Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oy, What a Night/Day!

We've had a crazy of days around here.

A few weeks ago, after a very heavy rain, we noticed water in the basement. It disappeared quickly and hadn't returned, so we figured it was a one-off thing.

Then we realized that there was still a bit under the hot water heater, so it must be leaking. Not good, but better than the foundation.

On Thursday, Shrike asked one of the guys at work about it, and he said that if it's leaking, it could blow up, so we should get it replaced as soon as possible. She called a plumber and lined him up for yesterday.

Yesterday morning, she got up and dealt with him, then woke me up around 10:30 to tell me that he'd gone to get the new water heater to install, and that it was going to cost around $600, and would have a six year warranty.

Well, I'd been looking online, and Home Depot has them for about $450 with a twelve year warranty, so I called to ask what's up with that.

The plumber's wife told me that the $600 included labor, but that her husband had just come in, and he told her that water heater we had was from Lowe's, and it had a lifetime warranty.

She said that it's hard to get them to honor the warranty if you're not the original owner (we're not) but that I could try calling the number on the phone.

Well, yeah. It's worth a call.

So, I did, and I didn't let on that I'm not the original owner, and they gave me a reference number to take to Lowe's, along with the old water heater, to get a replacement. For free.

(Turns out he'd told Shrike basically the same thing, but she came away with the impression that they almost certainly wouldn't honor the warranty, so didn't bother trying.)

A few calls to Lowe's later, and we learned that this model is no longer made, but that they'd replace it with a different brand.

So, the plumber came back and took out the old water heater, went to Lowe's, got a new one, had to pay $85 for an eleven year warranty on it (which doesn't seem right, but I'm scared to argue too much about warranty issues, since it probably shouldn't have been covered in the first place) and installed it.


Then, when Shrike got home from work, she and Peeper went down to look at it, and discovered that water was pouring out of the overflow pipe!

I moved a few things that were about to get wet, and called the plumber, to leave a message for him to call us first thing in the morning.

Oops. I guess that's also his home number, because I woke his wife up at 1 am!

She told me to shut off the water going into the heater, put a bucket under the pipe, and he'd come see about it today.

That meant that we, effectively, had no hot water for the evening. (We turned it back on to shower this morning, then back off).

Luckily, the diapers were already on the spin cycle of their hot wash, and just needed to do a cold rinse!

Because we both wanted hot showers this morning, we decided to skip Peeper's bath last night, then really fucked up her bedtime routine, all around.

She was wanting both of us at once, so Shrike suggested we just go hang out in the bed, and if she went on to sleep great, and if not, we could start with a bath.

So we read and nursed and did everything bedtimely and she wasn't going down. Shrike got her up and brushed her teeth, put on jammies, doubled her diaper, etc, and she still wasn't settling.

She would nurse for a while and be very quiet, and just about the time I was sure she was asleep, she'd start crying.

For some reason (the early wake-up, I'm guessing), I was incredible sleepy, so Shrike and Peeper got up and played for a while, and then she brought her back to nurse.

Again, I thought she was asleep, and then she was suddenly crying hysterically.

I got up and nursed her to sleep in the chair, and she woke up transferring back to bed.

Again with the hysterical crying.

Her poor little nose was all snotty and running, so I tried clearing it and that just made everything so much worse, because now she was also pissed off.

Understandably, I was none too happy about the situation either, but that's no excuse for my behavior.

This is the point where I acted like a general, all-around jackass to everyone, threw snot suckers across the bedroom, and slammed the back door.

(For the record, I wasn't slamming just to be slamming it, but because it was open, and we're being overtaken by fucking stink bugs. Of course, the slamming was not necessary. But it was much more satisfying than the snot suckers hitting the wall bulb first and quietly bouncing off. That is just infuriating. If I'm going to be an asshole and throw something, I want it to make some God damned noise when it hits the wall.)

I don't often behave like that, and I'm pretty much mortified by it, in retrospect.

I was just so frustrated, both at Peeper and for her. It was obvious that she was in some sort of distress (we're assuming it was the congestion) and I couldn't fix it, but the one thing I thought might help, she wouldn't even let me do.

On the one hand, I suppose that throwing and slamming things is a pretty harmless outlet for that frustration, but on the other hand, I just hate for Peeper to see me behave like that.

What the fuck kind of lesson is that for her?

I have already apologized to both her and Shrike privately (and on Twitter), and I'm doing so publicly, again. I'm very, very sorry that I was such an asshole last night.

