Finally, car loaded, a last hug and terse farewell, I found myself alone in the ruins of my adult children’s childhood—sports pennants, castoff baseball gear, broken fishing poles, comic books, bent bicycle wheels, moldy patio cushions, decades-old Valentine’s Day decorations, kaput computers, a ripped bag of tile grout and an empty gas can for the lawn mower. Transition never looked so messy or so daunting. That’s when I noticed.
Time passes, don’t ask how much. I don’t know. A week, two. The fluorescent lights in my dressing room flicker and go out. I dress by the light of my makeup mirror. Searching the garage for replacement lights, I find a half dozen beside the water heater. Test them and find I’m still in the dark. Returning the duds to the garage, I look at the dark splotch on the floor. It has grown, spread under the old boom box and camp cooler. I bend and swipe the floor—water. Following my fingers under the water heater, I recognize it is leaking. The inspection tag attached when it was installed says “July 1979.”
I declined and went back to the plumbing aisle, wandered back and forth in front of the water heaters, gnashed my teeth, spit like a cobra, noticed Jim teaching a handsome young guy how to buy plumbing parts for a job and figured he was a contractor, might have some solutions for my problem. Got his card, went home.
Checked Home Depot consumer credit terms online: NO INTEREST IF PAID IN FULL WITHIN 12 MONTHS* on any Installed Heating or Air Conditioning purchases of $299 or more. Minimum Payments Required. 25.99% interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date if the purchase balance (including premiums for optional credit insurance) is not paid in full within 12 months or if you make a late payment. *Only 50 percent of applicants qualify for “no interest offer.” Home Depot price for water heater replacement—40-gallon, mid-range quality—$1,100 to $1,300.