Crunchy Thoughts

The thoughts are crunchier here.

no vacation goes unpunished, II; a.k.a. the week of fixing

Hey, remember that time we tried to go on vacation and there was a perfect storm of sickness, busted air conditioners, and dumbass doctors? Yeah. Good times.

Since then we have had many successful vacations with the only running curse being of the Celebrity Death variety. Sorry, Carrie Fisher.

So, when Steven and I decided to take a little mini vacation this past weekend, it was just that: a little mini vacation. Easy to organize; easy to implement, and by Saturday we were back in town and fetching the kids — success!

The End.



On Sunday morning Steven was washing some dishes, then he came into the bathroom and began running the shower. He answered my inquisitive look with, “The water is warm, but not hot . . . I wonder if it just needs time to get back up through the pipes.”

“Is the pilot light lit?” I asked. Our hot water heater is gas-powered, and it’s always made me a bit anxious, knowing there is a little gas flame both in the basement (water heater) and the attic (regular ol’ air heater).

A quick excursion downstairs showed the pilot light was indeed not lit, nor could Steven get it to relight. This led him to the gas meter outside, where ever so slightly we could smell a bit of gas.

So . . . we called the Utility Company Formerly Known As Alagasco, who promptly came out, tightened the small leak, but found the gas is going to the water heater just fine. The water heater was a separate issue.

The rest of the afternoon was spent on research: why it wasn’t working (probably the whole burner assembly and thermocouple), should we replace just that and hope it fixes the problem ($200) versus an entirely new heater (~$600 and up; more with install), how much longer a 12 year old heater can last (not much longer), and self-install versus hiring a company (we’re handy, but are we natural-gas-appliance-installation handy?). By the afternoon we were in the replace-the-whole-heater camp, and we began the process of getting a new heater installed through Lowe’s. Money was paid; we are ready to go!

What a Sunday.

That evening we had a lovely dinner of pork tenderloin and roasted vegetables . . . even though the oven warmed up the house pretty good (“It’s hot in here!” Lydia exclaimed. “Go take a cold shower then,” Steven retorted). We ended the day watching an episode of The Last Kingdom downstairs.

Well, at least I was watching it. Unbeknownst to me, Steven wasn’t paying attention; he kept checking his phone.

He was checking the Nest app . . . watching the temperature in the house climb.

After the show was over Steven finally fessed up to what was going on: the house was at 83 degrees.

Ho. Lee. Shit.

After that, I’m sure I was a most unhelpful wife, roaming around the house while constantly muttering, “I am going to lose my mind,” in between some choice curse words. Steven is better under stressful situations and by 10 p.m. he had the problem diagnosed: a bad capacitor, just a $25 part and easy to fix.

It was a long hot night, but by 7:30 the next morning Steven was in Pelham buying the first capacitor he could find, and within the next hour the air conditioner was fixed!

One problem down; one to go. It was now Monday, we had air conditioning (yay!), and now we just needed to add hot water.

But then . . . my email program started acting up, so a fair portion of that day was spent on computer troubleshooting and talking with their support team. One more thing to fix — add it to the pile.

Monday came and went, but no call from the Lowe’s contractor.

Tuesday came and my email was beginning to behave, but then a weird issue came up with my iCloud account. Once again I was computer troubleshooting. I even ended up on the phone with Apple Support before I was able to resolve that issue.

But still no call from the contractors.

By lunch I was back on the phone with Lowe’s, who had REASONS . . . and so we waited.

Later on Tuesday afternoon I finally get that blessed call from the contractor, only to hear: “Yes, we can be there Friday to evaluate the water heater.” Thus began a great phone conversation between me, Steven, their scheduler, and the owner of the company. We all eventually agreed to blame Lowe’s, but we were still looking at Friday at the EARLIEST for an install.

Meanwhile, Steven and I were learning the Art of the Cold Shower. The kids were surviving on a mix of boiled and cold bath water. At times I have felt like I’ve been mixing a witches’ brew.

Wednesday morning the contractors were on schedule to come by and evaluate the install job. Around breakfast Lydia comes up to me: “Mom, something is up with my phone. I kinda changed my password then I forgot what it was, and now my thumbprint won’t work or anything.”

She then hands me her completely disabled iPhone. Add it on the pile.

By mid-morining the installers were here and having a look at the water heater. The dude says everything looks good, should be an easy install, but the next step in the process is they have to submit changes to Lowe’s, then we have to approve those changes in cost, then we can schedule the install.

At 3:30 p.m. I get the call from Lowe’s: the apparently easy install still required a 25% increase in price, and I AM DONE WITH THIS.

By 4:00 p.m. we had cancelled all of the Lowe’s horseshit and found a different installer who, though the price was still higher than Lowe’s original (and complete bull) quote, could install a new water heater on Thursday morning.

Then I was tackling Lydia’s phone, which now required a hard reset and restore. Apple’s logic is something else, man: “Type in your password wrong six times? RESET ALL THE THINGS.” At one point I was again on the phone with Apple Support because neither my nor Steven’s computer was seeing her phone at all . . . and it turned out to be a bad charger cord. That was embarrassing.

Well, that pretty much bring us up to speed. Lydia’s phone is now fixed (“You’re the bestest, most awesomest mom ever!”), and the running theory is we will have a water heater installed by lunchtime tomorrow.

The . . . End?

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