Today is Yesterday’s Tomorrow

That’s a tomorrow problem.

Mark Petruska
Feb. 21, 2022

The problem with tomorrow problems is, tomorrow they turn into today problems.

Which is why it was especially hard to crawl out of bed on Tuesday morning after a long weekend. We traded in a cozy basement with movies, wine, and a fire in the hearth for this.

We didn’t even get much snow; only about an inch. Could’ve been a lot worse. But lemme tell ya something: with temps that cold, plus 35-mph winds, an inch of snow was plenty to turn roads and parking lots into skating rinks. They were about as bad as they ever get around here. When the temperature stays below zero all day, the snow gets compacted but doesn’t melt even a little bit to give you traction. Yesterday, it took me three tries just to get out of the driveway at work…and I have AWD.

If I hadn’t traded in my Mazda two years ago, I might have had to spend the night in the office.

Not helping matters: our new smoker arrived a couple of weeks ago. It’s sitting in the garage, unopened in its original box. Teasing us with the idea of brisket. Someday, when you can stand outside for longer than 10 minutes without fear of frostbite.

We also have brand new kayak racks to install on my Kona. They’re waiting for non-frozen lakes. a/k/a, June.

But at least we have hot water!

I should clarify: we never didn’t have hot water. But we had a small 30-gallon water heater that was pushing 15 years old. We had it cranked to its hottest setting and had to stagger our showers to ensure one of us didn’t end up with lukewarm water. That was inconvenient in the kitchen, because you’d go from scalding hot to ice cold with the slightest nudge of the kitchen faucet.

Compounding matters was the fact that the water heater was situated in a very tight corner of the basement utility room, inaccessible behind the furnace.

I had a guy come out in 2020 to quote us on a new water heater.

“The only way we’re getting a new one of those in there is to tear down the wall,” he said.

I showed him the door. Because, tomorrow problem.

Fast-forward 581 tomorrows (yes, I did the math) and it was suddenly a today problem. Even the first person showering couldn’t count on hot water all the way through to the end. Plus, the ol’ gal was popping and crackling something fierce. Tara was afraid she might blow. So, we had a different guy come out.

“The only way we’re getting a new one of those in there is to tear down the wall,” he said.

I showed him the door. So he could carry in his tools and do exactly that.

It actually isn’t as bad as I’d feared. The fake wood paneling (be still my groovy ’70s-loving heart!) is still intact and covers the giant hole nicely. You’d never even know it was there unless you looked carefully.

And, we upgraded to a 40-gallon water heater. What a novelty it is to shower together!

Err…shower at the same time. Separate bathrooms. You know what I mean.


39 thoughts on “Today is Yesterday’s Tomorrow

  1. Have to say Mark, I thought of you this morning when our latest brisk PNW temperatures dropped to a frigid 20-ish degrees, or less in some places. I tend to track mid-USA weather more now with Alison in CO. I suspected life might be rather unpleasant for you. Looks like you got pretty lucky with the position of the water heater in relation to that lovely fireplace. I’m sure you probably spent a moment or two being grateful not to be looking at a pile of bricks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tara knew I’d be against tearing down the wall, so she actually threatened to install a gas insert into our fireplace. “Over my dead body!” I declared. “We’ll just have them tear down the wall instead!”

      She’s crafty, that one…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I am so grateful to live in Southern California when I see pictures like that. Freezing weather and no hot water would be more than I could take, but then I put on a sweater when the temps get all the way down below 70 degrees. I’m glad you were able to install a new water heater without too much trouble.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s definitely a matter of perspective, isn’t it? My brother used to live in SoCal (San Gabriel, to be exact) and whenever he visited us in Portland, he’d be complaining about the cold when it dropped below 70, too!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. They’re definitely a necessary evil. I should add, we could have gone tankless, but Tara isn’t a fan. Considering how much more expensive those are, I guess I’m not a huge fan, either.

      How are your temps today, neighbor?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The way you go on about the weather… 😀

    I thought all this winter doom and drama is EXACTLY what you wanted all summer when you complained about the heat and humidity!

    Anyway, hot water is such a treat when it’s cold, I *know* this too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, you know as well as everybody else that I’m a self-professed weather geek! Of course I’m going to ramble on about it. It’s what I do. 🙂

      I love snow and ice. I just don’t like sliding backwards in it when I’m trying to get home to my warm house!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I take my hat off to you for calming driving to work in all that weather. We don’t cope with anything like that here, so even the teeny tiniest bit of snow and ice causes the part of the UK I live in to grind to a halt. After the last dose (some 10 years ago now) I considered AWD. But then it mellowed back down to normal again and now I just live in fear of it happening again. I also now work from home, so that probably allowed me to know I could survive our brief forays into freezing conditions. We lost power in last weekend’s storms and discovered that mobile phone masts don’t have backup power, so we lost cell phone signal too. When we’ve had our landline service withdrawn too, that was a good thing to learn before we need to call the emergency services. Our local Facebook group is busy sharing info on backup solutions and I’m taking avid notes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I lived in the Pacific Northwest for 20+ years before moving out here and it was a similar situation to yours out there: nobody knows how to drive in snow and ice because it’s much rarer. One inch is enough to shut down the city.

      Here, if you don’t learn to drive in this kind of weather, you’re going to be stuck home an awful lot. It’s not fun, per se, but at least most people know what they’re doing out on the roads.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Spouse finally turned on the heat this morning (I win! I win!). It’s about 40 degrees outside, I think.

    Downright balmy for New Hampshire, but pretty chilly for SoCal.

    We installed a tankless water heater years ago. Endless hot water, yahoo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was pushing for a tankless water heater. We wouldn’t have had to tear down part of the wall. But, Tara is not a fan. It would have cost at least twice as much and required yearly maintenance, so I do see her point. Still, I’d have gone that route.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wasn’t sure where to add my comment in this thread! I already commented on winter weather in the PNW on a couple of other blogs I follow.
        Interesting how it is such a popular topic this year!

        Your comment about being a weather geek or nerd or whatever leads me to request your assistance for a site where I can find the average number of days annually that temp doesn’t get above freezing or below 80F. I’m looking to narrow or at least inform myself about places to check out if I want to become a snowbird. I know for sure I’ll be in Kalamazoo, MI many summers but am also looking at Tucson for winters. Also possibly St. Louis or Albuqueque if/when I look to buying a place to live year round. Any help you can give will be appreciated!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Your best bet is probably You should be able to search average climate by various locations there. I’ve found a lot of good info on not only the Black Hills, but other areas I’ve considered, as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. When we moved into our current home 4 years ago, it came with an on-demand water heater. It’s something I probably wouldn’t have invested in, but it’s wonderful! Hot water whenever we need it with no worries about running out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, sure.

      1. There’s the natural beauty of the Black Hills and all the recreational opportunities that provides (hiking, camping, fishing, boating).
      2. Lower cost of living.
      3. No state income tax.
      4. Virtually no traffic.
      5. Centrally located for easy access to many different areas of the country.

      We were able to buy a house and pay off all our debt after moving out here. Those things would not have happened had we stayed.

      Sure, it can get cold in the winter. But that doesn’t usually last long. It’s going to be pushing 70° Tuesday.

      Liked by 1 person

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