Clippings by hunzi

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Water softeners and maintenence

posted by: hunzi on 01.27.2014 at 09:50 pm in Plumbing Forum

What do I need to know?

We'd like to put in a water softener, but our space for one is really tight. Sadly, there are no drains in the utility zone of my basement, so it either has to go in the closet with the water heater, or in a small closet in the laundry room.

I think we are going to get a Fleck unit, probably given our family size ( mostly 4- but anything from 2-6, we have DH and I, 2 high school exchange students & still one college kid plus the odd guest) and our hardness is about 10 grains, city water. I'm guessing 40-48,000 grains/fleck 5200.

So what I need to know is, how much do I need to access them? I know you have to put salt in the brine tank, but if I tuck them into a small closet (whatever the absolute minimum space required), do I need to get at the resin tank very often?

Space wise, am I better off looking at a cabinet unit? Are they same performance wise or worse? Is the key issue that they are smaller, and need salt added more often?

Always ;-)
she of many questions


clipped on: 04.04.2014 at 04:49 pm    last updated on: 04.04.2014 at 04:49 pm

Posting a picture from somewhere other than your photo hosting ac (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: buehl on 02.11.2011 at 02:13 pm in Kitchens Forum


As with posting pictures from a photohosting site, your pictures must be located somewhere online, not on your local machine.

  1. Find the URL of the location of your picture. It will begin with "http://" and most likely end with ".jpg" or ".bmp". (There are other extensions, but these are the most common.)

  2. Copy the following into the "Message" box where you want the picture to be:
    <img src="http://www.XXX/image.jpg">
    Use the < Ctrl > < C > keys to copy and the < Ctrl > < V > keys to paste.

  3. Next, replace the http://www.XXX/image.jpg with the address of the image.

  4. When you "preview" the message, you should see the picture

Note: If using "image code" from somewhere else, you may sometimes see the code with square brackets ([ ]) instead of angle brackets (< >). You must replace some of the square brackets with angle brackets and delete others for the image code to work. Your goal is to make your "image code" look like the example above.


clipped on: 03.17.2014 at 02:02 pm    last updated on: 03.17.2014 at 02:02 pm

Posting Pictures

posted by: buehl on 02.11.2011 at 01:48 pm in Kitchens Forum

This thread will describe how to post pictures from a photohosting site, from a PDF file, or from some other location on the web.

First, though, where are your pictures? If they are on your computer only, you will need to upload them to somewhere on the web for the rest of us to see them. I upload pictures to PhotoBucket, but there are other photo-hosting sites available. For example: Picasa, Filckr, Webshots, Snapfish.

  1. Open an account w/PhotoBucket or other photo hosting site.

  2. Take a picture using a digital camera (or film camera, but get your pictures on a disk when they're developed & download them to your computer)

  3. Resize your pictures so they're not too big, generally no more than 400x300 (or 300x400)

    Resize keeping the same proportions so they don't get distorted...i.e., don't specify a specific size, use %-ages or similar

    [You can also often resize pictures at your photohosting site, but it's faster to do it on your computer]

  4. Upload your pictures to your photo account

  5. Find the label that contains the HTML Code link to the picture and copy it

  6. Paste it into the thread's "Message" box (< Ctrl >< V>)

  7. Click the "Preview" button.

  8. You will now see the picture.


clipped on: 03.17.2014 at 02:01 pm    last updated on: 03.17.2014 at 02:01 pm

Yay! We're finished with the Imperfect Interim Teeney Powder Room

posted by: hunzi on 07.14.2013 at 05:11 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Yay! It's done. Well sort of. You know, there's the door project, oh and we plan to remove the Mr G's 1950s Bathroom From Hell that's acting as the anteroom.... did you really think we were DONE? Not at the Shrine to Our Lady of Perpetual Renovation! There's always more to be done!

But still, we're sorta done! So let's celebrate with before & afters!

The details:
Powder Room - inserted into a small closet.

