It’s hot everywhere but in my shower | Columnists

Part two of the water heater wars.

It was time to call the warranty company GE hired, or maybe it was Home Depot. I was now driving back towards downtown and my office. I dialed the warranty number and after speaking to a computer, which finally realized it couldn’t help me, I was put on hold for what hopefully would be flesh and blood. Meanwhile I was stressed and accidentally took the wrong exit, not sure why as I was driving at the time. Finally a young woman got on the phone and asked me for the serial number of my water heater and also the model number. I pulled into the Summit Church parking lot, just across from Wild River Country, and gave her the numbers and also told her that the heater was in my attic above the garage.

She asked what the problem was.

“The pilot light won’t come on,” I told her.

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“You tried to light it but it won’t come on,” she asked.

“Right,” I said, fighting back sarcasm as I saw her as my only hope of ever getting a hot shower again.

“Well I see you are indeed still under warranty so I need you to get to the water heater so I can walk you through the troubleshooting steps.”

(More reluctance) “I’m sorry, aren’t you?”

“You have to be there where you can do some things so we can see where the problem is.”

At this point it was about 1 p.m. “Well, it’s about 125 degrees in my attic. How long will it take?”

“Sir, it will take a few minutes. If you want to call back when it’s cooler.”

“I can’t wait until Thanksgiving. And I’m not at home right now, so I’ll have to do that later. But let me ask you You want me to do this troubleshooting, does it require anything?”

“Do I need any tools?”

“Yes sir, you need a wrench.”

(restraint lost forever now)

“What wrench?”

“Well, if you’re the troubleshooter expert, you must know that there are different types of wrenches. Should it be a socket wrench or maybe a ratchet wrench? Or maybe you want it to be a Crescent Key, that’s always a good all-around choice.”

(Your reluctance is gone now too)

“A Crescent Key would be just perfect, get the Crescent Key… Sir.”

In a sick way that I still find myself in at times, I started enjoying this, so I had to ask her one last question.

“So, if I’m standing up there in my sauna attic with my crescent key, what exactly am I supposed to do with it?”

“Why sir, I thought you’d never ask.”

With that we both broke down. And as so often with laughter, a connection was made and she really started trying to help me with the problem, which she never could, but it wasn’t her fault and at least she had a sense of humor, which goes far.

A few days later, after I paid a plumber $95 to come to my house and relight my pilot light, hot water started flowing again. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal these days. I mean hot water. Because if you work up a sweat walking forty feet to a mailbox, cooling down is the top priority. Yes, it’s one of those record-breaking summers. I don’t know if it’s global warming or not because the year I got married, 1980, we had 40 days of 100 degrees or more. That was the summer when people watered their roofs. But as they say in Game of Thrones: “Winter is coming”. But my hot water tank will hopefully be ready for that. Until then, stay cool out there.

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