Back tight. Eyes weary. 600 miles into a U-Haul trip from Western Pennsylvania to Wheeling, West Virginia to Westchester County. All I wanted to do was get home, eat a hot meal, tuck my kids in bed and watch the season finale of Better Call Saul with my wife. Instead, I got a phone call from her, 40 miles from home.
“We don’t have hot water and the heat isn’t working.”
I got home. Being the handyman that I am, I went down to the basement to do a diagnostic. That’s the right word, right? Yep. The hot water tank and boiler were still where they’re supposed to be. What do I do now? It was 9:00 on Sunday night. So I reached out to my repairman – my step-father on Skype. We (he) figured out the pilots on both were out. He told me to call the gas company and schedule an appointment for the morning.
Michelle called the gas company and told them our problem. We were surprised at their response.
“Take all members of your family outside. An emergency responder is coming to you home right now. Could be a gas leak.”
He guy arrived halfway through the episode, right when Slippin’ Jimmy was arguing to get his law license reinstated. We didn’t go outside. It was cold, the kids were sleeping and we couldn’t be bothered. But guess who did come outside – several of our neighbors when they saw the emergency flashing lights of the truck. The street was lit up like a Fourth of July sky. I, being male, felt a primal urge to convince this guy I know a thing or two about what’s going on. So I start throwing out terms like, “maybe it’s the thermal couple” (I saw one in an unopened pack on the boiler).
His reply, “You’re a new home owner from the city, aren’t you?” Was it that obvious?
At 12:30 am, he finally finished up. He fixed a small leak and gave me a quick tutorial. He told me the pilots most likely got blown out by a backdraft from the chimney. Tell me something I don’t know.
I thought that was the end. Then he told me I had to call an actual repairman in the morning to fix the thermal couple. I knew that thermal couple was a problem all along. Great, I’m going to have to pretend to be a handyman all over again.
Michelle and I shook his hand. Then finished watching Jimmy celebrate getting his law license reinstated and take on his new persona – the famous character from Breaking Bad – Sal Goodman.
I feel like I kind of became a new person today too. A home owner who knows at least one more thing about owning a home.