The Other I

December 27, 2007

Christmas Lite

Actually, it was a lovely Christmas.  I wouldn’t want to spend it this quietly every year, but as it turns out, it wasn’t quite as quiet as we’d planned.  And under the circumstances, Peter and I were glad we were not entertaining guests after all.

It started Christmas Eve morning.  Peter stepped out of the shower and it wouldn’t turn off.  We have an Aqualisa, the kind that holds its temperature constant, even when somewhere else in the house someone else flushes a toilet or decides to start the dishwasher.  It does this by the magic of electronics, which is pretty much all I know about how it works.  I can describe several ways in which the Start/Stop function does not work, however.  Or at least the Stop function.  It won’t stop if you take a kitchen knife and scrape the calc out around the edges of the Control Button.  It won’t stop if you take the front off the button and use a wooden toothpick to press the little outlets inside.  It won’t stop even if you get very wet and speak to it in language my mother didn’t know I’d learned.  Even if it’s Spanish.

It will stop if you go outside and turn off all the water coming into the house.  Unfortunately, this also stops water coming into the kitchen, the toilets, the sinks, and even the outside garden outlets.  Not such a great solution on Christmas Eve.  So I climbed into the attic (or loft as attics are called here in England), and found the valves controlling the water going into the master bathroom.  Turning them off gave us water in the rest of the house, but the entire master bathroom was dry.  It is also how I discovered that the valves were leaking, and that if something were not done about them soon, the bathroom water supply would be coming directly into the shower below through the ceiling.  I got a large plastic sheet that used to be a shower curtain to provide a temporary retainer.

Then I called our wonderful plumber, and apologized to his nine-year-old daughter for calling her Dad on Christmas Eve.  Oh, that’s okay, she said.  Can I have him phone you when he gets home?  Which he did.  I told him it was not a call-out emergency, but did he have any stop-gap solutions until he could come after the holidays.  He said to go back into the loft and turn the electrical supply to the shower off and then back on again.  “I don’t know why,” he said, “but this sometimes happens with your kind of shower, and this sometimes works.”

And it did work.  So by the time the church bells were ringing calling the faithful to midnight services, we once again had a functioning bathroom, shower and all.  Not what we’d thought twelve hours earlier we were hoping for Christmas, but glad for it after all.

Alan, the plumber, is coming next week to replace the faulty valves.  We’re hoping for a happy New Year.  That does mean, much as I appreciate him, seeing a little less of Alan in 2008 than we saw of him in 2007.

If you are wondering about my diet, I did lose a pound before Christmas.  Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure I put it back on, and besides that, I also think my scale is off by about three pounds.  That means I really want to lose six pounds instead of three.  I wonder if learning to love fat would be easier than getting it off?

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