06 May 2009

This Old Motherfucking House: Episode VII

Episode VII: Where's the Heat

It's been a while between TOMFH posts, in part because I apparently skipped the mother of all disasters. I realized this today, upon trying to figure out what episode I was on. (Had I known this was going to be a friggin' series, I'd have paid more attention to the numbering from the beginning.) Click the home.improvement tag for the big picture of my lovely abode.

Anyway, while cleaning up the series numbering, I realized I'd never even mentioned replacing the gutter that fell down in front of my garage door, let alone replacing the roof.

Yes, the roof.

 Last October I actually had to replace the entire roof. I'm sure you all can imagine the cost. I'm sure you can imagine my reaction to discovering the sound of steady dripping, one rainy night at 2am, as I crawled through the attic portal in my closet, juggling my flashlight, plastic buckets, and the wood planks that served as a makeshift crawlway to prevent me from falling between the rafters and crashing through my living room ceiling. Yes, it would've been one hell of a ranting, railing, TOMFH post, but apparently I was too traumatized to write about it.

So. Moving on.

Today's episode. The water heater stopped working.

Yesterday I was home sick. That's another thing -- looking back over my TOMFH series, I realized these things often happen while I am sick. Just one more way this house sticks it to me.

Anyway, a sick day seemed an opportune time to address my maddeningly slow internet, so I called the cable guy. Then I realized he'd have to get behind the TV cabinet. Seeing as there was enough dog hair back there to build another dog, I got out the vacuum. And promptly blew a fuse.

So when Male Offspring said the water wasn't very hot for his shower, I figured I'd blown the water heater fuse too. No biggie. We flipped the breaker switch, figured we'd be back in hot water by morning.

You know where this is going. It wasn't the fuse. Of course it wasn't.

It won't surprise you to know that my water heater, like my furnace, is located under the house. Of course it is. I crawled into the dark maw this morning, but couldn't actually get to the damn thing, due to to the expert job Teen Demon and I had done wrapping it in its own special "water heater blanket". So the damn brokeass thing is warm and cozy, while I am reduced to scrubbing my goosebumps in a cold shower.

No, I am not yet that desperate. I stink. You all know how I am about the cold.

So I am now "troubleshooting". The son remembered that the water had seemed unusually hot the last couple of days. Best case scenario, it overheated, tripping its auto shutoff dealy thing, and I just need to reset it. Those of you who are longtime TOMFH readers know that this most certainly will not be the case. Mid-level scenario, I will need to replace the thermostats, or possibly the elements. As with the oven, I think I can do this myself, although draining the thing will be a bitch, seeing as how it's in the crawl space, below ground level. Worst case scenario, I will waste my money on replacement elements, and after much aggravation, end up buying a whole new water heater, paying some guy with plumber's crack $5,000 an hour for installation, and crawling back under there to wrap the new heater in a new cozy insulation blanket. It's a given that no one will be available for install for at least three days, and I will freeze my ass off taking cold showers, because that's the way This Old Motherfucking House rolls.

If you don't hear from me, tell the authorities to look under the house.


  1. I think it is time you switched teams and hooked up with the dyke plumber until you can get the water heater fixed. It will be worth the switch!

  2. Sage: If only. Tried that with the whole pipe snaking thing. She doesn't do snakes and I'm outside of her service area. So to speak.

  3. oh this all sounds so familiar and makes me so glad we got rid of our old house. I am in total and utter sympathy with you.

    In our case it was watching shingles flapping in the wind and being ripped off exposing the 120 year old boards underneath. And the hot water heater thingy - well it just burst one Saturday morning, flooding the crawl space with boiling hot water, setting off the sump pump etc etc etc.

    I honestly think these old houses have an agenda!

  4. Is cutting a hole in the floor over the water heater an option? Maybe you could make a nice trap door or something. Might come in handy...

  5. Well crap......strangely, we have to replace ours too. We have done all of the fix-its we can and it is still not good. We have a 7 million gallon tank, electric, and Steve seems to think he and a buddy can replace it. We have shit for water...well water with a ton of iron in it .....and the thing is so filled with red stuff it is just plain nasty. Damm cowbell.....just sucks.

  6. The fun just never ends in Seattle, does it? Sorry to hear that TOMFH is once again eating all of your money. It really does make me happy I rent.

  7. I hate to say this dear but TOMFH need a new MFWater Heater. Coils, thermostat, whatever. It's fried. The good news is you can pick one up at HomoDepot or Lowe's have it delivered and THEN have a lesbian plumber come by and install it.

    Yeah it sucks, but such is the life of owning a house, or in your case a house owning you.

    Don't worry, the boyz on the east coast are sending good vibes your way.

  8. Oh, the image of you crawling in the dark, dank underbelly of the house, with spiders, and dirt, and mysterious skittering noises! With kids and houses the fun never stops, does it?

  9. With all the applainces broken around here..hmmm
    are your lot Fischer and paykel...please tll me NO NO NO! they are garbage

  10. Is it time to make that call?

  11. Never ends, does it? Hope the shoulder is better, if not you'd better be sending the boy under there because that's a really bad idea for you!!

  12. Is it time to call the cops and have them look under the house for you?

  13. [waves feebly]

    Another TOMFH post coming up...


I've got a fever ...