That time everything in my house broke at once

You know what we people take for granted? Hot showers. You know what else? Dryers.

Warning! This post is chock full of first world problems, friends.

It all started a few weeks ago when my dryer — not a spring chicken, I admit — started making a clattering noise straight out of your worst laundry nightmares. We have a home warranty on this 30 year old abode, so we quickly filed a claim, but it was Sunday. The appliance company contacted us on Monday, but no one could make it out until Wednesday, which in laundry speak with multiple children means you may as well just burn all your clothes and start from scratch.

When the dryer dudes finally made it out, they spent all of 10 minutes looking at my dryer, adjusting the blower wheel, and collecting my $65 deductible. It seriously pays to be a dryer dude.

And wouldn’t you know it, right as I got all of that laundry done, that blower wheel went out again? Only this time there was the magical combination of weekends, holidays, and having to order a new part that delayed the process even more, and the laundry piles got so high, we had to wash at the house and take them down the street to the laundromat. I totally volunteered for this job because while not the most savory of personalities, the laundromat crowd was significantly less whiny than my family.  It was a magical place.

Now during this dryer hiatus it was wicked cold here in Austin. And if there’s one thing I love when it’s cold, it’s taking the hottest shower imaginable. Like peel your skin off hot. And that was how I broke the hot water heater.

In my defense, I don’t think I actually broke it. The Hot Water Heater Dude said it was because there was no drip pan underneath the unit, so slight leaks caused it to short out (quick — go check your hot water heaters!) He made no mention of it being the cause of “some crazy lady taking too hot of a shower,” so I stand triumphant.

But before Hot Water Heater Dude could even reassure me, we had to file a claim, wait for him to contact us, then wait until they could come out.

So let’s recap so far. No dryer. No hot water. Effing cold outside. Our options were to a) take a cold bath/shower, or b) not shower at all. I would have totally gone with option B had we not had plans for New Year’s, so I went with option c) heat up pots of water on the stove and pour them into the cold bathwater. I felt like Laura Ingalls, only with less appreciation for these primitive ways. But as I hurriedly washed in that shallow tepid pool, my husband continuously poured warm water over my back and head so I wouldn’t freeze my nips off. He’s a keeper! Unfortunately he can’t say the same for me, because when he took his Little House on the Prairie bath the day before, I laughed at him for looking ridiculous and left the room. So yes, ladies and gentlemen, he is a much better husband than I am a wife. We all have our strengths.

Hot Water Dude finally made it out, affirmed that I did not break it (mainly because we never asked about the Heat of Eternal Hell Showers that Leigh Ann Takes), and said he needed to replace it. We were just past Christmas, but now the New Year’s holiday was holding things up. More waiting, but at least he was able to work some sort of magic so we had SOME warm water while we waited for the replacement. And we forked over another $65 deductible because for some reason these amateurs didn’t think this was related to the dryer.

Sometime during these disastrous holidays — clearly it was so traumatic that I lost all sense of time and space —  the Dryer Dudes came back, replaced the blasted blower wheel, and we were partially back in business. Hot Water Heater Dudes came back with a new unit and replaced that, and we paid them even more money for something that wasn’t covered in the warranty. I have no idea what. I JUST WANTED HOT WATER.

And the peasants rejoiced that they could once again shower, wash their dishes appropriately, and do all the motherloving laundry. First world problems all solved, so we could go back to worrying about important things like whether the DVR is set for Downton Abbey or how much battery life our iPhones have.

Until the kitchen faucet broke, I shit you not.



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Leigh Ann Torres
Writer, artist, wife, cook, maid, bookkeeper, mom to twins plus one...all around genie in a bottle, except you only get one wish, and it has to be reasonable.
  1. Wow! Surely your martyr badge is coming in the mail, and hopefully a check from your rich aunt Jane too.

  2. Oh you are a good sport. Can you imagine having to heat up pans of water every time you wanted to get clean? I’m glad you kept your nips!

    I think the kitchen faucet just means you don’t need to dirty any dishes by cooking until it’s fixed.

