Friday, December 27, 2013

The Water Heater as Life and Christmas Miracles

On Christmas Eve Eve, our water heater went out.  The kids and I were eating lunch, when all of a sudden, there was a hissing, teakettle-like whistling coming from it.  It took me a few minutes to realize what it was and when I did, I called my dear husband, held the phone up to the thing and said "the water heater is doing that".  He talked me through shutting off the water supply to it and the hissing stopped.  I was momentarily relieved in the silence, but almost immediately starting sweating.  

"How much is a new water heater?"  

Since DH would be home within a couple of hours, we hung up with the plan that he would deal with it then.  Of course, we had no hot water now, but it was no big deal at the moment.  I had already showered. The kids had no school, so they could be a little stinky for the time being.  

But, seriously... "How much is a new water heater?".

That was the song playing in my head for the next few hours.

When DH came home, he confirmed that the darn thing was indeed, shot and after taking a fast shower in what was left of the waning tepid water, he started making calls.  The good news is that my DH works for a heating and air conditioning company and they install water heaters.  They would come out first thing in the morning and by noon, we'd have hot water, without the tea kettle sound.  The bad news is that we'd still have to pay for it, somehow and for today, I'd have to do dishes with ice cold water.  The fact that it was literally 1 degree outside made this prospect really unappealing.

I sucked it up, telling myself that this was a First World problem and I was lucky that I had a roof over my head and indoor plumbing...even if my hands were numb through the dish washing gloves.  Lucky, damnit!  Suck it up!

The service guy that came the next morning was very nice.  While waiting for a helper to come so they could carry the old one out together, he decided to take a look at the furnace, which was rattling near the hot water heater.  

He asked if it always made that sound, and to my memory, it had for a while.  DH had replaced parts and cleaned it and done all kind of tinkering with it, but it still rattled.  It was really annoying when we tried to watch TV, or have a conversation or pretty much anything when it started up; but we were used to it; annoyed by it, but used to it.

Since he had some time, he asked if I wanted him to check it out.  I figured, "what the hell?", since we already couldn't really afford a new water heater, we might as well add the furnace servicing on top of it, because what's another couple hundred bucks?  Anyway...

I was in the kitchen when he called me over to listen to the furnace.  I thought it was funny, since normally I could hear the stupid thing from the kitchen anyway.  He assured me that it was running and I couldn't believe it!

In all the tinkering DH had done, he hadn't realized that there were two little gaskets that had dry rotted.  Once they were replaced, the thing quieted down to a dull hum.

I could have kissed that service guy.

After it was all said and done, DH came home, also professed his love for the service guy, but also for his boss who said (When DH asked for the bill) "Merry Christmas!".  It was on the house.  It helps that my DH is the most ridiculously fantastic employee in the world.  Maybe it's the fact that he was in the Marines, or maybe it's just that he is a perfectionist by nature (I think it's the latter).  He's just an awesome guy to have on your team, whatever that team may be.  I am lucky; hot water, or cold, rich, poor (mostly kinda poor) to have that guy.

Christmas came and went.  In my busy-ness, I didn't give much thought to the now quiet furnace or the miracle of "on the house" hot water.  I was grateful, thankful, but beyond that, focused on dinner and presents and missing family and friends and trying to find five minutes to be alone with DH.

(that's a blog post for another day:  Intimacy in a Small House).

This morning I woke up, heard that quiet furnace and started to wonder about what other annoying things I was used to.  I mean, surely if I can listen to a god-awful, rattly furnace day in and day out and think " Well, yeah, that's just the way things are", there must be other things that I am used to that need to be changed.

I'm used to being heavier than I should be.
I'm used to being out of work.
I'm used to these drafty old windows and this cold, icky climate.

I'm wondering what kind of service guy I need to call to fix this; but I am pretty sure she already lives in my head.

It's time for some changes and a new year is the perfect time to make a plan.  2014:  The year of the un-rattling.  

Happy New Year!


  1. Wow, that is a really great present that they didn't bill you for the furnace! As for the other things that need fixing, you may be able to lose weight, find a job, and fix your windows, but I'm not sure what you'll be able to do about the climate... unless you REALLY have some inside connections!

    1. Ha! I guess I could move, though, huh? :) I'm just wondering about the things I complain about that I don't bother fixing; or, that I think can't be fixed, you know? The Serenity prayer and all that. :)