7. Flange thingy

Split flange around pipe
Split flange around water pipe, creosote drippings from stovepipe.

Why would anyone cut a big rough hole through the wall for a small-diameter pipe run? Typical, I thought angrily. I googled and found an interesting solution for $1.32 plus $5.00 shipping. It’s difficult to search when you don’t know the name of something you’re not sure exists. But I took a chance on this thing called a split flange pipe covering. They came two to a pack. There was no room on the bathroom side, but I put one of the pair around the pipe on the kitchen wall. Problem solved. There are only about 20 other possible rodent entry points along other walls, under doorsills, and in the ceiling, but at least I shut down the kitchen-to-bathroom mouse-track expressway. The only tool I needed was a screwdriver. I just loosened the fastener and opened the hinge like a handcuff, wrapped it around the pipe, then closed it back into a circle. An ingenious way to pop on a decent looking flange instead of cutting and reconnecting the pipe. (As if that was ever going to happen!) I think I was supposed to screw or glue it to the wall, but it felt tight enough to let it be rather than try to squeeze between that darn water heater and my wood stove, and try to drill arguably unneeded holes in a wall I’m going to paint or replace if at all possible. Please note the word “try.” I’m chalking this up as a success. I’m kind of proud of myself. Note to self: Clean up creosote drippings from the stovepipe and paint the wall!

These mini-projects of mine are always 50/50. They can go either way, resulting in dejection or elation, and are usually deliberately conceived as a temporary fix. I don’t want to commit to a solution using something I’ve repurposed in a way it’s not intended for. But I do love to roam hardware aisles imagining unorthodox uses for all those amazing tubes and connectors and caps and endlessly fascinating man-made parts and pieces. The real way to do things requires tools and expertise. I’m not opposed to that. I have great respect for those who are knowledgeable and do things the right way. In fact, I try to learn from them whenever I can, and use their kindly shared tips and shortcuts whenever feasible – or necessary for safety’s sake. It would be foolish for me to spend a lot of time or money on the small stuff in this house with all its problems. The big stuff – replacing wiring or jacking up the floor or reattaching the porch – may be worth it just to keep the place standing.

I’m not a hunter and don’t like killing things, but I’m just not a fan of indoor wildlife. Unwelcome critters have thrown me into utter panic more than once. While I’ve been writing this, no kidding, I’ve heard at least a dozen suspicious sounds in the living room and kitchen. Probably just the house shifting and settling. Yeah, that’s it. Or it’s the water heater struggling against its coming obsolescence.

I can only hope.

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