    • I think we would have learned how long one can TRULY go without bathing. Thank God we didn’t have to actually do it.

  3. Wow!! When it rains it pours doesn’t it? We had to replace our hot water heater too just after the first of the year but not because we were out of hot water. We had plenty of hot water, but when I ran a bath for Cheyenne, the water was brown. You didn’t notice it just running the shower or faucet, but once enough collected for a bath, it had a brown tinge to it. And it just got worse, so we called out the plumber down the street and they said it was our hot water heater. We didn’t have a drip pan either, so they put one in. Then to make matters worse, Dad asked him to look at the bath tub faucet which leaked at the hot water handle when it was running. He couldn’t get it out to replace it, so he had to break out the tile surrounding the faucet unit. So now we have a new faucet system but we also have a big hole in the wall. The plumber guy can rip the tile out, but they don’t replace it. So now we have to find a tile guy to come replace the 7 tiles that were taken out. A lot of tile guys won’t do a job that small. So we are at an impasse. I told Dad we could have a tile guy out and just get the whole thing re-tiled and updated, but that costs money and he just shelled out A LOT of money to replace the water heater, break out our faucet and replace it (but not the tile) and then the plumber guy also noticed while he was under the house, that our kitchen drain pipe was rotting out so add another $400 to replace that. So for now Cheyenne gets to take a bath with a big hole in the wall, which makes for some pretty quick baths when it’s cold out because all of that cold air comes right in that hole in the wall. :( I hope you get your kitchen faucet fixed soon…I’d just go to Home Depot and get a new faucet and replace it myself instead of paying someone to do it. But I guess it depends on what the problem is. Good luck!! :)

    • You guys can replace 7 tiles! Google it. It’s easy. I mean, I’ve never DONE it, but I’ve seen it done many times and read about it. And we did replace the faucet. Easy peasy, and wondering why we didn’t do it sooner since the other one was so ugly.

      • We definitely can’t replace the tile. This is original to the house and older houses are made differently. Where he took the tile out there is absolutely nothing. No sheetrock. This house has the old chicken wire with cement behind the tile and there is nothing to connect to. He had to cut out the chicken wire and cement to get it all out. That we cannot do. :( I’m glad you got a new faucet. I was going to tell you that after thinking about it and talking with Dad, we remembered that right after we had our hot water heater replaced, our faucet was making some crazy sounds and the water coming out was extremely bubbly and actually smelled like soap or cleaner or something. I called the plumber and he told us it was air in the lines and would go away. Sure enough it did, because we were going to get another faucet and let the plumber put it in along with the shut-off valves (because we don’t have any under the sink…old house and all) so I’m glad it quit making that sound and he didn’t have to come back out.

  4. LOL!

    You do know that the appliances talk to each other, right? Well, now you do.

  5. True, they are first world problems, but still problems all the same. So glad you’re back in business over there, even if the laundromat was a nice escape.

    And the appliances, they talk to each other. I know it. Our dryer and our refrigerator freaked out at the same time once. I know it was the fridge showing solidarity with the dryer, because it overheard us say we were getting a new dryer. We were smart enough not to say so in front of the dryer, but stupid enough to have the conversation in the kitchen. I had no idea they were such good friends… Within two days the dryer blew up (visit from the fire department and everything), and the fridge broke.

    The moral? Be careful what you say and where you say it.

  6. I’m just gonna say it, I am a total pussy without hot water. You are a rockstar for not mentioning any whining or crying in this post because that is what I would have been doing. A LOT.

    • Oh don’t you love it when someone leaves you a comment and reminds you of something you meant to say? YES, there was one point, maybe when the dryer went out for the second time and we were waiting for the hot water heater repair guys when I almost lost it. I seriously fought back some ugly crying and “I just want things to WORK!!!”

  7. Really funny LA. But I still suspect you were breaking the dryer on purpose so you could get some peace and quiet at the laundry mat. And you guys are always welcome to shower here…we’re not that far away anymore.

  8. Ooooooh…this pains me to read.


    The Girl with Two Bum Showers, a Water Softener Issue, and Scores of Burned Out Lightbulbs