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Joy in the Journey

May 2, 2014

by Linda Beerman
One morning a couple weeks ago Dan asked me if the next day was when he would receive his "free money". What?? I had to think a minute before it registered what he was talking about. "Oh", I replied, "You mean your first social security check"? Yes, that is what he was referring to. It turns out his check arrives on the same Wednesday as mine as our birthdays are one number apart. I had convinced him to begin drawing now that he was able, so he was curious as to whether it would really appear.

The next day we called to see whether it had been direct deposited. Yup, it had, and the amount matched what he had been told. Good, that was all taken care of. Now we were both "social security seniors"...or whatever it is they label us these days.

About an hour later, I smelled a hot, unburned gas; a carbon like odor coming from the heat vents. I went to find Dan, and together we ventured to the basement to see what was causing the stench. We had only gone down a few steps when we saw flames coming out of the bottom of the water heater. There was black soot up the side of the tank so we immediately shut it off. After Dan took it apart, he realized there was no would have to be replaced. Now the real fun began! We didn't realize it right away, but it was going to be a full day's job. And as with most tasks, a few challenges along the way.

We began by draining the large appliance. Meanwhile Dan cut the copper water lines, and proceeded to detach and unscrew the gas line from the gas valve. Now came the hardest part which was getting this bulky thing up and out of the basement. We have two sets of narrow stairs leading to the outside entrance, including two sharp turns. Watching your fingers, head, and also the water heater itself, is a tricky endeavor. Finally we had it out.

Shopping for a new one took a little more time than anticipated because the ones displayed were made for use with natural gas. We needed to buy one that was jetted for LP. After looking, one was discovered in the storage area that would accommodate our needs. The only problem was the price! Dan remarked that they had really gotten high priced since the last time we had put one in. Of course, this is only the 3rd one we've put in over our forty-four years of living that would explain that. So much for the "free" social security check. But praise God that it came on the right day!

Taking the new water heater back into the basement was just as difficult, but we made it. After removing it from the cardboard box, Dan realized that the fittings were different than the old hook-up. Back in the pick-up and travel to town again for new pipe fittings. Once again he soldered water lines and screwed the gas line into place. Adjusting the vent pipe for the gas fumes proved to be a task that needed extra patience. Once this was all done we filled it with fresh water, waited for it to heat, and all was well in our little world again. Even though the challenges of owning a home can be frustrating sometimes, we are so thankful for our modern day conveniences!

It was then that we also realized that we had just been gone for ten days, and this could have happened while we were away. Oh my goodness, now the whole ordeal didn't seem so expensive after all. Troubles, learning patience, social security checks...all those things that come up in day to day life for us all...we just have to put them in the right perspective, don't we? If we do, gratitude will surface. And it is said that we can't be thankful and depressed at the same time.

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