FROM THE ARCHIVES: Cold showers, leaky roofs, falling trees and broken down cars. Or, why I'm counting my blessings this Thanksgiving

Editor's Note: Thought it might be fun to revisit posts from my old Wordpress blog. I'm bad at blogging regularly so I won't make any promises, but my plan is to recycle those old posts on Wednesdays. The following was originally published on November 24th, 2011.. 

My daughter and I were spending a lazy morning together this past Sunday when we heard a scream that sounded a little like a wounded animal.

Actually, it sounded a lot like a wounded animal. It alarmed me so much that I sat straight up in my chair wondering what could be happening.

My daughter, however, wasn't fazed. She looked away from the Disney Channel show she was watching, gave me a knowing grin and said, "Mom's in the shower."

I relaxed, sat back and, with the relief that comes with knowing what's going on, returned her smile.

On the other hand, my wife wasn't smiling at all.  She was wailing because she was forced to take a shower in water so cold that it left her hyperventilating.

Our water heater had gone on strike the previous evening and she was the first to face a shower without the warmth it provides.  I cringed with each shriek that signaled she had mustered the wherewithal to duck under what must have felt like water from the Arctic Ocean.

Later that day, my son came running up to me to announce the video game he had pre-ordered had arrived at the store. He wanted to go get it immediately (aided by my wallet, of course) but I asked him what he thought was more important – getting his video game or ensuring his mother had hot water.

I guess he can be excused for initially saying he wanted the game. He IS 13-years-old, after all and, up to now, he's never had to take a cold shower.

But after listening to him huff and puff his way through his first one later that evening, I asked him again which he preferred – the new video game or having hot water.

He'd changed his tune. There's nothing like the perspective changing power of a cold shower.

The water heater was just the latest thing to go wrong at my house this fall. If you've been following along you already know that we lost two of our Bradford Pear trees because of the snow that fell in October.

It took a few weeks to clean up the mess. But with a lot of help from a couple of my neighbors, our yard is now largely free of debris and I didn't have to pay anybody. Fate, though, conspired against me.  I had to plow the money I saved into a new water heater.  A plumber installed it earlier this week.

If uprooted trees and a broken down water heater weren't enough, even more went awry at my house this fall. Shortly after our trees fell, we discovered our roof had sprung a leak and was dripping rainwater in the breezeway leading to our garage. And then, my wife's car decided to get funky while she was driving to Morgantown. The problem left her stranded on the interstate for a couple of hours before a tow truck driver arrived to save the day.

This string of unfortunate events has been like a plague on us this fall. But it's also given us a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Our yard no longer looks like a bomb went off in it, the leaky roof and my wife's car are fixed and we have hot water, again.

As far as I'm concerned, though, if all I have to deal with is a little bit of snow, winter can't arrive soon enough.  However, I'm keeping a close eye on our heat pump.


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