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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Renting Has Its Benefits...

Today, I was reminded of one of the key benefits of renting: you don't have to pay a dime when expensive problems happen.

my brand new water heaterI went to take a shower this morning, and found that I had no hot water. For me, taking a cold shower is tantamount to torture, so I immediately called the management for help. The maintenance manager, Don, was at my door within 20 minutes. He checked my water heater and found it dead, which was surprising because it was less than 5 year old. There was water all over the heater and on the floor, so it was a corrosion issue. He told me that I could wait until the next day for a new heater, or he could install one right now, but I would be without water -- both hot and cold -- for about 6 hours (it takes a while to drain a water heater, and for my place you have to shut down the entire plumbing system in order to get the job done.)

Don got the job done in just under 3 hours, which made me very happy. He also replaced the rusted toilet hardware in both my bathrooms. Got some new, all-plastic hardware which should last a long time.

Total price tag for all repairs (hardware and labor): two bottles of fruit punch flavored Gatorade (I gave Don one for drinking while working, and another for the road.)

Yep, feeling pretty good about renting at the moment. The cost of a new water heater plus labor is typically in the $X,XXX range, and can go higher. It's the kind of emergency expense that can cause unprepared consumers to get trapped in a sinister debt spiral. It's one of the many reasons why it's so important for homeowners to have a fat store of emergency cash available at all times.

Now if only I could only figure out what this creature is:

what is this creature?

These little monsters have started showing up unannounced and uninvited in my place. Can someone tell me what it is? This particular specimen was a fearless creature. While it was getting a cool drink of water, I was playing with it's antennae and getting up real close to it with my macro lens. This tough guy hardly flinched. Cheeky freeloader!

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