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All I Want for Christmas is a Ten Minute Shower

I take three minute showers. Not, mind you, because I am dedicated to preserving the environment, or anything so noble. Nope. I take three minute showers because I have a seven gallon hot water.

Yes. You read correctly. Seven gallons.

Some of you may not be familiar with the capacity of your hot water tank. You have no idea how mine compares. Go ahead. Look in the basement or the utility closet, or whatever. I’ll wait. (Tapping toe and humming a few verses of Jingle Bell Rock.) So? Let me guess. Thirty gallons? Maybe even forty or fifty, if you’ve got more than one bathroom?

If there’s anyone out there who’s got one under twenty, send me photographic proof and I’ll send you a couple of selections from my book collection. But in case you couldn’t find your hot water heater at all, let me give you a clue.

Seven gallons is tiny.

Why, you may ask, would anyone put a seven gallon water heater in a house? Well, first off, it was done by a man. Need I say more? Secondly, I don’t actually live in a house. I live in a chicken coop. Unless I’m in the living room. Then I live in a granary.

One of the biggest obstacles to our relocation from Oregon to my parents’ ranch was housing. As in, there wasn’t any, other than the one my parents occupy, and no family should be that close. We looked at our options: buying a manufactured home, buying and moving an unoccupied home from a nearby farm. Or we could live in the bunkhouse.

My grandfather built the bunkhouse many years before I was born. At the time, it was designed to house the chickens. Only later did he move it into the yard and convert it to a one room cabin. It probably says something about my genetic pool that the chickens got the new digs while the hired man was relegated to their previous accomodations.

When I was in middle school, my parents built on a kitchen and bathroom, doubling the square footage to about four hundred and fifty. Dad bought a cute little water heater that fit underneath the kitchen counter. All in all, a cozy retreat for a bachelor.

Not so great for a couple with a three year old son.

However, we moved home in mid-March, right before calving season. There was no time to fool around with housing. Plus the snow was kinda deep. We had to make do. Then came planting season, then haying season, then harvest, and before we knew it summer was over. We’d decided rather than building or moving in another house, we’d expand our current living quarters. And rather than start from scratch…well, there was a perfectly good wooden granary sitting unused only half a mile from the house. Also, coincidentally, constructed by my grandfather. This was a man who built to last.

I won’t go into the details. Suffice to say, once we’d dragged the thing across the hayfield with the tractor, the remodel involved shoveling barley and chasing out a lot of mice. By January, though, my house had expanded by six hundred square feet, not counting the attic. Fabulous, except for one small detail.

I still have that stupid seven gallon water heater.

My husband doesn’t seem to have a problem with this. Then again, my husband doesn’t have hair halfway to his waist that has to be washed, then rinsed, then conditioned, then rinsed. By the time that’s done, I consider myself lucky to get my face scrubbed before the water goes cold. Forget shaving anything.

We have space now for a full size water heater. We even have the money stashed away. What we haven’t had is time. Between fixing the water tank for the bulls and fixing the tractor and fixing the pickup and the fixing tractor again and the water tank again, plus a few odds and ends like feeding cows and horses, my husband hasn’t quite got around to going to town to pick up my new hot water tank. So when he asked me last week what I wanted for Christmas, the answer was simple.

All I want is a ten minutes. Hot water cascading lavishly over my head, caressing my shoulders, massaging my back. A minute or even two to allow the conditioner to actually soak in to my hair. Enough time to steam up the bathroom mirror. Ten heavenly minutes.

Heck, I’d settle for eight.

There’s nothing quite like Christmas at the ranch. Stop by for a visit at Montana for Real. And have a Merry Christmas…blessed with plenty of hot water.

12 Responses

  1. LOL…KariLynn, I am laughing, and crying with you. While I don’t have a 7 gallon, I bet I have less than twenty. The wonderful life of single-wide living.

    Summer it’s not so bad. the ground is absolutely warm enough that the water comes in at a decent tempature and the tank can *nearly* heat as I use. Winter though….not so much. when it’s gone after a couple minutes, it’s gone. And it takes FOREVER to heat back up in the winter.

    but I will say, you have it terribly worse than I. *crosses fingers and wishes that Santa brings you a new tank for Christmas*

  2. We’re in our motorhome. We have a 10 gal hot water tank. Not as small as yours but darn close. I have to take “Navy Showers” and even then, I’ll run out of hot water before I’m done. I’ve learned to rinse my hair with cool water.

    Need to see some pictures of what you’ve put together for your house.

    Merry Christmas everyone.

  3. oh, yeah…notice that Cyndi didn’t mention she’s taking her 10galloon showers IN FLORIDA! Heck, that kind of weather, you can just string up a waterhose outside and be comfortable. 🙂

  4. Cyndi: You, I do not pity. First, you’re in Florida. Second, I’m pretty sure your motor home is almost as big as my house. And third, I spent the first year in Oregon living in a 1985 travel trailer and most of my summer weekends for the past ten years in a pickup camper, so I’ve been there and done that many, many times.

    Keri: My singlewide in Oregon actually had a huge hot water heater. Hubby and I could shower back to back and not run out. *sigh* I miss that.

  5. LOL I grew up in a one bathroom house with six kids and two adults. Bathroom time period was limited. I learned back then to hit the high points and hope for the best! *cackle*

  6. Ack, there’s no way I can shower, wash my hair and shave in that amount of time.

  7. Bless your heart! I have lived in a house with a hot water tank like yours!! No fun at all. When ours in our new house quit working I made sure we got a bigger one. 30 gallons i think.

    Merry Christmas everyone..

  8. Wow. That’s brutal.

    I must say that I adore my tankless hot water heater. I’m thinking you should go for one of those. They never run out of hot water and take up very little room. When my hubs and I remodeled our master bath, we sucked it up and paid for one of those. We saved a little money because he put it in himself. But it was so worth it. Hot water as long as I want it.

    Dream big for Christmas, girlfriend! Who needs diamonds or fancy gift? A tankless hot water heater is the gift that keeps on giving all year long! 🙂

  9. Liz,

    That was our original plan. Then we read the fine print and found out tankless water heaters don’t work very well if your water comes out of the ground at less than forty degrees, which ours is year round. Too much of a temperature differential for them to get it adequately heated as it’s running through that little box.

    On the plus side, you never need to put ice in your water here.


  10. Oh, that’s a bummer. A tankless has been a wonderful thing for us.

    Oh, well, on the bright side, anything over 7 gallons is going to feel like heaven to you 🙂

  11. In the summer, without the dishwasher or washer running, I can take a solid fifteen to twenty minute shower. However, during the winter months that times is cut in half, if not more. I have no idea why. Cold pipes? Who knows. I’ve been a bit grumpy about it this last month. I think I’ll stop now.

  12. […] Update: Yes, it finally happened. I HAVE A NEW WATER HEATER! Granted, it’s still riding around in the back of my Jeep a week after purchase, but I am getting closer to my Ten Minute Shower. […]

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