I could write about the bizarre bullying/hazing/extortion incident/allegations with the Miami Dolphins and the player with the remarkable last name of Incognito--it will be some time before that guy goes incognito anywhere.
I could write about the mayor of Toronto who admits to smoking crack. There's a video. Why is this man not arrested yet? I know, I know--it's Canada, it's different, but surely the laws of Toronto do not allow for crack smoking.
I could write about the ways my yesterday wearied me, from the not being able to find my elementary school where I was supposed to start--finally--the Reading Pals program to the incredibly expensive pizza that wasn't as fabulous as the price would suggest. The good news is that the elementary school didn't expect me until next week, so there was no child sitting and wondering where I was and already feeling abandoned. The pizza was edible, and it's not the first or the last time that we'll pay too much for dinner.
No, let me focus on what's bringing me joy this week. We discovered that the cottage at the back of our new house property does have hot water.
You're probably saying, "Hot water? You're going to write a post about hot water?"
Let me explain. We bought the house with its separate cottage in July, and we've been doing a variety of home improvement projects. We've been focused on the cottage in the back. We knew it had hot water at some point, because there's a shower, and who puts in a cold-water only shower? But back in July, the hot water delivery system didn't seem to be functioning.
We've been on the lookout for where a hot water heater might have once been in the cottage, without luck. We tried to figure out the piping. It seemed that hot water had once gone to the cottage from the main house. But the shower had nothing but cold water when my spouse let it run. We asked other neighborhood people about their cottages.
My spouse had determined that we needed to put in a hot water heater. He was researching on-demand systems--more efficient to be sure, but requiring new plumbing and new wiring, and thus, more expensive.
In the meantime, he replaced the vanity/sink combo in the bathroom and reconnected the plumbing there. On Tuesday, I said, "Let's just try the hot water again." We turned on the shower--cold water again.
After a few minutes, I turned the water on at the sink. I turned the new fixture one way and then the other--wait, was that water slightly warmer?
I called my spouse over. He said, "It's warm, but not hot." But then it was hot.
However, the shower was still cold. So, I tried the oldest trick in the book. I turned the knob the other way. And voila! Hot water!!!
I know, I know. From a distance, it still makes no sense to be so ecstatic. But it was a problem that I just couldn't figure out; the relief of figuring out a problem that shouldn't be so thorny in the first place cannot be understated.
It's also about the money we're saving and the headache. Plumbing strikes fear into my heart, especially plumbing that requires soldering, which is not a skill set that anyone I know has. I have seen the damage that faulty plumbing can do. I have seen my husband turn into a snarling wreck of a human when the plumbing isn't going well. Now it seems we can avoid that.
And it's saving us time. We have a friend who will be moving into the cottage soon. Every project that we can cross off our list is a gift. And a huge project that's unexpectedly solved? Much delight.
Psychologists could probably offer all sorts of reasons to explain my mental state. Part of me does wonder how to duplicate this joy. Part of me thinks about the lessons for larger life.
When stymied for a solution, it doesn't hurt to try the obvious solution one more time, especially if it's a cheap solution. Why did the hot water work in November, when it didn't in July? Perhaps because it took awhile for the pipes to remember how to work. But pipes are inanimate objects, after all, so that's probably not it. Perhaps it was just a matter of turning the knob the other way and waiting for a minute. We're so used to getting hot water by turning the knob to the left--we never thought of turning the knob to the right--until we did, and it worked.
Turn the knob the other way--it seems like a metaphor for many things. It seems like a great slogan.
I like that the fix is simple and elegant. I like that it requires us to think outside the box--but not very far outside the box. Maybe just to open the box lid.
Turn the knob the other way. Perhaps I'll try to do that every day. No, that's too exhausting. But several times a week, I'd like to think about my life that way. What might change if I just turned the knob the other way?
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