Tuesday, October 2, 2012

In Which Something Is Right and Something Is Very Wrong

A few things.

First, as of Sunday, my parents have been married 35 years. They celebrated by signing the first two lines of "Happy Anniversary Baby" by Little River Band.

Then they enacted what the same song will sound like if they try singing it when they are both in their eighties. Dad yelled, "NO, I DON'T WANT ANY GRAVY!" And Mom replied, "WHAT?" Then she turned to me and said, "HE'S ALWAYS TALKING TO ME. DOESN'T HE KNOW I CAN'T HEAR ANYTHING HE'S SAYING?"

My parents are hilarious.

Second, I woke up for work on Monday morning to discover there was no hot water.

The sink in the bathroom has been draining slowly, and it filled almost to the top whilst I waited for the hot water to start. When no hot water came, I washed my face in cold water. Then I washed my hair in cold water.

It was cold.

I was certain the problem was that we'd run out of heating fuel for the house. This happens from time to time when we forget to check the amount of fuel in the big tank behind the house. But apparently, this was not the case.

I discovered later in the day that the plumber thought it was a broken thermocoil or some such thing, and he was coming to the house in the afternoon (after my parents went out to celebrate their anniversary) to fix it.

When I arrived home, my mother alerted me that it was NOT the theromocore or what have you, it was the whole water heater.

Which is just about a month over six years old.

And it had a six year warranty.

That's right. The water heater waited ONE MONTH after its warranty ran out, and then it failed catastrophically.

Mom wanted to replace it right away, so she called Lowe's to order one and set up installation.

Apparently, having a water heater that runs on gas rather than electricity means EXPENSIVE. Mom could special-order one for $500 or buy an in-stock model for $450.

"What if we switch to electric?" Mom asked.

The Lowe's guy quoted her a few prices. Then the plumber called back after talking to Lowe's about the model Mom thought she wanted.

"You would have to rewire your entire house," the Lowe's guy said. "Your wiring would explode."

Visions of holes in walls and huge electrician bills swam in front of Mom's eyes, so she called Lowe's back and ordered a gas-powered water heater.

Because we really need hot water.

I still wanted to work out yesterday, so I boiled a huge pot of water, took it to the bathroom, dumped it in the tub, and added a micron of cold water to make it safe for my toes, as second-degree toe-burns sounded unpleasant.

But that tiny little bit of cold water, added to the space in the tub spreading out the hot water over a large (cold) area, chilled the boiling water to tepid in seconds. So I ended up taking a cold bath no matter the prep work I put into having a warm one.

So cold.

I got dressed afterward and went out to find my parents.

"I have a theory," I said.

Mom paused the movie she was watching with Dad.

"I think the reason why the Little House books are so popular is that we all go through huge chunks of our lives here in the country reliving the books. I bet in the city they aren't that popular, because city people never have to go without light or heat for more than 24 hours, and they've never had to boil water to bathe."

"That's a good theory," Mom said.

"Because we're only a thunderstorm away from 1816 out here," I added.

My parents found that highly amusing.

And yes, I washed my face and my hair with ice-cold water again this morning. I will likely do the same tomorrow.

And when I get home, I will also churn butter and slice homemade bread and knit a sweater.

Only one of those things is a lie. I'll let you guess which thing.

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