So I have a confession to make. I don't want anybody to mistake me for being super human because I can tackle most anything when it comes to household repairs. I do make mistakes and I just made one. After doing all that work in the last post to put in two shutoff valves so I could shut the showers off in the future for any plumbing work without shutting off the entire house, I put them in the wrong place so that they shutoff something I haven't yet determined yet. The showers still work just fine even with the shutoff valves closed. In my defense, when you are working in a finished basement locating pipes, it is easy to get disoriented on where the pipes are going and which ones are coming. What I thought were the incoming pipes to the shower were just pipes heading away from the shower into the wall cavity to who knows where. I still haven't figured that one out. The pipes I should have put the valves on were about three feet over. Someday I may still put shutoffs on them because I can access them fairly easily but not today. I'll just shutoff the entire house again the next time I work on the shower plumbing.
On the plus side, I figured out what was going wrong with my soldering that was causing the solder to break off in chunks and burn the piss out of my fingers. When I had queried the internet it was either because it was too cold, too hot or too wet. Take your pick. I think the correct answer was that it was too wet and thus too cold. Both joints where I had problems were in fairly horizontal places with little fall to them so that I could get most of the water out of them but not all. I think when I went to heat the pipe to solder the joint, the water away from the joint would heat and steam causing water droplets to infiltrate the joint and prevent the copper from reaching the proper temperature. No matter how much heat I would apply, the solder would just chunk off instead of slowing into the joint properly.
In both cases, I eventually shoved a piece of bread down the end of the pipe before applying the flux and fitting and both times I successfully soldered the joint the first try. The bread absorbs the water and steam temporarily allowing the copper to heat up and the solder to flow into the joint. I could even smell toasting bread after I was done. The water then dissolves the bread after you are done and it gets flushed out of the system. I always made sure to crank open nearby faucets to flush any out before it had a chance to go to more sensitive areas like the ice maker or water filtration unit. It is a nifty trick and I will have to just get in the habit of doing it first in such situations.