Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Blockage and Jeff Saved the Day

Yes it was Black Friday, and I didn't sleep one lick. Wanted to rise early to catch the AM sales at Best Buy and Apple.

Yes, I bought a Tom Tom for $100 and a new Nano plus iWorks for a great price.

A mysterious thing happened over Thanskgiving. We had a blockage in the basement. There were 2" of standing water and the furnace was in jeopardy of getting wet.


Here I was as usual -- going on Google and visiting Ask Yahoo to see what were the possible causes and fixes from other people like me. I learned to do this whenever there is an issue. The internet is there for us and the info is provided by others who have experienced similar issues before -- that is why I'm sharing this with you.

Luckily, Milton rushed over to Oxon Hill Rentals to rent a pump.

We thought that the leak was coming from the bedroom on the main floor. We even started opening up the wall. Unfortunately, it was wood not drywall.

The pipe was galvanized and it was solid. Then we thought it was the connection between the iron and PVC (in the basement). Problem was that the connection was in the joist.

But after seeing the water coming up from the ventilation pipe, it became more and more apparent that it was not just a bad connection.

Reflect and Remember

Nevertheless, we were getting ready to cut the pipe. But, wait one minute, let's call the guy who installed the pipe in the first place.

Jeff Bishop, the savior of Lebaum St, just happened to be around the corner. He rushed over and diagnosed it as a backup outside the house.


We were all together now. Mike, Milton, Jeff, me the tenants -- all working together for one common good, the day after Thanksgiving.

So Mike and I trek over to Mayfair Apartments to pick up our snake: K-1500, 120' Rigid.

We thought we had it.


Well, they went the entire length of 120' and it didn't work. What shall we do. I had already paid Mike. Now I had the option of calling Grayton Plumbing tomorrow which meant more money and delay. Well, calling Jeff was a great decision earlier on -- so if it worked, let's keep on doing it.

Jeff happened to be up the road again. He recommended we call Frasers (Just Ask Rentals) to see if they have a larger snake.

Jeff rushed to Penn Ave, SE. I called Frasers while keeping Jeff on the phone. The snake would cost $176 -- it was the biggest one that had.

But it was a gamble. I could easily spend this money and pay Jeff $300 more would no guarantee that it would work.

Then I mentioned to Jeff that if it didn't work, would he be willing to go for half: $150. He felt certain that it did -- the compromise and his confidence that this was the right thing to do made me feel that we making the right decision -- it was the best decision at this moment of time.


This did it. The extra 30' and the thicker snake made the difference. Jeff and Mike found a bagful of rags -- body cleaning rags that don't dissolve. I took a picture of it.

Looking forward, we now know

1. Ask questions -- insightful ones and lots of them

2. Use the power of social media to find solutions

3. Tap all Subject Matter Experts

4. Cut and then think about it -- don't cut the whole pipe all at once. Start by cutting the wall, then ponder whether cutting the pipe is the right thing

5. Call the contractor who did the install -- he will normally have different insight

6. Involve the tenants -- ask them their thoughts

7. Work together and negotiate decisions.

8. Help out

9. I informed the tenants and told them that in the future I will not be paying this $800 bill.

10. Create a backup. We took this opportunity to install a new sump pump and a back up pump that is battery powered.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

500 Lebaum

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2931 Stanton Road SE

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Tenant Left a Mess -- Renovation of Kitchen

The tenants left a mess with the red streak paint all over the house. I have no idea what Ms. T had in mind when she painted the walls. At any case, we are going to repaint all the walls.

This is a good time to renovate the kitchen. Milton Daley ripped up the kitchen countertop and base cabinets. Here, he is pointing to the plumbing that will feed the kitchen sink.

Mike Lewis installing water source for Stanton Road.

Milton Daley installing tile flooring. First, he has to install plyboard.

Prepping the plumbing after the tile has been installed.

In 2007, I installed a new Goodman furnace and heat pump combo. HVAC tech was Mike Lewis (pictured above)

Sunday, November 1, 2009