Sink - moved from 1920s 2nd floor bath, some parts restored
Faucets - Elizabeth Classics from efaucets
Mirror - Lowes
Frames - hobby lobby & target
Makeup mirror - Seattle Luxe
bidet seat Brondell Swash 1000 Bidet - Costco
Paint - Benjamin Moore Hale Navy & Ellen Kennon Snow
Overhead Light - shade rescued from basement ledge - new basic fixture from Home Depot + few antique bits
Sconces - Home Depot
Flooring - Antique Select Heart Pine - Goodwin Heart Pine
Toilet - moved from previous location
Wainscott - Hubbie made it - Home Depot wood

The tale of this adventure is on my other thread interwined with the other bathroom under construction which is starting from dirt! More photos - before & progress pictures at the link.

I'm happy with it!

Here is a link that might be useful: The Imperfect Interim Pantry Powder Room!


clipped on: 03.17.2014 at 12:19 pm    last updated on: 03.17.2014 at 12:19 pm

Starting From Dirt - Tiling Kindergarten 101 - Floor version

posted by: hunzi on 02.09.2014 at 03:32 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Ok, so I've asked this on my bathroom thread (Starting From Dirt) but I don't think many folks read that because it's long.
Here are some of the facts:

We're DIY.
We'll be starting with a newly poured slab in the bathroom and an old slab (plus self leveling compound) in the laundry room.
Bathroom floor will probably be 6x9, and the laundry room is probably 9x9.
The 4in horizontal sewer line will likely partly protrude into the new 4in slab, so we're anticipating the slab might crack - I'll use crack resistant concrete with the fiberglass fibers.
I need to add a decoupling membrane.
I'll use 1 inch hex and or squares (probably on 12x12 mesh) so no Ditra.
Mongo mentioned using Nobel CIS. Any idea where I can get that online or is it available at Lowes or Home Depot? (I haven't found it here)
I want a warming system - warmwire/warmly yours/I'm not tied to a brand. I'd like whatever is available, good quality/reliability, and best value.

So the plan is: slab> any needed self leveling compound > thinset > decoupler > thinset > warming system > thinset > tile Right?

DH has helped a friend tile once before - some sort of 6x6 floor tile - so we're basically newbies, but we're serious perfectionists, accomplished in all other DIY projects we've done, and I have high hopes if I do my homework ahead of time, we can do this right.

I'm open to all suggestions of products and tips and step by step instructions! I could use your best online product sources too - my only other options around here are HD & Lowes. There are probably some tile shops in town - but I want to do my best to keep this a value budget project.

Always ;-)


clipped on: 02.09.2014 at 03:33 pm    last updated on: 02.09.2014 at 03:33 pm

RE: Please help with faucets/ shower trims selections (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: Anna_in_TX on 02.04.2014 at 10:44 pm in Bathrooms Forum

I have been researching and planning my remodel the past year. So far this is my brief summary

For bathroom only.
moen, delta are similar - good, easy to change out the trims if you want to redecorate.
kohler - good, inconsistent technical designs, Parts are not as difficult to get as plumbers would like you to think. keep your paperwork for ordering parts because models can change.
amer std - not what it used to be - stay away.
grohe - good. Known for showers. Std for hand showers. You can always buy their shower and/or handshower and go with other faucet brands.
hansgrohe - generally on the same par as grohe.
Pegasus, glacier bay, price pfister - stay away.
jado and porcher - good - even tho owned by amer std, quality and design very nice.
cifial - good.
riobel - good
rohl - good.
california faucets - good.
strom - good.
newport Brass - avoid
randolph morris - good.
symmons - good, showers good. iffy on newer model faucets
Chicago faucets - good
toto - research the model

if you don't want to buy Chinese, you may limit yourself. Components are made all over and assembled all over. It is the quality control that the indiv company enforces. If you buy a non mass marketed shower, it wouldn't hurt to buy an extra cartridge to have on hand. Always check reviews on indiv models. Keep your paperwork to look up model and part numbers. Of course this is if you are the type to get involved in repairs and even diy. If you don't want to deal with it, then buy the brand that your plumber likes to install and repair. Also, quality at big box stores can be different in order to meet a certain price point. Always go by manufacturer's model numbers on their websites when purchasing.

This post was edited by Anna_in_TX on Thu, Feb 6, 14 at 5:06


clipped on: 02.06.2014 at 07:54 pm    last updated on: 02.06.2014 at 07:54 pm

RE: Pivot Doors (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: hunzi on 01.27.2014 at 09:30 am in Old House Forum

I have to jump in this conversation!

