Keep Your Friends Close, Your Enemies Closer, and Your Handyman on Speed Dial

The things we take for granted–clean running water.

On Easter Sunday we cooked up a storm—if only for the two of us, my BoomerGuy and me.  But then we decided to share and we took ‘Easter Care Packages’ to several of our neighbors.  It was truly a unique experience.  We either left the food at the door-step, or in one case, we met half-way in the garage.  I made special carry boxes, and put one on the floor, then stepped away, while the neighbor replaced the food box with a container of deviled eggs.  Yum.  Nice trade, all the while maintaining at least 6’ of separation.

We felt good in the fact that we gave on an otherwise very unusual day.  The development in which we live was vacant, except for a few brave souls walking in the rain.  The golf course has been closed for two weeks along with the club house and all other facilities, like the tennis, bocce ball and pickle ball courts, not to mention the swimming pools.  So if we could spread just a little joy to a few lonely people, it made our day.

Then it happened!  That evening when we were doing the dishes, we noticed there was no hot water.  Oh, oh. We immediately went to the hot water heater manual and began following the instructions for relighting the pilot.  Then I spent the remainder of the evening looking at YouTube videos on water heaters.  Now I’m the world’s expert on water heaters.  Well, it turns out it wasn’t just the pilot but also the controller and thermocouple.  Yesterday, which would normally have been a blog day was taken up with repairing the water heater.  Turns out repairing was not the right word, replacing was more like it.

Fortunately, we have a great relationship with our handyman who lives down the street, and my BoomerGuy called him to see if he was even working.  He said he would help us out.  His motto:  “call me or screw it up yourself.”  So over he came, all masked up, with his magnificent set of tools, and his handy-dandy tricks of the trade and began to diagnose the problem…and said the water heater was shot.  Rats!  No wonder we couldn’t get the pilot to relight.  He immediately took off for Home Depot to get a new one and delivered it within a half hour.  Took out the old one, put in the new, called a local plumber friend of his, who also wore a mask, to help out with several minor wrap-up issues, and we had both water and hot water again by mid-afternoon.  It was so good to be able to wash our hands in hot sudsy water.  He then proceeded to undercharge me, so my BoomerGuy rectified the bill and the world was right again.

The moral of this story, be very, very kind to your handyman because you never know when the need might arise, especially during this time when most if not all service businesses are closed.  And, keep his number close and closer yet on speed dial, and be sure to thank him/her profusely.

The really sad part of this story is two-fold:  one, products like our water heater only lasted  7 years, far short of its 10-year expected life cycle; and second, that most people probably don’t have a handyman like Chuck.  With the world virtually shut down, people are simply doing without.  Except for the essential businesses like groceries, pharmacies, and healthcare practitioners, nothing is happening.  While I was talking with Chuck about this very fact, he went on to say his son’s truck engine just blew for some mysterious reason, and he couldn’t find anyone to work on it because those businesses along with so many others are simply shuttered.  So now you have a family member who is totally reliant on his transportation that no longer works.   Chuck comes to the rescue again and loans him one of his vehicles until he can get his engine replaced.

The second moral of today’s blog—be thankful for what we do have, regardless of how small and insignificant it might seem.  We complained of not having hot water for one day, and not having water for several hours while it was shut down for replacement of the water heater.  We’re so used to our immediate and ‘at once’ society that we hardly know how to exist in the midst of the coronavirus.  But actually we do by simply slowing things down a bit and realizing our sheltered life is temporary.

A funny story for the day.  The plumber saw we had our paper products nicely stacked on a shelf by the water heater and commented on how nice it must be to have normal toilet paper.  I looked at him quizzically and he went on the explain his mother-in-law brought home some lavender scented toilet paper.  Frankly, I had never seen anything like that, nor had I heard they even had such a thing.  And now when he opens the cupboard, his entire garage smells like lavender, including the food products stored next to it.  Apparently, it’s not all that great a lavender smell.  Ugh.  Just think about all the toilet paper stories and jokes coming out during this virus time.

Easter was great.  My BoomerGuy and I helped neighbors.  We felt good about reaching out.  We conquered the hot water heater and found out some very interesting stories along the way.  Life is good, and on behalf of myself and the entire BommerGal team, thank you for joining us on this very unusual ride.

When life throws you lemons, do everything you can to dodge them…

or make that veritable lemonade

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