Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mom visits Mi Casa

So my Mom was up this weekend from South Dakota. She had a quilting class in Sioux Falls which by Girl Math(tm) she technically only had 4 hours to drive to get to me instead of the original 8. We had absolutely NOTHING planned. Not one little thing. Which is rare for a group that traditionally has WAY too much planned.

Dinner with Tim & Eddy was fun. I got to watch Mom laugh perhaps too much at Betty Butterfield. Sometimes I just never know how those things are going to go over. It went over fabulously...so bonus on all accounts.

We shopped for fabric, went to Stillwater, ate Sushi, finished a lap quilt, sewed a valance for the bathroom and a door knob cozy. I still had to yell* at her to get her to leave. It's okay. She's used to it.

I stayed home to pre-clean and do laundry even though my Mom is the *last* person in the world that would care if my house was disorganized. I did like a bazillion loads of laundry. It's nice to not have piles around (don't let any of my family or co-workers know that I've made the above statement)!!

This morning, I hop in the tub thinking - it's Tuesday, I'm up early, I decide I'm going to soak. I haul my little space heater into the bathroom, turn on the heater and the hot water. The heater is cranking it's little heart out, and the hot water, after a minute or two well, it's not so hot. "Damn," I think, "I know I didn't turn the hot water heater down while my Mom was here." So I truck down the stairs and look at the hot water heater. The dial is on Warm. The water was no where near warm. So I crank it to hot and wait the prescribed 2 seconds it usually takes for the full flame of propane to kick in and start heating the 19 year old beast. Nothing. Deep breath in through the nose...no detectable smell of gas although I had thought that I smelled gas when I was down in the basement when Mom and I were up late on Saturday night. But today is Tuesday, and that was a few days ago... I sense trouble in Casa de Gringa.

So up the stairs I go to grab my favorite red flashlight and a box of matches and a lighter. It's at this point that you start thinking things like...if the basement was full of natural gas, the house would have blown off the foundation when I flipped the light switch, right? That's how it happens in movies and in those horrible Channel 4 stories. I flipped the switch before I headed down the steps and I'm still here, so that's fine, I'm fine. I read the 1950s instructions on the water heater. Remove door, remove door, turn knob, hold down button, insert lit match, hold down button, count to 60, let button go, turn knob, hope that between removal of first door and lighting match that face does not burn up and melt off whilst house is burning around me. The pilot light stayed lit upon button release, I cranked it back on to Warm, heard the familiar WHOOSH of natural gas igniting and thought, "Okay for now."

I felt accomplished. I still stood at the top of the basement stairs and did the kind of sniffing that a police dog does around the Amsterdam arrival gates at the MSP. The kind where you say, "Okay, I smell gas but am I smelling it because my face was just in the base of the water heater and I was lighting a pilot light or is my house slowly filling with natural gas?" More importantly...is this a sign of the end times for my beloved 19 year old water heater.

The water was still cold for a brief soap off and rinse this morning. The kind where you are more concerned about the fact that you might make yourself hyperventilate by intense breathing more so than any resulting trauma from freezing your nachos off.

Thank goodness nothing like that happened while Mom was here. I would have been embarrassed and potentially nerve wracked. More so if the damn thing hasn't stayed lit. Time to re-look at the ol' budget and start socking away the money for a water heater.

All in all, it'll be a good day if I come home, slide my key into the lock and don't smell gas or feel trepidation when flipping on the first light switch. Yippee for home ownership.

*Okay, it's a common occurrence, I know I shouldn't do it, she's my Mom. But she's also a dawdler & dinker type that would leave for home at Midnight if you let her. Love you! It only makes me angry because I know I do the same thing...so it shouldn't make me angry, I should be sympathetic.

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