Household, personal, Repair

Live and Learn – New Hot Water Heater

So, yesterday morning, I sent hubby off with a kiss. When I came back inside, I noticed a very small drop of something liquid on the floor. I thought that I might have dripped with emptying the coffee grounds, so I just wiped it up and went about my morning routine. Ten minutes later, there was more liquid, in the same spot. So, I moved the garbage can, opened the door to the hot water heater closet and there it was … water all over the floor. I threw down some towels, quickly checked the hoses, then went to You Tube. This was the first video I saw:

So, since I checked the hoses already (and the pressure relief pipe was sticking through a hole in the floor) I cut out a piece of cabinet wall and searched around to see if I could find where it was leaking from. I did … the water was coming through the control panel area. So, we needed a new water heater. O.k. What do I do now? First, I wanted to double check, so I called the former owner of the house. He couldn’t remember when he put it in but while we were chatting, he mentioned “we had one heck of a time getting it in there 20 years ago”. So, with that confirmed, back to You Tube. First, I found this one:

Then this one (figured I should immediately NOT make any mistakes so I better learn what they are):

And finally this one:

So, since we don’t have cell phones and I figured it would take a while to drain the hot water heater, I waited and priced some. I decided to go with a Rheem that was 10 gallons larger than the one we were replacing. I measured, and it was about the same height. So, I measured the pipes (for those who don’t know, the width of the pipe itself is NOT the width of the threads. My pipes are just over an inch in diameter but are technically 3/4 in pipe), made the list of things we’d need, wrote down the Model number, and went to let hubby know (I REALLY didn’t want him to show up from work, thinking he was going to relax, and be hit with this).

We went down to Home Depot, bought everything thanks to OPCC (Other People’s Credit Card … we had the cash but that is for property taxes), came home, and began. Well, I may have taken into account the height of the water heater but did not take into account the width (or weight). I ended up having to cut out more of the cabinet and ALMOST had to make a run to Ace Hardware for gas piping (it was in the way but we managed to make it work) all due to the increased width. Another thing about the width is: when I removed the old one, I just gave it a bear hug and walked it out the back door. The new one? My fingers wouldn’t even touch. AND it was heavier. So, once again, our old, free-from-a-neighbor dolly saved our bacon (and backs). I can’t tell you how many times that dolly has come in handy over the years. If anything happened to it, I would immediately go out and buy another one.

It took us 5 hours from purchase to hot water (plus a few hours today to tear out the rest of the cabinet). I still don’t know if I’m going to put a door up in front of the hot water heater (the framing would bring it out about 4 inches from the rest of the cabinets) or just spackle, paint, and call it good. So, what are the lessons I took away from this experience?

  1. Always have at least $1,000 in cash or available on a credit card for emergencies such as this.
  2. Measure everything (especially if this is a replacement) and even if you don’t think you will need a part, buy it.
  3. Unless you always have a group of big strong men (or women) around you at all times, have a dolly.
Health And Wellness, personal

Core Motivation

I am posting this on both blogs because I think this is one of the most profound videos I have seen.  Frank Kern gave this address back in 2008(?) at an Internet Marketing seminar.  It’s roughly 2 hours long (that’s my disclosure, there) but the first hour and a half is spent on you and how you can learn who you truly want to be (what you truly want out of life).  Well, at least that’s how I saw it.

So, you want to lose weight?  Why?  Do you think you’ll be happy once you lose the weight?  That’s what a lot of people think: I’ll be happy if or when.  Those are the people who, once they reach their goal and find out they are still the same person, just in a skinny body, end up putting on not only the weight they had originally lost but more!  Those are the people who win the lottery (literally) yet wind up penniless and miserable, with no friends or family.

Before we begin any journey in life, we need to really take a look at who we really are and what we truly want out of life.  The exercise that Frank walks them (us) through is: What would be your perfect average day?  Not a day when you are doing something special (like taking a trip) but your perfect normal average day.  What time would you wake up?  Who would you be with?  What would you have for breakfast?  That sort of thing.

Think about it.  If your dream is to never have to work again, what would you do to occupy your time?  If your dream is to lose 100 pounds, what would you do next?  How would that change your life?  Let’s say you want to run marathons.  O.k.  So, how would you spend your day if you were snowed in?

Once you do this exercise per Frank’s description, take a good honest look at it.  You need to take action now to become happy with your life.  After watching this video, I realized that I’ve been doing this for a number of years without consciously realizing it.  I have let friends go (some of my oldest friends) because they were not conducive with my happiness.  I’ve done the same thing with family members.  My attitude about life and circumstances has changed dramatically, all for the better.  I used to be angry and ready for a fight.  I was very active in the political arena with my primary focus on the injustices of this or that.  While that is alright, I never truly focused on how I could turn that around to make my (or anyone else’s) life better.  I was extremely negative, spending the majority of my time just bitching, ranting, and buying more ammunition (it’s like food or money or air … or happiness.  You can never have enough). 🙂

Now, I’m doing my best to improve my life and sharing it with you along the way, in the hope that it may help you, too.  I haven’t sat down and officially done the exercise mentioned above yet (I will in a little bit) but I have been thinking about it a lot.  My perfect, average day would pretty much be my life now (just in a location where I can smell pine trees when I open the front door and not hear sirens and police helicopters for hours at a time, like this morning … 4 hours!).  I would have the strength to split wood or hand-turn soil all day long if need be.  I wouldn’t have neighbors that I can hear cough (it’s not that bad but you know what I mean) and I can raise any animal I damn well please!

So, what about you?

