Monday, July 01, 2013

Back in Hot Water

For those who actually like me writing about my hot water heater, you're in luck!

Saturday morning, I was out watering and chastising my plants ("I just watered you. How can you be dry already? Are you hoarding water and selling it on the black market to the Evil Alien Vines? That would explain a lot.") when I noticed that the paving stones and patio near the water heater were wet. The same thing that had happened a couple of weeks ago and that I thought was fixed was happening AGAIN. I turned from berating the plants to berating the water heater (which was strangely ineffective, though it did make me feel better).

Mind you, it's been about six weeks since the ceiling of the water heater enclosure collapsed and the contractor said it needed to be fixed. It's been two weeks since the last group of contractors came out to see it to put in a bid and the door actually pulled out of the wall when they went to open it. So I sent a nice note to the HOA administrator begging to know when this work will be done and explaining my situation. Under other circumstances, I'd have just called a plumber and had the water heater replaced this morning, with minor inconvenience to me. But I don't want to get a new water heater installed in a cabinet that's rotted out and that doesn't even have a door on it, only to have it taken out and then reinstalled. I'm not even sure a plumber would be willing to install a new water heater in a setting that's so badly out of compliance with building codes. I also don't want to sink hundreds of dollars into repairing a water heater that will be replaced soon, if it can even be repaired. I may have included a joke about asking the board members when would be a good time for me to come over to use their showers, but I held back the nuclear option threat of sending photos to the city code compliance officers and getting back in touch with my college friend who's now the chief investigative reporter at one of the local TV stations (they just love to do HOAs behaving badly stories).

Fortunately, they called me first thing this morning to say they were escalating. One of the board members is a contractor, and he's going to come over today to take a look at the water heater for me, and then they hope to try to get the work done this week or early next week. Playing damsel in distress seems to have worked so far. I can get hot water briefly by turning the water supply to the water heater back on long enough to take a shower, then run out and turn it back off. It still leaks, but it's not a waterfall, and the enclosure's already ruined. The one time that will be an issue will be after dance on Tuesday night, when I really don't want to run out in the dark to play with the water heater. I may gut it up and take a cold shower. I washed dishes last night by heating water in the teakettle and using that to fill a washing sink and a rinsing sink. I'll just pretend I'm camping. If it's delayed to next week, I suppose I could go visit my parents for a few days, but I'm a little afraid of leaving the water heater unattended in case something goes horribly wrong, and I have lots of church stuff this weekend. Stay tuned for further tales of the Week Without Hot Water.

In other news, I finished the latest knitting project last night, a shawl/scarf for use in overly air conditioned environments, especially at science fiction conventions.

I don't know how well you can see the pattern in the photo, as it's fairly subtle. I look forward to people's reactions when they figure out what it is when I wear it. I still need to block it and do some finishing work. And since I know I will be asked, this is the pattern from Knitty Magazine. I used heavier yarn and bigger needles (size 6 US) than called for because a trial attempt found that knitting with the tiny needles hurts my hands (I'm not great with really fine motor control, one reason I have terrible handwriting), I had a hard time finding yarn that fine that wasn't wool, and I wanted it to be bigger to be more of a shawl than a scarf. I learned a lot of new techniques in order to make this, but I now feel a real sense of accomplishment. The next project will be a blanket for Project Linus, using the first yarn I got for this and decided was wrong and a pattern they were giving away at the store where I got the yarn. It involves cables, so there's more fun stuff to try. I've learned that my church has a knitting group that meets on Sunday afternoons at a local coffee shop, and I may look into that, but I'm not sure how much I want to turn a solitary pursuit into a social thing. It might be good occasionally to get help or to learn of new charity efforts I could knit for.

Meanwhile, I've got about 5,000 words written on the new book. I took the weekend off and hope to get back into it today, though I do want to spiff up my house if neighbors are going to be wandering through to look at my water heater.

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