Everyone who takes a shower has one. We don’t give it lots (or any) thought. It’s not obvious (usually.) It’s just there, day after day. Ours is in the garage, next to the garage door, in the corner. For almost twelve years it’s kept our water hot. They’re not very attractive, just big cylinders with copper pipes and hoses and vents. Ours has earthquake straps holding it in the corner up on a small bench-like structure. Red knobs with markers and stickers that indicate all kinds of fire danger make it into some kind of robot-looking-mid-century-monster. It looks the same as the water heater we had when I was ten. I guess that the design is efficient enough to keep around. The thing that brings me to writing about this is, last night, the reliable old water heater, quit making our water hot. It was done. It died.
It’s kind of a jolt to the psyche when you turn the hot water faucet on and nothing but icy cold water comes out. I grabbed a flashlight and went out to the garage to check on it. Maybe someone had inadvertently turned the red knob to “Vacation.” Maybe some kid had just plain turned it off. It happened about four years ago. Yes, it did. But this time, when I shined the flashlight on it, I saw water leaking from the bottom. I knew it wasn’t happy news. I turned off the gas line and felt like crying.
Today, after some debate, my husband conceded. He is stubborn. He wanted several opinions. He would have liked to have, some kind of water-heater, respiration team come over and breath life into the old girl. Alas, she was D.O.A. - a total loss. Dead. Gone. Pushing up daisies. The last rights were read and I begged our regular plumber-guy to “...please, oh please, put in a new hot-water-heater-today...PLEASE” and then I added.... “...but only for under $900. --- In fact, let my husband talk to you... it has to be around $850. Any more than that is HIGHWAY ROBBERY.” And so, the plumber and the husband talked and came to terms. The hot water heater was installed for the right price and now we have luxurious showers and the dishwasher is humming along.
It’s amazing, just how much, one misses hot water when it’s gone. Ice-cold showers? Oh-fucking-no. Dishes do not come clean in cold water. No, they do not. Clothes, (no matter what some brands of detergent say) do not get really clean in cold water.
Today, I discovered the importance of a water heater. I took a shower tonight in hot-water-splendor. I felt a renewed appreciation for something we all take for granted. I wanted to give a speech... “I’d like to thank the academy, my mother, my children, my agent... BUT, most of all, I’d like to thank my plumber.”
Yes, “...thank you Scott the Plumber, without you, I would never have achieved a fabulous shower experience...”