Yesterday the plumbers came and replaced our water heater. Our twenty-three-year-old water heater had begun to act out, leaving rust in our shower and sometimes failing to keep us warm. So a doughy young man with a powerful scent of tobacco came to my house and chatted with my children and removed our old water heater and put in a new one.
There was a slight hiccup when I mentioned that for a month this summer an eastern milksnake had lived under our water heater, poking his head out to wave at my husband while he sat on the toilet. Our young plumber, apparently, was deathly afraid of snakes, and decided to sit out in his truck and wait for his partner to arrive with the new water heater, rather than be anywhere near our basment, alone with an even hypothetical snake.
But the partner came and the snake did not and all was accomplished within four hours.
So we have reliable hot water and I should be happy as a clam. But I am not. No, dear reader, I am not. Because, you see, before we changed water heaters, our house had very high water pressure. Deliciously high water pressure. Our water pressure was my friend. It scrubbed dishes for me, it cleaned my hair down to the scalp, it filled the tub for children with minimal fuss and boredom for a waiting mother. I loved my water pressure. I could have bought the house just for the water pressure.
But that luscious, wonderful water pressure (110 psi) was much too high for city code, and would have invalidated the warranty on our new water heater. So the plumbers - at my request, mind you, THIS IS ALL MY OWN FAULT - installed a pressure reducing valve that brings our pressure down to code (75 psi) and preserves that precious warranty.
We have lost one third of our pressure.
It is like someone overnight picked up my house and moved it to Britain. My shower is a sad, pitiful thing. Oh, I have hot water, but what good is it when I must stand still as a stone under its weak dribble to stay warm? Where are my clouds of steam? Where is the force that detangles my hair without aid of a comb?
My kitchen faucet used to snap to attention with an audible thunk when I turned it on full blast, but now it is quiet and civilized, a demure, gentle thing. Poor faucet. I have emasculated you. You spray my dishes, but I know you're just going through the motions. There is no enthusiasm.
I am told that I will notice a difference when I get my next water bill. And I suppose our new state of European flaccidity is better for the environment. But oh, how I miss the surge and power of yesterday. Everything is changed forever.
Farewell, water pressure. I am glad I knew you.