Wednesday, February 1, 2012
A Three Story Life: Hot Water
We're spoiled by readily available hot water. When I think I've run out of blessings, I remember we have running water, and when wanted, it's hot. I am grateful. The Active Adult community we live in has an aging problem, not the biggest being most of us are not even a little active, but the complex is aging as fast as we are. The boiler is creaky and noisy, like some of us. The hot water tank passed on a few weeks ago. The complex supports a Handyman. He's been around for a long time. He drives around in his red truck with his two semigrown sons in tow, just in case there's something to do. My Dad caught him napping in the boiler room one sunny afternoon. What are you doing? asked Dad. Waiting for a part, said Handyman. He doesn't like old people, especially old women. The new neighbor already doesn't want him in her house, but that's who we get for every issue. Whatever the problem, it's always your problem, not the complex. (I just figured out why he's kept around.) When our power was serially outing, he said ma'am, can you come in here? and gave me a long and wrong lecture on how electricity works, until I asked him to please leave. We hired a real electrician and it got fixed. The manager says Handyman is a master plumber. Fine. So the water tank blew. Handyman replaced it. We soon were getting variously scalded and freezed in the shower. I called the manager. She said that Handyman said that it's our shower head. Really? I said, is he personally familiar with our shower head? She said that's what he tells her when people complain. Interesting that two shower heads and all the faucets went bad at the same time, I said. Okay, I'll postpone a visit from Handyman and adjust. Then Dad got scalded. Then Dad checked on Scott in the shower, and Scott was cowering against the wall while the shower spewed freezing water. Manager wasn't in, so I left a note. Handyman came over. Sir? Can you come up here? he summoned Dad. He used a meat thermometer to check the temperature coming out of the tap, flushed the toilet, temperature remained the same. Check shower, flush toilet, temperature got hotter. Everybody has this, he said. Funny it never happened before the new water heater, Dad said. More Handyman yammering on and on and on (a friend said there should be a 12 step program for people who do this, called Onandonanon). While putting on his shoes he said he'd go turn the temperature down on the tank. The next day he was in the boiler room with his two semigrown sons, and whatever they did after their nap actually did finally sort of fix the freezing boiling water. I am working to retrain myself to take a shorter shower meanwhile. Better for the environment and my mental health.