Monday, February 14th 2011
Sometimes I Need A Little Time Before I Can Tell You This Stuff

A few weeks ago I called Mike and asked him if he had happened to accidentally twinkle on the bathroom wall.

He said no.

But, then, was he REALLY going to say yes? Of course not. So I assured him it was absolutely fine if just this one time he had, but I really really needed to KNOW because it wasn’t the dog, the cat, and the kids weren’t home and maybe I needed to see if we were having water heater troubles.

“I’m REALLY sure I didn’t do that. Really!? Did I PEE ON A WALL?”

“Fine! Thanks! I’ll just go check the water heater.” We hung up. Mike had been home to pack, and was off to the airport. I went out to the garage that is on the other side of the bathroom.

I oh-so expertly looked at the water heaters. They looked fine. Well, as fine as they ever do, which is actually never fine around here. We’ve lived here 7 years and have had 4 all brand new water heaters die. I think the usual life expectancy of a water heater in this part of the country is 7-9 years. But not in this house.  We go through em like water.

I went back in the house and forgot about the whole thing. Mike went out and in and out of town and forgot about the whole thing. Or, possibly, decided discussing it with me was not really something he was interested in considering how his toileting skills had been called into question.

The water heaters ‘work together’ somehow, so it’s actually kinda hard to know when one of them stops working. There’s not a sudden absence of hot water. It’s more subtle than that.

I wasn’t looking for ‘subtle’ signs of water heater failure. I’d already half decided it was probably Mike after all (sorry, Mike) and then forgotten the whole thing as soon as I inspected for leaks and found none.

But a week went by, and there was snow, and it was crazy-cold.  I take an absurd number of almost boiling baths anyway, year round. Triple the usual number in times of inclement weather. If I’m not in front of the fireplace, I am self-braising in the bathroom.

So even with Mike gone again, there was a lot more hot water usage going on. One evening the kids came in, one by one, from playing in the snow. I sent them off, one by one, for a warm bath before dinner.

The water temperature is set so that it doesn’t get too hot on the kids’ side of the house. More boiling resources for me and none of the danger for them. So there’s no reason not to send a kid off to start his own bath. Even the littlest kid.

But a few minutes later, the littlest kid came out hopping on bright red feet and crying even though he normally won’t cry and he was BURNED. It was awful. I wrapped his little body in a towel and held him while he cried. Kissed his head and apologized and wondered what could have happened. When he stopped crying, I went to the bath and tried to recreate what had happened. But couldn’t.

Then Caden-6yr came in. He asked what happened to his brother, and I told him and asked him to be very careful. I didn’t think it could happen again – I had tried and couldn’t get the water to get that hot, after all. A few minutes later he came out hopping on bright red feet and crying and he was BURNED. And it was MORE awful because that’s some Seriously Good Mothering right there. I wrapped his little body in a towel and held him while he cried. Kissed, apologized, wondered what was up.

Ethan-10yr came in. I gave him a very serious rundown of the mysterious foot burning water issue and asked him to start the water off much colder than usual and be careful just in case. He was off to another bathroom though, and I thought we were safe. As if that makes any sense. Plumbing = connected.

How many children can one mother burn before she LEARNS?

Well. That depends.

How many children are in the home?


Then three is the correct answer!

So. That is how our most recent water heater died: by casting reasonable doubt on a man’s aim, by burning six childlike feet, and causing a lifetime of guilt to one mother who did not read the ‘not all that subtle’ signs that perhaps, you know, there was a big time problem.

It’s replaced.

The kids’ six feet are all fine.

I have no idea how the water heater going on strike and breaking can override temperature settings or why there was a small puddle a week before. This water heater broke all the rules, went all nutso and went out in a vengeful blaze of water heater glory.

Good riddance.


5 Comments on “Sometimes I Need A Little Time Before I Can Tell You This Stuff”

February 15th, 2011
8:01 pm

Here is my hotwater heater story. God was protecting your little ones (In the link I am Bondservant telling the story)

It was shocking to say the least….

February 16th, 2011
8:05 pm

GEEZ, Melissa! I’m so happy you and the family survived that?!! I sent you that email last night before falling asleep wondering what that link would have held, and all day was SOOOO curious, but never could have expected that particular story…!?

February 17th, 2011
10:46 am

Quiet possibly the freakiest thing to happen to me…

February 19th, 2011
9:21 pm

Only you could take an event like that and turn it into a delightful mystery story. I’m glad they weren’t seriously hurt. And I wouldn’t have connected those dots either. Did you ever figure out how it was burning them?
MIchele recently posted..Chickens!

February 20th, 2011
1:03 pm

No…. I have no idea. I’m just relieved it’s all fixed!

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