Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Dead Rabbit and the Dead Water Heater



I was driving home from school late one night. I hated the drive home from school. It was long with lots of freeway switching and stretched my nerves to capacity each time I drove it multiple times a week. The drive also gave me time alone and to think which lately was all sad grief filled thoughts. My Dad had died a few weeks before and the last time I ever talked to him was a phone call on the drive home from school so I relived the phone call every night which was both happy (since it was a great conversation) and also sad (because it was the last time I would hear his voice on earth). Then the rabbit my husband had gotten me to cheer my up after Dad died had died earlier in the same week of my drive home. It was a very dramatic rabbit death filled with a panic filled trip to the pet store for potential life saving rabbit supplies but in the end the rabbit died too. I was definitely way down deep in a low point.


So when I stepped into the apartment to hear the announcement from my husband that I had a special delivery I was curious. It was a very glamorous box of flowers. I hadn’t ever seen flowers be delivered in boxes except for in old black and white movies. They were extremely beautiful and simply elegant white lilies. I was shocked and unsure why I would get something like this delivered. The card was brief, “Our deepest sympothies,” and then it read three women’s names. I knew woman with the names it read but none of them had any connection to each other. I began to think of who in the world would spend clearly a wad of cash of these expensive boxed lilies. I thought of all the women I went to church with, worked with, and attended school with. I thought of old high school friends. I thought of potentially distant cousins on my Dad’s side of the family but couldn’t have guessed how they would have gotten my address and why they would have picked me out of the six kids in my family to send the flowers to. I thought of maybe the three female names being some sort of code. Maybe they spelled sympathy incorrectly with o “sympothy” on purpose to provide some sort of clue. I was all over the place with my theories, even of course the guilt theory of “I should know who these three women are!”

I still have no idea who sent the flowers but it turned me around. The flowers made me smile and feel happy and special and loved and especially got me thinking happy thoughts and steered me away from the grief puddle I kept walking through every night on the way home from school. I still think of my flower delivery and wonder who it could have been and hope they know it was appreciated.

Last week the three woman on the card came to mind again. I had another anonymous flower delivery. This time they were left by my front door. It had been a crazy day. Our water heater had broken. So as an extension of that was first thing in the morning emptying out the storage closet that the water heater is housed in. Since this is our only storage space it’s like Pandora’s box and not in the good cool music way. Oh and the plumber who was sincerely super man awesome to come so quick got to watch me rushing to empty the closet out which at the time felt similar to being on one of those “what not to wear” episodes when the hosts completely insult every piece of clothing you have. I wanted to explain everything in the closet, “Yeah we really had an ant problem one year that’s why we have a couple of half used bug sprays….Hey let me tell you the story behind this PVC pipe and random wood pieces it’s a good story you’re going to laugh……Yeah I keep my tamale pot outside! Where do you keep yours?”
After being exposed as the messy and random outside storage closet human being that I am, there was a poop problem that day too. An unexpected amount of kid poop needed cleaned up right after the storage closet incident. THEN I had forgotten that it was happening that day but I had already planned on and agreed to help some friends with something. So when the water heater forced me to expose my closet to a stranger and landed simultaneously on the poop storm witnessed by unsuspecting friends….well it was touch and go for a while.
Then the plumber knocked on the back door. He said that my water heater was 17 years old. He said that similar water heaters to mine are lucky to make it to 7 years. Really?

I was so proud! What a hard working water heater! We have put an increasing load of usage pressure on that big guy over the past 10 years and ALL of those years were miraculous. He never gave up for 10 years! Other water heaters just like him gave up, but not him. He washed our clothes and shined up the baby bottles, nebulizers, and dishes night after night for 10 years past his prime without complaint. How many glorious hot showers had we enjoyed on that wonderful amazing miraculous water heater! The poop storm didn’t matter anymore. The huge mess of my emptied out storage closet in the backyard didn’t matter anymore. That water heater was my new hero! I had been sitting on a miracle for 10 years and didn’t even know it. I began to wonder about all of the other blessings I hadn’t realized were mine but continued to enjoy unawares. What other appliances and pipes should have broken ages ago but are still dutifully performing for our family without us taking notice? My eyes were opened and my attitude was changed. There are so many blessings from God that we don't even see. 

Then a few hours later my husband walked in from work and said, “why is there a bouquet of flowers outside the door?” Could the day have gotten any better after the water heater miracle being unearthed? Sure thing! Some nice person must have known. They must have known the worries in our heart over broken water heaters, lung function tests, lack of weight gain, and poop storms. So they came and left something beautiful by the door. Now again my mind races from person to person in my life on who it could have been. Theories are being conspiracied about this nice person and the flowers they left. But don’t worry sneaky sneaker between your kindness and our newfound hero the 1999 water heater we are unstoppable.

Here is a picture of my hero the water heater and me with the mystery bouquet. I think I will have to write some sort of clever rhyming poem about the “water heater that could” and add him to the wall of family pictures. I really am so proud of him.


Look at this guy! Isn't he beautiful! What a hard worker!
Instead of the messy kitchen in the background you could think, whoa a 50 pound bag of flour almost used up and recipe books balanced on her oven hood, that girl is a baker even in her 4x4 kitchen!

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