Well, we have proof the water heater exists. Too bad it doesn't actually work.
I arose early this morning and eagerly awaited the promised phone call: our guy had called all around town to no avail. He then expanded his search and finally found the ONLY supplier in the state who had parts for our particular water heater. Once again he promised to immediately set off to Indianapolis and then install the necessary part later today.
Fast forward to 7pm this evening. No sign of Kirby and no hot water. I have a sink full of dishes because my dishwasher is full. Feeling apprehensive before dinner, I filled my pots with water, thinking that the water would at least have a chance to warm up to room temperature before I would have to heat it. We ate dinner and heated the water. I washed the dishes and cleaned out the sinks while we heated more water, praying that adding cold water to a hot Pyrex(tm) pot wouldn't crack it and implode the universe. Fortunately luck held out and more water was heated. After the third time this year, we have this down to a science: wet hair, lather, rinse over empty sink, finish over warm water, move on to the next person.
Also of note was the fact that our guy informed us that our particular unit was built in 1989 while our house was built in 1995. I sincerely hope that this wasn't a 'used' unit, but given who our house builder was (and I had nothing to do with that! I've always said we bought a 3 year old fixer-upper), I guess that shouldn't surprise me. And, I learned today that a replacement unit will cost big bucks and that we can expect this unit to die in a most messy and wet way very soon. As my husband stated earlier today, "The joys of home ownership." Uh, yeah.