Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: Losing hot water did not make the list of Top 10 Things To Do in New Hampshire

The pioneer women from America’s frontier past had nothing on the lady of the little house.

Not only could she have lived out of the back of a Conestoga wagon (those things did have Keurigs, right?), she could have jury-rigged a temporary fix on Mars quicker than Matt Damon did in that “Martian” movie.

A few weeks ago, we came home to a wet basement and a furnace that had given up the ghost. What to do?

I was ready to go with an in-law’s advice. “I’ve got two words for you,” he told me, “hotel room.”

That would have been nice; but the cost of a new furnace seemed expense enough. Not to worry, the lady of the house assured me. We will make do.

No heat? We still have firewood, I was told, and it’s only going down to 35, 40 degrees overnight.

No hot water? No showers?

No worries, I was assured by the woman largely responsible for Amazon Prime’s profit picture in this zip code.

Soon, the supplies came rolling in. A shower apparatus, complete with water pump, was soon followed by a heater coil that I think was originally made for Seabrook Unit Two.

Plug coil cord into wall socket. Lose power. Unplug other appliances. Find circuit breaker. Plunge unit into water in five-gallon, slightly used plastic bucket. Heat to personal comfort level.

(Tip: Don’t assume that hot water at the top of the bucket means hot, or even warm, water at the bottom. Shrinkage!)

Press shower pump button and insert into hot water. Presto! Instant shower! Granted, it has all the velocity and power of my golf swing, but it works. Besides, shaving with hot water has always been so overrated.

Ike, Mike, and Spike love the shower. One of them even surprised the old man by placing a little rubber frog in the bottom of the bucket. What fun.

And if I can just keep the new-furnace installers from finding out the barrel they have me over, I may soon get out of this early-Paleo existence without paying a Trump-like tariff.

Meantime, I’m looking forward to our special Top 10 Things To Do in New Hampshire edition, which will be included with Friday’s Union Leader. Great and fun ideas in different categories, some of which you might not have heard of. All of them will give you some things to add to your calendar.

If you subscribe to the Sunday News but buy your daily paper at the store, check your doorstep or blue newspaper tube on Friday. As with Thanksgiving, we home-deliver premium editions to Sunday as well as daily subscribers.

Write to Joe McQuaid at or on Twitter at @deucecrew.