The old water heater that is.
I met Lawrence the Handyman at The Home Depot this afternoon and got the new water heater. I thought he would meet me near the front of the store. Ten minutes after our appointed time and I still didn't see him. That's not like Lawrence at all. So I called his cell. I should have known: He was retrieving a cart to put the water heater on. God love him.
It was very hot, (about 90 degrees and the heat index was near 100) but dry. For that, I was incredibly grateful.
While replacing a water heater isn't hard, it is a physically demanding job. Even using a dolly (with which we managed to dent the new water heater), getting one water heater up and another down the stairs of death was challenging at best. Our basement stairs are narrow, steep, and have a curve toward the bottom that make carrying a heavy load nearly impossible without either losing the load or your balance.
But Lawrence is a trooper. I have no idea how he does it. While he is nearly 30 years my senior, and a slight man at that, he'll probably sail out of bed tomorrow. Me, I'm achin' and breakin' as I type this and I've already had a dose of Tylenol Arthritis. Getting old is a real bitch.
I relished that shower earlier, savoring every second. I had been babying the water heater the last few days, trying to keep it from going completely out and sending Tigger scurrying for scuba gear. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Get out! Not tonight, buddy. Enjoy. Enjoy. Enjoy.
Thanks to Lawrence's truck, I also bought 250 more bricks -- bringing the total to 570, almost enough to do the porch and walkway. I also bought a sledge hammer and a pick for the sidewalk demolition. (I'm trying hard not to think about how much money I spent today while I convince myself it will all be worth every cent.) We jammed 200 into his truck -- along with the water heater-- and 50 more into the 'Bird's trunk.
Lawrence and I walked around once the water heater was in, discussing a variety of future projects. One last task before he left was to roll the old water heater out to the alley. I felt a little guilty leaving it there. It had served us so well. Twenty years.
"Will they pick that up?" Lawrence queried. I wasn't sure to which "they" he referred but I knew that water heater would be gone by tomorrow. Who I call "the junk guys" cruise the alley at least a half-dozen times each weekend, trying to see ahead of trash day if anything of value to them has been discarded. I assured him that the water heater would not stay there.
Even I was surprised when, barely an hour later, I went out to move the car to unload the bricks and saw that the water heater was gone. That was much faster than I could have imagined.
Farewell, old friend. Farewell. Here's hoping that your replacement performs half as long.