Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
really hate dealing with service people, but there comes a time in
the course of home ownership when one must have repairs done, like
it or not. In my recent situation, it was the plumbing needing
I thought by now that everything that could leak had leaked, and
everything that needed replacing had been replaced. But that seems
not to be the case with a home that is growing old. It is
Water has been seeping from under the shower for a while. I tried
ignoring it. I tried soaking it up with a towel. No use, it is
probably leaking between the walls. Water leaks cannot be ignored
forever. Time to call the inevitable plumber.
Service people never show up when they say they will. They always
get tied up on another job and call to say they will be there
later, or tomorrow, or whenever the mood suits them. Usually this
is after I've taken the day off work to be there.
Things started out well with this plumber, however, when he said
he would be there at 10 and showed up at only 11:30. He turned out
to be the talkative type. He tried to sell me their long-term
service plan. I really just wanted him to fix the leak and leave.
He looked at the leak and decided it was not coming from between
the walls, it was leaking under the shower door. I didn't think
so, but what do I do? "I've been a plumber for 14 years, mam,
and I see this all the time." Do I insist on having the wall
torn out for no reason? Of course not.
We had also noticed a shortage of hot water lately. I figured
since he was already there, I might as well get that checked out
too. "When we take a shower, there is never enough hot
His eyes lit up. That figures. They would rather work on something
they understand than a mysterious leak. He proceeded to explain to
me how water heaters work, how they have magnesium rods to keep
them from corroding and how a tube carries the cold water to the
bottom of the tank.
Who cares? Just fix it, I thought. So he pulled the magnesium rod
and it was nearly eaten up with corrosion. Then he tried to pull
the cold-water tube and it was too corroded to repair. "Mam,
you need a new hot water heater -- or I can put this one
back together if you want to wait until it goes out
He proceeded to show me the corroded parts and the calcium
deposits and to explain the realities of making hot water.
Eventually I ended up purchasing a new hot water heater. Of
course, he gave me a fabulous deal and a 50-gallon tank for the
price of a 40-gallon one.
He was happy as a lark putting in the new one. This is something a
plumber was born to do. He called me out to the garage two or
three times to see what he was doing and to explain. As if I
cared, "Just fix it", I thought. I tried to seem
interested, but what I was really interested in was how to pay the
"What about the leaking shower?"
"I'll put some caulk around the shower door, mam, that should
take care of it. No extra charge. We will take the price of the
service call off the total too and there is a discount coupon in
the yellow pages if you want to use that."
I can't figure out why I'm so broke with all the money I saved
getting my leak fixed. But at least I have 50 gallons of hot
water. I think I will go take a shower now and see if that leak is
It better not be. If it is, I will not need a plumber. I will need
a hit man. I wonder if there is a discount coupon in the yellow
pages for that?
Copyright 2005 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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