As the sun set yesterday afternoon, and the yard was at low tide, I realized that I’ve had it all wrong. This geothermal project isn’t about HVAC; it’s art. It all becomes tolerable when you think of it as an expression of some primordial artistic impulse. I think Andy Goldsworthy got his start in HVAC.
In my attempt to capture the many maws of this experience–the holes, the vents, the ducts, my slack jaw as it is drops in dismay–I took some Ansel Adams-ish photos of the crap in our basement. I am calling this series “Hope/Despair: Same Thing.”
“Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother’s House We Go”
“Geothermal Lost Glove”
“Ampersand with Tubes”
Lest Ye Despair
I’m starting to get pity emails from people, and I appreciate the concern, which is understandable. I want to assure you: this project is cranking along at the chipper pace that got us the Transcontinental Railroad. Why, just this morning I was down in the basement, where a massive effort is under way to reverse the direction of the ducts, now that the new geothermal furnace is located in Hickman County instead of Wilson County where the old unit resided. (Apparently ducts need to decrease in size as they get further away from the furnace. Who knew?)
During my photo safari, I had a stroke when a face appeared in a part of the house that I didn’t think was navigable by humans:
“Hey! Is this Promontory Point?”
Proof of Progress
Now that the five holes have been drilled, stuffed with plastic tubes, and slurried all to heck, it’s time to dig some trenches to connect the tubes into a beautiful continuous loop. Recent torrential rains led the Team to postpone the trenching out in the Field of Dreams until the muck has solidified back to its earlier polenta consistency. (Yes, Kay, I saw that movie trailer for War Horse and have a newfound terror of World War I trenches. Isn’t it just the most heartbreaking trailer in filmdom? If that horse doesn’t make it to the end of that movie, Steven Spielberg will be hearing from me.)
So the guys have been working inside, to excellent effect, namely:
1. New attic ducts. The energy evaluation inspector is going weep like a baby when he sees all those nonleaky seams. He’s going to write an operetta about them.
2. A big box full of fresh, warranty-rich geothermality.
3. The first and only thing out of this entire experience that I actually recognize.
Wall Whacking as Varsity Sport
This is how you get 4″ holes into a cement block wall.
You cannot fail to notice it when this drill is operating. It is the ultimate in cause and effect.
Ominous and/or Positive Developments
Along with the pity emails, several folks have joked about whether I’m expecting 30 or 40 people here for Thanksgiving. OH YOU JOKERS! It’s actually 24 coming tomorrow, all family, with a dozen of us staying here at the house. Let’s just say that every guest gets a free mini-seminar on geothermal loop theory.
Life is incredibly sweet when they are here, superior in every way to daily life. We just laid in a store of diapers for the youngest one. It is a group that really puts the thanks into Thanksgiving.
I’ll leave you with a peek at what showed up in the Field of Dreams this morning.
Did it hit the main water line into the house? Will we be making mashed potatoes with Coca-Cola instead of water? Would beer work? V-8 Juice? WD-40? Will we be a clean and tidy group, or will we be reenacting the first Thanksgiving in terms of water-based personal grooming?
Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, with enough gravy and a good nap.