Everyone has had a plot twist that provides them with brown water, a power outage, or heat that isn’t working. There’s a logic chain that you walk through to assess the problem, and get the help you need to fix it.

Take a minute to think about how confusing that can be. You have no heat. There are so many possible explanations:

“I forgot to pay the gas bill”

“My furnace is shot”

“blown fuse”

“The furnace is working but the power is out so the blower isn’t working”

“The thermostat was reset by the cat”

“My phone didn’t charge overnight.” Is it the phone, the charging cable, the electrical outlet, a power outage?

If you have no water, you call the water company. But what if the water is brown? You call the city. What if you have water in your basement? Plumber. There’s a lot of nuances.

Last fall I called a repairman for my dryer when it turned out the dryer was fine, but I needed an electrician. This is easy to get wrong, and getting it wrong is expensive. What that in mind, we talked about the benefits of having a landlord, so that all calls go to the same person, and you’re not out $10k for a new air conditioning unit.

Today, Annie and I worked on a list of who to call for these emergencies. Because there are so many variables, the first people on her list are trusted adults in her inner circle, who can help her decide what to do next.

Because we live in an 80-year-old house that was subjected to decades of creative plumbing, the one provider she knew without being told was Gorjanc. Here’s some unsolicited advertising – even my kid knows that when Gorjanc shows up, things get fixed.

This will be an ongoing conversation, and we don’t have that many real-life opportunities to practice. (Except the plumbing, always the plumbing.) In the meantime, we will talk through scenarios, and the logic chain for next steps.