When it comes to being a true Southerner (with the requisite capital S) it's been my experience that Southerners are also good with tools. Though I feel I am good with tools, there is a lot to be said for true experience (or maybe true Southern Experience.)
Case in point, the Water Heater (see above.) This last week, I had taken a couple of days off to get caught up on the house rebuild and had, indeed, made significant inroads on tile and grout when the lovely Mrs. calmly pointed out that there was a minor leak in the water heater. Initial investigation showed me a very minor leak in what appeared to be the cold water inlet and I felt I could repair said leak in short order. Quite typical of a southern home owner's repair. However, experience should have taught me otherwise.
After a short trip to the big hardware store, I spent a bit too long gathering my tools (where do they go when they're not in use? Who moves these things when I'm not looking?) and was ready to begin at 9:00 AM. Immediately, I discovered that the leak was not coming from the inlet, but from the "sacrificial anode" (which protects the water heater from corrosion. Next stop: Irony.) Back out to the shed to get a socket wrench and then back out to the shed again when I discovered that the socket I brought in was too small. With the right size socket, try as I might, the anode won't budge. So, back out to the shed where I get my impact wrench. Correct socket + Impact Wrench = still cannot remove the anode as it is corroded and rusted tight. (Welcome to Irony, end of the line.)
At this point, the only thing left to do is replace the water heater. So, I set the old water heater to drain and headed to the big hardware store for visit #2. They are quick to get the water heater for me and in no time I'm back at the house, water heater brought in, unpacked, down the steps, tight turn into the laundry room and I'm ready to put it in place. Wait. It's too big. For some strange reason, it's four inches wider than the old one (supposedly of the same model.) So I have to now pack the dang thing up, and haul it back up the steps, through the house out to the car, load it and head to the big hardware store and tell the guy I got the wrong one (and put up with their laughter.)
For future reference, I did learn that these days, water heaters are now differently configured and have more insulation and ceramic linings and we can all blame the EPA and the government.
The return is no problem and they even have a narrower water heater just for me, but as fate would have it, they are out of stock. (Yes, I checked the other hardware store right across the street and they didn't have it either.) So I make the trek to the big hardware store a few miles away where they have one of the size I need. (Is this visit #3? I'm going to call it - yes.)
Home again, home again, jiggidy jig, in the house, unpack, down the steps, into the laundry room and set it in place. Only now- (Stay with me buckaroos!) - the new water heater is too TALL. This means that the wires AND water connectors are too short. BACK to the big hardware store (yes, that's right, visit #4) to get a junction box (you can see it attached like a carbuncle on top of the water heater) and a longer connector for the inlet. More work with the *#$%* Water Heater and finally, FINALLY, it's done.
Finishing time 6:00 PM Six frakking o'clock, Bubba! Experience is a great teacher and I now know that you measure EVERYTHING. and second guess nothing. (You should also put away your tools where you can find them again, but I'm not going to go into that today.)