Monday, September 01, 2008

The Art of the Matter


You Beautiful Doll

I Missed You

Due to the Labor Day holiday and a couple of other matters beyond my control, the next installment of Echoes of Eddie will not appear until next Monday, 9/08/08.

My first long weekend off in over two years didn't exactly go down as one of the best ever. It started with the brakes in my truck. Because the mechanic also took a long holiday weekend, my brakes will not be taken care of until (Tuesday) tomorrow.

Since I am due to return to work on Tuesday, my schedule will be shot depending on how long it takes before the brake job is done. To make up for any jobs not done per my schedule, I'll either be working late Tuesday or the jobs will be rescheduled late on another day or even Saturday. Jobs normally scheduled for Mondays have already been rescheduled. It's going to be a long week! To make matters worse, because of the holiday, it is already a short week.

I thought I was going to get to work of the "Eddie" story on Saturday since my wife had to work the whole day. While I was doing a few small chores, I discovered water and sludge on my basement floor. I traced the water to its source. To my chagrin, it was coming from a junction fitting in the main drainage stack of the house.

Over the past three or four years I have replaced virtually all of the lead-poured cast iron pipes to our drains with PVC. That includes about 20 feet of drain running from the kitchen sink into the main trunk and another ten feet handling the bathtub/shower and the bathroom sink.

Now there was a hole at the base of an elbow into which the kitchen drains. If that wasn't bad enough, this elbow is below where the flushed toilet water enters the main stack. If I could not patch the hole to prevent any further leakage, then a very large section of the main stack would have to be replaced. I am not equipped to handle a job of that magnitude. If that turns out to be the case, then it will result in mucho dineros payable to a plumber!

With my truck idle in the driveway with no brakes to speak of and my wife working until 4 pm, I didn't get to Loews or Home Depot to pick up the necessary supplies to patch the drain pipe.

Sunday was my son-in-law's birthday and it had already been arranged that we were taking him and our daughter out to eat at the Texas Roadhouse at 2 pm. At the same mall at which the restaurant is located, there is a Home Depot. After satiating ourselves, I picked up the supplies I thought I'd be needing to patch the pipe.

Back at our house, we had birthday cake and coffee and relaxed after our big meals. It was 8:30 when the kids left to go home. That meant I was going to spend my Sunday working on that leaking elbow!

On the seventh day, He rested. There was no rest for me. Because of the location of the leak, I was unable to use a clamped rubber sleeve. I bought three tubes of steel epoxy putty; when duct tape won't do the job, this stuff will! I also picked up a kit with epoxy coated fiberglass, similar to that used to repair auto bodies. The kit was to be used a backup plan if needed.

After giving my wife instructions not to use the kitchen sink or to flush the toilet, I began cleaning off the drain stack around the leak. I had to apply some of the putty and wait a couple of hours for it to set before I could apply more. In the end, I used 2 1/2 tubes of the putty. Although the actual application of the putty probably took only an hour total, the wait between applications of the putty to allow for setting and hardening took up most of the day.

I was still getting a faint trace of water seepage after all the applications of the putty. So I applied the fiberglass wrap over above and below the putty. Unfortunately, the wrap was designed for pipes up to an inch in diameter. I was trying to wrap it around 5-inches of cast iron pipe! I was only able to wrap twice around it. The directions said it should be wrapped until it was at least a half inch thick. I didn't even have a layer of 1/32nd of an inch.

As it stands, there is still some water seeping from beneath all that putty and fiberglass. It's almost like sweat on the pipe. One positive - no more sludge is exiting the drainage system!

Oh joy! That means next Sunday is going to find me down in the basement again trying to stop the seeping once and for all. Between now and then, I'll have to buy some more putty. Then I'll go to an auto parts store and buy the fiberglass patching kit there because it comes with materials to cover large area.

I didn't mention that to get at the leak in the first place, I had to pull down a third of a wall of cedar paneling and a three foot square area of sheet rock on the other side of the wall! Providing I finally stop the leak next Sunday, guess what's in store for me the following Sunday? (See the first sentence of this paragraph.)


Finally having a scanner, I have had the opportunity to post here at this site my original comic strip, Poodle Doodles, like the two bonus examples above. I have been posting them every Saturday and Sunday. There are links on my sidebar for all of the Poodle Doodle strips.

I have also posted from time to time some original one-panel cartoons. Some readers know that at one time, from the mid 80s through the mid 90s, I made and sold hand drawn and painted wood crafts. I just found some old photos of some my projects. Below, are just a few of them:

Silhouettes, like the old man fishing with a cat waiting and the boy fishing with his trusty dog, were quite popular and I sold a lot of them. A country theme was in demand at the time.

Comic Strip and cartoon characters were popular not only with the kids, but the adults as well. I couldn't keep up with the demand for arcade game characters like Sonic the Hedgehog. I couldn't even begin to guess how many Betty Boop cutouts I sold. This one was the most popular.

Popeye the Sailor sold well, but not so Boris Badenov.

Nostalgia buffs remembering their youth scarfed up every Raggedy Ann I ever produced. Alas, Andy didn't do so well. What can I say about Garfield, probably the most lovable comic strip cat of all time.

Here's a collection of pieces ready to be priced and packed for an upcoming craft show in which I was participating: (Click on the image to enlarge and to view in more detail.)

The Flintstones movie was playing in the theaters at the time. Who was I not to try to capitalize and to take advantage of the hype? Boston sports fans love their teams, and Fred Flintstone in Red Sox and Celtic uniforms sold quite well.

There are many more photos of some of my crafts and I will post them here from time to time.



Jack K. said...

You're a better man than I. There is no way I would attempt the plumbing repair you tackled. It is much more daunting then what I am prepared to handle.

The collection of cartoon characters is fascinating. Good luck at the craft show.

Better luck in getting the truck back in working order.

btw, get a handle on the re-arranged work schedule.

Continue to...
serve with integrity, care about those you serve and share the love in your heart/soul.

kenju said...

I love your cut-ouots and cartoons. I wonder how you have the time to work, since you are so prolific at art and craft!

Hale McKay said...


That craft show was over ten years ago - and I did pretty good.

The truck is back on the road - with brakes & a mended stabilizer.

I'll survive the work schedule - somehow.

As for the plumbing job - as a house owner it's beneficial to learn to do some of those things just to keep from going broke by filling the pockets of plumbers, carpenters, electricians, etc.

Hale McKay said...


I'm afraid there isn't much time given to the art or the crafts these days.