## icy and cold

It has been icy and cold the last days in Berlin with a lot of snow (see above image from today). In an earlier randform post I indicated that there is quite a lot to tell about badly built US houses. Like, when living in New England, it happened one cold day that the dishwasher didnt work. It took us quite a while to find the reason. The reason was that a pipe, which was INSIDE the house, however too close to the outer wall, froze. Yes you understood correctly – the insulation of the house was so sparsely that this pipe froze inside the house!

But back to the image – if you ever wondered what these strange signs on lamp posts and trees in Germany may mean (like the blue sign in the image above which you see if you follow the arrow). These signs are giving a detailled description of hydrants and facilities for water, natural gas, district heat and electricity use. So the above sign in the image should indicate a water gate (SCHIEBER in german). This sign methodology makes it considerably easy to detect frozen and/or broken pipes in the soil. Hopefully there will be a change in the US regarding the saving of energy, otherwise one should may be think about developping a sign methodology for frozen pipes inside US houses…

### 7 Responses to “icy and cold”

1. Icy Says:

Nad, I am just curious: Are you planning to go into plumbing now?

>>Nad, I am just curious: Are you planning to go into plumbing now?

No, I have no concrete plans to go into plumbing, also if I have currently no job. However I like to know about the basic essentials of most handicrafts. This is
apriori not because I like playing a part in the survival zone but for feeling a little bit more independent.
And this is a not too far fetched request – e.g. three weeks before our first child was born we moved to a new appartment. Since my husband Tim had to go to a math conference the next day, I was sitting there alone with a lot of boxes and a nonworking kitchen sink. So I was actually more or less forced to order the parts (which werent available in the DIY shop, since the sink was an old east german product) and do the plumbing of the kitchen sink myself (which wasnt that easy with a big belly). I recently heard on BBC a documentary about a theoretical physicist who worked as a plumber in London. Since GOOD plumbers seem to be very sought after in London he earned more than 100 pounds an hour – much more than he earned with doing theoretical physics (remark: the plumbers in Berlin are not so well payed). So lets put it this way: I am proud to say that my kitchen sink fix never leaked, so I shouldnt exclude to go into plumbing – its nice to know that there exists this option, on the other hand its not my most favorite job option. I am also not so bad in hair cutting. I e.g. just cut the hair of Tims sister who is a minister in Stockholm suburbia and who was here as a guest over new year. But hair cutter is also not my most favorite job option.

I should also say that since a good year Tim has luckily a permanent position which makes a job rejection currently not so existential as it had been the ten years before that.

3. Icy Says:

HAHA versatile! But seriously, do you think it makes sense to save money by doing the plumbing yourself? I mean if you would have failed you could have spoiled your appartment! Moreover if you talk about good plumbing and craftsmanship than you should acknowledge that there are trained people who do a better job than you! Plus take my good advice you can easily fritter away by all these experiments with plumbing, hair cutting, industrial designing and what else there is….

Icy Says:
January 8th, 2010 at 6:26 pm e

HAHA versatile! But seriously, do you think it makes sense to save money by doing the plumbing yourself? I mean if you would have failed you could have spoiled your appartment!
Moreover if you talk about good plumbing and craftsmanship than you should acknowledge that there are trained people who do a better job than you!

I think I wouldnt have spoiled my appartment, since it was only the drainage of the sink, which is not under pressure and where you can rather easily notice if something is leaking. If the pipes are under pressure then of course this can get dangerous for your appartment and thus professional help is recommendable. I actually ordered the pipes at a professional plumber. They were very busy – they would have done the fix immediately but only for an express charge, which I found too expensive. If you earn e.g. 23.50 Euro per lecture hour (like I did with a Lehrauftrag at University of Applied sciences Bielefeld, preparation of lecture and preparation of exam are not paid extra, but required) then you think twice, wether it doesnt pay out if you do things yourself.
I have high regard for good craftmanship, in particular in my opinion good craftmanship can be better estimated the more you know about the craft. So I do not think that DIY culture automatically distroys craftmanship.

When I was studying physics I had to do a 12 weeks internship at a mechanics workshop, a carpenter and a gaffer as a study requirement. This requirement was abolished in order to shorten study times, which I actually find a pity. The gaffer who worked at an institute for biochemistry was already complaining about the “doctors in their white coats” who ordered glas equipment, which was impossible to build because the doctors didnt know anything about glas.

Plus take my good advice you can easily fritter away by all these experiments with plumbing, hair cutting, industrial designing and what else there is….

So another aspect of DIY culture besides possibly saving money is that you can learn a lot and think more thouroughly about things. In particular the industrial designing you were referring to was just an idea. For thinking about a realization one would need to investigate the project much more thoroughly. One would need to produce prototypes etc.

Yes, one has to be careful not to fritter away – on the other hand, as explained above, it may be worthwhile to know a little bit beyond your discipline. It may even happen that some things may turn out unexpectedly helpful with regard to your discipline. Apart from this – its good if not everything you do has to be streamlined for efficiency.

@icy
Actually yesterday as a coincidence we had to call a plumber because our outside garden water was suddenly pouring like madly. The plumber said this was probably because the valve was frozen. May be the faucette wasnt empty enough. After cleaning out all the faucettes in the house and warming up the valve it seemed to be fine again. These kind of things are not funny.

6. Thekla Says:

Is this a street in Berlin ?

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