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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What Can You Make From Broken Copper Pipes?

My cell phone rings. “We’re going to be at the farm this weekend. Would Blitzkrieg like to come over for dinner? We’d love to see our granddog.”

It’s my mother in law. And yes, she just invited the dog to her house with the implied invitation that Husband and I would chauffeur the dog to his dinner date. That’s what happens when your dog is more popular with your friends and family than you are I suppose. (Although it is heartwarming that the in-laws have realized that Blitzkrieg is as close as they are going to get to an actual grandchild from us for awhile. Don’t feel too bad for them. They have five grandkids from Husband’s other sibs, so the in-laws aren’t exactly hurting in the grandchildren department.)

We drive to the little farmhouse. Surprisingly we find it in disarray. Big chunks of drywall are missing from most of the walls. “Hey! You’re just in time! Mom says. “We’re celebrating a bit tonight. We just got the water back on.”

What?!

Turns out that when the renters moved out of the house in January, instead of turning the heat down to 55 degrees like you should in a soon-to-be unoccupied house during a snowy winter, they turned the heat OFF COMPLETELY. They didn’t bleed the water lines dry so let’s do the math, shall we?

Below zero temperatures + standing water in copper pipes =


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One might think that the previous tenants did this out of ignorance. Chances are no. The renters were asked to leave after not paying rent for oh, say, the last 6 months of their stay. Hmmmmm...vindictive much? Consider yourselves formally crossed off our Christmas card list.

Once the big pool of standing water was removed from the floor, the burst pipes needed to be found from behind drywall all over the lower level of the house and replaced. Even though my father-in -law has much more experience in a whole lot more DIY areas than me, this job was much more than evn our DIY skills combined could handle. It was time to call in a pro.

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Fortunately the man who lives next to the little gray farmhouse is a plumber. The job kept him quite busy for several months. At $22.00 an hour, the plumber’s family isn’t going to have to worry about being able to pay their rent anytime soon.

As the dinner party progressed and Mom and Dad entertained us with the trials and tribulations of fixing up the house yet again and I think - blog fodder! I started snapping photos of the broken pipes. Suddenly Husband appeared over my shoulder.

Husband: What are you going to make out of those?

Me: Money? Scrap copper prices are pretty good right now.

Husband: Yeah, but knowing you, you’re going to do something cool with the remains, right?

Me: No. I’m going to blog about the broken pipes.

Husband: Oh. That’s disappointing. I expected something cool.

Looks like I’ve trained him a little too well in creative reuse department.

What do you think? Is there anything I can make from burst water pipes?