Saturday, May 22, 2010

Oh Solenoid Mio ...

Some days there is so much going on that throughout the day I have all these blog post titles going through my head (yes, I do think about what to write for the blog throughout the day). Today I was thinking about:
  • Oh Solenoid Mio (the winner)
  • In Through The Outdoor (the title of a Zep album, Led Zeppelin for those not in the know)
  • Taking Reservations (to be used soon)
  • Parade? What Parade?
My day started out a little after 2am. I had to use the bathroom, when I noticed that the water pressure wasn't particularly high. So I ventured into the basement and looked at my water distribution system.

There are the usual tasks and tests I perform, on of which is to drain some water from a drain valve past the solenoid valve (the black thingy in the upper right-hand corner in below picture). Normally, the water should be gushing out of that valve, but after an initial gush, it quickly died down to a trickle.

Aside from this there was some gurgling noise from the solenoid valve, which to me meant only one thing, the solenoid valve didn't let any water through, i.e. it must be broken. So I spent the next hour to read up on the solenoid valve, how it works and such (well, most time I spent finding information, which is scarce, at best), but at the end I had to admit to myself that we simply need to get a new one.

Now that I am looking at the picture below, and re-read what I just wrote, I realize that I should explain really what all these things are that you see. As we are a restaurant and we draw our water from a well (instead of municipal water supply) we are considered public water supply, and therefore have to treat the water to kill (potential) micro-organisms. The choices are either chlorine or UV light.

As chlorine makes the water taste like a swimming pool, we had opted for the UV light solution. In thew picture you see the UV lamp house in a four foot long steel tube through which the water passes. On top of the tube is a control unit, which measures the UV intensity. Connected to the control is an audible alarm and the solenoid valve. If the UV intensity drops below acceptable standards, the control turns on the alarms, and shuts the solenoid valve off, thereby cutting the water supply to the building.

All this means that we were pretty much out of water today. After two or three trips to Lowe's I found the right parts to solve this problem by installing a bypass from the pressure tank to past the solenoid valve. This is only a temporary solution, and we could not open with it. In fact, I believe the health department would shut us down immediately if we were open with this hack. For being Saturday, no supply houses were open, whom I'll call on Monday, and have a new solenoid valve shipped express, because we are determined to open next weekend, by hook or by crook.

We interviewed more prospective staff today, and hired a dishwasher on the spot (it is rare to find people who are just enthusiastic about taking on work most people would snub their noses at).

Our neighbor James stopped by to help us out with lighting. We are trying to use energy efficient light bulbs as much as possible. Unfortunately the light emitted by CFL light bulbs has a greenish hue (at least against the plaster on our walls). James brought by some color correcting foil, which we tried this evening. It definitely makes the light less green and warmer.

For dinner we tried the smoked sausage Mark Elia dropped off yesterday, and it was the bomb, and then we tried it with E!'s homemade curry ketchup, and it was the atomic bomb!!! It was quite the surprise when Mark and his wife Tony stopped by again this evening and dropped of boxes full of wine glasses (we had talked about it yesterday, that we were still in need of some). I cannot tell you how blessed E! and I feel by all the support we have had from the closer and larger community, friends and neighbors. I hope we will be able to give back one day.

And because so much happens right now, I totally forgot to mention that a few days ago our neighbor Butch Anson stopped by and asked to make a reservation, for Sunday, for after the parade. What parade?! That's when we learned that the town of Plattekill holds its annual Memorial Day Parade in one of its three hamlets, and this year it is in Clintondale, passing Gunk Haus just a block away. Seasoned restaurateurs would be happy about news like that, we, however, are scared as hell. More over, we already have reservations for 16 for Sunday. Gosh, this is really happening!!! PANIC!!!



Leslie said...

BREATHE. Just breathe. Don't panic. You will do just fine :-)

(PS we are waiting a little while to make our own reservations for just this reason!)

Chef Mark Elia said...

What an exciting time we had, when we visited the Gunk Haus! An AMAZING transformation. Looks like there will be no weight lose program in my future. Monday we will celebrate my B-day at the Haus. Liz, Dirk, you are a perfect example of "we have a plan, now lets make it happen" kudos!!!

stella said...