorite horror films, Herk Harvey's 1962 moody masterpiece Carnival of Souls, one of the many works based on the idea "she or he is dead but doesn't know it." I was stuck again by just how perfect Candace Hilligoss is in the role of Mary Henry, the gal who keeps phasing in and out of everyday existence after a car wreck. She's a pretty blonde - but with looks of the sort to throw the viewer off a bit. Are her eyes a bit too large, or slightly wall-eyed? Is that it? Or is it her demeanor? She's 75 now - I see she's still pretty.
I see this film has gotten the complete Criterion DVD treatment. Hmmm. Maybe I'll put this on my amazon.com wish list...
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