(Just for kicks, I've also produced an audio version of this entry. It's a 5.5mb mp3. Though this story was fun to read, the audio version is as amateurish as is possible to produce. Don't expect much from it.)
When we bought our first house, we had problems with the water heater almost immediately. It was small, and it was pathologically incapable of producing truly hot water.
At inconvenient times it would stop producing any hot water at all. My lukewarm baths would suddenly turn cold, forcing me to rise naked and dripping from the tub to lumber across the house to the utility room where I'd examine the water heater. In the nude. (Not that I had any idea what I was doing.) Sometimes the trouble would go away by itself. Sometimes I had to unscrew a little panel on the side, under which was hidden a red reset button. Pressing the red reset button usually gave us hot water again. Usually.
This went on for a couple of years.
Then I woke one Christmas morning to find the water heater had self-destructed. Somehow it had become stuck in "heat mode", and during the night had been discharging hot water onto the floor of the utility room via the overflow valve. Half an inch of tepid water was pooled in the utility room and by the back door; the family room carpet was soaked. A thin but constant stream of hot water continued to seep from the overflow valve.
Kris and I gritted our teeth and bailed. Before we opened our Christmas presents, we spent an hour sloshing water out the back door, soaking it with towels, mopping the floor dry. The catbox was a mess. That clumping cat litter is a great idea, but it's kind of a nuisance in a flood.
We had no hot water that Christmas day.
I got a great deal on a replacement water heater. It was an energy-efficient model for which we received a rebate and some sort of tax credit. Buying that water heater was a huge mistake.
By "energy efficient water heater" the manufacturer really meant "water heater that will not produce hot water no matter how high you raise the thermostat". I thought we had hot water problems before, but they were nothing compared to those with the new water heater. And the new water heater had less of the unhot water to go around. I often moaned to Kris that she used all the hot water when she showered before me. She wasn't very sympathetic. "Deal with it," she said.
When we bought our new house last year, I was pleased to hear that the water heater needed to be replaced. "At last!" I thought. "I'll have a chance for some hot baths." Then I remembered the house had no bathtub. "Hot showers," I corrected myself.
Imagine my disappointment when this water heater was worse yet. It was as if the God of Hot Water were punishing me for taking too many baths, dooming me to a lifetime of cold showers. Not only was the hot water scarce in the new house, but it lasted an even shorter time than at the old house. There was no possibility of two consecutive showers. Kris and I showered together. In lukewarm water.
I longed for a hot bath.
(This past March I became so desperate for a hot bath that I tried to replicate the experience in the shower. I turned on the water to a hot drizzle — as hot as it would go — then sprawled on the bottom of the shower stall. I wrapped the shower curtain around me, so that my body received a sort of steam-shower-bath thing while my head and hands were outside, cool and dry. I lay contorted and uncomfortable reading The Education of Henry Adams. I spent several hours over two days in this position. Yeah, I know I'm strange.)
All my complaining leads to this:
We now have hot water. Lots of it. In fact, I keep burning myself on the goddamn pipes. This morning I scalded my foot as I lounged in the tub, unwilling to leave for work.
We haven't replaced the water heater, yet somehow during our bathroom remodel the problem was solved. Not only do I now have an amazing obscenely expensive deluxe clawfoot tub — a tub so deep I might drown in it — I also have hot water to fill it. I even have enough hot water to keep the tub warm. Kris can shower to her heart's content, and there's still enough hot water for me to soak blissfully for hours, reading comic books while my feet turn to prunes. Ahhhh.
On this day at foldedspace.org
2004 — Guest Blog: Conservatives and Gay Marriage At the risk of starting a flame war on JD's blog, I wanted to post something about the gay marriage issues that have been cropping up.
2003 — Kickoff! In which I am excited about the start of the English football season, though disappointed by Everton's loss to Arsenal.