I just ran across a gorgeous pivot door while hunting at the salvage yard, and even though we aren't working on the kitchen, and I was hunting for a bathroom pocket door, and it's much newer than my original doors (single panel art deco vs 4 panel victorian), I couldn't resist buying it!!!

We know our house originally had a pivot door at the kitchen, and had been debating adding one again, but the debate was swinging against it because we can't seem to work out a kitchen/dining room layout that doesn't have the door swinging into open space on one side, and although I happen to think one of the advantages of a door on the kitchen is no one can see if you've forgotten to do the dishes (since we don't have an "Alice"), I was also thinking about the safety issue and hadn't seen a door with a window in it that didn't look like it belonged in a restaurant.

But this door won me over, totally original pivot, no window, wood is lovely, very heavy and has the rounded back edge already and a piece of hardware at the base, but I haven't looked to see if it's just the pivot pin.

I've already changed other doors on the main floor (well there were only 2, one between the LR and the front hall, and one on the room I made the library) , swapping two of the 4 panel hinged doors for 15 light glass because its nice to be able to close them to zone the heat, but still feel open and let light flow in the house, and we added/plan to add matching pairs of 10 light pocket doors (replacing a missing pocket door some evil previous home owner ripped out and destroyed the pocket, but the evidence was there (darned "Modernizers aka remuddlers) plus add a matching set to finish & separate the dining room from the entry hall. So I can justify the shift in door style at the kitchen, besides, I think most of kitchen doors looked a bit different/simpler. (In case you wondered, the removed 4 panels were used elsewhere in the house where we added a closet and a bathroom.

I'm excited about it. Of course it means I still need to go back to the salvage yards and find the doors I was supposed to find for the bathroom in the basement!! ;-)

Oh and hello, I'm Hunzi, and I am the caretaker/obsessed owner of a 1884 Victorian brick vernacular farmhouse. We call it the wealthy farmer's house but it's now smack in the middle of the city.

Always ;-)


clipped on: 01.27.2014 at 09:34 am    last updated on: 01.27.2014 at 09:34 am

Question for Enduring!

posted by: hunzi on 01.11.2014 at 04:54 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Hey Enduring,

What do you keep in that lower cubbie area of your tower? Is it hard to get things in and out? How far is it from the sink?

I might need to carve in a cubbie next to my sink!

Always ;-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Enduring's storage tower


clipped on: 01.20.2014 at 12:31 am    last updated on: 01.20.2014 at 12:32 am

Chalkboards - counters? backsplash?

posted by: hunzi on 11.13.2013 at 10:42 am in Kitchens Forum

Hey y'all! I'm not really ready to do my kitchen yet - I'm in the middle of working on bathrooms, but I just ran across a chance to buy EIGHT real slate chalkboards (42"x52-62") for only $25 bucks each!

First, - my dream kitchen is very classic white/black - heart pine floors, white cabinets & woodwork, soapstone counters, possibly with a butcher block island, and subway tile backsplash. Super traditional for our 1884 farmhouse (now in the city). We are extreme DIYers, and try to do as much for ourselves, on as little budget as possible without skimping on quality.

I had been planning on using soapstone for our counters, but if these chalkboards/slates would work well, I think I'd be crazy to pass up over 35 linear feet of countertop for $200.

So has anyone here worked with slate? anyone recycled chalkboards? can we fabricate them ourselves or do I need to run them to someone who can cut the stone/fab the counters? Would I save much if I did?

I may use part of it in our laundry room/basement bonus room first and see what we think of it.

FYI They are real black totally non veined slate slabs. My soapstone choices were also very black/ as veinless as possible (like the older "Cobra" stone - not sure what would be available when we are ready).

However, I don't know enough about slate! I know it's much harder - more porous?

If it's a poor choice for counters, I guess I could use it as a backsplash? - Not with soapstone, but maybe with butcherblock or marble to balance the black?

It seems like a good opportunity, but I want to know what folks think - am I crazy to snap these up, or crazy for not getting them?

I need to make a final decision in 24hrs! (Oh how I love having so much time to consider my options - *eye roll* )

Always ;-)


clipped on: 11.16.2013 at 07:56 pm    last updated on: 11.16.2013 at 07:56 pm

RE: Properly sizing hot water storage for shower and tub. (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: lazypup on 03.26.2006 at 01:52 pm in Plumbing Forum

Wow,, This is a series of really tough questions so I will try to sort it out a bit.

