Leaky Water Heater

6/2/2008

 

Have you ever been on the cusp of starting a new venture in your life, and things start happening that delay the project from beginning?   Well, that’s what happened to me!  I have been asked to start a blog through my work, at Oregon Health and Sciences University(OhSU).  I am going to be writing about my unique life. Plus, monitoring other blogs, and eventually hosting on-line chats.   I thought cool, I love to write, especially what I know best, myself!   This is something that I can totally take on and fly with. 

 

I had no idea when I was being offered this incredible opportunity that my life outside of work was going to resemble a rollercoaster ride.  If you have not read my previous blog entries, they  will help you understand that the craziness did not begin with the water heater!  

 

My sister first found the problem on a Sunday morning, when she stepped into my pantry to grab something.  I heard her mumbling something that I had a problem, but it didn’t register in my brain until I was fully alert!  I had a leaky something!  We both figured it had to be the water heater!

 

It was not a gushing river leak, it was the kind of irritant  leak that you clean up and a few hours later you would have to sop up again.  The landlord was called, the soonest the maintenance man could come was the next morning.  Why does it seem like everything breaks down on Sundays.  Well, I guess  since Sunday’s are meant for rest, everything should be able to kick back,  even water heaters!   

 

On Monday, when the maintenance man  came, he asked me if I was absolutely positive that the leak was coming from the water heater.  I said no that I wasn’t sure.  It was stupid of me to say that, because after a quick assessment of feeling the dry tray underneath the water heater, he proclaimed the problem was my washer.  My just barely two year old washer.  I estimated the water heater to be around thirty years old.  You do the math!

 

On Tuesday the maintenance dude was called back to my apartment twice.   A different personal assistant  delt with the man, I “accidentally” forgot to mention  that he had already confidently placed the blame on the washer.  My brilliant plan backfired: he didn’t reconsider his diagnosis.   He told her that I needed to get a repairman to fix it.  However, he graciously helped her to clean up the mess.  Three hours later she had him come back to shut the water off from the washer, and completely disconnect all the hoses and unplug it  from the electricity. 

 

Then I had my brother come and haul the then dent free washer away.  I heard Paul outside trying to be a muscle man and heft the washer on to his pickup alone.  He sure made an awful bang, crash, banging racket for a good twenty minutes!  I felt so bad for him, because he had no one to help him.  I wanted to run out and help, but of course, I couldn’t. The washer will forever bear the battle scars from the water  heater bungle. 

 

Surprise!  Even though the washer had been removed from my apartment, the problem hadn’t gone away!  Wednesday morning I found, not only my pantry floor soaked again, but the water had seeped underneath a wall and saturated the rug in my hallway!   This time when the maintenance dude came, he had no choice but to admit the problem was with the water heater!  I felt so vindicated!  Still the management hemmed and hawwed over whether or not they needed to give me a new water heater.  Can you believe that? 

 

Next came three days of repair work to my apartment.  The first repairman was a plumber.  He took only seconds to locate the leak  and fix it.  The problem was a  hose on top of the water heater, which was trickling down behind it; completely bypassing the trustworthy tray!  See, not even water heaters can break the way they are suppose to.  That is the coolest thing about life; nothing is ever as predictable as we think it should be!     

 

I was looking forward to Thursday! I had a meeting scheduled with Rob, my supervisor; he was going to train me to use the program that I am composing my blog on. However, I needed to cancel the training session, because someone had to be here to let the repairmen in whenever they decided to show up! It is needless to say that I was not happy giving up the two days I had things planned; the day before I could not  attend my writing group for the “two second” plumber! There is an upside to this hassle, I got a new water heater. I now have luxurious and constantly hot showers!

 

I was starting to get a bad cough while the mayhem was happening in my home.  It was a deep chest cough.  You know, the cough where you wonder if you might throw up a lung!  By that weekend, I was feeling absolutely miserable!  I am glad I made a doctors appointment for the following Tuesday, because by then I was coughing so constantly, I was physically  exhausted.   I only wanted to sleep, but I couldn’t get much rest.  The doctor gave me medication to combat bronchitis.  Although the doctor said I would be feeling better by that Thursday, it took me nearly a week longer to recover and stop having the wretched coughing fits.  Which was okay, because by then Rob had become sick as well!  He tried pinning the blame on me for his illness.  However, the last  I knew you can’t spread human viruses via e-mail. 

 

Finally, we were both well enough to meet in  person.  The morning we were going to meet, I got out of bed and turned on my monitor.  The computer was already on; I use it as white noise to drown out my noisy neighbors.  The monitor stayed a blank screen even after I moved the mouse around, which in my morning state of mind was not a good start to the day!  No matter how much I jiggled and wiggled the mouse around, the screen remained midnight black, even though the on switch was lit up. 

 

I immediately thought, oh great, now my monitor is throwing up another roadblock to my new job!  I can’t afford to buy a new screen!  I did the only thing I could think of: I rebooted the computer from the tower.  I did not get the outcome I was looking for!  On a whim,  I had my personal assistant flick off and on the power strip to my computer and monitor.  I know that’s a big no no, but I didn’t see any other options.  It worked!  The screen flashed brightly on.  I was back in business, or so I thought. 

 

The strangest thing started happening next. When I went to type, a random gobbledygook mess appeared. No matter what I tried doing, I couldn’t gain control of my computer. You need to see the whole picture to understand what was happening. I am not using a regular computer keyboard to type this blog, instead I use my communication device. It works through an inferred system. It is placed in front of my computer, and then I can type whole words or phrases by hitting one, two or three keys at a time.  The words then magically appear on my computer monitor via an inferred transmitting box. Since I have started using my communication device as my keyboard, I rarely use the regular board! Who could blame me? When I used the standard keyboard it would take me all day to type three or four paragraphs, whereas I can compose a page in about two hours, when I am in the writing zone! 

 

So, getting back to my malfunctioning equipment. On that early morning, I did not have time to figure out the problem. My ride to work was due in an hour, and I wanted to eat breakfast before I left. After all the failed attempts at meeting, I just wanted to send Rob a quick e-mail to say that I had managed to get a ride to work, and when I would be there. Finally I pushed my Augmentative and Assistive Communication  (AAC) device aside, and used the medieval standard keypad.   Saving me some precious minutes, in ALL CAPS I typed:

HI ROB, I WILL BE THERE AROUND TEN TODAY,  JAN

In e-mail terminology to use all caps, means you are shouting at the person receiving the e-mail. I made sure to explain the situation to Rob. Thankfully, he understood my frustrating morning!  I am happy to report that the rest of our meeting went well, of course it did, since I have just finished my third post!

Posted at 4:10 PM by useuraac@yahoo.com

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