Saturday, January 11, 2014

Defeating the Nazis

One of the nice things about our new home is having three bathrooms. When it is just the two of us, even, two bathrooms are going to get used on a regular basis. Not only does a person not want to wait until a bathroom is available if that is avoidable, but just the matter of having a different set of towels handy, a razor that is still where you left it. Soap without weird ingredients in the dish. Etc. It would certainly astonish me to find that anyone felt differently, assuming the arrangement is possible. Growing up, it was one bathroom for a family of 5. 

But all was not well in our particular situation either. The prior owner, a contractor who had remodeled about everything, had remarked that the Safety Nazis had pulled off a victory in their campaign to inconvenience others when it came to the shower faucets. By no means did he put it in such a sarcastic way, but he was prompted to say upon some cue that a remodeler has no choice today, the only kind of faucet being sold can not be turned on all the way to spray 100% hot water. This of course prevents someone from stepping into the shower having failed to test the water first, an accommodation that no doubt is expected to save one severe scalding from happening every 350 years in the United States alone. Any vampires out there can keep an eye on the statistic.

For some reason, that was all he said. Sure enough, the two showers downstairs, similar to the image, have some internal block that prevents turning the control all the way over, but instead only halfway. For the shower off the master bedroom, he had evidently been able to monkey with it so that the control could be turned slightly more than halfway, which is fine; but for the other shower, halfway was it. I noticed that the hot water heater was really turned up high, so I assumed this was how he was trying to handle the problem that goes with the un-adjusted controls: the water simply does not get hot enough. Unfortunately even having the hot water turned up very high did not solve the problem for shower #2. During the winter especially, this was turning into an unpleasant fact. Showering there meant a cold shower on a cold day. I would sometimes force myself to admit that if you stuck your hand into the spray, it did feel somewhat lukewarm, meaning I could summon up the gumption to go ahead with it. But, nope, for the rest of the body, it was a cold shock. If you've ever swam in a cold swimming hole, you'll be able to relate to how a person eventually doesn't notice the cold, and how this is much more tolerable in the summer! But I was lining up a plumber, friends, and, yes, many times I just used the other shower.

For six months this was the status quo for this shower. Then one recent day I'm showering and accidentally bump the control in this shower. I braced myself for a cold blast while turning the knob back as fast as I can; but then I noticed. The shower got warmer, not colder. What? I test it again. Yep, by turning it towards 'off' it gets warmer, too warm in fact. Holy Cow! The contractor just reversed the hot and cold hook-up! Ingenious!

Sue and I are still laughing about this one. I'm trying to think why the guy didn't tell me what he had done. Perhaps he started to, and got interrupted. Or maybe he thought I would be able to tell [no, and I don't feel bad about this one, it's just not something you investigate unless you suspect such a thing].

In the meantime, life has improved in our humble abode.