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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on February 29th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 12, Issue 51 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 12, Issue 51

Not in hot water

Krider discovers the real meaning of a warranty

By ROB KRIDER

Last week, my Tuesday began like most Tuesdays do. I woke up a few minutes later than I should have. I did some snooze button math and decided that I still had enough time to take a quick shower as long as I used the speed limit as more of a guideline, rather than a hard rule, as I made my way to work rather “expeditiously.” Expeditiously is just a $5 word for “hauling ass,” but it sounds much more professional in traffic court when you are explaining to a judge why you were doing 80 mph in a school zone.

I turned on the shower and waited for the water to get hot. The only problem was the hot water never came. I checked to make sure I had the correct valve on. Yup, the “H” was all the way on, and the “C” was all the way off. Righty tighty, lefty loosy. I’d been operating the complicated working of faucets for most of my potty-trained life. I was doing everything correctly, but to no avail; no hot water came my way. I didn’t have time for this sort of problem, so some extra deodorant and lots of hair gel got me off to work. That began Day One without a water heater.

When I got home from work, I was welcomed to more good news. My daughter’s hamster died. “Sammy” the hamster decided heaven was a better place than our house without any hot water. We had an impromptu funeral for Sammy in the backyard. After the hamster was buried six inches deep, I went to wash my hands and remembered, “Oh yeah, I need to fix the water heater.”

Day Two without a water heater: I was pretty busy with work, so I decided to call a heating and plumbing company to have them take a look at the water heater. Of course, they wouldn’t just go to my house and fix it; they needed me to be there. I took time off of work and waited within the four-hour window when they would show up. I stood next to the repairman as we stared at the water heater. Here is how our conversation went:

“You have a General Electric water heater.”

“Yup, it says General Electric on the side.”

“Hmmm. Where’d you get it?”

“Home Depot.”

“Oh, I’m not sure we have parts for this type of water heater.”

“It’s a General Electric, an American company that has been making this sort of stuff for more than 100 years, purchased from the largest home improvement store in the country, and you don’t have the parts for it?”

“Nope.”

“It’s not like I picked this thing up at a black market water heater sale from a guy pimping these things out of the back of a truck on a random corner in Tijuana. It seems to me this would be a common model.”

“Well, it looks pretty new. The water heater should be under warranty.”

The conversation ended with me writing him a check for $90 for doing absolutely nothing other than informing me that my water was broken (I knew that) and that it was made by General Electric, a random off-brand.

I called General Electric, read them every single number that was listed on the side of the water heater, and they agreed that my water heater was under warranty.

General Electric told me they would send the parts that “may be broken,” but labor was not covered. That meant I would be installing the parts myself.

Day Three without a water heater: I’ve learned that overnight shipping means the package will arrive after some night. It doesn’t mean “tomorrow.” Parts did not arrive, and I was starting to smell worse. The more I started to smell, the more my wife, whom I love, hated me. She was mad at me because I stunk and because it was “my” fault somehow that the General Electric water heater failed. I boiled water and made hot baths for the kids, which took forever to do and they complained the tub was still too cold.

Day Four without a water heater: My hair was starting to stick to the side of my head in a way I had never seen before. A package arrived, and it was time to finally fix the water heater. I spent two hours installing a new gas valve into the warrantied water heater, and it didn’t fix the problem. I got back on the phone with General Electric and told them my issues. They said not to worry, the water heater was under warranty, and they would send me a different part to fix it. They would ship it “overnight,” but since it was after 5, that meant the next day they would ship it overnight, and the next day was Saturday and no packages would arrive on Sunday, and Monday was a holiday, so … I wouldn’t get the part until Tuesday. Regardless of the intricacies of shipping, labor unions, and holiday schedules, hot water was still not coming out of our faucets, and I was not smelling any better.

Day Five without a water heater: I started to smell so bad it was actually bothering me, which is pretty tough to do. My wife and kids went to my mother-in-law’s to take showers, which meant that my father-in-law would call me and ask me why I hadn’t fixed the water heater yet.

“It’s under warranty, that’s why.”

Day Six without a water heater: I went and got our motorhome out of storage and parked in front of our house just so we had a shower at the house.

Day Seven without a water heater: I decided I’d get a haircut since the girls at Supercuts are always trying to upsell me on a Swedish Tea hair wash/head massage. My wife said I couldn’t go. She said it wouldn’t be fair to ask the girls to wash my disgusting mop. I promised I would tip well. My wife still said, “No way.”

Day Eight without a water heater: After the holiday weekend, and a sponge bath, I went back to work, sticky. During my lunch hour, I snuck home and found a package on my doorstep. It was the new parts. I slapped the new parts on and “voila!” we had hot water again. I celebrated the success with a nice hot shower. Then, just because I could, I took another one.

Rob’s wife shunned him for a solid week, but after he fixed the water heater, she suddenly found him to be super attractive again.




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