I was looking at some old files and came across this post I’d written on another site a couple of years ago. It still applies, so I thought I’d share it:

Media lessons learned from a water heater.
[August 22nd, 2003 07:14 AM]

So last Saturday I woke up at 5:30 am (didn’t have to wakeup until 9:00) to the sound of rushing water in my garage. I went outside to discover my water heater leaking and the rushing sound coming from the water trying to fill the leaking water heater. I turned off the water to the house and went back to bed (realizing that the home improvement store wouldn’t open for another few hours).

That morning I bought a water heater and proceeded to install it. These are the lessons I learned. I’ve put my experiences and the media lesson in parentheses, for your convenience.

1. There comes a time when a professional would have saved you time and money over doing it yourself (five trips to the store and $50 worth of solder, flux, pipe, elbows, couplings, and five days without hot water are a testimony to this; you should just hire a consultant).

2. Just because you do something right once, doesn’t mean you can always do it right (my first few solders were perfect, but three weren’t; one good Sunday does not a successful media ministry make).

3. Some things have to be 100% right, even 99% can be a catastrophe (1% leaking water, not so good; a word misspelled as a cuss word on screen also not good).

4. Just because a professional does it one way, doesn’t mean an amateur shouldn’t use another method (soldering worked well on some joints, but I discovered a copper adhesive that for $5 plugged my leaks; iMovie might work better for you than Final Cut Pro, even though professionals use the latter).

5. There’s always someone who doesn’t appreciate the positive aspects of your work (sure I saved $200 on installation, but my wife only will remember the five days w/o hot water; expect criticism even when the result is the same between amateur and professional work).

6. That first shower was the best I’ve taken in recent memory (nothing feels better than the fruits of your labor; seeing a video you made onscreen is well worth the negatives).

7. There’s always room for improvement (where my water heater is located, it is surrounded on three sides by walls and on the fourth by bad plumbing, I really need to fix that, too; videos are never done, you just run out of time.)

8. Problems come at the worse times, but if you know the system, you can avert catastrophe (I’m glad I found the shut-off valve Sat. morning; know how to bail to black at a moments notice).

9. Theoretically possible and actually possible don’t always come together (I knew that I could theatrically change out the water heater in just a few hours. Actually it took all of my free time for 5 days; theoretically, I can do “bullet time”, but I’d hate to base a project on a special effect I’d never tried.)

I hope this helps.