One of the added bonuses of this current project is that because I am the homeowner, I am allowed to pull my own plumbing, electrical and mechanical permits without a these particular licenses. We love working with all our trade partners on all our other houses (and I also think being aware of the specific issues and needs of what goes into the various trade work makes us a pretty easy going contractor to work for as we attempt to anticipate things), but it has honestly been so long since I have done any of this that it is kind of exciting.

First up is all the plumbing, which I can thank most of my knowledge to one man: Carl Konkle. About five or six years ago when I was working for Habitat for Humanity, we hit a bit of a slow patch where the organization was both looking to come up with more work to keep ourselves busy and to cut costs. We decided to stop subcontracting out the plumbing and electrical and Carl headed up the plumbing installation. Carl, who was in his mid-seventies at the time, was a member of our stalwart midweek crew, which is made up mostly of handy but grumpy retired guys looking to get out of the house.

I started out as Carl’s errand boy and would fetch whatever tools or parts he needed. Hunched over in dark crawl spaces, Carl would regale me with stories of his run ins with water buffaloes in Korea or taking a fighter jet for a spin down the highway in Alabama and causing a major traffic jam. Slowly, he allowed me to make some cuts and glue things up just as long as I remembered the plumbers mantra he recited at least once an hour, “Hot on the left, cold on the right and shit run downs hill.”

One of my favorite things about Carl is that we would all be a sweaty, dirty mess, but he used Bryl-Creem (a dab’ll do ya!) and maintained a perfect part in his hair. Every time he would have to pop out of the crawl space, even for just a second, he would pull a comb out of his pocket and give a quick run through the hair.

Carl, along with most of the Habitat midweek crew from that era, played a huge role in keeping me sane by helping build my first house for myself while working full time for Habitat. Carl was so dedicated that he came out every Monday (my day off from Habitat) to help work on my house. His wife, thankful to get him out of the house, not only packed a brown bag lunch for Carl, but also for me.

Anyway, I’ve been slogging away on all the pvc drain and vent lines this past week. The only thing to note is that I ran cast iron pipe with no hub couplings for all the vertical soil stacks to hide the sound of water splashing inside the walls. All that I have left is tying all the vent lines together in the attic and popping out the roof. I’ve been putting this off as long as possible to avoid the heat of the attic, but it has to happen sooner or later. Why not tomorrow.