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.