Add Home Maintenance to the PPAHCA

 

Some days it doesn’t pay to wake up. I’ve had seven months of the home maintenance blues. It started in August when the air conditioner blew during the one week of ninety-five degree days.

“It is old,” I rationalized. My fabulous son-in-law came to the rescue. When he removed the plenum from the furnace he found a crack in the heat exchanger.
“You know, if I were at someone else’s house on a service call I’d have to red tag the furnace.”

“Replace the unit.”

A month later, Grandma Peggy showed me a discoloration on the ceiling in the living room.

“Looks like we have a leaky roof. That is the second spot to show up.”

After getting three quotes for the roof replacement I selected a man whom I felt very confident about. He immediately went to Frankfort Village Hall to apply for a permit. The village would not let him do the job because he was not an approved roofer in Frankfort. The high cost of approval caused him to reject the job. I went with the next roofer on the list.

“Joe, why is there a noise coming from downstairs?”

“What noise?”

“You mean you can’t hear the siren wailing?”

I went to investigate. The back-up pump in the clear water sump was screaming. The primary sump pump that I replaced just three months ago failed, and the backup did its job, but wouldn’t shut off. I pulled the plug.

Two weeks ago, a second sump pump that handles the downstairs slop sink and the water conditioner failed. Again Peggy called me.

“Do you hear that?”

“No.”

“”I think it’s coming from the furnace room.” I went to investigate.

The plastic pipe coming out of the sump was hot to the touch and the noise sounded like sparking. I lifted the lid over the sump and got a blast of hot air in my face, just like you get when you open an oven. I pulled the plug. This time, I’m calling a plumber, I want him to look at the seepage around the overhead sewer line anyway.

“What do you think is causing this,” I asked the plumber?

“It’s probably a broken sewer pipe, I’ll remove the clean-out plug and see what is happening.”

Look down the hole to see the broken sewer pipe.

Sure enough, the cast iron main pipe just outside of the house broke and shifted downward thus impeding the flow of sewage from the house. Raw sewage juice seeps into the house around the pipe through the foundation. That is what shows up as a black streak running down the basement wall.

This time the plumber asked me to get the permit. I did. When they called to tell me to pick it up, they asked for $80.

“WHAT? I went ballistic. I pay huge tax money to Frankfort for the privilege of living here and you are asking for $80 more?”

“I’m sorry sir, but that is the standard charge.”

“I want to talk to a manager.”

“I’m sorry sir, but the charge is in a Village ordinance.”

I paid, and stomped out talking to myself out loud.

I came home to admire the black streak running down the wall, and thanked God that sewage was still flowing and not backing up into the bathtubs. I calmed down. Oh well, it’s only money, and the economy needs a boost.

The Hole.

A couple of days ago, Peggy turned on the garbage disposal unit.

“Why doesn’t this make noise anymore?”

“Because it is a super quiet model.”

I checked it myself to see if her assumption that it didn’t work was correct. She is correct, the rotor doesn’t turn and the overload switch trips out to kill it.

I’ve made a list of things that are left, and it is still very long. I am positive the water heater, water softener, the windows, refrigerator, and the garage door opener will send me a message soon.

Maybe I’ll testify before Congress to add home repairs to the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act. After all, the health of my family depends on the environment we live in. Besides, if I can get Viagra, and women can get contraception to support their health, why wouldn’t I get money to live in a nice healthy well maintained home? It is the Progressive way of thinking.

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