If you don’t believe that it is the simple things in life that make life grand, then you have not been without hot water for five days. A week ago, our water heater decided it had had enough and emptied its warm watery contents all over the floor of our basement. Lovely. After rescuing all manner of flotsam and throwing away some jetsam, I used the shop vac to clean up the water. Then I went online and watched a video that advised what you should do when your water heater dies and emits its contents willy nilly all over the floor. First if it is a gas heater, which is what we have, you should turn off the gas (light bulb moment) then turn off the water that goes into the tank (second light bulb moment).
A quick and rather frantic call to my husband at work brought him home to turn off the gas and the water, since I did not want to blow up the house by turning something the wrong way. We called the water heater people who told us they would be there between 1:00 and 6:00, which sounds like quite a leeway, but as I had spent two summers working at Bell Canada while I was a university student, I knew that this was not bad timing. At Bell we expected people to take the whole week off to wait for us (I am just kidding).
I had the red carpet laid out for the water heater fellow, and after leaving him in the basement to assess the situation I turned to go upstairs and told him to call me if he needed anything. I had not made it to the top of the stairs when he called me back down. Apparently new rules and regulations called for our chimney to have a lining before he could install a new water heater. The rules apparently came into effect about twelve years ago–our water heater was more than twenty years old. The new rules safeguard against carbon monoxide, so there was no getting around them.
So……….we had to have a chimney liner put in. It was late Saturday afternoon. Sunday, of course was a no go, and Monday was Family Day. Tuesday, the guys came to put in the liner, but it was too big, so we had to wait until Wednesday to have the work done with the right size liner. In the meantime we got two big pots out and boiled water on the top of the stove, and got our kettle going every time a bath was to be had. Just so you know, if you want more than a tepid bath, it takes about 6 large pots of boiling water and three kettles full. And then it is only a little more than warm.
I decided that I did not really need to wash my hair as I had no big important meetings or lunches or dinners to go to—so I swept my hair up in a ponytail and got quite good at sponge baths. Must admit, I had a pretty good excuse to do as little laundry as possible (yes, I know there are cold water laundry detergents, but that is not the point). Doing dishes was another hurdle, but a few kettles of boiling water pretty well took care of them.
On Wednesday night the water heater fellow showed up at around 6:30 and put in our brand new water heater. He was exceptionally nice, and when I told him to call me if he needed anything—he did not call me. Which was a good thing. The five day saga had ended. Now we had a new liner in our chimney, a new water heater, hot water, and no carbon monoxide poisoning. What more could a body want?
Hot water is a lovely thing. A glorious thing. Something we so take for granted. Now in my prayers before I go to sleep at night I “God bless” all my family and friends and my new water heater. No joke.