On Monday, our last wave of visitors to the cabin left. First to go were Harry and Jane, then Jay and Carl headed south, leaving Anne and I all alone. I packed up the new cots that we had been sleeping on while everyone else was here and we moved back into the master bedroom. I don’t know if it was the new again bed or the silent absence of all the others, but both Anne and I experienced some sleeplessness last night. Anne had some trouble falling asleep and proceeded to count the number of prime numbers between 1900 and 2000. She counted eleven, but after later looking it up, discovered that there are thirteen. Anne has always had this thing for prime numbers that dates back to a high school science project she did. If prime numbers don’t work, then she recites the fifty states and their capitols. Breathing-in she says to herself, Alabama. Then with a slow exhale she spells out the state, A-l-a-b-a-m-a and then recites its capitol, Montgomery, before breathing again and moving on to the next state. Sometimes she does the state alphabetically, but on other occasions she will do them geographically, either north-south and then east-west or visa-versa. She finds that these mental exercises help to relax her and let her fall asleep. I am nowhere near as imaginative as she is when dealing with insomnia. Last night, I awoke at three, probably, because I had to pee. Returning to bed, I noticed a light on outside. I finally figured out that it was the overhead moon. It was shining on the window screens, giving the forest a gauzy sheen, except for the top foot of the windows, where the roof’s overhang shielded the window from the moonlight. After I had figured all of that out, I soon fell asleep, not very imaginative.
Yesterday’s storm has given way from rain and turned to wind, as the front has passed us by. Dan, et. al. has successfully made it to Saint Louis, with Britt flying back to Queens this afternoon. Anne (and I helped) have whipped the cabin in shape to receive visitors again, who will hopefully arrive tomorrow. Yes, dear folks, Harry is due to arrive tomorrow. While Jay and Carl are transporting him north to us, Anne and I will run errands: recycling, garbage, gas, money and groceries. We should be able to easily complete them all in time for their arrival. Because of today’s blow, we are going to have a fire in the main cabin tonight. This will burn off all of the garbage that has accumulated as of late and help to keep us warm. This summer, Anne and I have been “sleeping around” up here at the cabin. We started on the sleeping porch, but then the kids arrived and we moved to the old folk’s bedroom. As part of this current wave of visitors, we will be sleeping in the main cabin, on the new cots that the kids bought. We tried them out last night and they were quite comfortable. My back did not pain me at all in the morning. One blanket was a little light on the covers though. Tonight, we’ll had a comforter, plus we’ll have the main room already preheated with a warm and toasty fire. Yesterday, at the laundromat, I downloaded plenty of videos to watch. I could see myself curling up on the couch , in front of the fire and watching a show tonight.
Anne heard it first. We then all heard it the second time, while sitting in the main cabin. We hadn’t a clue what caused the sound or what it was. Anne heard it again in the middle of the night. When she came back to bed, she thought that I was awake already and woke me up. I could tell that she was anxious about the sound and neither of us got back to sleep for a while. At 6 AM we both heard the sound and we both barged into the bathroom startling Dan. Fortunately, it was Dan and not Britt. The sound was emanating from the water heater.
We peeled apart the moldy water heater instructions, which said that lime scale can build up on the heating elements and eventually cause a “rumbling” sound. This problem is especially evident in water heaters using well water. Turning to YouTube, I watched several videos on how to replace the heating elements in an electric water heater. After a while, it seemed easy enough that I felt that I could do it myself. I went into the thriving metropolis of Brimley and visited its new Ace Hardware store. There they had a wall of different elements, none of which matched our heater’s brand, but I bought two anyway. Why?
Returning to the cabin, I noted that the neighbors had arrived. Mr. Bill alerted to my predicament by my request for an inch-and-a-half socket wrench socket, which all the YouTube videos called for, was over in a flash. Turning off the power, by throwing the breaker was all of the permission needed. The access panel to the heater was opened and the bolts holding the element in place loosened, before I called a halt this process, because we were on the verge of releasing all of the water in the tank onto the bathroom floor. It was apparent that the two heating elements that I had bought were not the right kind. In fact, none of the elements at the store looked anything like the ones in the heater. Buttoning things up, I decided that our thirty-something year old water heater was so old that any new elements would only be available on eBay, where Anne did not want to go. It looked like a new water heater would be in the cards, which is definitely a plumber’s job for me.
Fortunately, the heater has ceased making strange noises and has not made any for several days now. It still heats the water fine and if it doesn’t make any more sounds, it might be good enough for the rest of the summer. This would be a good thing, because everyone I have spoken with around here agrees that finding a plumber in this year of supply chain issues, would be a tall order. We promise to give the heater an especially good flushing this year, when we close things up again, at the end of the summer, so that it will still work next summer too.