Season’s Opener: 2015

by John Delach

Marlow, NH: Each year brings its own set of challenges when it comes time to awaken the New Hampshire house from its winter snooze. There are easy openings and hard openings and 2015 was leaning towards the hard side. At our first arrival in April we tackled immediate problems as expeditiously as possible. Power, water and communications are top priorities in that order.


We knew the dishwasher was broken when we left in December so we ordered a new one to be delivered and installed when we returned for the Memorial Day weekend. DirecTV was also out so we arranged a visit by their technician. A toilet was out of kilter needing the plumber but that could be done while we’re not here. Prior to this season’s opener, I ordered a new cutting blade and a tune-up kit from the D.R. Trimmer Company for my field and brush mower. A local fellow who advertises “small engine repairs” serviced this machine and a conventional gas-powered lawn mower. He finished servicing them before we arrived. When I called to find out what I owed him he said, “I had to get a new battery for the field and brush mover and I used the new parts you left but I couldn’t get the lawn mower to work until I got the shit out of the carburetor.”


We came up on Wednesday and two guys from Sears arrived on Thursday to install a new dishwasher and take away the old one. All went well until they began to pull the old one out of the kitchen. “Hey, bud,” the leader said. “We have a problem. This thing is hard-wired, not plugged in and we’re not licensed to work on it. You need an electrician.”


That wasn’t good news. Mary Ann looked at him and said, “How do we find one who’ll work on it before the weekend?”


“Oh, you should call the Sears store where you bought it. This happens all the time.”


With that they left right after we signed a receipt that they delivered the new one. Mary Ann called Sears and spoke to a woman in the store. Yes, she could try to get us an electrician to install it tomorrow but before he would come, we’d have to pay $190. She asked, “Do you have a Sear’s card?”


When Mary Ann answered, “No,” she said, “Well, you’ll have to come into the store to use another card before we can dispatch him.”


She said she’d call back but she didn’t. Instead a licensed installer called us. “If my wife takes the kids to school, I can be there by 8 AM tomorrow. If not, I have a job in Walpole at 10 and I’ll be there after 11.” His name was Jason. He told Mary Ann the cost was $175 and he’d take a check; go figure?


The DirecTV tech came a little after four and solved the problem fairly quickly. The dish had become misaligned which was why it wasn’t receiving a signal. But then he got into a conversation with Mary Ann about upgrading to a wireless system that would allow us to watch TV on our I Pads or on televisions anywhere in the house. When she spoke to an agent at DirecTV the cost kept going up and up until she finally said, “Never mind.”


That night in bed as black thoughts crossed my mind, a new one snuck in, “When was the last time we had the septic system drained?”  I kept my own counsel until morning then checked my records. The system was last serviced in June of 2012 and was due for servicing June of 2015. Ahead of the curve on that near-miss, I made an appointment to have it drained on June 2.


Jason arrived as promised a little past 8 AM. He disconnected the old unit, installed the new one and put on the power. One problem; no water. Then, opening valves to find out why, unbeknownst to us, he drained all of the hot water. This happened just as Mary Ann was about to take a shower. When she told us there was no hot water, I was ready to panic. No dishwasher and now no hot water for the holiday weekend, not good, not good at all.


Jason remained calm. He realized the loss of hot water was temporary and he re-connected the dishwasher. “Give it an hour for the water to get hot and put the dishwasher on. It should work. If not call me and I’ll come back this afternoon.”


He was right and that problem was solved.


So much for this year’s opening day dramas. Tom, Beth and Cace arrived for opening day chores later on Friday. Their daughter, Marlowe, was already with us. On Saturday, they went to Marlow’s Memorial Day service before we started working. They felt the ceremony was touching, a simple mix of the National Anthem, God Bless America, Amazing Grace and Taps.


Chores commenced. I made a couple of runs to the garbage transfer station to rid ourselves of junk left over from Christmas, Tom went to work on the lawn, Cace cut down seedlings, we power-washed the deck, prepped the septic tank by clearing the dirt that covered it, cleaned outdoor furniture, etc.


The summer season of 2015 was underway.