Sunday, January 15, 2012

Stephanie: 1, Universe: 1

2012 was poised to begin with a bang for me.

The very first week of 2012 I had 3 hearings scheduled, a play date to be hosted, and 3 days prior to the new year my car, which had recently had work done, without warning nearly stranded me.

Amazingly, these things all took care of themselves.

The car that nearly stranded me held it together long enough so that I could make it home without having it towed.  Further, I managed to make it 25 miles away to my parents' house the following day so that my dad was able to fix the problem with a $4 part.  Yes, FOUR DOLLARS.  I was ecstatic considering the way the car was acting it seemed like a lot more than a $4 issue!  After replacing that part, my car was running perfectly again.  Win!

I had hearings scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  Tuesday's hearing was rescheduled.  Following a 10 minute phone call with my client, Wednesday's hearing was cancelled as they decided to withdraw their appeal.  Then, I got notice that Thursday's hearing had also been withdrawn, this time by the opposing party.  Not only did my calendar open up, but I got to bill full price for 2/3 cases.  WIN!

My calendar opening up led to me having much more time than I had previously anticipated to clean and prepare for our play date, which went off without a hitch.  More winning!

I completed the first week of 2012 feeling quite smug and hoping this was a sign that this year was going to be great!

Not so fast.

The second week of 2012 dawned with my car crapping out again.  AGAIN.  I honestly don't know if it's coincidental or related to the previous issue.  All I know is one minute it was driving fine (again) and the next, I was pulling over to the side of the road (again).  Luckily, after re-starting, things seemed to have improved and I was again headed out to my parents' house and made it the rest of the way without issue.  I arrived, let the car idle - fine.  Shut it off.  Turned it on again - fine, let it idle for a bit - fine.  Maybe it was a fluke?  Maybe?  (Not likely.)  My dad later turned it on and said he wasn't even able to keep it running at all at that point and had no idea what the problem was.  FABULOUS.  Somehow, I have a feeling this is not going to be a $4 fix.  I'd love to be proven wrong on that point though.

Same day: our sometimes working, sometimes not water heater chose to not work (again).

Next day: I can't find a special key that my dad gave me to make a copy of my car key with.  It's specific to my car and apparently not cheap to replace.  I SWEAR I knew right where that thing was.  Apparently not.

Monday dawned with a plumber visiting our house to (again) take a look at our (again) non-functional water heater. 

A note about this very frustrating situation: our water heater was put in as part of the purchase agreement when we bought our house 5 1/2 years ago.  It's only 5 1/2 years old and mostly still under warranty.  The last year has found us with an uncooperative water heater, which apparently only works when it feels like it. 

We've had to do far more work on it than a 5 1/2 year old water heater deserves.  The good part of that is the parts have all been under warranty.  The bad part is the labor is not.  Labor is expensive. 

In the last 6 months - 1 year we have sunk at least $500 (and multiple headaches) into this lovely piece of equipment.  Since then it works most of the time.  Until it doesn't.  And I can't tell you, after the number of service people we have had in our house, and the hundreds of dollars we've paid to have it fixed, how immeasurably frustrating it is to turn on the faucet only to find that we don't have hot water (again).  No one can tell us why it will go from a 6 month stint of zero issues to the pilot light not being able to stay lit after a single cycle.  So we spent two (more) days of lighting the darn pilot light 30 minutes prior to needing hot water (again).  ::bang head:: ::bang head:: ::bang head::

SO Mr. Plumber comes for another visit.  He re-lights the pilot light, he watches, he turns on the faucet, he runs some hot water, he waits.  It's staying lit now (of course it is!). 

As he's telling me he has no idea what the problem is and we'll just have to keep an eye on it (Stop me if you've heard this one before!  Okay, stop.  I've heard it.  Har. har. har. <-- not amused.) poof the light's out before the tank is finished heating.  Oh goody, this is new. 

