Things behing the wall

So I have begun remodeling my kitchen. This is both an exciting and
terrifying project. The demolition part, to which Ken and Fitz can
attest, is fun. Ian smash. Ian smash bricks. Ian smash… shit,
well, guess I’ll need to patch that hole. Demolition is fun.
Unfortunately, I am not quite done yet with the demolition. Here’s why:

In decreasing order of comfort here are the things that I feel okay
about messing with: electrical, plumbing, gas. I’m pretty good with
things electric. Putting in a new light fixture isn’t such a big deal.
You only get a couple wires. I like working with those fun speed cap
thingies. Next come plumbing stuff, and here’s where things get a bit
dicey. I am pretty good at replacing parts of toilets. I am vaguely
okay at taking sinks apart, but beyond that I need a plumber. Finally,
there is gas. I do not work with gas pipes. There’s something
extremely low level in my body that says, “Hey jackass, let’s not blow
up the house. Get someone in here that knows what they are doing.”
Surprisingly I listen to that little voice.

Gas appliances are supposed to have cutoff valves. These little
jobbers work like shutoff valves for sinks. Cut the valve and gas
won’t flow into the appliance. Very simple, very easy. Well, the
morons that put together my kitchen did not, seemingly, install a valve
for the stove. This means two things: one, I ripped up my basement
ceiling hunting for a valve only to find none, and two, I have to shut
off gas to the whole house in order to remove the stove. Number two
shouldn’t be a big deal but I do want to spend a bit of time on number

If you come over and go into my basement you’ll see a strip of ceiling
missing. I spent a good part of today trying to figure how my gas
lines run and where the shutoffs are. In the process I found no gas
shutoff valves, but I did find a nice major fire hazard. In the
ceiling, drywall-ed in, was a recessed lighting fixture… totally
hidden from the basement. It had aluminum wires. This, for those of
you who don’t know, is a bad thing. Just ask Fitz why he grew up in a
trailer park after his house burnt down.

The moral of the story is for those of you who have homes or are
looking to get one: though things may look all rosy on the outside,
there is almost guaranteed to be some crazy shit behind the walls that
a lowest bidder contractor installed. Enjoy.