A Memorial Day like none other

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Before I begin this, a disclaimer: I would in no way seek to embarrass or ridicule my husband. My writing this is a way of explaining why it is that from time to time I ask for assistance in  things dealing with home repairs. The events I am about to tell you are true, a little frustrating at times, a tad bit confusing at times, somewhat frightening at times, but hilarious at all times.
While so many people around me were looking forward to the day with excitement and anticipation, looking forward to picnics, vacations, boating, hikes and in general fun, here there was this incredible feeling of dread. My husband- bless his heart- had declared his intent to swap out our hot water heater. The one in use had developed a slight leak and was in fact past its life expectancy. We had a replacement that had been given to us at least a year ago waiting in the wings. Well, the carport to be precise. All he had to do was, as stated, swap them out. That is so much easier said than done. I have come to find after twenty-nine years of marriage that my husband is a walking, talking prime target for Murphy’s Law. When I reluctantly expressed my concern over his doing it alone he adamantly reminded me that he had installed the first one he could darn sure install this one. And so…it began. A Memorial Day that will forever be memorable but not for its intended reason.
 As a side note, my husband had invited his daughter and her family over for a cookout around 6pm.
At 11am he decided to begin changing out the hot water heater. We caught up enough water  for coffee and then he began. The first thing he wanted to do was bring the replacement heater out to the back porch. He wasn’t happy when I told him that there really wasn’t room enough but he then said at least get it on the front porch. He and our son found out quickly that thing was heavy and no matter how much brute strength they possessed, they were not moving it by hand. My husband finally capitulated and went around the house to turn off the gas. As my son James and I stood in the kitchen we heard him begin to yell. From where we stood inside his shouting was unintelligible.  I went out onto the porch and called out to him to hear him shout in a near panic “Snake!!!” I grabbed my camera and headed out the front door. James laughed and told me he didn’t think that was what dad wanted. As I hurried out the front door I grabbed the shovel that was propped up against a porch support. Jogging around the house by now I was expecting something huge, something along the lines of a large Copperhead, a Water Moccasin, maybe a Rattlesnake or even a King Cobra or Python. All these interesting snake photo opportunities were flashing through my head until I saw what he was hollering about. It was a non-venomous black snake. Granted it was around six feet long and he did almost step on it, and yes I do know that we all have our phobias so even in my disappointment, I didn’t comment. I did hand him the shovel and begin taking photos of the visitor. My husband is not happy with me at this point telling me not to get too close. To which I showed him my camera and the long lens allowing me to take photos from a distance. After a few shots he told me that was enough I needed to scare the snake off as it was getting angry. I could tell that by the way it was imitating a rattlesnake. I took the shovel from my husband and proceeded to attempt to scare said snake away. I did manage to scare it, right under my house. There was a paper thin opening between the air conditioning unit and the foundation of the house and Mr. Black Snake slid right in there. My husband was not happy.
Going back inside the house after turning off the gas, he began the process of disconnecting the old unit. He tried to attach a hose to drain it, that didn’t work and the floor was soon our very own indoor pool. Reaching for the mop and bucket we managed to clean that up.  Let me interject here that our enclosed back porch is one of the areas of the house that tends to catch things. Tool boxes, extra blankets and jackets. The chest type freezer is out there as well as the washer and drier. The hot water heater obviously along with untold numbers of various other items that found their way there. This makes for tight quarters.
At this point my husband stopped and again decided that the replacement unit had to be at least on the front porch. He and James went once again to attempt to move it only to be reminded of how heavy that thing was. Failing in their attempt to carry it by brute strength James went to borrow a pair of hand trucks from my brother while my husband and I made our first trip to a local handy dandy home and garden center. He had a list of items that he needed. Some sealant, some kind of  fittings and clamps for our broken flag pole which had nothing to do with the hot water heater. I have yet to figure out why those couldn’t wait. Home again, James had the hand trucks waiting. My husband went inside and James and I moved the heater. This was a challenge as we didn’t have any straps and the unit being of course round wanted to roll right off the trucks. Finally managing to get the unit onto the porch I head into the house for the first cup of coffee that I wouldn’t get to drink. As my son and husband