Health And Wellness, personal

Domestic Violence and Tragedy

I don’t know how to put into words the depth of my sadness after hearing the news that an online friend and her 14-year old son were beaten, then murdered by her estranged husband yesterday.  Some of you may know her (Chris Keith).  She ran Adventures of a Thrifty Mama:

This brought up so many mixed emotions.  I’m half the country away from being able to help her mother in any way.  I desperately want to.  I’m desperately sad, not only for the loss of this precious soul and her son but for the future she was just embarking on.  I’m desperately sad for her surviving children, who are so young (all three are under 10 years old).  And I’m desperately sad for her mom, who not only had to cope with the loss of her daughter and grandson but is now raising three young children.

This brought up some memories that I haven’t quite buried but kept at bay.  I used those memories to make me a stronger person.  I don’t speak often about that time in my life because it is the past and I don’t like being seen as a victim.  I’m not.  I got out.  But that could have easily been me.  I fled, with my two young boys and literally the clothes on my back but even though I was a state away, for about a year I was armed and ready to see his face waiting for me every time I left the house or returned home.

One time, Chris mentioned being scared.  Now, we all know why.  If, for any reason, you get that feeling in your gut that the person standing in front of you could truly harm you, don’t ignore it.  Look at all the reasons why that fear is there, then hold onto it.  Prepare for it.  Never forget it so you won’t be caught off guard if/when it happens.  Too many have passed those feelings off as “crazy” or excused abuse away because of various reasons I won’t list.  Pay attention and prepare.  Keep this from happening again.


Me And Diabetes

My friend’s mother was just diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  I wanted to bestow my wisdom (yeah, I know) on him so that perhaps it could help during this transition.  Then, I realized I had never really shared my experience with anyone (well, not too many).  So, here I am.

I don’t actually remember when I was diagnosed (last year or the year before).  What I do know is I had been having health problems for years that I kept attributing to other factors, illnesses, conditions, whatever I could find via Google.  I experimented with different treatments (yes, acting as my own doctor because not one of these problems I felt was important enough to see a doctor about).  Then God thumped me on the head, like He has so many times in my life.  I developed a severe allergy to seafood.  It is so severe now that I can’t even go near an aquarium (you should have seen me at Bass Pro Shops … that’s how I found out about that one).  So, Emergency Room, followed by a visit to my family doctor, which included all the tests you can imagine when you have never (and I mean never) had a thorough yearly exam.

That’s when I was hit with it and now, looking back over my life, I think I had type 2 diabetes for at least 21 years (well, 21 years this past February).  I was thirsty all the time.  If I did not have something to drink at all times (I couldn’t go more than 20 minutes without drinking something) my mouth and throat would become so dry I would cough and have a hard time breathing.

I couldn’t go more than an hour or two (two was pushing it) or less time if I was doing heavy manual labor without eating.  If I did, I would get the shakes and feel very weak (sometimes I felt like I was going to pass out).  I describe the start of it like this, “It feels like my stomach is shaking, like it’s cold”.  After meeting, then marrying my husband, I always felt self-conscious about raiding their cupboards so we would be there for hours before he would force me to eat something (that’s one of the times it felt like I was about to pass out).

Cuts and scrapes (especially on my hands/fingers) became infected quickly and took forever to heal once the infection was dealt with (sometimes, soap and water just don’t work like they should).  Even though I was always diligent (too much information for some but I’m a female … what are you going to do?) I got yeast infections all the time.  Before being diagnosed, I thought I had just developed allergies to certain ingredients but after changing everything, nothing worked.  And even though I can’t say they are directly related to the diabetes, I got bladder/kidney infections at least once a year.  I say directly related because my view of my body is, when one thing goes wrong, a lot goes wrong at the same time.  It’s like my body has A.D.D. (it can’t really focus on one thing while there are too many distractions).

So, when I was diagnosed, I did exactly what my doctor said (but, as always, took it to the extreme).  I took my Metformin and Glucophage.  I regularly cut myself (tested my blood sugar).  Instead of living on sugar (sugared coffee all day during the winter and sugared tea and soda during the summer) I went sugar-free everything (and let me tell you, Sugar-Free Sees Candies are not even worth the bother … yuck!).  I even embarked on the 1970’s version of Atkins (as in fats, meat and salad).  After 4 months, I was off all my medications.  Due to my diet and the medications, my blood sugar would drop so low I would have to scarf sugar to bring it back up (fruits and juices didn’t work fast enough).  As long as I followed that sugar intake with a slower digesting carbohydrate (or even just some straight meat), I wouldn’t experience a sugar high, then crash.  It wasn’t easy.  I actually cried one night because I could smell the Cheez-Itz my step-daughter was eating.

Due to other health issues (not mine) I had to abandon the die-hard Atkins way of eating.  Although my blood sugars have been normal for at least a year, I am always watching for the signs to come back.  Last week I got REALLY thirsty so I freaked out.   I checked my blood sugar and it was normal.  I guess it was just the 100+ degree weather and I was legitimately thirsty!  🙂  I just eat better, still focusing on proteins (not having a pile of toast for breakfast like before) with a side of good carbohydrates and a sprinkling of bad if I still want them.  I think, as in all things, the key (in my case) is simply moderation.  If I were to lose more inches, I would be better physically but that’s not my main focus (since this saga began, I have only lost roughly 10 pounds but I have lost 9 inches off my waist alone).  I actually squeezed my rear into a size 14 pants yesterday (it wasn’t pretty … I looked like a mushroom) but I could breathe AND sit without busting out the seams!

My point in all this is, it’s not the end of the world.  It may feel like it (especially in the beginning when you have to give up all that you have loved to eat for so many years) but you will eventually learn to appreciate food again, I promise.