I know why this guy is smiling.

I had to be at the office at 8:00 AM on Monday. I know it’s lame, but for me, this is an epic event. I had a great reason to be at the office at 8:00 so I was actually really excited when my alarm went off at 5:30 AM on Monday morning.

I bounced (rolled) straight out of bed (after a couple of snoozes) and headed straight for (stumbled to) the shower.

And then it happened.

There was no hot water.

Alek looked so so peaceful all snuggled up under the covers, but this was some straight up manly business so I softly kissed (gently poked while dripping cold water all over the place) him awake.

As we stared at the pool of water at the bottom of the water heater and the rusted pipe with a little stream of water spraying crazily up in the air I recalled the very serious warning of the home inspector when I bought The Chocolate Loft:

“That water heater is going to need to be replaced. I give it 5 years MAX, but that’s a stretch.” 

I file this statement away under “Future Natalie’s Problems.”

That was about 4 years ago.

Back in the present day I am hitting the window where if I don’t shower I’m not going to make it to the office on time. So I suck it up and take a cold shower and pull my hair up into a top bun.

Now, I hate cold showers. I hate them SOOOOOO much. Honestly, it’s one of my most hated things ever. Ever. EVER. But I’m an adult who is trying to be an awesome (decent) person and I know that I can’t let this ruin my whole day. I make the weather, right?

So, I chalk up all of the benefits of the cold shower:
1. I am invigorated! (FREEZING!)
2. I now have proof that I can take a more than decent shower in less than 6 minutes! (Minus hair washing but there’s NO WAY I’m getting my hair wet!)
3. This is better for the environment (And my wallet! Right?)

..that’s all I can come up with.

Alek takes on the task of sorting out the hot water heater situation. Now Alek is a manly man, with manly ways, so before I leave for the office he is dressed and ready to go to Home Depot and already has all of the shrouding off of the water heater. Unfortunately, it’s not that kind of water heater. It’s connected to this huge circuit with a mess of wires that is attached to a bunch of heating coils that’s attached to a big ventilation system. As I stare at this complicated mess, I hear the home inspector’s voice again:

“And these things are EXPENSIVE.”

Alek spends the entire day exploring the wonderful world of plumbing contractors. We’ve been referred by our neighbors to a local company that has basically replaced all of the units in the building. This is our starting point at 7:00 AM. They tell Alek that they don’t maintain these types of units. Huh. After calling several more places, and several more plumbers he calls the first company back and mentions several customers of theirs that we know. They finally figure out that we need their COMMERCIAL business, not their home business. We get transferred and get an appointment for the next morning for them to come look at the hot water heater. The appointment costs $79.

Tuesday morning I decide that I need to be grateful. What is my problem? Do I know how lucky I am to have a roof over my head? To have water at all? To have my health, my husband, my family, my job, my life? I try to be grateful as the icy blast water literally takes my breath away. I really, truly try.

Alek calls around 2:00 with the estimate.

“Sock it to me,” I say.

“You ready??” He says.

“Sock it to me,” I say.


“Come again now?”


Ho-lee shit.

“They said that they’ll put the $79 fee towards the cost of the system though. So let’s see, that makes it $13,121.”

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA….oh, oh, hang on, hang on, I have to catch my breath….BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

I mean, seriously, what can we do? Go to plumber school? There is one company in the valley that does the units in this building. And remember the original Batman movie? With Michael Keaton and Kim Bassinger and Jack Nicholson as the Joker? Remember when the Joker puts some kind of chemical in all of the cosmetic products? And everyone starts to devolve into sloppy messes of their former selves with pimples and bad hair? Well, that’s pretty much what I look like.

So we schedule an appointment to have everything installed. 

I mean, $13,000 seems like A LOT, right? Like, RIDICULOUS. I am not feeling good about it at all. I see our summer holiday plans evaporating. Alek says he’s going to put a Harley Davidson sticker on the hot water heater, because that’s basically what this equates to. I envision a family photo with Alek and Me and Lucy and The Hot Water Heater. I wonder what people will think when we give them gift certificates for hot showers for Christmas.

We happened to have an HOA board meeting last night so I bring this jaw-dropping bid up. Three of the board members have had their furnaces replaced. All at a cost of ~$8,000. This is still expensive, but it seems more in the ballpark and it’s a hell of a lot better than $13,200.

We do some digging and the way it was described to Alek, the air conditioner was “on top of” the hot water heater/heater combo thingy so, as part of this whole deal it needed to be replaced too. Well, turns out, “on top of” meant ON THE ROOF OF THE BUILDING! Basically, it is a complete pain in the ass for them to reconfigure all of the duct work to connect the existing air conditioner to the new heater/water heater combo thingy. So while they’re at it with the duct work, why not replace the air conditioner too? Why not? BECAUSE IT’S FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS AND IT’S NOT BROKEN!!!

After a day of insane amounts of hot water heater related profanity, Alek and I look at each other and laugh and agree that it all really doesn’t matter. Hugs and Kisses! I’m not going to lie though, my great life lessons and gratitude are all but gone this morning, my 3rd day in a row with a cold shower as a wake-up call.

Day one of the installation is now over (yes, it takes two days). We know that life is fragile and we need to enjoy every moment. We have our health. We have each other. We have absolutely incredible families and friends and jobs. And now, we have m**therf***ing hot water.

P.S. Did I mention they offered 12 months same as cash? Well, we took it. Suze Orman would bitch slap me right now, but I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around an $8,000 hot water heater.

That’s future Natalie’s problem.

One response to I know why this guy is smiling.

  1. Anonymous

    Ahhhh, nat…thanks for making me feel better. I am having one of those days where I don’t exactly remember when I had a shower…I think it was friday, but it could have been Monday. I do not have plumbing and I get a little tired of going to friends houses. Jim made me a boiling shower outside just a few minutes ago and boy did it feel good. I was feeling sorry for myself and my present living conditions, but you just made me super happy that I don’t have a 13,000 or 8,000 water heater issue. And what a great attitude you both have…you’re right, it all really doesn’t matter. Thanks for the life lesson reminder.


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