November 6th, 2001


In Early

I got in to work at 8:15 today. I know that this is nothing special and other people do it all the time. But I usually get in at about 10:30, so this is a little unusual for me.

The reason: Lori's car needed coolant, so I put coolant in before she left for school.

No one is in the office yet; I think everyone else comes in at 10 too.

I was entertaining hopes of having some semi-idle time and writing some LiveJournal posts.
Then I realized that I had been well-prepared and started a run last night, and started the processing script in the car. So I was thinking that I would get in and I would get right to work on fresh results.
When I got in, I discovered that I'd run the wrong tree last night, so I won't have those fresh results for another three hours or so. I can't tell whether I'm happy or sad about this.
(Those results aren't expected to be that interesting, so they don't prevent me from being productive.)

Work over the Weekend

Late Friday night, I posted on how I'd been working so hard at my job, ending with "I am very tired. Good night."

Well, I was tired. But I couldn't fall asleep.

So I eventually got up and worked on that stuff for an hour and started a run, and went back to bed at 2:30. This time I made it to sleep.

At 9:00 or so, I woke up to work on the drains with my father-in-law. But before he got there and we got to work, I went to the computer and started another run.

After we finished on the drainpipe for the day, I worked for another few hours before we went out to dinner.

As we drove over to meet David and Stacy, I kept obsessing about work, and what I could do to track down various bugs.
Fortunately, I managed to avoid obsessing too badly during dinner.

We got home after midnight, and I still looked at results and started a run before bed.

On Sunday, I worked pretty heavily on this stuff during the day, and found myself obsessing about work again at dinner with Willie and Laura. I do hope I wasn't annoying with how I was geeking out--it wasn't the company, it's just that I'm so tightly wrapped about this.

And really, I don't think it's good. All last week, I was coming home frotzed from focusing so hard on this project. And I fear that obsessing about it so over the weekend prevents the weekend from being restful, resulting in a net decline in productivity. But that's water under the bridge now.

On Monday, then, I ended up trying to explain all the problems I'd discovered to Mark during the weekend. I'm not sure what was going on there, but we were having real difficulty in communicating; I was having trouble understanding what he was saying, and he was having trouble understanding what I was trying to say. As a result, the debate about what I was doing and whether it would hose us in other ways lasted for a grueling hour and a half. Bleah!

But we found a workaround for the grotty inconsistency I complained about on Thursday. And I think there's only one more change that needs to be made...

Drain Repair

So, Les came over on Saturday morning to help replace the drainpipe I had dug out. We wanted to get it done in a single day, so that we wouldn't be caught drainpipeless during a rain.

First step: removing the old drainpipe. We broke one of the old sections of terra cotta pipe with the brick hammer and got it out of the way. In that section, we found a tennis ball and a larger sponge rubber ball in the drainpipe--that can't have been helping flow. Then Les worked on trying to clear some of the other drainpipes on the house, while I worked on trying to lift out the other sections of pipe. I found it was most useful to insert the handle of the pickaxe as far as I could into the pipe and use that as a lever to pry the pipe out.

I worked my way up pretty quickly to the curve at the back of the house. There I discovered that what I thought was a curve in the pipe was actually a Y-joint. There was still a hole the size of my hand in the joint, so it was unambiguous that it had to be replaced.

But first it was necessary to dig out the lower pipe and get an end that was even enough to fit a connector on. This turned out to be more arduous than it might otherwise have been. The earth around it wsa very clayey, and it was moist from the previous day's rain. And the drainpipe turned out to be cracked, and our attempts to break it off evenly kept exposing more cracks. So we kept having to unearth more of the pipe and try again.

Eventually, Les went home to get a grinder to help with that trimming, and I went off to the hardware store to get the parts that we would need.

We failed several times with the grinder, but eventually got it trimmed even enough to get the FernCo connector on. By this time, though, Les had to leave. I continued digging the pipe out and digging out all the loose soil that we had gotten into the trench. It felt arduous to do so, but it didn't take that long. At 2:50, I set myself a time limit of 3:30 by which I would wimp out, but I finished by 3:10.

On Monday night, Les came over again, and we put in the new PVC drainpipe. This actually went fairly easily; it was just a matter of cutting the pipe to length, cementing it together, and sticking it in. The flexible rubber connectors made things much more tolerant. I wasn't nearly as sweaty after this part of the task.

One discovery during that evening: there's a heating vent in the crawl space underneath the house. The purpose of this is probably to keep the pipes warm to avoid freezing the pipes, but it's certainly adding to our heating bill.

So, we have a new drainpipe. It remains to be seen how many of the problems this fixes. But all in all, the job was not too arduous, and probably saved a lot of money compared to the cost of a contractor. And I do feel proud about doing that work. I still might have some second thoughts about doing it again, though...

David and Stacy

Saturday, we got together for dinner with David and Stacy, who were in town.

After some uncertainty but no real difficulty with finding Stacy's mother's condo, we met them. We saw their baby Julian, who of course looks dramatically different since we last saw him six months ago. Then Julian was left with his mother while we went off to Don Pablo's.

Two things really made the evening pleasant for me: margaritas and geekery. Starting the evening with a big margarita turned out to be exactly what I needed to unwind from being so tightly wound from work.

On the geekery side: the conversation split into Lori and Stacy having their own conversation, while David and I talked heavily about RPGs, particularly Adventure and D&D. I really enjoyed the geeking--I really hope we can get together for a weekend game of Adventure some time.