The Right Coast

November 16, 2004
Home ownership hell
By Tom Smith

There is some deep lesson in all this, I just don't know what it is. A couple of weeks ago I heard a strange dripping noise in the family room. Investigation revealed my water heater was emitting water, which travelled along some pipes and into a little interior space under the furnace. Well, I thought, with utter naivite, I'm going to have to get in there with a mop and clean it up. Silly me. Instead, plumbers had to come and remove the furnace and the water heater, take apart the little structure on which they sat, erect fans for a week or so, tear out carpet padding, put in a new hot water heater, put back the furnace, and oh yes, somewhere in there dry up all that water. Four large at least. At least.

But it's covered by insurance, right? Oh, you would have to ask. In fact, it might be covered, and it might not be, but now, having already made my claim, I read that insurance companies in CA are cancelling people at record rates for having the temerity to make water damage claims. Because of the burgeoning mold claim phenomenon. OTH in 2003 only 1200 policies were cancelled in this reason in CA, so maybe I will be fine. Whether that counts non-renewals, I don't know. My lovely wife Jeanne is telling me to chill, and I should. If I could take back the claim, I would. At least after 2 weeks of no hot water, I can stop bathing in the ice cold pool. Invigorating, but conducive to grumpiness.

Things got so bad, I actually had to go to a Home Depot. Which led me to compose the following somewhat blasphemous prayer:

O Home Depot Clerk,
I do most humbly prostrate myself before thee
and beg thee, in thy mercy, to vouchsafe to me
where the water softener units are to be sought.
Not the little units to which I have been directed twice,
but, lo, the large units, such as one finds next to water heater,
in mine garage.
Then, in thy wisdom, if thou wouldst get such great thing down
from its high perch, great would be my praises of thee,
O Great Clerk!

And so on. Fortunately, the Scots have invented a useful tonic.