After I calmed down a bit, I nursed Peeper back to sleep in the chair again, and this time we moved to the recliner where we slept the night.

Much to her credit, Shrike slept on the couch in the living room, as well.

I have no idea why. It can't have been as comfortable as the bed, and I can't imagine why she would've wanted to be near me.

Although, it occurs to me now that perhaps she was keeping an eye on me.

It was a bit after four when we got up the last time, and I'm guessing at least four thirty by the time we were asleep.

This morning, the phone rang around ten o'clock, and I figured it was the plumber. Nope, a fucking fundraising call.

Had we been in the bedroom, we wouldn't have heard it ring, but since we were in the living room, we were all awake.

So, we got up and tried to get ourselves some breakfast, while dealing with a very sleepy, whiney baby.

At some point, I moved the diapers into the dryer. (Actually, that's not true. I discovered them half-way in the dryer, some still sitting on the open door, where they were when Shrike saw something shiny, I suppose.) I pushed the start button, and . . . nothing.

Not a damn thing.

Shrike checked the breaker, and still nothing.

She pulled both the washer and dryer out from the wall and vacuumed all the lint (and God knows what else) from behind them, and still nothing.

At some point during the vacuuming, Peeper and I retreated to the office, where she nursed back to sleep (yay!).

We were talking about taking the diapers over to Shrike's parents' house to dry, and were dreading the thought of a new dryer (at least the hot water heater was warranteed!) when she disappeared in the direction of the laundry room.

From my perch in front of the computer, I could swear I heard the hum of the dryer, but I was afraid that I was imagining it, until she came back to report that it was fine.

It seems that when she checked it the first time, she just located it, went "flip-flip" (as you do) and tested the dryer again.

She decided to check the breaker one more time, and this time she saw that it was turned off. Not tripped, but off.

As it was when she checked it the first time, evidently. So, when she went "flip-flip" she had turned it on and back off.

This time, she just went "flip" and now the dryer is working fine.

I know that the plumbers had turned off the breaker going to the hot water heater, and I guess they turned off the dryer, too, but didn't turn that one back on.

Meanwhile, the plumber's wife had called and we made arrangements to leave a key under the mat for him (Anonymama, you did not read that) to come in and fix it while we are gone this afternoon, to a first birthday party for one of Peeper's friends. (The baby that we met at the grocery store.)

So, diapers drying, Shrike went back to bed, and I continued to do whatever it is that I do in front of the computer, while Peeper finished her interupted night of sleep.

After a while, I happened to glance at the clock and notice that it's 12:15, and we're supposed to be at the birthday party at 1 pm!

Oh shit!

I put Peeper (still asleep) in bed with Shrike, and ascertained that she wasn't going to the party, because she had to leave for work by 2 pm anyway (or earlier, given the location of the party).

I went to the basement and turned on the water to the water heater, showered and dressed, then got Peeper up and dressed.

Of course, it's suddenly decided to be cold and rainy outside, and the party was at a park, so I dressed her in the warmest (that's not saying much) outfit she owns that fits, and figured that if she seemed too cold, I'd wear her, and she'd have an extra couple of layers of fabric, as well as body heat.

We headed out to the car as Shrike was getting up and getting in the shower to get ready for work. I got Peeper strapped in and drove off.

About a block from home, I happened to be adjusting my bra strap when I realized that I'd not put on a tanktop. I knew Peeper would be nursing at some point during the party, and figured my belly would be hanging out if I didn't have a tank, so I turned around at the corner, and grabbed my cellphone to call Shrike, and ask her to come out and watch Peeper while I ran in to change.

First, I called her cell phone, which I realized she wouldn't hear, then I called the home phone and got voicemail there, too.

I passed the mailman on my way back, and when I got to the house, he pulled up to our driveway and had a package for us.

I went to him and got the package, then, keeping one eye on Peeper in the car, went to the door and yelled for Shrike. No response.

I went back to the car, and got Peeper and her carseat (Holy crap! I can't believe people carry babies around in these things! That's fucking heavy!) and went in the house.

Of course, I heard the shower running, and understood why Shrike hadn't answered. But I was still pissed off about it.

Shirt off, tank on, shirt on, and I grabbed Peeper to leave.

By then, one of the dogs had pushed the bathroom door open, so Shrike heard us and asked what was wrong. I explained, then apologized, again, for being a jackass, again, because of course, how could she hear me, and how is it her fault, so why am I yelling at her about it?