Mr. Plumber looks concerned.  He tells me this is not good (I could have told him this).  He goes to check on things again.  He tells me the good news is, he knows what the problem is now!  The bad news is it's relatively expensive to fix!  Oh, yay. 

Mr. Plumber goes out to write up an estimate, he gets on the phone to figure out the deal-io with the part in question.  He comes back.  More good news:  the part is still covered by warranty (again, I mean really, in the 5 1/2 year life of this stupid water heater we have replaced every part except for the actual tank, which holds the water to heat it.), the bad news: the labor is not.  This fix will cost $350 for labor.  (&T^&*(()&^%^&09760-(*&^

I haven't been secretive about our hope to sell our house sometime before the end of this Eon.  What I haven't mentioned is there is another problem with this water heater (of course, it's the bane of our existence), something having to do with a pipe.  It is not fixable.  The only fix is to replace the whole thing.  (Have you gotten the impression that we just have bad luck with this?  Because we do.)  This problem is getting progressively worse.  How will we know when it MUST be replaced?  Simple.  That's when the pipe bursts and we end up with water gushing everywhere.  At least it'll be clear cut!

So I ask Mr. Plumber, "Mr. Plumber, how long do we have before said pipe bursts and we end up with water gushing everywhere?".  Mr. Plumber doesn't know and doesn't wish to make a guess.  Will it last at least a year?  Oh no.  No where near a year.  I can't give you an actual date or anything, but I think you're looking more at a couple of months max before the thing blows, more likely a few weeks.

So, here's what we're looking at first thing Monday morning: No hot water, plumber at the house, a water heater, which even if we patch it together is going to be a ticking time bomb. 

All things considered, we made the decision to go ahead and replace the whole. stupid. water. heater. rather than paying $350 to patch it up (again) and then end up with either something else wrong with it in a few weeks (which would anger me immensely!) or a burst pipe (this would also anger me, or it may push me over the edge into just losing my mind completely, in which case, I likely wouldn't care about this or anything!  Maybe a perk.  I'll place that in the "pro" column.).

$1200 later (don't worry, they gave use a little discount for being a repeat customer!!! :-/ ) we're the proud owners of a functional water heater.  For now, anyway.  If this one goes bad I'm just going to plan on heating water over an open fire in the backyard Little House in the Prairie-style and totally renounce water heaters all together.

So, good news: working water heater.  Bad news: $1200 poorer.

Good news:  Water heater has been replaced, we won't need to do this shortly before selling our house.  Bad news:  We will never be able to afford to move because we just spent $1200 on a water heater!!!


Thankfully Monday was pretty much the low-point of the week.  I guess it's good that we hit the low-point early, right?  The week didn't really get better from there, but it didn't get much worse.  All of our remaining appliances seem to be working (at least for the moment).

Also on Monday (after spending all morning dealing with The Water Heater Episode) I had a conference call.  I baked bread (why?  I don't know.  SO not the day to do it.).  I parented an angry toddler who didn't want to nap.  I was over the week by the close of the day.

The rest of the week was also busy.

Tuesday:  Hearing and conference call, see Monday for toddler's state of mind.

Wednesday:  Two hearings, again, see Monday for toddler update.

Thursday:  Not so bad, I played catch up.  Monday's attitude still largely in effect for toddler.

Friday:  Going better.  Until afternoon hit and I started getting sick.  WHHHYYYYY?!?!?!?!!

Saturday:  Thank goodness Mark was home.  That's all I have to say.

So here I am.  I still seem to be fighting something off.  I'm really hoping I just wake up tomorrow feeling better because I really don't enjoy being sick.  Clearly I don't have time for it.

So, in conclusion...

Week 1 2012:  WIN!

Week 2 2012:  Lose :(

I think the message being sent to me by the Universe is clear: don't count your chicken before they've hatched.  One good week means nothing and 2012 will be full of plenty of ups and downs.

Let's all cross our fingers for a better week 3.

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