I'm so glad I'm not a woodpecker!

I’ve been putting in 10-hour days working on the Cypress Cottage, and my body is rebelling against all the slave labor it’s been forced to do. My hands were so numb when I woke up today, they felt like they belonged to someone else and had just magically become attached to the end of my arms. Weird.

This has been a week well worth the effort, though. Deloutre and The Miller are coming, and their pending visit spurs me on to get at least part of this place inhabitable by humans. Their upcoming visit is just the thing I need to make me push myself beyond what my hypo-thyroidism usually allows.

And that fact fools me into thinking that I am a mechanical genius, when one morning this week I decide to light the gas water heater. With the auto-igniter, the procedure is much safer than it used to be–unless it doesn’t light, that is. After checking to make sure the gas valve was completely open, I tried again. Nothing. One phone call to my friend who is a Mechanical Genius (MG from now on), I am reminded that this water heater brand has “thermo-couple” problems. Ah yes. I knew that. And a class action suit might get you a new replacement.

No thanks. No time for replacements. So I gather my tools, set my brow, lie down on the cool cement and begin the surgery. I am performing a thermo-couple-ostamy-ectomy-adjustment. I made that up, just in case you were wondering. Because MG schooled me in the operational physics of the thermo-couple, I know I can fix this thing once I get it out of the water heater.

Yes, just a little tap with the handle of the screw driver pushes that little thermo-jewel back far enough that the pilot flame will be hitting right on it, heating it to the point that it signals the gas to continue to flow once I let go of the “red button” during the Pilot Lighting procedure.

After putting all the guts back inside the belly of the water heater, closing her up, and then opening the gas valve, I once again follow the step-by-step instructions for lighting the pilot. After several failed attempts, and an hour-long wait in hopes that waiting will help, she finally lights! Yippee!!! Deloutre and The Miller will have hot showers, after all!

Next day, while painting yet one more crusty, old window that still goes up and down on its sash rope, I noticed that I was sweating more than just from the recent hot flashes. What is this? The AC is not cooling as it should. Oh no. This can’t happen. Handy Friend calls at that moment to check on progress, and I tell him the bad news. I’ve already turned the central unit off, thinking that maybe it froze up or something and just needs to thaw out.

HF says I have to go up into the attic and see if the drip pan is full of water, dust, and moldy stuff and siphon it and clean out the drain pipe. Huh? Are you kidding me? It’s like 140 degrees up there, and off I go with my siphon hose, a bucket, a towel, and a flash light, only to find there is NO DRIP PAN UP THERE. But when I get back down into the house, 85 degrees feels like AC to me. Thank God hot flashes don’t reach those temperatures, or I’d be TOAST.

I fooled around in the return air closet looking for that wonderful drip pan, but could not find it. I only found the drain hose going through the floor and pulled on it. It seemed to be stuck in the ground under the house. I pulled, yanked, pounded and generally did nothing much at all to it and then went and looked at it from under the house with my trusty flashlight. I couldn’t really see anything, since the pipe was black and it was dark under there. But by some miracle, when I turned the unit back on, it began to cool the house again. Yippee!! They will have cool air when they come, too!

And at the end of the day, I can take my beverage and sit in the back yard and

watch this little home . . .

and see the lady of the house working just as hard as I was moments before . . .

and watch her do a little self grooming

and then stand guard against a relentless starling who seemed to be aggravating her just for the fun of it.

And before you know it, I’m refreshed enough to go down the bayou to my home, where I will grill burgers for my sons and their buddy; prepare and deliver a plate of food to a well-deserving neighbor; play with CooNee; fold clothes and put more to wash and dry; and all the other trappings of an evening before crashing into my nest very, very late.

In case you can’t tell, I am super excited about my visitors who will be arriving today. And I can’t wait to see what kind of creative work and fun we’ll have while they’re here. And then I get to share it with you.

Are you excited, too?


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  1. You’re a wonder Mommer! 😉

    To Wonder Daughter from Wonder Mommer: Thanks for not correcting my verb tense mistakes in above post. I was very, very tired.

  2. Is it just me or can anyone else not see BW’s photos? Earlier I could see the first two but now none of them are available. What’s up with that?

    Still have the problem?

  3. Thank goodness for Katy Bug’s comment. I thought something was wrong with my eyes!

  4. Now I can’t see my own photos. What’s going on? I can see them when I go to “edit”, but I can’t see them live. I have no idea, but I can’t fix it right now. I have to get back to the Cypress Cottage and see what my guests are up to! We worked hard today!

  5. Sounds like you’re working yourself to the bone! It is worth it. Can’t wait to see the final project. Great pictures of the downy.

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