Thursday, February 28, 2008

The End of the Watery Tale

The new sump pump definitely worked better but it took forever to pump the pit dry. It basically ran for 48 hours straight and barely kept up with the water coming in. I knew it had to do with the lines that were thickly coated with clay so I decided to replace them all.

I've never had to run PVC (polyvinyl chloride) before. So I stopped at Home Depot, asked a few questions, and bought 20 feet of pipe and a bunch of fittings.

I prepared the new pipe by cutting the appropriate lengths, sanding the ends, and setting up to glue them as soon as I was ready. I then began removing the old pipe by cutting it out with a saw. What I discovered was a confirmation of my suspicion. The pipe was coated with the clay ALL THE WAY to the outlet. All 15 feet of 1.5" pipe was choked down to a 1/4" hole.

The old pipe came out pretty easily but it was messy. The new pipe actually went in really well. The special glue worked great and I only had to make 1 trip back to Home Depot to buy a fitting I hadn't planned for. In all it only cost $20 for the piping material and 3 hours of my time.

After replacing the pipe, my sump pump could clear the pit in under 30 seconds! The room looks much better now too.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Annual Skiing Quota

We spent this weekend at Boyne Mountain with nearly the whole Veldhof group. With our baby due near spring break the Veldhofs cancelled their Florida vacation plans for this year. As a consolation they reserved a weekend at Boyne.

It has been a brutal winter. Basically every day has been bitterly cold with heavy snow many days as well. We really lucked out on the weather this weekend. It was near 30 and sunny. The ski conditions were great on Saturday and the driving conditions were ideal on Friday and Sunday. Our weekend consisted of relaxing, skiing, and eating...and reading for Erin. I skied Saturday afternoon and evening with Josh, Lindsay, Dave, and Gwen. Our condo was right on the slopes which was very nice. It was easy to stop back for a relaxing dinner before heading back out. Over the course of the day I regained my skiing confidence and was a solid blue hill skier by the end of the day.We left our 'Amish Friendship Bread' home alone all weekend. It ferments during the holding days and we came home to a near disaster. A few more hours and the bag would have surely blown.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Water World

Last night Erin and I arrived home at about 10:00 excited to watch the final two episodes of Prison Break Season 1 before going to bed. But when we walked downstairs we were greeted by this unwelcome sight:
Standing water in the utility room...

Definately not what you want to see in your own home, especially when you are trying to sell it. Luckily the water had not climbed enough to reach the basement carpeting so if we acted quickly we could limit the damage to just a wet concrete floor.

I tried to turn on our existing sump pump but there was no response. I found that the circuit breaker had tripped. I reset it, but it tripped again. The pump was shot, not to mention completely gross from years of pumping hard water and apparently clay. The piping was also thickly coated with the nasty clay.
What to do late at night with a broken sump pump? Thank you Meijer! We went to Meijer, bought a new pump and new fittings, and then tested my plumbing skills.
I tried to clean out the existing piping but it was beyond hope. Someday soon I'll have to replace it all. Instead I just hooked up the new pump and crossed my fingers.
It worked...kind of. The level started dropping but the nearly plugged pipe kept it from pumping very fast. 4 hours and $105 later we finally went to bed only slightly nervous that our basement would flood.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Winter Cottage Weekend

We sure know how to pick our winter boys weekends. Last year our winter weekend was one of the biggest blizzards I've ever been in. This year it was heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures. We stayed "warm" in the cottage much of the time and had a lot of fun just hanging out.

On Saturday we ventured out before the real weather hit. Actually, it was around 30 degrees and the snow was pretty good packing snow. We walked to the far side of Kimball Lake where a creek enters the lake and there is a bridge over the creek. Jason decided it would be cool to make a mini snowman and push into the creek pirate-style.

It wasn't cool...but it gave us a much bigger idea. A BIG snowman that would really splash. So all 5 of us started on our own snow ball. Soon we had a lot more than anticipated. The first three sections were heavy but manageable.

We had to build snow steps next to the snowman to add sections 4 and 5.

Finally we had our monster, which we should have named but we killed it before we realized we had nothing to call it. It was definately male, however, as you can see by the mustache.

Group shots naturally followed with our 10-foot-tall monster:

Our outdoor activities continued with the very nerdy hobby of GEOCACHING. With 3 engineers, an accountant, and a pharmacist we fit the bill Basically people all over the world create a small treasure map using their GPS devices. People hide something wherever they want, and use to post the GPS coordinates and a clue for others to find. You'd be suprised how many locations there are. I can basically garuntee there are at least 10 geocaches within 10 miles of where you are right now, and probably 1 within walking distance.

We used my GPS watch to get close to the location and the clue to actually find the treasure.

Our first ever Geocache! But we forgot a we couldn't document our finding on the log. We were about the 25th finder of this geocache since May and we added a golf tee to the collection of trinkets collecting at the cache (standard procedure for finding a cache is to add a little nick nack to it).

Some more pictures of Pickerel Lake in the winter.
Indoors we played many hours of settlers, nerts, carcassone, and poker.
Also, I cooked some great Aldi burgers on the grill. The ground beef was advertised as 73% beef. As it turns out, the other 27% was gasoline.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Tax Time

Baby Elenbaas is due on April 15 - tax day. I better get taxes out of the way...

I'm the type that loans the government money througout the year. Financially wasteful, I know. But I really like the tax 'bonus' in the spring though. It seems like free money.