Shall we dance?

Our story so far: We stood knee-deep in mechanicals at the old Methodist church we were turning into a home. I nicknamed our plumber Glimfeather because he was a night owl who was impressively productive after dark. But he made frequent appearances during the day, too.

# # #

One day when I happened by the church on the way to the post office, I witnessed the strange dance plumbers and HVAC guys must do often on custom projects.

Because the structure in which he was working was a 126-year-old church, Glimfeather was having to figure out how to vent the kitchen sink drain; it had something to do with drain clogs (or preventing them, I didn’t understand the details). The sink was situated in the middle of our kitchen island in the middle of our sanctuary (Tyler took issue with my choice of the word “middle” as the sink was closer to one side than the other of the sanctuary, but suffice it to say, it was not on the edge of it). This meant it was draining and venting into the middle of our basement, and Glimfeather needed to figure where to run the pipes while avoiding the beams which supported, well, pretty much the entire structure.

Meanwhile, the HVAC guy was replacing the ductwork, much of which ran along the ceiling of the basement. His work, which included more modern, streamlined ducts than had been in the church originally (or, at least since it was heated with gas forced air), required all new routing to accommodate the new rooms we constructed.

But the kitchen sink drain threatened to muck it all up.

where plumber and hvac danced
Where the plumber and the HVAC guy danced: You can see how the drain pipe intersects with the path of the duct.

So Tyler, Glimfeather and the HVAC guy problem-solved out loud, tossing out several alternatives that each created their own problems. Tyler was adamant about maintaining the sanctity of his beams while Glimfeather was ruffled about the angle of his pipes. The HVAC guy mostly nodded and shrugged.

I literally bit my tongue because A) I knew nothing about sink vents or drains, B) I knew nothing about cold-air returns and C) no one was looking at me for direction; they were looking at Tyler. All I could think about was how stupid I had been to dream about a sink in the middle of the kitchen island and how badly I didn’t want to lose this brilliant concept. And also? I didn’t want such low ceilings in the basement that I felt claustrophobic.

Finally, the HVAC guy suggested maybe his fabricator could create a custom piece of ductwork to accommodate the drain.

Key word: Custom.

Custom, if you didn’t already know, means expensive in the renovation world. As you may recall, the new standard ductwork throughout the church was not in the Tequila Budget let alone custom ductwork.

But anything is possible if you’re willing to pay for it.

In retrospect, I was surprised the dance didn’t culminate in this sooner.

Of course, Tyler who sensed my agitation by the way I was pacing the basement silent but brooding, OK’ed the custom ductwork.

My kitchen design and basement airiness were saved.

For about the hundredth time, I was glad Tyler knew what he was doing and was able to linger at the church so he could referee these negotiations.

# # #

Tomorrow: Is a table saw scarier when you’re hungry? Read about it here.

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