Saturday, May 30, 2015

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - When your best pantry plans don't work!

This has nothing to do with the pantry but I needed a smile!
One of the lessons learned long ago (when we first began living on a fixed income), was that we needed to plan ahead for car and household maintenance.  There are things that must be done regardless of our income.

I must admit, at the time I didn't understand spending grocery money on getting the scheduled oil change for the car until we were famous (infamous?) for driving our automobiles until they were almost old enough to be called vintage.

We spent limited funds this year to have the air conditioner given its' annual checkup, much needed for an air conditioner now considered in its' elderly years.  We also have the aging furnace checked each year in autumn.  Again... something my former engineer husband says is essential.

Some things we can't do at the moment and must hope they work as normal as possible.  For instance, the roof needs a redo but that is a huge commitment of resources.  I'm talking about how small maintenance projects are necessary to plan for as part of the pantry lifestyle.  The big stuff?  We pray.  A lot.

Having said all that, sometimes you think you have planned and put back and stored up and well, everything should be just fine as it usually is.  Last week proved otherwise. We purchase the filters for the crawl space (which filters the water coming in from the well the first time) and the under-the-sink well filter (the second filtering of well water) ahead of time.  That way, when there is a sunny and dry day in Spring and Autumn, they are ready to be changed.

Last weekend was such a day so the water coming into the house was turned off and Hubby changed the filter in the crawl space (no way am I getting under there) and then changed the filter under the sink.  The water was turned back on and the under the sink filter leaked.  No problem, it can take a few tries to get it "just right".

Each time he tried, it leaked.  For hours it leaked.  Then he finally realized (having been an engineer who worked with statistical process control helped to come to this conclusion)... it was the outer container that was the problem.  It had a five year life span and was now a couple years beyond that so failure was an option with it. 

I wish I could say it was an easy fix but numerous trips back and forth to Menards, including coming home with a more recent outer casing... failed.  He realized for the new casing to work, he would have to completely rework the system and that would involve getting a Culligan service man out here since it is next to that system.  Way too expensive a fix!

Now, a little explanation here... in case you are confused.  Why do we not only have the original well filters but also decided to spend money on the Culligan system when we bought the house?  The well filters were a necessary part of the well system from long ago when the house was built

The Culligan system was put in by us because Hubby is extremely sensitive to environmental no no's.  They are the basis of his having to go on Disability years before he retired.  We live near farms where there are pesticides in use.  We also live down the road from a Monsanto research farm.  Our well is part of that ground water. Enough said?  ;)

To make a very long story short.  We did the best we could to plan ahead but as you know, life happens.  Hubby reinstalled the leaking outer casing and took back to Menards the new parts.  We are going to order the old model casing again soon.  Hoping that will fix our water problem without a major redo of our plumbing. 

At least we now have water (after two days of having it shut off but that is another pantry story!).  We have a large enamel bowl under the old outer filter that Hubby reinstalled.  We have to bail water a few times a day.  Thankfully it holds enough water during the night that we only had to get up in the middle of the night to check it a couple of times.

Going through this reminded me why it is important to gain experience as much as possible by doing things ourselves when life is normal (well, as normal as a fallen world ever allows us).  Hubby has gone through this process twice a year for around nine years now and while it did not help him immediately resolve the problem, he was able to do a temporary fix without calling in an expensive plumber. 

We will try the new outer casing when it arrives in two or three weeks, hopefully it does solve the leaking problem.  Would we stock an extra casing?  Given a much larger budget we might.  But truly when it is something that needs replacing every five or six years, it isn't logical to invest limited pantry funds into something like that.

Filters that need replacing every six months?  Yes.  Casing that may fail after five years?  No. 

If we do need to bring in a plumber, we will go to Plan C and since he is there already... take out the under the sink well filter and have the pipes lead into the Culligan filter.  We think.  Hopefully Plan B will work.

Aimee of Simple Bites (I love her cookbook) has a link to her article about the pantry on Jamie Oliver's website.  But also at the bottom of the short description which links to his website, there are some good "You Might Like this Also" pantry links.  Ummm... go there.  You will see what I mean even if it is hard to describe.  Click here to go there.


Linda said...

Bless your hearts! I feel your pain! We live in Texas and have been dealing with rain water coming in the house and trying to make wise decisions as to how to keep this from happening in the future. Seeing as how this is an extremely rare thing to have the entire state just about in flood - we are looking at our options. Bigger better gutters are at the top of our list!!
I have coffee in my cup and am heading out to visit the links you provided!

mdoe37 said...

Gah. Plumbing. I'm knocking on wood right now. I would be the plumber here in the household. Over the years, I have stocked a large tool box full of PVC fittings and ALWAYS a fresh can on glue. If I so much as open then can and take out a drop, I purchase a new can to have on hand. Murphy's Law dictates that if you've open the can of glue before, the stuff will be completely dried up in an emergency. Many folks don't like plastic plumbing. Its been my saving grace....everything was replaced years ago and I can easily work with the PVC.

And plumbers are very pricey and a bit full of themselves. I had to have the bathtub replaced. The guy didn't care for the structure in behind the tub (I dunno, the current tub had been in since 1983 and the spot in question had never failed before.) He literally snorted, "I'm a plumber, not a carpenter." Really.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

I'm horrified to hear you live down the road from a Monsanto place....Still, I think you are where God made this house possible for you, so there is obviously more than I understand......But a good idea to have an extra filter system.....
Peace to you all!

tealady said...

Can I ever feel your pain. A few years ago my hubby and I bought an older mobile home that we call our retirement home, we paid cash so that when he retires in a very short few years we will only have daily living and utilities expenses. This past month we had a MAJOR blow to our savings, had the roof redone,spring showers brought leaky roof,had a furnace that that just up and died, the kitchen drains needed to be replaced and then to top it off I fell and broke my legs yes legs.Good thing I don't work outside the home because that really would have been bad so there was only one thing we could do and that was to ....laugh and laugh we did. Crying would not of helped but laughing now that helps.