It's done! Hot water is flowing from our faucets! We are ecstatic, and ready to take on the world.
I got the spare part for the water heater yesterday, but when I called the plumber, he announced that he wouldn't be able to come for a couple more days.
Richard E. is a man from our church. I was reluctant to call him, although he is a "go-to" handyman among our congregation, because the last time he repaired things in our house, it got a little weird. He is a very interesting individual and always looks sure of himself, but Taka prefers professionals to do jobs in their own fields, so: Richard started to work on something, but later we used an electrician from AT&T. I was never sure, if Richard became offended or not. Suffice it to say, I felt sufficiently awkward!
So, this time, I called him as a last resort. He came, he saw and he repaired! We also had a very pleasant, easy and stimulating conversation about Jews in America (he is Jewish, like I am) and some books. I seldom talked to another Jew, an American Jew, about those things, and it was wonderful!
Richard asked a very modest fee for his services. I gave him a small package with Japanese treats for his wife (she is Japanese), and he left.
No more washing hair in freezing water, only having to repeat it the next day! No more sulking husband and son, as well as a boarder, who keeps looking at me pointedly and asking, when she can take a real shower! No more washing dishes and then dunking them into boiling water to make sure that, we don't end up at the ER with dysentery!
Like some quote in the Al Anon literature says: "Worry about things which already took place and not the ones that take place only in your mind!"(I'm paraphrasing). In other words, if I didn't give in to the awkwardness, which, probably, existed between Richard and me only in my mind, we might've had hot water a week ago!