When I was in junior high, one of my friends — we’ll call her Karen though I’ve long forgotten her name — was a burn victim. We were pretty close until her dad got transferred and then, as so often happens, we lost touch. But while we lived on the same base and went to the same school, we were pretty close. As I said, she was a burn victim, much of her body was covered in scar tissue, from her eyes to her knees. Her fingers were melted together and she had what she called “claws” — the doctors had surgically cut into her hands and loosened her thumb (I think) so that she could grasp things. Anyway, Karen was burned because the water heater in her house blew up and she was in the room at the time. It’s not uncommon for water heaters to be stored in hallways, bedrooms, and wherever the builders can stick them. Ours is also in a closet in this house. The water heater that burned Karen was a gas water heater, and while it’s not as common now, it wasn’t unheard of 40 years ago for them to blow under pressure. People just didn’t take the time to do the maintenance and they didn’t replace them when they needed replacing. Karen was three if I remember correctly when her family’s water heater blew up. She was 15 when we were friends.
There was nothing about Karen that I didn’t like. She was fun. We had a lot of good times together. Her burns were simply a part of who she was. However, the story of how she got them, and having seen and heard of water heaters just… blow up. I’ve always had a slight fear of water heaters in general. Especially gas water heaters. I’m kind of okay with electric ones. Until something goes wrong. Then I live with a quiet dread that no matter what I do, it’s gonna blow. It’ll blow up and my house will burn down, and nothing I do is gonna prevent it. I know this is an irrational fear, but there it is.
Our water heater sprung a leak yesterday. We pulled back the panel after hearing a sssssss sound and there’s water everywhere. The stupid thing is 15 years old. Our fault completely, we should have replaced it when we bought the place. But yeah… water under the bridge. Anyway, we turned it off immediately of course, but there’s no way to turn the water off (that I can see) without turning off the water to the entire house. I’ve been on the phone all day trying to get a plumber out here. I have one who said he might be able to come out today to ‘take a look’ but he’s not making any promises. Everyone else is booked out for weeks, or they don’t work on manufactured homes. And I’m living in quiet dread that my water heater is going to blow up any second now. Life is fun. >_<
I’ve learned several things buying this house. When we rebuild, we’re not having a crawl space. It’s either a full basement or a cement slab. Screw crawlspaces. They suck. I want to be able to walk under the house and see what’s wrong or have nothing under there at all. And! I’m never purchasing another manufactured home ever again. Never! It’s next to impossible to get anyone to work on them. In my younger days, I would have been able to do minor maintenance myself, but now? That’s not happening. Our next house will be fitted with standard everything so we won’t have this mess of “Oh, we don’t work on that kind of house” nonsense. Because now I have water leaking down into my crawlspace and no way of stopping it. Of course, when we rebuild, we’ll have a proper water heater, with a proper shut off valve, so if this happens again, I won’t have to worry about shoddy work. /rant