Back in the car, and to the party.

Which, despite being cold and drizzly, was actually quite nice. I didn't know anyone but the birthday boy and his moms, but they introduced us to another baby and her parents, so I visited with them for a bit. I also talked to a few other people, mostly answering questions about Peeper, as usual. One very nice couple took a couple of photos of us, which I'll post momentarily.

We were under a pavilion and they'd built a fire in the grill, which was very nice. Whenever we got too chilly, we just went and warmed up by the fire for a bit. Peeper was pretty fascinated by the fire, so I was quite thankful that she's not independently mobile yet!

Earlier, Shrike and I had discussed whether or not to let Peeper have any birthday cake.

On the one hand, we are testing the dairy again (Update: I had mac and cheese on Thursday evening, Peeper had a big poop last night and her butt looks great, not red at all!), and specifically hoping that she's okay to have regular cake at her party in a month. On the same, pro-cake hand, part of the "concept" of baby-led weaning is that the kid eats "regular" food along with the grownups, so it didn't seem fair if I had some and she didn't.

On the anti-cake hand, it's a lot of sugar and - probably the biggest factor for me, because well, because I'm me - there's a part of me that kind of wanted her first taste of birthday cake to be at her first birthday party.

But, we decided that I would have a small piece (I would not have, if we were not testing the dairy or if she'd shown a reaction from the mac and cheese) and that she could have a tiny bit.

As it turned out, she was nursing and almost asleep with the singing and caking began, and when we got our piece, she wasn't interested, she just wanted to nurse some more.

So, I got to have my cake and put hers off for a month, too!

Peeper's morning nap must have done her a world of good, because she was in a great mood for the party. She nursed / almost napped a couple of times, but without getting grumpy first.

We got home around 3 pm. She'd fallen asleep in the car, and at 5:30 6:00 pm, she's still sleeping in my lap, just now stirring a bit.

When we got home, it didn't seem that the plumber had been here (I'd told him to leave the key on the dining table, and I didn't see it there), so I was worried he'd wake Peeper up when he arrived, but around 5:30, his wife called.

She said that since it's a Lowe's heater, not one they sell, he will have to charge us for the time to come look at it, and it would be overtime if he comes on the weekend, so she suggested that we just "baby it along" (turn it on when we need it, off when we don't, leave the bucket there to catch any overflow) until Monday.

I'm not thrilled about that, but I agreed to wait until then.

The more I think about it, though, the more I think we ought to argue with them about paying for this second trip, because even if it's not something that you can know about until the pressure builds up (that's what she said) it still should be his responsibility to intall it correctly the first time - or Lowe's fault for selling us a faulty heater. In that case, I think they ought to pay for his second trip.

Not that I think he did this, but it seems to me that it would be pretty fucking simple to leave something just a bit loose when you install it, requiring a second trip out to fix it, and a second service charge.

So, to summarize:

  • The new hot water heater cost $85, not $450 (plus labor).
  • The dryer is fine, and always was.
  • The wakey, crying baby only has a cold and is almost over it and is now asleep.
  • Despite being a total jerk last night, I still seem to be married. Well, "married."
I guess it's not so bad, after all.


  1. We've had a few less than stellar moments in front of our kids too. I'm also a slam and throw things around when I'm mad person. You had quite a day. Hopefully karma won't throw any more your way any time soon.

  2. We all have frustrations as parents, and we all sometimes vent in ways we wish we hadn't. Our kids eventually find out we're not perfect. But Peeper is very young and won't remember you throwing the snot sucker, or slamming the door.

  3. I am glad to hear the forays into dairy are going well so far. I was glad when BB grew out of it. We are hoping she does too! What is birthday cake without ice cream? Wishing you the best.

  4. You forgot to put in there that Big Galoot was not in the back yard this a.m. (they would not come back in again or they got me up sometime, I do not remember which — they love being outside) when PerfectPup started whining at me which made me very suspicious. I was getting dressed to go look for him when he was outside the front door waiting to be let in. Thank goodness for that. I can live with a new water heater and dryer. I cannot live without Big Galoot. Anyway, hmmm, who else does Peeper know who sets this stellar example for her :-)? I guess she will realize sooner than most that we're not perfect, and then she won't have to be a perfectionist, so we served our purpose. I was not keeping an eye on you, I was being there in case I was needed, for moral support.


What say you?