First off,A tank type water heater begins with a full vessel of hot water and that water is being diluted by the cold supply water entering the tank, therefore the first hour rating of a water heater determines how much hot water the heater can deliver when you consider both the amount of BTU energy in the stored water and the amount of energy being added by the burner.

It's Sunday morning and I don't have all my notes here at the house but if memory serves me, the first hour rating is typically considered to be the amount of water the tank can deliver at a temperature that is 10degF below the tank set temperature, and it is typically computed at 70% of the total tank volume. I.E. A 100gal tank set at 125degF could supply 70gal at 100 degF for the first hour. (This is assuming the incoming water is at 55degF)

A second hour rating is the amount of hot water a water heater can produce when heating all the water from cold startup. Given that a tankless unit has no capacity to store energy it then stands that you cannot assign a first hour rating to a tankless.

I am going to jump ahead and answer the last question next: can copper pipe handle 70psi day in and day out? Yes, although the plumbing codes limit distribution water pressure to 85psi or less, the same copper pipe is also used to convey liquid in the HVAC industry and the working pressures are rated to a test pressure in excess of 350psi, however at pressues in excess of 100psi it requires brazing the joints instead of soldering.

The plumbing Codes state that in instances where the supply pressure exceeds 85psi, even momentarily, we are required to install a Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV) which will limit the pressure to 85psi or less. In turn, ALL fixtures designed for use on a potable water syste are required to be able to withstand 85psi. (Most have a high pressure test rating in excess of 150psi)

Now in regards to pressure. Most people confuse Volume(gallons per minute) with pressure. The total volume of any line is determined by the smallest orifice the liquid must pass through and varying the supply pressure will have very little effect on volume. Think of this in terms of an exit ramp on the interstate. If the ramp can handle 20 cars a minute, it doesnt matter how fast the cars travel on the interstate or how many cars are attempting to exit, it still handles 20cars a minute and the excess traffic simply backs up on the interstate roadway. The same is true of a water line. You can demonstrate this for yourself with a garden hose attached to a hose Bibb. Adjust your hose nozzle for a medium stream of water, then open the hose Bibb 1/2 way and time how long it takes to fill a 1 gallon jug. Now point the nozzle straight up in the air and note how high the water goes. The vertical height is approximately equal to the vertical head pressure of the water at the nozzle. Now without moving the nozzle adjustment, time how long it takes to fill a second jug with the hose bibb fully open, and you will see that it takes the same lenght of time but if you point the nozzle straight up in the air the water will rise about 25 to 50% higher because the pressure at the nozzle is greater when the valve is fully open. The point here is that while the volume of flow remains constant, the velocity of flow is much greater at a lower pressure. This explains why a flow restrictor such as those used in a water saver shower head or a water meter has the same end effect regardless of what the supply pressure is (at least within the range of pressures available in water distribution piping).

Just as we use Drainage Fixture Units to determine the size of Drain,waste & Vent lines, the codes also give us tables of "Fixture Units" to determine the proper size of Supply and Distribution piping.

I computed all the fixtures listed above and the total "Fixture Units" for this structure is 54FU. This would require a 1-1/4 Supply line, and the main Hot and Cold branches should be 1".

When connecting two or more water heaters in a bank it is most fuel effective to connect them in series. In this manner during periods of low demand when the first unit can meet the demand the water simply passes through the secondary or tertiary units without causing the burners to come on. In instances of peak demand when the primary unit cannot meet the load the water will enter the next water heater below the set point and the burner will kick in to add additional heat to meet the load.

When selecting your water heater one problem you will encounter is that most water heaters of 70gal or less only have 3/4" inlet & outlet ports but your system requires a 1" primary branch line. In order to get the required 1" ports you may need to select an 85gal+ water heater or a commercial high volume water heater. (Installing a water heater with a 3/4" port would have the same effect as installing a flow restrictor.)

The alternative would be to install two water heaters in parallel. (two 3/4" lines have approximately the same volume as one 1" line.)