began attempting to relocate the old unit from its personal closest to the front porch. Getting it off the porch wasn’t so difficult, getting it out of the kitchen was not as easy. The space between the counter and the aquarium that was home to dog treats being very close. Ripping some of the insulation away it slipped through. Once out on the porch they began  removing fittings from the top of the old unit. As I prepared that cup of coffee I heard my husband tell James to be careful. He did not however specify as to why, so James in his attempt to remove the fitting, put deep grooves in the threads. It was then my husband informed James that he had intended to use the fittings on the replacement unit. This of course meant that we were on our second trip to the handy dandy home and garden center. Setting my untouched coffee on the counter I picked up my bag and keys.
With this place being relatively close by it didn’t take long to get there. While he went in to find what he needed I took advantage to proximity of  nearby gas pumps and prepared for what I knew was coming. Many trips back to this place. Pulling around I parked and went in search of my husband. Finding him and seeing that he had what he wanted we proceeded to go and purchase his acquisitions and make our way home again.
  The replacement unit was not as big around but it was taller. I had commented on that fact and my husband in his wisdom informed me that he had room in the pipe at home to work with. The unit was much easier to get into the little insulated closet, so I moved back to make another attempt at a cup of coffee. As I heated the water I heard this horrible sound come from my husband. “uh, oh”
 The pipes that he had, would not work. That and the fact that he needed three quarter elbows. I didn’t even know that quarters had elbows. Setting the cup down I reached for my bag and keys which I had dropped close by. I then moved toward the door waiting.
 Back at the home center once more he searched for quarter elbows while I wandered out into the garden center. I wandered out again with more clearance flowers as he discovered that they did not have what he wanted. He found the box, but it was empty. I made a vain attempt to help him but even as I showed him another box with the tag 3/4 and the photo of elbows that wasn’t it. They were too big. When I asked him how they were too big he reminded me that he was searching for three quarter not that…but honey, that IS three quarter..At that moment an employee of the center walked up and asked if we were finding everything okay. I shrugged and motioned toward my husband. The employee tried to help but in the end slipped off to assist someone who wasn’t so determined in a quest for something they didn’t have. He did take a substitute that he thought he could get to work along with the longer piping.
 Home again, I tried once more to get that cup of coffee as James attempted to help  his dad. Two sips in and I heard the now familiar “uh oh” What he had purchased, would not work. The leaking was a dead give away. Knowing that the store we had already been to three times did not have what he wanted I suggested we try and different location. Back in the car we head toward the alternate home center. As I neared my turn off my husband began to argue with me over where the store was located. He finally shrugged and made a disparaging comment about my sense of direction or rather lack of. I smiled just a bit when we pulled into the parking area of the store. My husband said nothing and was out of the car before I had come to a complete stop. Once parked I headed off to find him. This store was huge and backward from the way the other was laid out. Finally finding him, I noticed his smile. They had the parts he needed. He purchased two and some different glue and we were back in the car headed home.
Here my memory is fuzzy. It has to be because of the lack of coffee. For some reason either what he had wasn’t working or he didn’t get enough, or there was something or other else that he needed. For what ever reason, we were back in the car and headed back to the second home center.  Parking, entering the store and purchasing the items he went for we were quickly back in the car and headed back home. By this time……it was five thirty and his daughter would soon be on her way and not only did I not have hot water. I didn’t have any water and I had not been able to do any of the cleaning I had planned on.
Back at the house my husband begins the process of finishing putting the replacement unit in place securely and hooked up. And then, fun- fun- fun began.                                                to be continued

About rebecca s revels

A writer, a photographer, a cancer survivor. An adventurer of the mild kind, a lover of the simple pleasures such as long walks and chocolate. A Christian unashamed of my faith and a friend who is dependable and will encourage readily. Author of three self published books with more waiting to find their way to paper. An advocate of good things, a fighter against wrongs.
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2 Responses to A Memorial Day like none other

  1. Kim says:

    Love it he sounds just like my husband. I have all repairmen on sleeddizl.

  2. Kim says:

    * speed dial too.

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