As I may have mentioned before, in 1998, I started a company. The Half-Assed Carpentry Company got its start in Hackettstown, NJ when I first became a homeowner. The HAC specialized in home repairs that included the wrong hardware and tools. Need to screw something in? Lack a proper screwdriver? Use a hammer! Need something level? Well…mostly level is good enough.
Over time, the HAC was incorporated into HAI (Half-Assed Industries). Wholly-owned subsidiaries include the HAPC (painting), HAEC (Electrical…where flipping a switch down does not always mean “off”) the other HAPC (Plumbing), HAFC (Flooring), HACIC (Cabinet Installation (If it rolls out…too bad!), HAKC (Kitchens), HADC (Decking…”Use America’s Screwdriver when your screw gun’s batteries die!”), and so on.
In a nutshell, I am a corporate empire.
And, while all this work has gone on in the basement, I’ve warned the subs time and time again that they were in danger of copyright infringement each time they did something silly.
Well, folks…today we make an exception.
This story takes a while, but it delivers in the end.
In the beginning, there was a floor drain in the store room of the basement. The A/C condensate and hot water heater bleed line drained into it. All was well.
October 2005. As we all know, that’s when we flooded for the first time. The main sewer line outside the house backed up. Water, being fond of gravity, found the easiest point of exit from the system; said floor drain. Basically, the main backed up and started going back towards our house through our house’s 6″ sewer line. Rather than start crawling up the main line to the 1s floor, it sought out freedom and flowed out the floor drain.
They cleaned the sewers and were supposed to maintain them. In due time, I suffered a mental breakdown and had to resign as HOA president. The new board subsequently fired the sewer cleaning company and hired a group of poorly trained rhesus monkeys.
May 2009: Flood again. After this flood, we got a plumber in and explained the situation. We no longer trusted the HOA to keep crap out of the house. We designed a device. The water from the 2 lines would drip into a little cup that was attached to a P-trap. This would sit on the “Input” side of a 1-way valve. It would tie into the main. Water would drip into the cup, through the 1-way and into the main. We would not have backups. The floor drain was cemented over (Pronounced CEE-mented).
January 2010: Construction starts. The plumbers come in to do the bathroom, get one look at my device and wonder, out loud, what kind of idiot designed that thing…seeing how it broke every code and ordinance ever written. I explained the problem and they applauded my creativity. They also said they could never pass inspection with it in place. The plan was to do everything properly and then come back in afterwards and hook the little cup back up. OK…
Last week: They’re finishing and a plumber comes and hooks the cup back up. Randy and I look at the setup and immediately know it’s going to fail inspection. We tell said plumber. He acts (in Randy’s words) “like a dick” and leaves.
Friday: We fail. The inspector gets one look at it and just flunks us on the spot. Randy calls me that afternoon from Chicago to check in.
“Goddamn son of a bitch…oh…I’m so sorry”
“Randy…I said worse”
Today: the good plumber is back. The plan is to take the condensate line and, where it comes into the basement form upstairs, have it slope downward until it can be tied intot he line for the new basement A/C.
Not enough fall in the line. It won’t work.
We huddle in the crawlspace to ponder this.
“Where’s that floor drain”
“You’re not uncovering it”
“No…I have an idea. Get me a hammer”
BAM BAM BAM!
The plan is to re-run the condensate line towards where the floor drain used to be.
“Grady (the inspector) is fat. He’s never going to crawl in here.”
The plan is to run the line and have it terminate just above a metal shower drain screen. You know…one of those metal thingies that catches your hair and whatnot. It will look like a proper drain but won’t be. Bus, Fat Grady will never be any wiser.
They’ve restored the previous situation and can pass inspection. Then, afterwards, the little P-trap goes back in and everyone leaves.
The bottom line is that the line “Grady’s fat” is the best plumbing-related line ever spoken…anywhere.
We’re faking a drain because we all know the guy’s too damned lazy to properly check it out.
The HAPC would officially like to induct this man into its Hall of Fame. Never has caulk, a hammer and cleverness been used for a nobler endeavor.