Mrs. Shayne’s Adventures in Geothermal, Part 5
November 28, 2011
We interrupt our ongoing coverage of Geotherm2011 to report that there were little girls in the house for the Thanksgiving weekend.
They built fairy houses.
They left their purple boots in the hall.
They left cryptic drawings all over the place.
They did things like eat dry Cheerios, dance spontaneously across the kitchen, and yell “Mom” so persuasively that every mom in the house would respond. They helped feed the birds and do the flowers for Thanksgiving, and they called all the chickadees who came to the feeder their “customers.”
There is nothing more exotic in the world than little girls in a house accustomed to little boys.
Geothermal Blanket Update
I keep meaning to mention the knitting project that is my constant companion.
This patternless Geothermal Blanket is now more than 3′ by 3′ wide, gradually consuming my bin of oddballs and remnants, my Ghosts of Knitting Past.
There usually comes a point in a blanket like this, once you’ve set up a bunch of rules, when you totally ditch the rules. For this blanket, that moment came when I ran out of the green Berroco Ultra Alpaca one row before bindoff. I immediately reached for the red Berroco Ultra Alpaca and finished the square. No way was I going to rip out the square.
I won’t stop until a) this geothermal project is finished, or b) there is world peace. Not exactly sure which is more likely.
Meanwhile, Out in the Yard
When last I wrote, there was a newly arrived backhoe in the Field of Dreams. This was the day before Thanksgiving, and the family contingent from Vermont had already arrived.
I’m watching all this with utter fascination, thinking about how long it would take for somebody to do this with a shovel, and how geothermal isn’t really something that could have happened before the iron age or diesel engines or the loss of proportion that happened in 1952. Amid my reverie I see a white PVC pipe come out of the muck, 4″ wide, and I think: hunh.
My backhoe friend likewise finds this interesting, enough so that he hops off his backhoe to investigate. I realize that he has hit a gutter downspout drainpipe, so I scamper out there to point this out. While I’m out there, he says something about how he’s expecting to hit the water line pretty soon, and I say in my supercalm way “YOU’RE GOING TO FREAKIN’ HIT THE WATER LINE? TWELVE PEOPLE IN THE HOUSE TONIGHT! MASHED POTATOES! FLUSHING! PILGRIMS DIDN’T HAVE IT THIS ROUGH!” and he says something along the lines of “Hakuna matata, lady. Chill the freak out.”
Apparently it’s easier to randomly hit a main water line then repair it, rather than root around in search of a main water line. At least, that was my gloss on things, because sure enough, in short order they hit it, a little pond soon formed out by the road, and the water in the house went out.
Now, in my imagination, a main water line should be an iron pipe about two feet in diameter, or maybe four feet, large enough for a man to stand in at least. It should be large enough that secret communities of people live down there.
It’s actually one inch wide. It’s nothing. It looks like a peashooter. I cannot believe a one-inch pipe is enough to provide this house with water.
The guys slogged around a while, went to the hardware store, and in about an hour had the water back on. Net inconvenience: sister-in-law Tiff had to go to Starbucks to use the bathroom, which I now realize was a total sham because I think she just wanted a latte.
Once I stopped shuddering from post-traumatic pipe disorder, things clicked along. They started whacking on the old HVAC unit–once finished, there won’t be any outside components at all.
The pipes from the five 300′ holes were all connected in an incomprehensible way, and the guys swore it was all jim dandy and tight as a tick.
By the end of the day, they scraped all the dirt back into the trenches they’d made, and it all vanished, just like that.
Today they’re here connecting inside pipes and hoses and whatnot. We’ve been running on the natural gas backup heater all weekend, most cozy. The geothermal part should kick in today or tomorrow. I expect the heavens to open and fat cherubs to dangle banners outside my window: “Thy Geothermal Hath Arrived.”
Today’s conclusion: Shaken but also stirred. We’ve been on our new tankless hot water all weekend, and if you want an acid test shakedown cruise for a tankless water heater, put a dozen people in a house for four days during Thanksgiving. We boiled potatoes, ran at least 600 loads of laundry, 200 loads of dishes, fed dozens of people on two separate nights, and not once did I hear somebody caterwauling about no hot water.
PS Thank you all for your support of my new career as an artist. Here is my latest work, a series based on everybody’s favorite Painter of Light, Thomas Kinkade.
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”