Why It’s Good to Have a Dad When You’re Building a Solar Batch Water Heater

Dads really come in handy. Maybe especially my dad.

I’m building a solar batch water heater for my trailer. Where did I get that idea? My dad. He’s built two:

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One for the house

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And one for the bathhouse

Where did I get the tank? My dad. He saves stuff that he finds which just might be useful someday. This habit has its pros and cons, of course, but I’d put him just on this side of the line between saver and hoarder. He heard I wanted to build a solar batch water heater and had “just the thing,” pulled out of an old water heater or something.

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Tank

The design, of course, is mostly my dad’s with a few of my own (primarily the over-engineering) and the internet’s (black, not reflective, box).

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The white and grey are just primer. The inside will be black and the outside will be a color of Reanna’s choosing.

The major stumbling block so far has been pulling the square-head plugs out of the tank. My wrenches were just rounding the corners. I’d been scouring the internet for a week for a 15/16″ square offset wrench, my best guess for solving the problem, but apparently which you just can’t get anymore. The solution? Ask my dad. “You need a big pipe wrench. I’ve got one in the bottom drawer of my tool box.” He not only had the wrench, but knew how to use it, and the plug was out in a minute or two.

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Dad with pipe wrench

My dad is a commercial photographer, sound engineer, and musician. Where did he learn plumbing? I don’t know, but he did say that he got that pipe wrench from his own dad in the 60s.

[First published on Nathen’s Miraculous Escape, July 21, 2013]

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A Few Things I’m Thankful For Right Now

Reanna, my wife and best friend. That I got to see her wake up so groggy and mild this morning in our cute little trailer home, and that she liked my curry stir fry for dinner last night.

Joshua Tree and its sunny, warm late Novembers.

That so much of my family live so close to me, so when Maya takes a walk with Ollie, they will probably come by and see the solar water heater I’m building and borrow some eggs.

That Ollie is starting to say my name, which comes out completely different every time, but you can tell he’s saying “Nathen” because he sticks his tongue way out to make a “th” sound.

That I have so many amazing friends and family to miss on a day like this. I’m thinking about the Alders, Pikes & Plowmans, and all my Not Back to School Camp staffers and campers.

That I have the capacity to be so moved, by all this, by my morning media (Radiolab ”Fact of the Matter,” Ashly Miller’s Radicool EP), and to anticipate the company of Lesters and Rizzos this afternoon in Pasadena.

Thank you.

 

[First published on Nathen’s Miraculous Escape, November 22, 2012.]

Some Things I Love About Joshua Tree

(Reblogged from Nathen’s Miraculous Escape, from June 26, 2011.)

I love how hot it is in Joshua Tree. I love the feeling of the heat on my skin when I go outside. I love how palpable the sunlight is. In Oregon, sunlight is mostly just something to see by. In Joshua Tree, it penetrates you. You breathe it in. It fills up a vital part of your psyche. I love how quiet it is at night, and dark. I love how it is just slightly cool and perfect for looking at the stars and the Milky Way, which are clear and brilliant.

Today, I loved lazing around in the living room with almost my entire family, talking about food and posture and babies, and listening to the Brandenburg Concertos. And after that, I loved lying in the hammock, drinking a mango lassi, listening to the warm, dry wind move through the elm leaves above me, watching the sky turn colors as the sun set.

JT Sun, Back Porch
Living Room 1
Living Room 2
Ely, Christina, Oliver Lee
Damian, Oliver Lee
Hammock, Mango Lassi, Gilmore