I adore a man who can work with his hands. I admire a woman who knows how to handle a channelocks. I appreciate a well laid-out mechanical room. I’m a huge fan of trades people.

Trades people are more in touch with the truth than other people. They are a no-nonsense group. They know that the electrical current is there, or it’s not. The burner fires up, or it doesn’t. It’s plumb, or it’s out of plumb. Trades people have remarkable “baloney” detectors. They identify quality by performance. They know that actions, not words, are the true measure of a person. Trades people understand the material universe and the way things work. That understanding is becoming increasingly rare.

Dear trades people, dear craftsmen and craftswomen of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling industry, do you have any idea how amazing you are?

Have I told you lately that I’m grateful? Have I told you lately that I love you?

All hail the Electricians! Dear Electricians, you are Lightning Wranglers! You channel raw energy into orderly lines of controlled power, from just enough to energize a night light to more than enough to illuminate New York City. The Internet is an amazing feat of technology, and it’s driven by electricity. Even the wireless world is sparked by finely tuned connecting dots of electricity. Electricians routinely handle enough power to blast a man into outer space, or into the next life, and deliver it in just-right doses.

Three cheers for the Heating and Cooling Professionals. My friends, you create weather! You deliver cool breezes inside when the temperatures soar outside. You keep folks roasty-toasty in the winter. You screen the air to remove dust and pollen to keep us from sneezing. Too much moisture in the air? Not enough? You can fix that!

Within the P-H-C world, there are the Radiant Panel Experts. Stand up and take a bow. Instead of heating and cooling the air, you wizards heat and cool objects…from floors and ceilings to football fields…to concrete dogs. Previously, only the sun could create radiant warmth. Ahhh, the pleasure of lying down on a sun-kissed beach, and feeling the heat of the sand ooze into you. You Radiant Heating Pros use boilers, circulators and the right measure of pipe to create that delightful experience. In fact, your work is more reliable than the sun’s system, and can be delivered on command. Radiant Cooling panels create the feeling of standing next to a glacier and having the cold mass whisk the heat off of you. What could be better on a hot summer day? Isn’t that amazing?

And hurray for the Plumbing Pros! Consider our collective daily contributions to the plumbing system. Where does it all go? Plumbers make it disappear! Isn’t that incredible?

I’m especially fond of Plumbers. Dear Plumbers, you are heroes. And not just for clearing the inevitably clogged pipes on the day after Thanksgiving. In the aftermath of a natural or manmade disaster, what is the number one necessity? Water. Water to drink. Water to wash away the threat of disease. After an earthquake, tornado or even after a flood, you restore the water and waste systems.

Remember the nuclear power disaster in Chernobyl? It may be the closest our world has come to a full nuclear meltdown. In a meltdown, the radioactive reaction continues unchecked until, scientists suppose, the core of the reactor will melt through the earth. (Hence, the expression, “The China Syndrome.”) Who saved the Chernobyl disaster from destroying even more of the world? The Plumbers. Plumbers in full scuba gear swam through radioactive waste to find and open the water valves that flooded and cooled the reactor.

I’m so fond of Plumbers that I married one! Hot Rod, like most plumbers, has common sense and a clear concept of right and wrong. I find these traits very attractive.

And how about the Septic Scions and Waste Eliminators? Isn’t it amazing how they can incorporate the nastiest, disease creating waste into our earth in friendly, fertile ways? They finish the water cycle and turn bad water into good again, using the filter of Mother Earth. Isn’t that a miracle?

Close your eyes for a moment. Picture the city in which you live. See it in your mind’s eye. Now, strip away the walls and floors and furniture. Take away everything except the complex networ