Crawford is a PhD motorcycle mechanic, so much of what he writes goes over my head – both scholastically and technically – but occasionally I do catch a glimpse. The chapter entitled To Be Master of One’s Own Stuff has proven especially enlightening and useful. Instead of being a headache, the plumbing problem now became an opportunity to improve my competence (I wouldn’t call it mastery) at taking care of my possessions. I built the cabin and now I need to take care of it.
After a conversation with my cousin Andrew Liske http://www.pipeyourdreams.com/ a plumber down in the Bay Area (and incidentally the guy who installed the cabin pipes) I came up with a repair plan. Sam and I went back up the next day, cut out the broken valve, un-sweated the PEX-to-brass fittings (which we needed to re-use) cleaned it all up and systematically put it all back together. The job took three hours with the two of us working at a steady pace. The job entailed some serious solder work, and I gave myself a 50-50 chance when I turned on the water. Thankfully no leaks. Being able to tip up the work while sweating the joints provided a gravity assist, which I’m sure made up for some poor technique on my part. At the end of the job I installed a heater coil on the incoming water pipe.
On the 1.5 mile walk back to the car Sam seemed very proud of himself. We had had a problem and he and I working together had used our brains and our hands to solve it. That’s a pretty damn good feeling.