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In an effort to figure out how my sump pump failed last summer, I’m documenting the plumbing involved.  The sump pump was about five weeks old at the time of failure. 

47 feet six inches and approximately 585 degrees of turns through 15 fittings all through 1.5″ PVC piping.

What is that?  That is the plumbing involved in getting water from my sump outside of the house.  I’ll try to explain the path…

  1. 24″ straight up out of the sump to reach basement floor level
  2. 48″ straight up from basement floor level to first turn (directly under the landing of the stairs going to the basement
  3. 90° turn west
  4. 29″ straight west running parallel with the basement floor
  5. 45° turn towards the ceiling to run parallel with the under side of a half flight of stairs
  6. 74″ running west and parallel to the under side of a half flight of stairs
  7. 90° turn south
  8. 84″ running south and parallel to the floor
  9. 45° turn towards the ceiling and south
  10. 14″ running south and at 45° towards the ceiling
  11. 45° turn south
  12. 76″ running south and parallel to the basement floor
  13. 45° turn south west and dropping down towards the floor
  14. 13″ running south west and dropping down towards the floor
  15. 45° turn south
  16. 180″ south running parallel to the basement floor
  17. 90° turn west and up towards the ceiling
  18. 16″ running west and up towards the ceiling
  19. 90° turn south and out of the house
  20. 12″ (estimated) running through the basement wall

By my calculations, water from the sump needs to be pumped through 1.5″ PVC a total of 47 feet six inches and approximately 585 degrees of turns.  

It travels up a total 90 inches, then up another 10 inches, down 8 inches, then up 7 inches.

Here is a video that shows the plumbing:

 

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We recently moved into a new house. Our old house was quite small and you wouldn’t think we could fit very much stuff in it. That proved not to be true. Luckily we hired movers. We did this for a number of different reasons. First, we sold our house without having a new place lined up. We stayed with at my parent’s house while we continued to search for a new house. This meant we needed to have our belongings stored for us. The bigger reason we hired movers is because I am done moving my own belongings. I can only scrape so many knuckles on doorways, pinch so many fingers between boxes, etc.

The movers worked well. When they arrived at our new house they handed me a list with an inventory of everything that was removed from our old house. I simply told them where to put the box or piece of furniture and checked it off the list. This was actually more stressful than it sounds (it was difficult to keep up with the speed at which movers worked). I’m not sure what we had to pay for this, but I can confidently say it was worth it. We did not have a single item broken or scratched in the move.

I don’t own many really nice / expensive pieces of furniture, but I did own a couple surprisingly heavy things. One was a wooden twin bed that has drawers in it. I remember carrying in my house with my brother-in-law. It was not fun. I also owned a surprisingly heavy desk. It was something I picked up ages ago from an old office building. The desk was huge and much heavier than you’d imagine. After moving it into my house with a friend I remember declaring that it would be sold with the house or movers would have to move it out. The movers moved it out. It barely fit through doorways and again, it probably weighs 1200 pounds. I didn’t want the desk anymore so I had the movers leave it on the curb.

My plan was to hope someone would take it. If that didn’t work, I’d call special pickup to come get it. Literally two minutes after the moving vans drove away, a pickup with lawn mowers on it stopped in front of my house. He unloaded his equipment and put the desk (he had help) in his truck and took it away. He came back for his lawn mowers.

Again, I’m not sure what the total cost was to have movers and to store our belongings (they charge by weight – seems odd, but true), but I would do it again in a heartbeat.

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I realize it is so very Minnesotan to talk about the weather, but I am going to anyway. I woke up this morning and my car had been outside all night. I got ready for work and headed outside. OUCH! It was REALLY cold. My car said it was 0 degrees.

It snowed over the weekend and that made the roads a little interesting. The roads were manageable and luckily I wasn’t one of the five or six cars I saw in the ditch on the way home from Owatonna on Saturday.

The snow is one thing. The cold is something else. Growing up I was far too cool to wear a hat or heavy jacket. Did the cold really not bother me? Maybe I just grew up to become a wimp. I used to think there was no difference between 20 degrees and 0 degrees. That is simply not the case. 20 degrees difference is 20 degrees. The difference between 80 degrees and 60 degrees is the same difference in 20 and 0. In other words, 20 is manageable and 0 is not.

It is amazing what we get used to over time. At one time power locks / windows were an “option” when buying a car. Do they still make windows that need to manually lowered and raised? Another thing I have relied on is heated seats and a heated steering wheel. My last car had a heated steering wheel and that became a necessity when I bought this car a few years ago. If I were 12, I would probably roll the windows down. Today, when I walked outside and felt the cold, I quickly started my car and let it warm up for 10 minutes before driving to work (turning the seats and steering wheel heat on as well).

