Saturday, December 31, 2005
I can't believe I wasted even another day on that d...m water system!
One thing went bad after another. What a chain of events! It started yesterday afternoon like this:
Day One (yesterday)
1. We noticed the water pressure was getting low.
2. The pump should have been running but it wasn't.
3. The breaker had not tripped.
4. I inspected the pressure switch; it was off.
5. When I tried to start the pressure switch the pump would just begin and then the switch sparked and the breaker blew.
6. I repeated this several times to see if I could figure out why it was shorting out.
7. I decided the pressure switch was defective and decided to put in the old one I had taken out last summer. THAT WAS A BIG MISTAKE!
8. The old pressure switch didn't spark or blow the breaker, but the pump still wouldn't run.
9. I inspected the control box; no obvious problems; but I decided to put in the old one I took out last summer. THAT WAS A WASTE OF TIME!
10. The replacement box didn't work either.
11. I decided to reinstall the first pressure switch, because it at least sparked or something; but it didn't even try to start the pump; like it had before I started messing with it.
12. So after five hours, nothing; I gave up.
13. Then I decided to inspect the well head; I had to sledge hammer the box to break it free from the frozen ground.
14. Just at a splice in the wiring from the house to the pump, the insulation had burned and the wires were exposed and sparking. I HAD FINALLY FOUND THE PROBLEM!
15. This splice was put in this summer; and apparently a wire was loose and eventually started shorting; who knows how long that was going on?
16. I spent about an hour in the cold with Y holding a flashlight, cutting out the old splice, installing new splice connectors and retaping it.
17. I went back inside, reset the breaker and turned on the switch; and nothing happened!
18. HERE'S WHERE IT BEGAN TO GO FROM BAD TO WORSE. EVERYTHING FROM HERE ON WAS CAUSED BY MY INEPT DIAGNOSES. IT TOOK ANOTHER FULL DAY AND TWO TRIPS TO TOWN TO GET THE WATER SYSTEM WORKING AGAIN!
19. After checking currents all over the place with my VOM, I finally realized the on/off switch was not working on one side; it was switching on only one side of the 220 line. I CAUSED THIS WHEN I REPLACED THE PRESSURE SWITCH; THE ORIGINAL PRESSURE SWITCH WAS ACTING AS A BREAKER; THE REPLACEMENT SWITCH DIDN'T BLOW, TRANSFERRING THE DAMAGE TO THE ON/OFF SWITCH.
20. Unbelievably I had a spare Double-Pole/Double-Throw switch in my meager collection of electricity supplies; and I installed it.
21. That worked! the pump came on! problem solved, right?
22. Amazingly, the brass pressure tank tee was split at the point where the pressure switch screwed into it; and sprayed water all over us. I HAD CAUSED THIS BY OVERTIGHTENING THE FITTING, ALL THOSE TIMES I HAD REPLACED THE PRESSURE SWITCH.
23. We shut down and drained the system for the night.
Day Two (today)
24. I disconnected everything and removed the defective TEE.
25. I drove to town and went to two different plumbing supply stores looking for a new TEE and a gauge; I ended up at Brand X.
26. I got home and installed the new tee, started the pump and it began to leak at the bottom of the pressure tank.
27. I CAUSED THIS BY CROSS THREADING THE BRASS TEE INTO THE PLASTIC FITTING!
28. I pulled everything off again (second time, now) and carefully reinstalled the brass tee into the plastic fitting; making sure to screw it in as far as possible.
29. I reinstalled everything else, started the pump, and IT STILL DRIPPED at the tee-fitting!
30. I pulled everything off again (third time, now) and took the tee to town.
31. I bought a brass 90 to replace the cross threaded plastic one and some plumbers' epoxy and some stretchy-silicone plastic tape.
32. When I got home, I pulled off the plastic fitting, methodically teflon-taped all the threads, carefully installed the brass fitting, carefully installed the tee, and put everything else back on.
33. We started the pump and IT STILL DRIPPED!
34. We shut down and depressurized the system and drained it.
35. I put plumbers' putty around the threads at the brass fitting.
36. After three hours of drying, IT STILL DRIPPED! a lot less, but enough.
37. I shut down and drained th system again and wrapped the joint - over the epoxy - with the stretchy silicone tape that supposedly is also water-tight.
38. IT STILL DRIPS! but much slower.
39. I have given up; the drip is very slow, and we need the humidity; I am hoping it eventually seals itself off.
40. We took long-awaited showers and washed the dishes.
A Most Amazing Evening Playing My Cello
After all that I finally found time to play my cello. What an experience that was! As if to make up for a long frustrating, nerve wracking day, I was making sounds like I'd never heard before. My bowing was unreal. My right hand/arm was producing bowing rhythms and bow strokes that I'd never imagined I could do. Over and over, I played the same strokes rapidly, without changing notes - then I'd begin to subtly alter the stroking, the pace, or the rhythm. It's hard to describe what was happening. The harder I played the more intense and complicated the rhythm and strokes. The bow was flying, hitting different strings in a defined - and evolving rhythm.
Then I started playing harmonics. First by sliding my left fingers up and down the strings - touching lightly from the side. At the same time, I was still bowing frenetically. The cello was moaning, whining, talking, singing. I was running up and down several octaves on each string.
Then I stopped using my left hand altogether and began producing the harmonics with the bow only - still using the frenetic bowings. It was all in how much pressure and distance I bowed the string. That brought out the harmonics without using my fingers. Then I realized I could vary the harmonics - as if I were sliding my fingers up and down the string - just by where I bowed the strings.
That led to another half hour of playing without using my left hand, but producing eery scales and notes, and tunes; again with the varying frenetic bowing.
I finally was so exhausted after two hours that I had to stop. I didn't want to but I forced myself.
I've never heard anyone else play the cello like I did tonite. Admittedly, I've not heard much cello outside of classical music - and my Apocalyptica and Rasputina albums haven't arrived yet.
It was so fine to feel that intensely a part of the music I was making. Now I know I'm going to make it with my cello!