“Did you hear that?” my wife
“Can't you smell it?”
Of course not. I am male, with no sense of smell and adaptable
hearing. I do not hear what I do not want to hear. And I do
not want to hear about projects or bills.
But my wife persists, “I think the smell is coming from over
here. Don't you think it's coming from over here? I think
the smell is coming from the heater. My God! The heater is
It's summer and the heater is turned off. Probably a short.
I stumble into the garage and move my toys blocking the circuit
breaker. Flip all the fuses. Let the odor
dissipate. Try each fuse in turn. A good hour wasted in
finding the right fuse.
The fuse episode makes me miss the entire second half of my baseball
game. The late night news will later tell me that it was a damn good game.
The Mariners lost by only twenty-five runs.
My wife wants to call a repair man. Giving money away is
the only thing that I hate more than doing a project. Money is to buy stuff,
like a leaf blower. How can I afford to replace last year's blower,
if I give money to a repair man?
I go to Lowe's Hardware. It is the second week of July, with
85 degree temperatures. I ask myself whether I am rushing this
repair? Al Gore said that global warming is real. If I were
single, I would take my chances; the heater might not be needed this
winter. But, I am married, so I'm at Lowe's.
My wife tags along, a self-appointed building inspector. I would
purchase one heater; she makes me buy three. Female logic: The
wire in one heater wore out and almost burnt down the house. The
other heaters are unsafe. Male logic: We'll move before I will have to
replace the other heaters.
Once home, I start removing the broken heater. Pop!
Smoke! Stink! Our golden retriever takes refuge between the
toilet and the bathtub. Once again, dumb luck trumps
planning. I go to the fuse box and turn off the
other circuit powering the heater.
Out comes the Dremel Tool. More sparks, noise, smoke, and
stink. The golden retriever insists on leaving. She spends
the rest of the day out front, waiting to greet the firemen.
I get the new heater installed. It works! No fuse is
blown! Heat is coming out! As far as I'm concerned, I've
just won the World Series!
“It makes a noise,” she says. “There is a rattle. Can't you
hear it?” If she wants quiet, she should buy ear plugs.
I don't say that. I remove and replace the heater. Three
times. Then I move on to the next heater. I also install
it three times. I finally get the knack, and install the last
heater only once.
After the sun sets, the golden retriever comes back into the house,
disappointed that the firemen never arrived.