(1 x 1) / (.75 x .75)= 1/ .5625 = 1.77

Keep in mind that the 54fixture units for the structure is the total combined load if all faucetts were open at the same time. Generally when a single family dwellling has multiple bathrooms such as yours we can derate that demand by 40% for actual maximum working load.


clipped on: 03.06.2007 at 05:42 pm    last updated on: 03.06.2007 at 06:03 pm

RE: +post - 'Toe' faucet in Shower-Lazypup? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: lazypup on 02.25.2006 at 09:41 am in Plumbing Forum

While i certainly can envision the toe tap faucett you are looking for I don't recall ever seeing any faucett specifically made for this application and even if it were available I am not convinced that this would be the most practical method to resolve your problem.
A simple solution that would provide almost the desired end effect would be to run the hot water at the bathroom lavatory bowl until the water is coming out hot. This would insure that all the lines from the water heater to the bathroom in question are full of hot water before turning on the shower mixer. In this manner the lead time to get hot water to the shower would be reduced to about 1 or 2 seconds, of course, whether you use the toe tap faucett you describe or run the water at the lavatory, in either case you are wasting water down the drain. The question then becomes, how much water are we actually wasting?

One gallon of water occupies of volume.

The cross sectional area of a pipe is determined by multiplying the Pi x the radius squared.

To determine the volume of a pipe we must multiply the cross sectional area x the length.

Now let us consider a 1/2 diameter pipe.

The diameter is 1/2", therefore the radius is 1/2 of the diameter or .5 / 2 = .25" thus the cross sectional area equals:
3.1416 x (.25 x .25)=
3.1416 x 0.0625 =

Dividing the volume of one gallon of water,, by the cross sectional area of the pipe equals:

Thus one gallon of water equals 231 / 0.1963 = 1176 linear inches of pipe.

Dividing 1176 linear inches by 12" per foot we can then say that 98 linear feet of 1/2" pipe will contain one gallon of water.

Now if you have a 2.5gpm shower head we could then compute the time required to bleed off one gallon of water as 60seconds per minute divided by 2.5gal/min.

60 / 2.5 = 24 seconds.

Now 24 seconds doesn't seem like a very long time, but when you are standing naked under a stream of cold water that can seem like a lifetime and in those instances where someone has erroneously run a 3/4" line from the water heater to the shower mixer the time is doubled therefore the delay is 48seconds which then makes for a rather rude eye opener for your morning shower.

Now, while the toe operated faucett would certainly provide a solution, in my opinion it would be far from the best solution. A recirculation pump is by far a much more practical solution to the problem because it doesn't waste any water.

Many people are reluctant to install the recirculation pump because of the perceived notion that it wastes energy, however this is not true, in fact a properly installed recirculation pump will actually save energy.

The most effiecent method of installing a recirculation system, and the method that we are required to install it in new construction is to install a dedicated return line from the furthest point of hot water demand back to the water heater. The pump is then generally installed on the return end of the return line near the water heater and the code requires that all hot water lines and the return line must be insulated. Most people are under the illusion that the pump runs full time, which is the manner that it is often done in large commercial systems, but for residential applications the more practical solution is to install a thermostat on the return line. We then set the thermostat for about 10degF less than the output temperature of the water heater. Typically the water heater is set for 125degF so the return pump thermostat is set to turn the pump on when the line cools to 115degF. Now let us assume that you have a 90' run from the water heater to the furthest point of hot water demand. This means you have 90' of supply piping and another 90' of return pipe plus the short risers from the top of the water heater to the basement ceiling and another up to the shower mixer, so from the previous computations we can readily see that the pipe loop contains about 2 gallon of water. The pumps move about 4gal/min so it would only require about 30seconds to move the necessary 2 gallons of water. If the lines are properly insulated this action only occurs about once or twice per hour for a total operating time of 30 seconds to one minute per hour. (For uninsulated piping in a colder climate the pump may cycle 3 to 4 times per hour or a total of 2minutes per hour.)

Let us consider the operating cost of the pump. Typically the pumps are 1/24horse power and 760watts of electrical energy equals one horsepower of mechanical energy, so the pumps actualy draw 760/24 = 31watts or about 1/2 the wattage of an average lightbulb for one to two minutes per hour.

