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Wednesday, March 08, 2006


What they don't teach you in seminary... 

...apartment living just might be able to teach. Many of my recently graduated and employed colleagues say that seminary does not teach you many things you need to know for parochial ministry. Chief among these areas of ignorance are maintanence issues, like electricity, plumbing, even roofing. Well, today I got a full dosage of maintanence education, but not from seminary. This came from my very own living environment. Upon arising, I went to the computer to pay some bills. When I opened my electric bill I was astounded. It showed a $77 increase over last month's, and frankly, over all the previous bills. The amount of Kwh's it said I used was unreal, actually, given the small space I'm in and the relatively small amount of electrical demand I place on it (which is in and of itself sometimes too much with the vacuum running, causing a fuse to blow), actually impossible. There is no physically possible way I could have used that much electricity. So, suspecting an error, I called the company. They said that sometimes the meter reader misreads the meter, and could I go read it myself. I said that wasn't a problem. She asked if I knew how to read a meter. Having never thought about it before, I said, "I guess not." She explained it, gave me the meter reading for which I was billed and said if I read it and it is lower than this number, then it is a misread on their part and they'll correct it. So I went and read it. Indeed, it was lower, by, oh, say just a thousand Kwh. I called back and they corrected the error, and billed me according to my reading. So, I learned about electricity meter reading.

Then, this evening, when I came home I walked into the apartment to be greeted by the overwhelming smell of gas (and not the kind that my body produces after getting near oregano). I hastened to open a window and checked to see if the stove was off. It was. Knowing no other recourse, I called the gas company and chose the option for a possible gas leak called, "Report an Emergency." It made me feel a bit like Fox News to actually say that, but I did. The woman told me that the technician would be out within the hour and for me not to turn on anything electric that may spark. Wonderful, thought I, I could blow up at any moment. So, what did I do? I showered. If I was going to blow up, at least I would be clean. The technician came out, inspected the stove and immediately announced, "Your pilot light has gone out." Feeling dumb, I said, how do you know? He had me touch the stove and said this part of the stove top should normally be warm. It was cold. He said that anytime that happens you'll smell gas. He went on to say that I should relight the pilot cause if he did it, it would cost me forty dollars. Feeling dumber, I said, "I've never had to do that before, how do I get to the pilot?" He very calmly and patiently lifted up the stove top (which I did not know you could do, and so also discovered a way to clean the spilled tomato soup for a month or so ago) and there were two pilot lights, one flaming, the other one out. I relit it, expending one paper match and saving myself forty dollars. And so, I learned about gas leaks (including a special instrument they use to detect them), and pilot lights and their relighting. You could say I learned that in the world of gas stoves, it is possible to have too much turned off. All in all, an educational day.

Also had a helluva workout at the gym, so I feel good.

-R

4 Comments:

Seminaries also need to teach
1. Locksmithing
2. Copier Repair
3. Plumbing

By Blogger St Michael's Episcopal Church, at 10:37 AM  


Steve,

Maybe a whole additional "vo-tech" year should be added the the seminaries' curriculum? Where I'm doing my field ed we also have a problem of flooding from rain and snow-melt.

-R

By Blogger Ryan, at 11:54 AM  


They also teach nothing on tuck-pointing, air intakes on an HVAC system, salt ossification, mortar replacement, window replacement, fundraising or anything related to construction.
I got a crash course when I was at Blessed Blanket for which I am eternally grateful wherever my ministry takes me.

By Blogger K, at 1:28 PM  


I'm glad to hear that my more exciting experiences with old apartment wiring and plumbing are going to be useful in my future ministry!

By Blogger Lauren, at 1:06 AM  


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