My First Coronavirus Cry

I wasn’t sure what would crack me, but it was hot water.

Let me back up. Yesterday, as we were running the kids’ bath, the hot water shut off. We had enough for their bath, but we spent the evening playing around with the water heater. E4 was on the panel, which a Google search revealed meant faulty sensors. More searching hinted that that meant some major repairs were needed.

We had what looked like two leaky toilets, and one that was also leaking from the bottom–ew. Now we had a broken water heater. Oh, and there are dry wood termites in one bathroom cabinet. In the new apartment we moved into 10 days ago. During the coronavirus lock down.

I seriously started to plan in my head for having to boil water to make hot baths. We put in a maintenance request with our school’s HR who helps with these kinds of things. But my hopes were low. Who would be willing to come do the service? Should I break some social distancing rules for this?

Right away this morning, I got an email from the woman in HR who mainly handles issues like this for foreign hires. She was sending over the maintenance man from school. She asked me to take a picture of the water heater, and then I was bummed to learn their technician doesn’t fix that brand.

But, the school handyman was coming, and he would at least take a look. He is the nicest, most versatile guy on the planet. He can fix anything, like an angel with a multi-tool. He came over and I walked him through the leaking toilets. Turns out that it’s probably just bad plaster work, and not active leaks. He said he would try to tighten the toilet to the floor to prevent that leaking. He took a look at the termites and said that probably the best idea was a new cabinet. As for the water heater, he messaged a friend who knows the brand. The friend messaged back that the electrical panel needed to be replaced.

My worry was growing, but I didn’t really notice it. How can you notice one worry among so many right now? But I got a text an hour later from HR that she was going to contact the real estate company that worked with the landlady. It would obviously be their job to fix the water heater.

Then another text that a technician was coming at 2 pm! He arrived early and traded out the panel. Voila, hot water! He told me to go to the bathroom and turn the shower on full blast hot to check it. It was so hot and steamy. I will confess I have not had a shower in at least 2 days. As steam filled the room, I started crying.

This is such a hard time. I feel so lucky to have a job, to have an HR team to support me, colleagues to video call with, technicians willing to come in and let me give them a wide berth. I didn’t realize how much this was all building up.

I sat down at my desk, and I heard Calvin in the next room having a Zoom call with his teacher. “Distance learning is now fun. I miss school so much,” he said. Then I started crying more. Oh man. I’m grateful for everything we have to help us, but I wish this wasn’t happening.

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