Sunday, March 20, 2011

Japan, Libya and Then The Disaster on Califa St.

So, there I was,  thinking I had finally achieved that blissful state where one accepts whatever happens and calmly copes with it when I realized I do not completely have the hang of it.  Dang.

It's like this, folks. On Thursday,  after managing for days to avoid as much as possible the news of the world,  I went into the water heater shed to get a garden tool out and discovered  that my water heater was leaking,  big time, and probably had  been for a while because the plywood floor under it had stopped looking like wood and more closely resembled a layer of stringy, overcooked whole wheat spaghetti.  I called the plumber who came and shut off the hot water, drained the tank, removed it and pronounced the heater (and the floor) dead, totally dead.  Then, because I had to make arrangements of  various kinds I had him put down heavy plastic sheeting on the floor and restore the water heater so I would have hot water till the new unit came, along with various bowls and catch basins arranged tastefully to keep more water from dripping on the moribund floor.   I am handling this rather well in spite of the fact that I have to pay the plumber for his work  and will have to pay extra for tearing out the floor and replacing it before getting a new heater.  Not to mention the cost of the new thing....oy.....

While  I was madly tapping keys on the computer to find a replacement, the serviceman from my Heater/Air Conditioning unit arrived to do spring service and, upon clambering up onto the roof where the heater sits, promptly clambered down again and approached me with gloom dripping from every pore.    It appears that the enclosure that surrounds the heating unit under the metal cover has a large crack in it which has been enabling the carbon monoxide gas, produced by the burners to mix merrily with the heated air which it has been blowing valiantly into my rooms  below for who-knows-how-long.......  A very dangerous condition which could have killed me at any moment  (not to mention the cats).  To replace the housing would only cost about $2000.  Oy!  But the unit is 22 years old.....really should be replaced ...........a brand new energy-efficient unit can be had for only $6000 to $8000.  Maybe two "oys".and a "vey".

This news is not only horrifying  but also  very enlightening.   I stop Googling water heaters and Google "carbon monoxide poisoning" I get a list of symptoms which relate exactly to one of my mystery maladies that lays me low frequently.  No wonder I get light-headed, dizzy, nauseous, unable to balance with headaches and shaky legs to boot.........oy, oy, and Eureka! Perhaps just turning off the heat will cure that sickness.   But,  it will be cold.  Sigh.  However, I  am handling this pretty well.

I promptly (and calmly) put the heat switch on the thermostat to OFF,  don heavy sweats and a hooded fleece jacket and begin searching the internet for Heaters and A/C units.  Meanwhile,a day passes and  the plumber arrives to install the new water heater (I ordered it while I still had the strength)  and promptly shuts off the hot water and removes the dripping tank and announces he cannot install the new unit until the floor is repaired.  "But, but", I stammer,  the customer service agent who took my order told me you would have plywood on the truck to fix the floor.  I can see by his face and his rapid shaking of the head from left to right that I have been so gullible as to believe a lie.   This time I just send him on his way after paying again the huge fee for taking out the water heater (groan) and contact my handyman.  Now, of course, I have no hot water for the forseeable future as well as no heat..

Handyman Michael arrives and I send him off to gather plywood.  He returns and advises me that the plywood that I used to pay $8 to $10 per sheet now costs $32 but we must bite the bullet.  I remain calm while he proceeds to tear out the shredded floor and only part of the drywall at the lower edges of the water heater closet.  We end up rigging a small electric heater with fan onto the floor beams of the heater shed to try to dry out the beams before repairing the floor.  Night comes and I sleep in my sweat suit.

It is now Sunday.  I wake up to the sound of pouring rain clanging on my skylights.  I don yet another fleece hoodie over my sweats and the first hoodie , feed the cats and try to convince them that they would not really like it outside amidst the sheets of rain and the puddles.  They refuse to believe me and shriek and complain mightily for hours threatening to report me to the ASPCA.  I remain calm and adamant. 

The hummingbird feeders are mostly empty and those birds don't know or care about the small deluge.  Their frantic dive bombing maneuvers indicate that they need nectar!  I decide to jerry-rig a waterproof costume out of good old black garbage bags and I am just getting ready to make a hole for my face so I shouldn't suffocate, perish forbid, when I find myself thinking a naughty thought.  If I just forget about making the hole and simply take the drawstring from the 2nd layer hoodie I can don the garbage bag, tie the hoodie string around my neck tightly and .........hmmmm......I guess I must face the sad fact that I have not really quite achieved the blessed state of nirvana after all.    Failed, failed again!

Oy, oy, oy, oy vey!
At this moment I caught sight of some huge shapeless creature in the mirror. ......... a huge, hulking,  fleece clad, garbage bag covered monster.  My heart sank.  What dreaded thing had invaded my house while I was busy  waterproofing myself?  Tenks Gott it was only Me.  I had to laugh till I wet my bloomers and thusly will live to fight another day.  That was a close one.  Saved once again by a sense of humor and the thought of what a fine blog this might turn into..........

Now, don't bother me.   I am working on remaining calm.