TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: When it Rains, it Pours

When it Rains, it Pours

TELECOM Digest Editor (
Mon, 11 Jun 2007 21:37:14 EDT

Yes, for oldtimers, that statement was the sales motto of the old Morton
Salt Company. At the start of the twentieth century, Mr. Joy Morton was
a business associate with others in the Morkrum Company, the makers of
the teletype machine. For others, that 'rain-pours' statement pertains
to the weather. Like here in Independence, for example, if you do not
like the weather, wait around for five minutes. We got _no_ spring
weather season this year, just a bitter, icy winter that changed in a
day or two to a hot, dry summer, and then, after several days of arid
hot, dry weather, over this past weekend we had a real downpour.

So much rain Sunday night in fact, combined with strong winds and
tornado warnings we had more weather reports on the cable Sunday night
than we had CSI-SUV police programs, which is quite unusual for the
USA Network. And today, Monday, the television was busy reporting
police warnings on the tickertape messages on the screen, talking
about flooded and washed out highways and roads; we got plenty of rain
Sunday night!

But there is a third, 'rain-pours' example: my financial state of
health runs like a teeter-totter. You may recall reading here last
week my report on my own financial shortcomings in life: i.e. from
when I was a little guy, I took the word of the government that social
security would always protect me when I got old and feeble, (in other
words, I did not save anything at all for my own future), and for the
past two years I have tended to rely as much as possible on Google Ad
Sense (a misplaced faith to be sure!) and Social Security Disability.
That was the message, in essence. Then, many of you readers bailed me
out, once again, with donations. The donations were generous; they not
only filled my refrigerator for the rest of this Disability month
(which begins and ends on the Fourth Wednesday of each Calendar month)
but they smoothed things over and gave me a very good, comfortable
feeling about this month.

Then, on early Sunday morning (about 8 AM to be precise) _my_ roof
fell in. No, I do not mean my literal roof, this is a hundred year
old house which holds together so-so. By 'roof falling in' I am
referring to my ancient (of undetirmined age) hot water heater. I woke
up hearing water running in the hallway betweeen my bathroom and the
computer room area. I went to look, and found water on the floor in
the area, and a suspicious 'gurgling' sound coming out of the little
closet where that feature (hot water) is made. The 'cut off' valve on
the top of the tank, where the cold water supply goes into it was
broken. Nothing could stop the water which was running down the side
of the tank furiously! I called Mr. Rinck, the plumber and got his
answering machine; not unusual considering it was now 8:15 on Sunday
morning. He called me back in about 30 minutes, which is also not
unusual, considering this is a small town with friendly people and he
had done work here in the past in this house.

In the meantime, my keeper Raymond had taken a 'street key' (long
slender pole with a finger-like thing on the bottom) and gone out in
our front yard and cut the water off at the city pipes. (You take off
this metal cover in the yard, reach down in there several feet with
the long rod, clamp around the cut off valve in there and twist it
shut.) Mr. Rinck was preparing to come over and shut off the water
himself; he approved of Raymond's quick thinking in the matter.

"I'll be out later today to look at it", he said. Needless to say, I
almost had a nervous breakdown the rest of Sunday morning. But after
what seemed like hours (actually 45 minutes) here he is at the door
and goes in to give a good look at the hot water tank. "As good as
gone", was his phrase, and he added "let me try to cap it off here".
"Nope, the cut off valve is shot, probably stripped years ago, let's
leave it off at the street for now, tomorrow morning I will be over at
8:30 to do the job". Somehow, at that moment, I had a very good, warm
feeling: _my hero was here to take care of it all_; I would have to
live all day on this hot Sunday with no water, no ice cubes from the
refrigerator, no toilet I could flush as needed (the reserve flush had
already been used before he showed up), no evening shower; just endure
and make do until sometime Monday.

Monday at 9:00 AM he was here; new 40-gallon hot water heater on his
truck, all his wrenches, pipes and other tools. "I want to show you
something," he said, as held out a sales ticket from Woods Lumber, our
local hardware/fixit store. "Three hundred sixty-eight dollars,
sixty-eight cents" read the tag. "And of course, there is the matter
of my fee, fifty dollars per hour", he said, "Things like this we no
longer stock in our shop, we used to, but not when they got this
expensive. Of course, we will work along with you ...". I almost had
another coronary attack then and there. But by 11 AM, two and a half
hours after he first started, the old hot water tank had been hauled
away and the new one installed, with my water running once again. "Give
it about 30-45 minutes to heat up, you will be all set." I went out on
my back porch to try and calm my nerves; Mr. Rinck cheerfully waved
goodbye and drove away in his truck. The final damage estimate, IMO,
since I have not received his bill yet, $525.00 for new tank, new
plumbing pipes as required, and his labor.

As I said before, when it rains, it pours. I guess I should be (AND I
AM) very grateful I do not live in Greensburg, KS where a month ago 95
percent of the entire town (population, about 2500 people) was
destroyed by a tornado. At least my cozy little house is warm in the
winter and semi-cool in the summer; at least I have friends here in
town and my friends on the net. At least I have my social security
disability money each month and my motorized wheel chair to ride in
and my four best friends of all, the three female cats and Willie the
minature pincher dog. I guess I am really sort of lucky after all.


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