grumpy about the construction project (mechanicals!)

Forward HO, goes the renovation! It’s Mechanicals Week at the P-C abode. While Erick and Dan continue to look a little confused outside…


…plumbing, electricity, and HVAC runs have been filling the wall cavities inexorably, like colonizing mold spreading through the house.

Look at all that PVC and, and… what’s it called? FU cable? That can’t be right… UF-B. That’s it. Stern electrician guards the mechanicals.


All that junk is for just half the kitchen and mudroom:


Here’s some of the kitchen lighting going up into the ceiling joists. I thought those round things were called “recessed lights,” but if you’re a really cool construction cat, you call them “cans.” I thought a “can” was a toilet, but now I know it is also recessed lighting.


Check out all these lines. They are hanging down into our basement right now.


Eventually they’ll be attached to this monster circuit panel, which is as long as Nick is tall.


We also have some new HVAC runs, and a special HEPA filter on the furnace now.


I’m really excited about the HEPA filter. It felt like Christmas when Rick the HVAC guy carried it into the basement. I actually didn’t know Kristi-the-designer had spec’ed that in. I investigated it last night. There’s a massive cylindrical filter inside that needs to be changed every couple years. It looks to be about 18 inches in height and diameter, or thereabouts. If our dog got sucked into a vent (which is hypothetically possible because she’s so small), I know where to go looking for her in the HVAC system.

This cool flat metal thingy attached to the kitchen subfloor is where heating and a/c will blow into the kitchen, from under a cabinet’s toe kick. I didn’t know they could do that.


And just to make sure I know, the HVAC guy even labeled one of the new under-cabinet vents.


Mike the head electrician appears to really enjoy his work. He gets really, really into it. When he’s going on, talking about whatever electrical or lighting issue has captured his fancy in the moment, not even me calling him “Mr. Sparkles” stops him. And I like that he has blunt and honest reactions. I suggested an unattractive solution to a thorny problem involving where to put a light switch. He looked at me for about a 2-count, his face blank, and then said. “No. I won’t do that.”

I tried to get a good photo of Mike, but he kept turning away. I finally managed though, after he got an unanticipated shock from a live wire and was struck dumb for a moment. He wasn’t looking his best.


A little singed. Here’s  Mr. Sparkles before that incident, caressing some UF-B.


Just a few linear feet of cable in this frame, but Mike enthusiastically informed me a few days ago that by the time they’re done wiring up the new addition and replacing old wiring that’s been exposed, his crew will have installed MORE THAN 2000 LINEAR FEET OF CABLE. Whooooaaaa.

Last week I promised better photos of Bob the Plumber. Here he is posing in front of the weird shrink-a-dink dumpster. It’s something like two feet tall, but extremely long.


And his helper.


And here is Bob peering out the window of our future master bathroom. Everyone’s giggling in this picture and I don’t remember why.


Bob and Mike are perfect characters in my grumpy story. Each of them is a little grumpy, but under the veneer they’re delightful and honest. There’s no false friendliness that I can see, just false grumpiness. One day some guy I’d never seen before poked his head in from the garage. “Is the plumber here? I need him to move his truck.”

No one knew where Bob was so I yelled his name. “Bob? BOB??”

“What,” grunted a grumpy voice from somewhere nearby. It sounded and felt like my long-gone Dad was in the house. He used to sound just like that, grumpy outside and marshmallow inside.

I can’t blame anyone for being grumpy doing construction work. God knows I would be. I get grumpy just cleaning a toilet. But I observe that these mostly-monosyllabically-monikered peeps from different trades have an easy rapport with each other and get along really well. That’s such a pleasure to see, and it feels like good karma is flowing into the nooks and crannies of our soon-to-be-refurbished home.

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