I have lived in Minnesota my whole life. I think it is harder for me to deal with the cold now than it was in elementary school. It starts to warm up in April, right? That’s only four months (and counting) away.

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I currently live in St. Louis Park and have lived there for most of my life. The house I live in currently is literally three blocks from the house my parents owned until three or four years ago. I guess I’m a momma’s boy. Anyway, one reason I enjoy living in St. Louis Park is because of the location. I am only a few blocks from Minneapolis and a few blocks from Edina. It takes me a minute or two to get to the bike trails or the lakes. It is also located only a few blocks from all the new shops, restaurants, etc. at Excelsior and Grand. I have sworn by The Park since college and I contend that everyone has a connection to SLP.

My house is the smallest house in the neighborhood. I’m okay with that fact, as it is fine for me and I really like the location. Over the past year I have had a fair amount of work done to the house. The upstairs and kitchen were gutted and completely redone. A bathroom was also added upstairs.

One BIG negative of St. Louis Park is the inspections. With any construction permits need to be pulled and code needs to be followed. I understand and accept this fact. I have even accepted that the same person cannot inspect the plumbing, electrical and building. That needs to be done by three separate individuals (usually on three separate days). What is beyond frustrating is that there does not seem to be any process for inspecting the work. Meaning, one person may miss something that the next person sees.

A few weeks ago I had an inspector come to do a final inspection of the upstairs. Everything looked good with the exception of the railing going up the stairs. I knew this needed to be done, but wanted to know if I was up against anything else before I made what I had hoped would be my last of a million trips to Home Depot. I was happy to hear that the railing was indeed the only thing missing from a final sign-off.

The other day I had a St. Louis Park city inspector come over (actually a couple of them). They checked the updated electrical (has been inspected twice already), the furnace and water heater (both were installed in 2003 and have been inspected on a couple separate occasions) and the electricity in the garage (this was done prior to me even purchasing the house). They also noticed a railing at the top of the stairs that has been there for six months and at least three inspections. The railing, which by code, has to be no more than four inches from the floor is 5 ½ inches off the floor. Why didn’t either of the other two inspectors notice this? No one seems to know. What I know is that it would have been a 20 minute thing to resolve before the carpet was installed and the walls were painted. Now I’m going to have to just add wood to the underside of the railing. There is no question it will be an eye sore, but it will meet code and won’t require me to tear up carpet and repaint.

Through all of the work done to the house, I have talked to a number of contractors, plumbers, electricians, etc. that refused work in my house. Why? Because it is in St. Louis Park and the city inspectors are too strict.
I understand the reason for the codes, etc. What I don’t understand is how countless inspectors can miss so many things. I also can’t understand (maybe I do understand) why some inspectors are afraid to sign their name next to the work they inspected. The City of St. Louis Park needs to get control of this and get the right people hired that can do the job the same way and follow the same rules.

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A group of us went to Fogo de Chao (www.fogodechao.com), the new Brazilian Steak house across from GameWorks in Block E. This is the place that used to be Copelands and before that was the Nankin. I think I speak for everyone in our group when I say it was fantastic. For those that are not familiar with a Brazilian Steak house, it works like this: There is an enormous salad bar that is continually stocked with vegetables and fixings that look like they came right out of a magazine. There are no slightly ripe tomatoes here. Then you sit down and let the food start coming your way. You have a card in front of you with two sides, green and red. When your card is green, the wait staff carrying many different types of meat will come over and cut a portion for you right on your plate. They will cut the meat to your taste (rare, medium, etc.). The wait staff will continue to bring different types of meat to your plate until your card is showing red. You can take a few minutes to relax and enjoy what is on your plate and simply turn your card back over to green and let the food keep coming.

I have no idea how they train their staff, but they have it down to perfection. Your beverage glass never gets empty without it being refilled. The bread, mashed potatoes, etc. are continually refreshed on your table as well. When your card is green, you don’t wait long for food to be put on your plate. The most remarkable thing to me is that you never feel like people are hovering over you. With this quick of service, you would think the wait staff would be standing over you the entire time. That is absolutely NOT the case. They are not imposing or pushy, but they are there when you need them.

I’m hardly a restaurant / dining professional, as I do not have the taste buds to decipher between mediocre and great. I am truly happy eating just about anywhere and eating any type of food. And, truth be told, I rarely eat red meat. I will have a chicken sandwich over a cheeseburger or a steak more often than not. However, the service and quality of food at Fogo de Chao is top notch! I would highly recommend the experience (and yes, it is an experience). I would recommend planning a three hour dinner and going with some good company. Add a few drinks for a fantastic night out.

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