Monday, January 2, 2012

Plans in hot water

One thing I have learned over and over since I have been ranching fulltime, never, ever plan your day. If you do plan your day, make sure changes to your plan won’t cause you too much heartache. Today was certainly one of those days and I am going to tell you the story of two hot water heaters in today’s blog post. For the first part of the story a bit of history is needed.

When Dad passed away suddenly and without any expectation in 2008 it meant very sudden changes for my family. It did not take long before I could see that I could not both continue to run the apple orchard and the ranch especially from 30 miles away. This meant we had to move into the house my Grandfather built in the early 1950’s and had been vacant for close to four years since his passing in 2004. There had been some plumbing that had broken the previous winter that ran through the attic and there were sheetrock ceiling parts all over the floor of the hallway and the only bathroom in the home. I hired a contractor to fix the pipes and the damaged ceiling. They completed the job and I cautiously turned on the master water valve. Things looked good that morning with no leaks so I went about my ranch duties of the day, I checked back that evening and things were still good so I went home confident. I returned the next morning to find the new ceiling on the floor and water everywhere as the plumbing had failed in a different section. Long story short we got things fixed, it stayed good for weeks and we installed some new carpet and linoleum in the old home and moved in that June.

The first night in the home I was awoken at 2 a.m. by my middle daughter Samantha, she said there was water all over in the hallway. I was livid thinking the plumbing had failed yet again. That was not the case, the pressure relief valve on the water heater had completely blown out of the top of the water heater and water was spraying everywhere. Luckily it had barely reached any carpet and the linoleum survived and I replaced the water heater with relative ease the next day especially considering I hate doing home improvement projects and know just enough about plumbing, electricity and gynecology to be dangerous.

This past summer we moved down the road to the home I came home from the hospital to after I was born and where I spent my first 18 years of life. This house is about the same age but since my Mom had lived here it was in much better condition. Since moving here things have been mostly good but the appliance demons have really had a heyday. We have replaced one refrigerator and a washing machine in the 6 months we have lived here.

Today I had a plan of fencing a cornfield with the help of Christine and Dakota. That plan quickly fell apart as Christine said for some reason the hot water was only lukewarm. Oh no problem I thought as I quickly found a tripped electrical breaker. I flipped the switch and an early Fourth of July fireworks show spewed from the hot water heater. Resigned to my fate for the day I took several deep breaths. Replacing this water heater would be a cinch considering my past experience. It was bad from the start because shutting off the water flow meant my claustrophobic ass had to crawl under the house into the crawlspace to shut off the water flow. I was doing pretty well until my knee crunched the skull of some long passed feline under the dark, wet, slimy confines of the crawlspace. After a 60 mile round trip to purchase a new water heater, 6 or 7 trips back under the house to open and close the water valve because of leaks I am planning a LONG hot shower tonight. By the way, not a single fence post was put in the ground today nor any wire strung but the beer I am drinking tonight tastes especially excellent. Hey on the bright side I could have been born 200 years ago and spent the day chopping wood for a stove to heat some water for a bath. Luckily I really did not have any plans today anyway!

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is Gray Rabbit brush aka Chrysothamnus nauseosus.

Today’s pictures are out with the old, in with the new, maybe tomorrow I can post some pictures of fence.

Today's YouTube video is Shooter Jennings, yes the son of my favorite Waylon Jennings, sings 4th of July as I was reminded this morning as sparks flew from my water heater!