They’re not shooting at us
March 11, 2014
There are two kinds of people in this world; those who find the glass half full, and those who find it half empty. I'm the former and my son, Doug, finds it half empty. It makes for a lot of discussion when there are problems in the house.
It all began after we'd lived in our new abode for about two years. Our just past the guarantee washing machine sprung a leak. I hadn't been crazy about the brand we picked out. I decided not to spend a couple of hundred for repairs. Folks, I've been down that road. Just thinking about a repair person's hourly cost, and "I have to go back to the shop for parts" routine, I decided to just buy a new machine.
We got lucky. Our local appliance store had the brand I most admire on sale for an unbelievably low price. So now we had a nice, new washing machine. While I was in the store I also purchased a new vacuum, one of those self-propelled thing-a-ma-jig's. Note: I will be using words like: thing-a-ma-jog a lot during this column, it's part of getting old and not knowing proper names for gismos.
Of course, wouldn't you know, a month after the year guarantee was over the self-propelled vacuum's thing-a-ma-jig stopped working. You can still push it around and it does a good job, but it doesn't do it by itself without somebody shoving it over the carpet.
Now we go a little while longer and all of the appliances, etc., are working fine. Well, almost.
Suddenly, our special water purification system that uses salt — you know the kind you have with a well, as we do – began working funny. Finally we had to call a repairperson and were informed we needed an entire new "thing." More expense, more repair people, more problems. The new "thing" was installed but still we found we were using entirely too much salt. It was an omen of things to come.
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A couple of days after replacement of our water softener unit, Doug was outside doing something with our puppies when he heard the sound of water running underneath the house. He came rushing in informing me that he had to turn off the water to everything. Through all of these problems Doug would each time panic, his glass half empty. I knew we'd survive, my glass is always half full.
Now, even this old lady began to wonder about the glass half full or empty thing.
Out came a plumber who crawled under the house, discovering that a connection between the main pipe and the one going into our house had been done with a metal "thing-a-ma-jig" instead of a plastic one. The metal connection had corroded and sprung a leak and we didn't have any idea how long it'd been leaking.
The plumber didn't get very wet. Fortunately for us, we live on very sandy soil. The water had merely gone down into the sand. Now we knew why we had to buy a new water softener unit, and why it had been using entirely too much salt. Another bill, and now my half full glass was joining Doug's half empty. Okay, it's a couple of days later and I did what I do every morning when I get up.
I went to the thermostat and turned up the heat. The heater went on, but as I moved toward the kitchen for my first cup of java, it turned itself off. I stood there, for a minute, before I woke. Mr. "Oh dear God what now?" Doug did what men always do when something like this happens. He pulled off the air filters and stared at the heater like it was going to say something.
Another repairman – at such and such an hour – another part and the heater was working again. All seemed well. Yeah, a sure thing. Then, a couple of days later Doug comes into the house from the back yard screaming! There is a gismo – another of my favorite words – a pipe that shows something or other about the hot water heater overflowing. Out comes a different repairman who knew what was wrong, and fixed it.
I decided to remind my son what my marine gunny sergeant husband Van used to say when he was alive whenever things went wrong. "Honey, why are you so worried, they're not shooting at us, are they?" It helps, but just a little.
Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer.