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It’s a constant human fault to take for granted the things we enjoy every day. Abundant food, good roads, public safety. Throw in hot water.
My water heater died last week. Actually it was a slow death and as I pen these words I’m not yet sure if the seldom thought-about appliance had truly died or was in some sort of mechanical coma capable of being revived. All I knew Friday morning was that I had no hot water.
Actually I should have heeded the warning signs. The past few weeks I could hear the water heater emit a sizzling sound as I fired up the shower. I do little more than spend nights in my house, at least on weekdays, and my morning shower and shave are the only times I rely on hot water. I wash dishes and clothes on the weekend.
I noticed my hot water was a tad cooler than usual Thursday morning and I mistakenly judged the problem to be the bitter cold outside. The mercury had dipped to near zero on my hill. I should have known better since the water heater is inside the house and surrounded by an insulated jacket.
I arrived home late Thursday and never touched the faucet other than to quickly brush my teeth. The lack of warm water didn’t draw my attention.
Boy, it did the following morning. Standing in my best birthday suit, I waited and waited for the hot water to arrive. It didn’t. I threw on clothes and marched into the kitchen. I checked my electric box thinking something may have tripped a breaker but, alas, every switch was in the “on” position.
It was then that I faced the dilemma of whether to shower at all. I judge myself a fairly tough character and being a former seminary student, I was used to cold showers. So I dipped a toe into the cold water and promptly cursed. But I eventually jumped in, determined not to let a little cold water stand in the way. I lost my breath in the first second and hollered and circled for about 30 seconds. My skin was blue and my teeth chattered, a rarity for me since I’m usually OK in the cold.
My soap didn’t lather or rinse well in the cold water and I had to wet a wash rag to lose the residue. I skipped shampooing altogether. It was a bad hair day.
A local plumber was due to visit Friday afternoon and by the time this column hit the press Saturday, I had – hopefully – an abundance of hot water.
There are plenty of other conveniences I probably take for granted and don’t appreciate enough until they’re taken away. Hot water has gained a new appreciation.
A Spire for the Chapel
A few neighbors and others have commented on the steeple that went up on my family chapel east of New Boston. Joe Helming and his crew erected the aluminum spire Feb. 4 and I was very happy with the look. Readers may remember seeing Joe’s name in the paper over the years for his steeple and spire work on local churches, most recently a new gilded cross at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Cannelton. He’s also done work in atop St. Pius Church in Troy, St. Mark Church in St. Marks and St. Boniface Church in Fulda.
The dark-brown spire matches the shingles on the pitched roof. I worried the spire, which is a little more than 30 foot tall, would be oversized for the building but once it was in place, I judged it to be a good fit.
Though Joe has to run the rope and pulley system, the spire came with a modest bell that will peal across the countryside. The 3-foot aluminum cross at the top is layered in gold leaf and really shimmers in the sun.
Though the chapel’s interior and parts of its outside, are still works in progress, everyone is welcome to swing by for a visit.
Turn east on County Road 1200 N. on the north edge of New Boston, travel about a mile and then turn left (north) on County Road 1375. The chapel is on the farm at the road’s end.
I’m determined to have the entire project done by spring and a planned June 18 open house. That means finishing window trim and some masonry work on the exterior and installing and staining a hardwood ceiling inside. There are also stucco walls to paint and a stone floor to install.
June seems like a long ways off but it really isn’t.
I’ll post a few photos of the spire online.