Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This, that, and Bessy.

Meet Bessy, who may or may not be a steer, and therefore inappropriately named. My husband and son weren't able to ascertain a gender, they were just busy trying to keep Bessy from turning herself (?) into steak right before their eyes.

This picture was taken up at Taylor Reservoir in the Colorado high country. As was the (rather giant, hopefully I'll be able to figure out how to downsize it) header picture. Last week my husband and son went fishing for four days up at Taylor, and arrived home, happy, exhausted, indescribably dirty and triumphant. They were really grateful to be able to grab hot showers, and I was oddly proud that they were able to. More on that in a moment.

Bessy, the hapless bovine, broke into the campgrounds by hopping a nearby fence, and then went on walkabout. Bessy was absolutely fascinated by the disused campfires, and went rooting around in the ashes, happy as could be. When she arrived at my husband and son's fire, she stood and studied the flames leaping out of the fire-pit in use and then quite simply decided to go for it. Much yelling and arm waving ensued as my husband and son tried to keep Bessy from a spot of self-immolation she seemed to find fitting.

My husband and son concluded that they did not miss their calling as cowhands. Bessy proved to have a self-destructive streak, and they flapped at her desperately. After some singeing she was persuaded to go on her way.

Meanwhile back at the homestead the water heater mysteriously stopped working, and so did the brand new Electrolux clothes washing machine. By now I am an old hand at dealing with puzzling breakdowns, and both were handled quickly. The pilot light had put itself out for no apparent reason, but was eventually persuaded that yes, it could actually work. The washer turned out to have an improperly connected wire that seemed to be a factory oversight. It was jiggled loose, but now it is firmly secured. It was under warranty, so that was just a little bit of inconvenience and nothing more.

I had to call in service people for both, although I gave lighting the pilot light on the water heater ye olde college try. Luckily it wasn't any problem with my technique, it was that the former owners never met a bolt they failed to strip. I was dealing with a shut off/turn on valve that had given up the ghost entirely and required some heavy-duty persuasion with a wrench, and a blow torch, alarmingly enough.

The plumbers decided I was a good egg, and basically decided to fore go charging me for the emergency lighting ceremony. This probably has to do with the fact that I kept making them laugh, and also that eventually the part will need to be replaced. I promised to throw the business their way when the wrench and propane trick stops working.

Not often, but sometimes small misfortunes can come in such a wave that they cease to be distressing, and move swiftly into the funny category. When I turned on the hot water and was instead greeted by a chilly stream, I honestly did laugh. What karmic god of house appliance failure had I ticked off? I'm not sure, but sometimes it actually feels good to simply field a problem, find the solution and move on to the next. It's like the universe testing your capabilities.

It probably didn't hurt that in the last two weeks I've made time to get back to my work out regime, and therefore am well stocked with my longtime friend, the endorphin. The happy pills of the of the health maintenance system.

Instead of feeling put upon, I really did feel like the conquering hero of the piece. Plus, when my husband and son got home they were full of stories, including the tale of Bessy.

No matter what is going on in life, I try to take comfort in this: I likely have the wherewithal to actually solve a lot of the minor difficulties in life, and that's a serious boon. Don't get me wrong, there are serious problems in life, and sometimes upsetting circumstances. It's just most aren't. At least for me, at the present time, may that continue.

Sometimes difficulties are just a way to prove to yourself that you can figure out how to take care of things on your own. Like with the two running toilets that my husband hadn't had a chance to tackle (he was in favor of calling in a plumber), while my family was off fishing, I did a rather inelegant thing. I grabbed a set of screw drivers, and hit the two bathrooms with the running toilets. I took the lid off, studied the tower mechanism, flushed several times and watched the proceedings in the tank. Then I fixed the bleeding things. A couple of turns of a screw, one to tighten for one commode, the other to loosen, and that was that.

I've learned how to light the hot water heater with a torch (I do have a propane torch) and what wrench to use to do so, so if (when?) it happens again, I'll know how to handle that.

Fwup, my pigeon friend has moved on. I know! I realized that I was enjoying some decided peace and quiet in my office, the next day I noted it again. Fwup has left the building.

Basically, just saying I'm grateful to feel capable, even when things go wrong.

I'm also grateful not to be Bessy. Most things are fixable when you have sense and reason. Or in the case of Fwup, patience enough to wait it out.

I'm sure I'm tempting something in the universe as I type, and that eventually you'll hear from me, perched atop the smoldering pile of rubble that was once my home but for right now? Life is a pretty good deal, even when things go wrong.

Plus, I know not to stick my face into a fire, so I've got that going for me, too.


Kathryn said...

You go girl! If i was missing hot water i'm not sure i'd even know where to look! Well, i know WHERE the water heater is . . . but !

I do enjoy reading your adventures. I can see why you kept the repair men in stitches! :)

Land of shimp said...

Thank you, Kathryn, what a kind thing to say :-)

By the way, just in case you ever need to know, there are instructions for how to light the pilot light on most hot water heaters (ones from the last fifteen years, at least). So if your hot water heater ever goes out? Read it, and it may guide you to an easy solution :-)

Most just require you to hold down a red button that provides a spark, but some need to be lit with a match.

A human kind of human said...

I just love your posts about your adventures in your new house. I have often relocated in my life (my husband was in the SA Navy) and your stories bring back so many happy (now but not always at the time) memories. I am sitting here chuckling away at "our" New House Adventures.

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