Posted by: Brenda Kula | April 22, 2008

Minor Everyday Calamities


It is one of those weeks when appliances and plumbing cause minor disasters. Yesterday the plumber was out to fix a problem in the kitchen and laundry room. My washing machine had flooded and the drains had to be cleaned out. Yet again.

This morning I wake up and take my morning shower in tepid water. I come out of the bathroom to find wet carpet. The hot water heater, just a couple of years old, has decided to die on us.

Of course these things occur before you’ve fully got your eyes open and had your cup of coffee. Morning chores have to be done. Pets need their medication. The fish (indoor and outdoor) need to be fed. The litter box must be cleaned. I need a bowl of cereal to properly think straight.

So I made some phone calls, dragged my neighbor Walli’s poor husband Ken over to turn off the water and gas to the hot water heater. If you have been reading this since January, you will likely remember the gas leak from my furnace that involved the local evening news, on an otherwise beautiful Sunday morning. This a mere week or so after we officially bought the house from the landlord.

All this brings to mind a little story. When I was 17 and pregnant, and very ignorant of things such as natural gas, I blew a stove up and found myself across the room. There was a trip to the emergency room for minor injuries. I didn’t have much sense about what it took to live alone.

I had a job I had to walk quite a ways to, selling and styling wigs. Can you imagine? Me and wigs! If you know me at all, you know I’m not one to fuss with my hair. Anyway, I was going to prepare my probably four or five month pregnant self a piece of toast before I left. So I turn on the stove in my tiny duplex, thinking, I’ll just let it heat up and toast my bread while I get dressed. I come back and my bread is not toasted. I come to the sudden realization that perhaps you must light the stove. I find a match and proceed to do so. You can imagine the rest of the story. Let’s just say I didn’t have eyebrows or bangs for awhile.

So my dearth of knowledge about the use of natural gas is summed up much like this: I still fear the loathsome necessity of appliances and heaters that need this source. And thus, as trouble usually manages to find its way to me, so do natural gas leaks and problems involving them.

(See January 14 post ,The Weekend Of The Gas Leak) about the furnace disaster, and someone’s having taken the safety valve off my heater, which would normally have turned off the gas when the heater died. I tried to figure out how to link to it, but that will have to be another less eventful day.)

I closed the doors to the closet which houses both my furnace and hot water heater, gulped down my morning Kashi cereal, and went outside with the dogs.

I was greeted by many blooms in my garden. I stood and took in the breathtaking sight. I was instantly calmed by the existence of such tranquility. And so thankful for having my little slice of heaven in my own yard.


Before I know it, I am leaning down pulling errant weeds from in between flagstone rocks, and my worries have all but dissolved. This is my anti-anxiety agent; pulling weeds. Can’t beat it. It’s free. And it improves the aesthetic value of your gardens.


And before I know it, the coffee is ready.

Ken, being retired and knowing a slightly addled woman when he sees one, came over to be the man in charge. He listened and took part in all the "water heater talk" that went over my head when the plumbing company men arrived. They had come to figure out what city codes would be in order in installing a new hot water heater.

I stood to the side and listen to the men talk with one dog under each arm, knowing they will be a nuisance if I let them down. (I apparently don’t have much luck with the dog training thing either.) 

Hopefully, before dinnertime, I will have hot water with which to clean my dishes. My carpet will have begun to dry out, and probably smell as it does so. And I will go to sleep knowing one more household dilemma is under control.

Two days of water problems. By the way, do these things ordinarily come in three’s, or is that something else that teeters at the edge of my recall?

Oh, and in an update, if you read my January 17 post, Negligent Manslaughter, this morning’s newspaper let me know that my former handyman has been formally indicted on that charge. Not the handyman seen in my dining room window of a post a couple of weeks ago. Another one. This crime involves an infant boy, sadly.

As I’m sure you’ve by now already surmised, odd events seem to occur on the outer perimeters of my otherwise ordinary life. 



  1. Brenda, what a story! I’m glad you weren’t terribly hurt. You’re smart to respect natural gas and other appliances.

    Don’t you just hate when things go out?

    I’m working on the “E” post. I’ll let you know when I have it up.~~Dee

  2. Oh Man!
    Let’s hope tommorow is less eventful! 🙂

  3. Well, my! I just popped in to see what was up and find all this excitement!

    Do things come in threes? Not at my house…more like sixe and sevenses. (Sorry.)

    Robin at Bumblebee

  4. Brenda, you do lead an exciting life! 🙂 I hope all turns out well.

  5. I understand losing your eylashes and eyebrows. One time I made chicken with wine and didn’t add the water. Well I went to check on it and opened the oven door and it was like a scene from Backdraft… poof! I’ll never forget the wine again 😉

    I hope the water heater drama ends. I’m off to read your other posts…


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