…about last week on LZ Jerry


Thursday morning, when I woke at the butt crack of dawn, I felt pretty good. After the first pot of coffee I felt even better. Not to let this great start to the day go to waste, I decided to change the water filters.

It is a pretty easy and quick task so I determined it would be a good place to start my productive day.

That’s about the time everything started to go to shit.

I changed the filters, and then checked for leaks. The gauge showed the water pressure dropping but there was no leak at the filters.

My first thought was I must have left a faucet turned on. I started to go through the CP (Command Post) trying to find the source of the problem. As I went into the bathroom I heard the unmistakable sound of water spraying out, not from the sink, but from the water heater.

I ran to the breaker box and shut down the power to the well pump and luckily the water heater was already off. After closing the water shut off valve I went to inspect the damages.

The water heater is inside a small enclosure which prevented the heater from spraying water everywhere.  What I found was a rusted out water heater that just decided it was a good time to die.

As I inspected the tag it said; manufactured in 1992.

OK, that makes sense now. I never bothered to check it before. This is my fault.

I thought the best thing to do is go online and get prices and availability.

I turned on my computer and watched it boot up and then become totally unresponsive. About eight hours and a clean install later it was functioning but none of my backups, rescue disc, or anything else worked.

I figured it was time to call it a day. I still had water since there was a cutoff to the water heater.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Friday morning, after a much needed pot of coffee, I called the local hardware chain store.

I was transferred to the plumbing section and talked to “the new guy” who was egger to help but totally clueless. After about thirty minutes and several “I’ll call you backs” I thought we were on the same page and was ready to purchase a heater and instillation of said item.

It was then I was told it would be Thursday or Friday before they could come out. The new guy said if I wanted an emergency install they could do it Monday or Tuesday but it would cost a lot more.

I’m usually pretty forgiving with someone new on the job, but by now, not so much. I had two more “call backs” and got a quote for “emergency install”. By now I just want this to be over.

I went to the store and asked for the new guy so I could make the purchase.

Seems he decided to go to lunch and no one had a clue what I was talking about.

Finally, at customer service they found an invoice.

As I got ready to pay I asked if that included everything and was assured it did.

Feeling somewhat relieved, I went home and began to try to restore my computer, which took me late into the night.

Saturday morning, after two pots of coffee, I was making progress on the computer thing when I got a call from the stores’ 800 number, telling me everything was a go and the installer would come out to see what he needed and they would pay for the pre-inspection.

OK, a little good news anyway. About a half hour later, the new guy called to tell me he couldn’t find an installer.

I just lost it. I explained to him that he needed to call the guy at the 800 number and get their shit straight and not to call me again until they do.

Since I didn’t get any more calls, after about an hour I tried to focus on other things that needed doing.

I don’t like to shave in cold water. In fact I really don’t like shaving so I had not shaved in four days and was in need of a haircut. When I looked in the mirror, I was looking so scary, I scared myself.

Sunday morning I felt things were looking up. To tell the truth, I really didn’t do much of anything but grill some meat and drink a few beers.


Monday I got the call I was waiting for. The installer wanted to come out in the afternoon. I told him; hell yeah!

Everything went well and he said he would try to be back tomorrow to do the install.

Tuesday rolled around and my beard was working on day seven. I felt like Tom Hanks in the movie Castaway.

Then, the phone rang. It was a lady from the hardware store. She informed me that I needed to pay them another six hundred and some odd dollars. I already paid almost six hundred for the heater & parts.

I will not go into all the gory details, but I told them what they could do with their water heater.

After I had a chance to calm down, I realized there was only one option. I’m not a plumber, but I am an Infantryman. That qualifies me to do almost anything.

Wednesday morning I woke up the fuckin rooster and started looking for a deal on a water heater. By late afternoon I had come to the conclusion I would need to go and physically look at them.

I got what I needed to install it and bought one. It was late afternoon when I got home and decided to wait until the morning. I figured taking the old one out and putting the new one in would take an hour or two but I wanted to give myself plenty of time. Murphy’s Law.

Thursday morning and I am burned out but determined. I now have a full beard and really need a haircut. My dogs don’t seem to mind so why should I?


Things I already knew, are taking on a new meaning like: a fifty gallon heater is heavy when it’s full of water. I got the old heater unhooked and found I needed to completely redo the system.

With a little ingenuity I managed to get the old heater drained without flooding the house and removed it. After only four more trips to the hardware store I was able to get the new heater in and re-plumbed with no leaks. It only took about eight hours to do that one hour job.

Turning on the water and not having water squirting everywhere was the high point of my week!

The second best is having my computer working again.

Again I have proven what I have always known; if you’re Infantry, you can do anything.


Life is always good on LZ Jerry!


When you have spent your entire life living on the edge it is hard to accept the fact that you are not there anymore.  Self-perception is a bitch. You look in the mirror and you see who you were, not who you are.


As I write this I am looking at a pair of hands that I don’t recognize anymore. They are the hands of an old man. They are not the hands with smooth skin, easily discernible scars from teeth marks around the knuckles, and the knife scars on the backs that I remember. The ones’ that I remember so well have changed. The scars are still there but they are harder to see now through the wrinkled skin. Then reality hits home through my beer-induced haze. I am an old man.



Author’s Note

I try to remember that all the shoulda-woulda-coulda-did’s in the world will never make a damn bit of difference in my life.


I write from my life experiences and I don’t believe that my life should be portrayed in elegant prose. My life has never been elegant. My stories and the words I use to describe events are written as I would tell them to you if we were having a conversation.