Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Payback is a Bummer

People all around Pensacola are dropping like flies; the weather fluctuates between hot and humid and cold and dry, with thunderstorms marking the boundaries, and there are colds and flu popping up everywhere. I’ve flown serenely through the season without much problem, just a little four day cold around Christmas, feeling thankful for my strong immune system. I may have been a little smug.

And then, WHAM, it hit. One minute I was in a meeting, and the next, as I headed home, I was sniffing and reaching for a tissue. It quickly got worse. It was one of those nights where you can’t sleep because you are drowning in your own mucus. I know, I know, too much information, too graphic. Trust me, the reality has been worse. I stayed in bed most of Friday, and Saturday, when I was feeling better, we discovered our water heater has sprung a leak. All that mopping up was probably good exercise; once we got all the water up we were OK. Yesterday, my sniffles had turned into aching, irritated sinuses, so I spent the day putting warmth on my face.

This morning, we have the plumbers coming in with a new water heater, I feel marginally better, and I know I will feel a LOT better once I can get a hot shower 🙂

There was a huge blessing in all this. Our calendars for January and February are full, winter is the active season in Pensacola. We have events, we have commitments, and we have house guests coming. In the entire period, I only had five dates with no obligations, and that was this weekend. It’s a strange thing to be thankful for, but I thank God to be sick during a time when I can stay home and take care of myself, and I don’t have to call anyone and renege on an obligation.

It’s also wonderful that if the water heater was going to go (and it is ten years old) it burst while we were here, and we were able to stop the flow and mop up the water before it caused a lot of damage. We had a water heater go out several homes ago, while we were out of town, and oh, what a mess we came back to, and it took forever to get all the carpeting dried out and replaced. It’s wonderful that we could take care of this BEFORE our house guests start arriving.


We’ve been exploring tankless heaters; our heater is smack in the center of the house, a terrible location, where, if it goes, it can cause a lot of damage. We’ll go ahead with a regular old-fashioned heater this time, but suddenly, we have some urgency to trying to install tankless – maybe in the next couple of years. We had tankless heaters in Germany, and in the Middle East; we are used to them and comfortable with the idea. I like the idea of not keeping water warm when we are not using it, and heating it only when we do. I also like the idea of not having gallons and gallons of water spilling into my kitchen, dining room, living room and family room when the tank goes 😦

I miss my energy . . . I no longer feel smug, no longer assured of my good health. I’d forgotten how wonderful it is to be normal, without sinus pain, without this thick-headed draggy feeling. I think I’m on the mend; the last three days I couldn’t even begin to think about writing a blog entry . . .

January 28, 2013 - Posted by | ExPat Life, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Health Issues, Home Improvements, Living Conditions, Survival, Weather


  1. Water leak in any house is bad news , especially in a house made of wood .
    Is it possible to have the contractor fiber glass the bottom of the boiler room and the side walls to say one foot all around , and have a felexible or a PVC pipe as escape for overflow water to a drain near by ??

    Comment by daggero | February 2, 2013 | Reply

  2. Daggero, are you an engineer? 🙂 You sound like all the engineers I grew up with . . .

    We had the current water heater installed with a pan, and the pan has an opening to which we can attach a hose with which we can drain leakage, assuming we are not on vacation, and we can spot the leakage before it leaves the pan. We have pretty well decided to go tankless in the next couple years, because it is just stupid to have a water heater in the smack dab center of the house where it can do maximum damage when it leaks. We could drain it with the a/c, but a blockage could damage both the a/c AND the water heater . . . . one solution breeds another problem. We have another water heater IN AN ATTIC, two stupidly placed water heaters, disasters just waiting to happen.

    I grew up in Germany with tankless point-of-use water, and I totally love it. I love the idea that even if there is a hurricane and we go without electricity for a few weeks, we MIGHT still have gas-heated hot water. But I don’t want to install it right away; it is expensive and it takes a lot of steps.

    Comment by intlxpatr | February 2, 2013 | Reply

  3. I recently changed thermocap on my water tank but still the burner does stay lit what else is the problem and how can I solve this problem without speending to much $

    Comment by nel | June 2, 2013 | Reply

  4. Nel, so sorry, wish I could help you but I haven’t a clue. I have to call in plumbers even for a dripping faucet!

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 2, 2013 | Reply

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