We’d installed the newish water heater, but we couldn’t turn it on yet because its vent was hanging off the back of the house at an angle. We found an old wooden ladder (which might as well have been made of lead, it was so heavy) in the basement and propped it up against the back of the house, and I climbed up the ladder (Aaron’s the wimp in this relationship). We had laid it in the grass and stepped on every rung first, to make sure it was sturdy, but it was still a terrifying experience.
I reached the vent and attempted to straighten it up, at which point it snapped off and fell. It would’ve hit Aaron on the head if I hadn’t deftly caught it in time with my superhero abilities. So now the vent does not stick above the roofline, which I’m pretty sure is a code violation, but hey! It’s temporary!
Once we had a newish, working water heater, we moved into the house. We had our living room, bathroom and ridiculously tiny–we had literally 8 inches of counter space–kitchen downstairs, but we decided to sleep upstairs to minimize our risk of mortal peril (we needed to keep the windows open–no A/C, southwest facing house in July, etc.–and the neighborhood is a little shady). But we couldn’t just open the windows, as they’d been painted shut (why?!). So we lugged the wooden ladder out of the basement and attempted to prop it up against the house, but (A) it was too heavy, and (B) there were low-hanging cable lines in the way. So we gave up on that idea and Aaron took the windows apart from the inside, removing first the stops, then the sashes, in order to break through the paint. Fresh air at last!
At this point, the house entered its ghetto phase. We hooked up our washing machine in the other, larger (though in worse condition) downstairs kitchen and had it draining into the kitchen sink. The drain for this sink backed up easily, however, and no amount of Draino or plunging could fix it. So every time we ran the washing machine, we had to watch to make sure it didn’t overflow the sink during the spin cycles. It took about 6 hours for a single load to run, because we had to wait for all the water to drain.
Meanwhile, we ran a new electric line upstairs for the dryer, but we had nowhere to vent it, so we just put the dryer vent out the window whenever we were using the dryer. Every so often we’d forget, however, and the room would fill with a puff of linty, fuzzy air.
We’ve since moved the washer to a better, semipermanent location, and the dryer to its permanent location (with an actual vent through the wall), and we’ve moved out of the ghetto phase. Well, we’re still in the ghetto phase, but at least we don’t have a dryer vent sticking out the window.