Sunday, April 15, 2012

In Hot Water

It’s Friday afternoon. I’m folding clothes, packing bags, loading the car. In about an hour kidlet #3 will be home from school and we are off to a baseball tournament for the weekend. Hubby has to work this weekend so he will be manning the fort alone, which will give him a couple of days of what he considers peace and quiet. It gives kidlet and I some ‘normal’ time where we don’t have to be worrying about our Aspie family member. A bit of a relief for all.

Since I would be gone all weekend, I did my regular weekend washing today. Kidlet started off  the washers (yes, I have two sets) with the contents of his dirty clothes basket, and then I ran several loads of Steve's and my things. Steve and kidlet both had showers earlier that morning. After I filled the car with our baseball stuff, I turned on the he kitchen sink faucet to ‘warm up’ the water in order to run the dishwasher.

It didn’t. Warm up that is. Ice cold. I checked the hot water line valve under the sink. On. I went out to the garage and checked the hot water heaters. (Yes, plural. I had two installed when we built our home as my hubby is incapable of showering in less than twenty minutes and the rest of us also enjoy hot water.) Hot water tanks off. Oh oh. We must be out of propane.

My heart sank. I hadn’t showered yet. I left that until all my housework was done. Bad choice.

We live in the country. No natural gas lines or cable TV. Just propane tanks and satellite dishes. I’ve lived this way since 1978. We have no neighbors in sight. Only trees that ring our acreage and lots and lots of lawn. Peaceful. Secluded. But today, no hot water. Hmmm.

I washed up in the sink the best I could. Putting in ice-cold contact lens is not fun. I could have hauled out our camping stove to heat some water, but what can I say – I’m just a slacker, I guess.

When I texted my hubby to say I had no hot water, he responded, “We must be out of propane.” Duh. After kidlet and I arrived at our hotel a few hours later I texted, “Hotel has hot water.” Hubby's response was, “Great”. Uh huh. Where is the empathy, dear husband? He would have been screaming bloody murder if it were he without hot water that morning!

In David Finch’s book The Journal of Best Practices Dave speaks about his empathy issues.

Had we known that I had Asperger’s, there wouldn’t have been so much confusion. We might have known that I tend to feel a greater emotional connection to inanimate objects, like walls, than I do to most people. We might have known that a sense of order and control was critically important to me. We might have known that my brain wasn’t built to tolerate reality when reality doesn’t match my expectations.”

Okay, I get it. I can imagine that in Steve’s mind the propane in the tank should have lasted another three or four days. I know that him having to “interrupt” his carefully laid plans for the weekend by having to switch the gas lines over to our second tank was going to put him in a nasty mood. How could this situation be prevented in the future?

Driving over the pass to Eastern Washington I thought about ways of using less propane to make sure we didn’t run out before Steve switched tanks. I could do laundry in cold water. I could get one of those little inline on demand water heaters for the kitchen sink and dishwasher. I could ask my hubby to cut his shower time down to ten minutes. I could learn to switch out the tanks myself.

Or, maybe its just time I bought a fuel gauge for the tanks. eBay, here I come!

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