Our September vacation in Ohio with family and friends turned out to be very expensive. Except for the price of gasoline and a few meals we were treated like royalty with bed and board. That part of it was a bargain.

The cost came when we returned home. It was a rude shock the next morning before jumping in the shower to discover we had no hot water. The plumber couldn’t get to us for several hours so we heated up enough water on the stove to take a sink bath.

The plumber quickly diagnosed the problem as soon as he opened the door to the crawl space under our log cabin and heard water running. It seems the ancient water heater had sprung a giant leak. It had rusted out and had a gap all down one side. Who knew how long it had been running – maybe the entire 10 days while we were away?

We were sent off to purchase a new hot water heater that evening. We found one at Lowe’s for around $400. The next morning the plumber arrived early. (He knew we were now desperate for showers.) He left less than two hours later with our check for $250 for his services.

That left the impending mystery of the cost of water. The bill arrived last Friday. It was a whopping $761.33!! Normally our bill has been a consistent $62.98. Yikes!

The Man of the House immediately went down to the town hall and threw himself on the mercy of the girls in the water department. In the meantime they had sent out a letter, which arrived the next day, acknowledging that something had gone amiss and adjustments could be made to our bill under certain circumstances. There was a very confusing explanation of how a formula could be used to adjust it.

He brought home a form to fill out pleading our case. It had to be submitted by Monday or we would need to pay the full amount and possibly be reimbursed at a later date.

We had to describe what had gone wrong and submit bills for our expenses as proof. Then we waited for the powers that be to decide whether we were worthy of a reduction in our bill. We were told we would be notified before the 10th of the month when the money was due.

On the 4th we got a call. It was decreed that we should pay only $218.98 — which we were happy to do in our current plight. I wrote out a check and sent if off before they changed their minds.

We figure we are probably safe for the rest of our lives with this new water heater but just in case, we plan to shut off the water when we make future trips of any length.

The heat wave has finally broken here. The jeans and fall sweaters have come out and we are all going around with smiles on our faces. One of the reasons we moved up here in the mountains was to get away from the heat. Several days we noticed on the weather maps that it was hotter here than it was in Charleston. That is just wrong.

The Man of the House has launched into a big project now that the weather is cool enough that he won’t have a heat stroke. He is turning where the previous owner’s above ground swimming pool stood in the backyard into a stone and brick patio where we can have a fire pit.

This should keep him entertained for several weeks.