There comes a time in the life of every home owner when you wonder if renting is really all that bad. We had one of those experiences this weekend. It started with a puddle. It grew to a small pond. It ended with a large check.
“Cheryl, we have a problem. I think our water heater has seen better days.”
“Why do you say that?”
“There’s a puddle of hot water surrounding the water heater in the laundry closet.”
So we did what any other freedom loving homeowner would do, we called our parents. Unfortunately, neither of us come from a family of plumbers, so we had to try something else. We called in professional help. The trouble was, professional help doesn’t like working on the weekend. “You don’t really want to pay me time and a half, do you?”, the plumber asked. “No, I guess it’s not leaking all that bad right now. Maybe we’ll try to wait until Monday.” That was Saturday afternoon.
Sunday morning we woke up to pouring rain. It was a fitting metaphor. The flood was not restricted to outdoors. Water from the water heater flooded the laundry closet, seeped under a wall, and soaked the carpet in the adjacent room (the family room). Now I wasn’t going to wait until Monday.
Enter the plumber.
Things went smoothly enough. The old water heater went out. I got on my hands and knees and swabbed out the science project that had cultured, and the new unit went in. The plumber tested it out, filled out the invoice and I wrote him a check. It was ten until three p.m. It was ten minutes until kickoff. The plumber really wanted to see the game. I handed him the check. He took it. He turned for the door. I saw water dripping from the pipe leading to the water heater. “Wait a minute, is that pipe leaking?” This is a family web site so I can’t repeat what the plumber said, or what he continued to say for the next forty minutes as he took his frustration over his career, his life, and a missed game – out on my new water heater. At one point I heard a rush of water. I was sure he had expected a pipe to take a little too much and it blew. I rushed over to the source, just outside. As I got to the door I was met by the plumber. “Watch out man, I”m trying to get out of here.” This is followed by some more grumbling and swearing. A moment later he storms into our bathroom and turns on the water. Beth looks in from the living room and says, “sir, what are you doing?” These are the first words she has spoken to the plumber since he has arrived (she was surprisingly good). He replies, in a snide, accusing and sarcastic tone “I’M WORKING.” He storms back into the laundry closet, tosses his tools together, and runs out the door, yelling after he has crossed the threshold “o.k. sir, you’re all set.” With that he was gone.
I have a new water heater. Despite my misgivings about the noise outside, everything seems fine now. However, there’s another place of business that I will never give money to again.