What’s happening in the pantry?

You might recall a few weeks ago when I wrote about the pantry wearing a shower curtain to protect it from leaks.  That had been going on since October.  The roof got fixed.  The shower curtain came down and all was right in the pantry.



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Or so I thought….



Well, once again the contents of the pantry had to be moved all over the house.  We had no hot water.  That big white box hanging on the wall in the picture above is the hot water heater and the heater to circulate water in the radiators. 



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(The living room/dining room table with all the pantry goodies)


Towards the first of January I noticed that the quality of our hot water had really gone down. I whined to La Signora.   And after a bit the cute plumber came.  He could do nothing.  So we waited a few days and the ‘techno’ came.  ‘Hmmm, the hot water heater needed to be cleaned out.’  [A side note:  All water in Italy is full of minerals.  The fancy bottled stuff and the stuff right out of the tap whether it comes from a well or a town supply.  Full of minerals.  Yet homeowners still act shocked when their pipes and hot water heaters  get clogged up by the minerals.  The hot water heaters and the pipes are cleaned by running acid through them.  The cleaning process can only happen 2 or 3 times before it starts to destroy the integrity of the tubing.  There are all sorts of filtering systems to help avoid the tubes from being clogged.  But for some reason (it seems to me) plumbers don’t even mention them until they are called in to clean the system.]  A few more days pass while everyone discusses it.  I move half of the pantry out so the ‘techno’ has room to work.  Finally the ‘techno’ comes to clean the hot water heater.  Mind you all this time, while Ben’s shower was fine, my bath was much less than satisfactory since it was more or less warm not hot.  The ‘techno’  performs his magic.   I move things back in the pantry. 


I have 1 good bath.   I should write that in the winter, since it is only 60 degrees in our house we don’t take baths and showers every day.  We don’t go that many places and it is just such a process that we don’t want to go through it that often.   More time passes.   I begin to notice while washing dishes, in the middle of dish washing, the hot water completely stops.   Recall in the top picture you see the white box, the hot water heater.  Well less than 15 feet to the left of it is the kitchen sink.  Less than 15 feet.  To begin the dish washing process, I cut on the ‘hot’ water then proceed to round up dishes, glasses from other rooms, sort things, stack in preparation for washing, all the while the ‘hot’ water is still running and maybe after 5 minutes or so, ‘hot’ water arrives at the sink.   Quickly I fill my dish tub in one sink and make a ‘hot’ soapy bath, then turn the faucet so that it is now spilling into the other sink to rinse with, never once turning it off.  Oh my, if I turn it off, guess what, I have to wait all over again for ‘hot’ water to return.  It seems that when the house was plumbed it was done as a big rectangle.  So all the water pipes run from the hot water heater, down the side of the house to the right of the hot water heater through all three rooms and then across the back of the two rooms and up the side of the house finally reaching the kitchen LAST!  Yes, indeed.  Less than 15 feet from the hot water heater but it takes almost 5 minutes for the ‘hot’ water to arrive.  And why do I keep putting hot in quotes?  Well after it has traveled through the COLD attic how hot do you think that it is?   I finally added the step of filling the tea kettle with water and setting it in the stove to boil to add to my tub of sudsy water.   But still when the ‘hot’ water starts to run cold and never recovers any heat at all I am sure that a new problem has developed.  (Why does it feel like I am on a looooong long camping trip?  Boiling water to wash dishes and taking sponge bathes in the cold)


The first of February arrives.  I deliver the rent money to La Signora and whine again about hot water.  ‘Well I should have Costantino look at it.  But, the previous tenant never had these problems.’  And that was the killer.  I just very nicely bit my tongue and walked away.  Well of course the previous tenant never had any problems.  They were a couple with 4 children and many over night guests.  So the water probably never stopped running long enough to clog up.  Any way, Costantino comes for a look.  ‘Boh’ he says and shrugs his shoulders.  He knows, as I do, that the hot water heater was just cleaned and that it can only be done a few times.  I have no idea what else he is thinking but he will talk to La Signora …  Days pass.  Now the ‘hot’ water doesn’t run for as long.  I try one more bath and am so sorry that I did.    I phone La Signora.  ‘Oh, well, Costantino said you were not running the heat and that is why it takes so long to get hot water.’   I am just shaking my head.  ‘First, we have NO HOT WATER.  Second, we do run the heat.  It is never turned off.  It is not set very high but it is on all the time.  Does this mean that all summer long I need to run the heat to get hot water?’  ‘Well, I’ll call the cute plumber’.  Days pass.  I move half of the pantry out.  Finally cute plumber arrives.  He looks and decides that a filter is needed.  (Oh, Duh?)  He’ll be back in a few days to install it.  Days pass.  Finally,  he installs a filter on the water supply to the hot water heater.  I am so hopeful.  He turns everything back on.  The filter immediately clogs up.  He cleans the filter and tries again.  Immediately it clogs up again.  A third time he tries and it immediately clogs AGAIN!  ‘Oh, I need the ‘techno’  to come and look at it.’   Days pass with no word.  I finally tell everyone again, La Signora and Costantino  ‘ we have NO HOT WATER!’   I am aware that this has been going on since the first of the month and it is now the 15th.  But they don’t seem to be.  The ‘techno’ arrives on a Friday afternoon.  ‘Oh the pipes in the attic are clogged.  Need to be flushed out.  I’ll come back on Monday and do it.’  But ‘we have NO HOT WATER and half on my pantry is living on my dining table.’  I whine as the the plumber and ‘techno’ drive away.     


Our friend, Dinah, takes pity on us and we are invited for showers at her rental apartment.  The ‘techno’ arrives at the appointed time on Monday, flushes the pipes and we have HOT WATER.  At last.  I take a bath and am very happy. 


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Our new filter.


Well, the pantry has been restored.  Our dining table now has my sewing machine on it.  Hot showers and baths are regularly being taken .  But, now, we are about to run out of LP gas or what ever it is called.  So that means that the hot water could stop again.  But that is a whole other tale for another day.


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