Sunday, November 05, 2006

It never rains, but it pours. And then the water heater dies.

Just before Ed went off to work on Saturday morning we both heard water running and couldn't account for it. The dishwasher wasn't running; neither was the washing machine, and neither of us had just flushed a toilet. When we went to the basement we saw hot water running from the water heater. We turned it all off. Ed went to work and I called a plumber.

Do you know how hard it is to get hold of a plumber on a weekend? Even the ones that advertise 24-hour and emergency service weren't answering their phones. I did finally get through to All Points Plumbing. We needed a 40-gallon water heater, but the guy didn't have one on his truck and his suppliers were closed for the weekend, so they told us that if we could go out to Home Depot or Lowe's or Menards or someplace and purchase one, they would install it on Sunday.

We went to the Home Depot near where we live. They advertised same day delivery. In fact, they also advertised same day installation if you got your order in before 2:00 p.m. As it was only 10:30 a.m., I thought we'd get this taken care of right away.

Nope. First, they said it would be an extra $125 to install on the weekend (no indication in any of their advertising of this). Then they said they couldn't install until Monday anyway. Then they said they couldn't deliver today. What a crock of sh*t their promises are! (I'm going to the Nebraska Attorney General web site after this to write in all of the pertinent information. They'll have to make a formal response, which will get their administration into a tizzy for a few days at least. Hee-Hee! Happy freakin' Monday to all of them!)

So, we went back home. I asked a neighbor, Greg, if he'd help us to pick up the water heater presuming Lowe's wouldn't deliver. He said he would probably get called away to his pub (he owns Finnegan's here in Omaha), but he gave me the spare keys to his truck and told me just to make sure I took the corners wide. (I think he's seen my drive before, eh?)

As it turned out Lowe's was great to deal with. The lady I spoke with on the phone checked on delivery and actually apologized because they guy was on his way to Columbus, Nebraska. She said if we could pick it up ourselves it would save about $80 anyway, so that's what we did.

Oh, that was fun driving the big red pickup truck! I had to help my sister Marcy into the cab. Seriously! I had to make a step with my hands so that she could get a let up into that behemoth! And then it was like piloting the QEII! So much give in the steering (compared to my sporty little Grand Am; there's a representative photo above), and it moved as slowly as a caravan of elephants who would rather be napping. But it worked. And I navigated it successfully.

(That's a representative image of Greg's pickup at right. I don't remember the model. I just remember it was red, a four-door extended cab, and it took diesel fuel. Oh, and the wheel wells stood about as tall as my waist.) So we got it home an I offloaded it from the pickup (it's good to be strong) and got the new water heater into the garage. I also returned Greg's truck to his driveway. And I did it all without hitting other cars or buildings (although I have to cop to scraping up against some sandbags at the filling station).

We had all of this accomplished by about 12:30 p.m., at which point Marcy and I started in on cleaning up the downstairs. She cleaned up Ed's workshop while I tackled the "family room" area and the office area. I still ache today.

All of this is so that the house looks presentable for the home appraiser who will be coming tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. The house won't look nearly as nice as I hoped, but it will be as good as I can make it with all of these trials coming my way.

I really lost it when the water heater died. We always seem to be right on the edge of financial ruin, so something like that puts me over the edge. But, as it turns out, I'd been squirreling away money into another account for a while -- something I'd forgotten about until this morning. When I checked it, we had more than enough to cover the $800 for the new water heater and installation.

And now the downstairs is clean, too.

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