Friday, 6 March 2009

Three cheers for second opinions

One day last September, a day considerably frostier than most of the days since, I ran myself a nice warm bath, in my nice pink bathtub, in anticipation of a nice old soak. I fetched my towel, I dispyjamed, I brushed my teeth, and when I'd accumulated myself a good-sized puddle, I dipped my testing toe into the water, just to make sure it wasn't going to scald my nethers. My testing toe is a sturdy digit, but nothing had prepared it for this: my bath wasn't going to be scalding anything; my bath was stark raving cold.

The hot water system at Chez Harlot was well and truly bung. It was kettle and bucket time. It was summons the hot water system servicepersons time. The hot water system serviceperson came three days later, during which period I had perfected my bucket-based bathing program. He told me that my system couldn't be fixed, that he couldn't install a similar beast because keeping a gas appliance in a cupboard (with a flue out the wall, I might add) was illegal, he'd have to do some fancy wiring and replumb and pin the new chap to the outside wall. Ten days later a quote arrived in the mail mentioning a figure very close to $3000.

Meanwhile, I had chucked all my pennies into my mortgage and found a source of hot showers at work. I had learnt that when it's very cold you generally don't have to wash as often, definitely not every day, and when it's warmer a cold shower isn't so bad. "Three thousand dollar hot water system," I said, "who needs you?" And over the next six months I grew more and more skilled in the taking of cold showers. There were a few weeks there in February when the Weather heated the pipes up so much the hot tap was redundant anyway.

This week's mizzle has reminded me that hot water has its place, so I summoned a different hot water person, who rode in on his shiny unicorn this morning, AND FIXED MY HOT WATER SYSTEM. For $130. He admitted that it's aging, and may become, at some point not too many years away, so temperamental that I want to replace it. $1660, he said, if I wanted to do it now. Illegal? No. It has a flue.

And the moral is: don't do today what you can put off for six months.

11 comments:

Martin Kingsley said...

*rolls in agony* Mawwfjadisofoojeo. And so on and so forth.

In my own industry (well, one of the many I have taken to, in my never-ending quest to acquire job descriptions, as one might otherwise acquire golf trophies or mugs-with-kittens-on-the-side), amongst the many tales of ridiculous horseshit I have come to have poured into mine shapely ears, I once heard of a woman who gave her computer to some Dodgy Bros. outfit so that they might "make it go", so to speak, only to discover that they did, in fact, take out the hard-drive, so that it would NEVER go again, and then charged her five hundred dollars. My face, you can be assured, met my palm with a certain amount of speed, approximately equal to a generous fraction of the solid number we've all come to know and love: the speed of light.

lucy tartan said...

Warmest congratulations. Getting a plumber to do something for $160? I believe that is what is called a WIN. Your gas bills for the past six months must have been a relative joy to behold.

lucy tartan said...

$130 I mean. Even more aweful.

Jayne said...

Well bloody done!
$3,000 ? Could put in one of those solar hot water doo-hickeys and get moolah back from Brumby for that price!
That rates as a large WIN!

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

I'd love to get solar. It'd require the good will of the entire body corporate, though, I think. We have a communal water supply, so when I get my water bills, it's the entire block's use of water divided by the number of individual apartments, rather than a measure of how much I, personally, have been using. Which has been a bit annoying given that my average shower over the last six months has used about five litres of water (I put the plug in the bath and collected the water to establish this).

Nick Crumbedprawn said...

Your body may have been cold but heart was warmed.

Really. I haven't cried so much since the old Telecom commercial of yesteryear.

Jayne said...

You might want to get the body corporate to consider individual water metres shortly with the massive increase in water prices due to hit everyone.
Might be a fair whack but it's a lot fairer than paying for someone else's wastage.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

That's a good point. Thanks for suggesting.

Tony said...

"I don't get no respect. I asked my doctor 'Doc, LOOK! My tongue, it's yellow, what should I do?' The doctor replied 'Don't wear a brown tie.' I didn't like that so I demanded a second opinion: 'Ok, you're ugly, too.'"

~~ Rodney Dangerfield

Ampersand Duck said...

Well, all those savings obviously got spent the right way, on double kitty rations! Well done you, extra marks for priorities.

mischa said...

i'm a bit concerned that there's clearly a shyster plumber going around ripping people off. it's one thing to charge many times as much, but it's another to give someone incorrect information (ie there is no flue). do you think you should mention it to consumer affairs or some plumbers' association, if such a thing exists?