Never underestimate an appliance's ability to kick you when you're down.

My husband has always said it about cars,
but it can apply equally well to many things . . .

so today we are going to apply it to 

About 7 years ago, the tank on our water heater cracked (wet mess), even though it was only about two-thirds of the way through its life expectancy.  We had no choice but to replace it.  And I've been confident ever since that I'd never have to clean up that particular wet mess again.

So imagine my surprise yesterday when, while trying to rinse a plate from lunch, I couldn't help but notice that my hand was quite literally in danger of frostbite from the water coming from the "hot" position on the kitchen faucet.  That faucet is just about 150 years old (in kitchen-faucet years) and so I thought maybe it had abandoned its post at last and retired to wherever kitchen faucets go to die.  But the laundry room sink netted the same result, so I went downstairs to investigate.

Two words.  

Wet mess.  

Not the actual words I uttered at the sight, I must admit, but Small Works is a family site and therefore I'll forgo sharing the accompanying soundtrack.

After figuring out how to shut off the water 
spewing from the darn thing, 
I ran to call the plumber. 

Cracked water heater (wet mess) again. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  I've lived in this house less than 10 years and I'm going on water heater number THREE??!!

I thought only technology had a personal vendetta against me, 
but it appears that water heaters have joined forces with all-things-tech and decided I don't deserve their respect.  Because cracked tanks are rare, the plumber suggested that I refrain from buying lottery tickets.

Of course I immediately plunked down a plastic thousand dollars that was definitely NOT earmarked for the basic necessity of hot water, then privately thanked the old water heater on its way out the door for waiting to burst until I had already had my shower, not to mention returned from a week in Baltimore.  (It could have been a messier wet mess.)  

The event reminded me of the description a blog friend used in a recent post:  the "blessing of Ordinary."  

I've often thought how, when something nasty happens I suddenly realize that I didn't even  know how good I had it just moments before.  I should remember to be nothing but grateful for every capital-O-Ordinary day, even if it does involve several more inches of detestable and thoroughly unwanted March snow (wet mess). . . 

Because, at the very least, I can plop myself in a lovely -- albeit ordinary -- hot bath and just bask in the utter ordinariness of my ordinary life.

When the shriveled skin of the ordinary 
is stuffed out with meaning, 
it satisfies the senses amazingly.

-- Virginia Woolf

(Call it the appreciation equivalent of pruney-skin just plumped by a hot soak.)

Ordinary can be worth 
much more than 
a thousand dollars.

(And hot water?  Priceless.)



Leenie said...

Sorry for so many wet messes! Thank goodness it didn't happen while you were away! Be sure the rest of your appliances don't here about water-heater's demise and the arrival of a new one. That kind of ailment seems to be very contagious among domestic devices. Next it could be the dryer or the fridge (SHHHHH!!!!)

And HOORAY! for ordinary. May this be an ordinary day plus a nice hot bath.

Karen S said...

Leenie's right. Household appliances all belong to the same species and when one gets sick, the rest often develop symptoms.
I would much rather have an ordinary life than an interesting one.

luanne said...

"I've often thought how, when something nasty happens I suddenly realize that I didn't even know how good I had it just moments before."

Thank you for this excellent reminder. Ordinary is a blessing.

Allie said...

Bless the ordinary - oh you poor thing. I must remember to thank my appliances later. Make sure they're feeling the love.....

Judy said...

I love that Virginia Woolf quote. Now excuse me while I go give my water heater a hug.

the hinckleys said...

great post, susan! loved reading about the show too. glad it was a success (at least you used "children" not "child" at the end there).

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