Snakes and Pills

211 - tomorrow

Brittany impatiently ran her hand through the water pouring out of the faucet. She was waiting for it to get warm enough so that she could pull the little knob that would force the water to come out of the shower head.

The hot water typically took a bit longer to reach the upstairs bathroom. And while she wasn't exactly sure how much time had passed, she felt like the heat was taking longer than usual. She flicked the stream again. It remained icy cold, not even showing the slightest hints of warmth.

Brittany was now sure that something was amiss. She shut off the water. Usually, when the hot water failed to materialize, the cause was the propane tank running dry. But that was preceded by warning signs, as the lower pressure in the tank would make the water grow gradually colder until the gas was totally exhausted. Yesterday's shower had shown no such warning signs, and they had just changed the tank two weeks ago.

Naked and not wanting to run outside with just a towel on, she called out from the bathroom to her husband, who was on the computer downstairs. "Don! The hot water isn't working!"

No reply came. Brittany wondered if he actually hadn't heard her or was just ignoring her. "Don!" she yelled out again. This time, his reply of "What?!" echoed back upstairs.

"I said, the hot water isn't working!" she shouted.

"What do you want me to do?" he asked. He didn't ask the question sarcastically, but Brittany still felt irritated by his lack of initiative. If he were the one who wanted to take a shower right now, he would have already completely disassembled the water heater in search of a cause.

"I don't know! Just fix it!" she yelled. Once again, no reply came, but she assumed that Don had heeded her advice, and was headed out to the garage to investigate. She waited, growing colder by the second.

Don's voice eventually reappeared, right outside the bathroom door. "Well, I switched out the tanks. But the first tank still feels pretty heavy. I don't think it's empty." Brittany rolled her eyes as she already assumed as much. "But, turn it on and let's see," Don continued.

Brittany attempted to summon the hot water again, but she sighed as her fingers ran through the cold, unchanged water. "Nope," she said.

"Yeah, didn't think so. Well, leave the water on, I want to see if anything is happening with the heater at all," Don instructed. Brittany did as she was told. The water splashing in the tub left her unable to hear him disappear down the stairs.

She waited, contemplating how much time this unexpected delay had already cost her. If she wasn't able to take a shower now, it would really wreak havoc on her plans, and she doubted they'd be able to get a repairman out to fix it today.

Momentarily, Brittany wished her husband was better at these kinds of things.

Don meanwhile returned to the bathroom door. "It's really strange," he said. "I can see it burning gas, so it's definitely not a matter of propane supply or the pilot light. I'm not sure what else it could be."

Brittany shook her head in frustration. "So, what are we gonna do?" she asked.

"I guess we'll have to call someone," Don said. "Well, I have one more idea. But if it doesn't work, you might have to skip your shower today. Sorry, honey."

Brittany had now given up on today's shower, brushing her fingers through the cold water. Unbeknownst to her, Don ran back outside and gave the water heater several forceful whacks with the palm of his hand.

She felt the water turning warm.

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