Now let us examine the energy savings at the water heater. One BTU (British thermal unit) is the amount of energy required to raise one pound of water one degree of fahrenheit.

We must remember that for every gallon of water we take from the water heater we must supply the heater one additional gallon of water. If we were to open a faucett and let the water run down the drain it would then pull and equal amount of cold water into the tank.

The water is typically entering the tank at about 45 to 55degF and we heat it to 125degF for a total differential of 70degF. One gallon of water weighs 8.34lbs therefore we would need to apply 70degF x 8.34lbs = 583.4BTU to replace the hot water in the tank.

If we install the return loop the water is then re-entering the tank at 110degF for a total differential of 15degF. The energy loss can then be computed as 15degF x 8.34lbs per gallon = 125.1BTU for a savings of 458.3BTU per gallon.

Now if one were to be really frugal you could install a timer on the pump so that it will not cycle during the off demand period during the nite while everyone is asleep but in truth if we consider the cost of the timer versus the amount of energy actually saved the payback for the timer is then 3 to 4 years.

A dedicated return line loop system is easy to install during new construction but when retrofitting an existing system it can present some formidable challenges. In this case, they now make a small self contained pump with a builtin thermostat that can be installed by simply cutting the 3/8" supply tubes to a kitchen or lavatory faucett and connecting the pump lines by means of 3/8" compression Tee's which are supplied with the pump. You then plug the pump unit into a common 120v outlet and your problem is solved. The only down side here is that this system uses the cold water line as the return line and there is some slight loss of thermal efficiency, but here again, it is only moving 2 to 4 gal/hr.


clipped on: 03.06.2007 at 05:47 pm    last updated on: 03.06.2007 at 06:01 pm

RE: Hot water Recirculation advice (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: lazypup on 04.19.2006 at 11:32 am in Plumbing Forum

When they first began installing recirculation systems in residential construction they duplicated the systems that have been in common use in commercial plumbing for years. In that configuration a dedicated return line and pump is installed and the water is kept in constant motion.

It was soon realized that keeping the water in constant motion is a rather inefficient method because it requires energy to keep the pump running full time as well as increasing the amount of heat energy lost to radiation from both the supply and return piping.

In order to reduce the radiation losses the Plumbing codes now require that all supply and return lines on a recirc system must be insulated.

If the hot water supply lines are properly insulated the pump should only need to run about twice per hour and then only long enough to exchange the amount of water in the line, which would be one gallon or less in most cases.

Most of the recirc systems with a dedicated return line have a thermostat control on the return line to activate the pump when the water in the line cools below a set point. Both the pump and sensing element are generally installed in the utility space near the water heater. This has the advantage of isolating any operation noise from the pump to the utility space where it is usually not objectionable. Keep in mind that these pumps are extremely small and barely make any noise when running. This is also the most economical method because the hot water, which has only cooled 5 to 8deg is then returned back to the water heater where it only requires a minimal amount of energy to reheat it to the desired temperature by example, one gallon of water weighs approximately 8lbs and one BTU will raise one pound of water one degree of farenheit so the required enery is 8lbs x 5deg to 8deg = 40 to 64BTU. Allowing two cycles per hour that is 24 cycles per day for an estimated total heat loss of 24 x 40 to 60 = 960 to 1536BTU/day.

In recent years they came out with the end use pumps that are mounted under a sink cabinet near the furthest fixture and use the cold water line as the return line. When they first came out the pumps ran full time and it resulted in keeping the cold water line warm as well.

The new end use pumps have a built in thermostat and they only operate when the hot water cools below the set point. The pump then only runs long enough to pull hot water from the water heater to the pump, and as soon as the thermostat senses the hot water it shuts the pump off. The actual volume of water that must be moved is very small, by example, a 1/2" water line contains one gallon of water for each 98 linear feet of run. There is some energy inefficiency in this application because the hot water is returned to the cold line so the water heater must draw an equal volume of cold makeup water. The cold water is entering the tank at approximately 55degF. If you water heater is then set at 125degF the differential is 70degF x 8lbs per gallon = 560BTU per cycle. Estimating two cycles per hour we can then estimate the daily energy loss at 24 cycles x 560BTU's = 13,440BTU/day.


clipped on: 03.06.2007 at 06:00 pm    last updated on: 03.06.2007 at 06:00 pm