Monday, December 08, 2008

Hot Water - An underappreciated utility

We added to the list of things we are thankful for last week. Hot water came to the top of the list after a few days of delay getting the gas hooked up to the water heater.

I found there are a few reasons why hot water is important:

1) Your dishwasher runs only from the hot water tap. Carol found it too much trouble to unload after all the dishes were already in there, so they just had to wait for hot water. Besides, washing dishes in the sink with cold water is not exactly easy either. Would be easy to heat a pot of water on the stove to make the sink water warm, right? Unless, of course, your stove is a gas stove like ours.

2) Hygiene. Showers and baths just aren't quite as needed when you know the water is cold. Lindsey decided to go to school early and shower to maintain her hygiene. I still wonder what the teachers must think about the girl who comes to school 30 minutes early just to shower. The authorities may be here to visit us soon, but at least we didn't post evidence like Nicole.

3) Post-traumatic Stress Disorder - After maintaining my minimal hygeine by showering at work after sham workouts, I decided to brave the shower on Thursday morning. As I splashed in the frigid water I had vivid flashbacks to mornings in Santo Tome, Argentina where I would pull a disc of ice off the top of an outdoor water basin to get a bucket of water to "shower" with in the little outhouse like enclosure in the backyard. The key was to get all the key areas just wet enough to soap, lather up good, then rinse with urgency and race back inside to the small space heater and blanket. If you were really fast you could do it with only mild hypothermia. This experience explains why we later rigged up 220 volt shower heads in our next apartment which regularly shocked us, but we found it an acceptable alternative.

4) The Ward Relief Society Progressive Dinner was at our house on Thursday night. You might, like me, think there are a lot of homes in the ward which are not under threat of having walls knocked in at any moment that might serve to host the Progressive Dinner this year. But apparently the Lord works in mysterious ways. Fortunately, we were the last stop and we only needed to fit 50 chairs in the living area (no small feat) and serve desert. Carol plead with David and the other workers and managed to get them to delay knocking in the wall from the garage until Friday morning. So aside from the 30 yard dumpster everyone had to shuffle around to get in the front door, it was like there was no construction at all. Plus all those people managed to create quite a bit of heat over the hour they were here--a free benefit that is appreciated when your furnace is also not operable. See-- didn't even need the hot water. . . .

5) Compassion - It must be an awful thing to have to work for the gas company and shut people's gas off in the middle of winter. It must really take a toll on the workers. When Carol called on Friday to make sure they were coming to hook up the gas, they told her they couldn't make it out until Monday or Tuesday. Carol says she told them, "that's just not going to work." (Add a persistent and persuasive wife to the list of things I'm grateful for.) Somehow she persuaded the gas workers and they found a way to squeeze hooking a gas meter up for a pregnant woman and her now slightly stinky family.

When Lindsey got home from school on Friday and found out the hot water was working she had the same reaction as if we said her homework was cancelled for a week and we were going on vacation to a waterpark. Maybe next November we'll turn off the water or power for a week.