Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Laura Blows a Fuse

I was midway through watching Glee (don't you judge me) last night when my television turned itself off. There was an audible click, and I was standing nowhere near the TV or the remote when it happened.

But before you think my house is haunted by Glee-hating spirits from the beyond, listen first to this: Throughout the evening, the lights in my bedroom had grown steadily dimmer.

Instantly, I thought: "Brownout." This is a THING. The power company reduces the amount of power sent out to various homes, causing the lights to dim considerably and power-sucking electronics, appliances, and so forth...they do not WORK.

I opened up my laptop, put in its battery, located my headlamp, and went on with watching the most recent episode of No Reservations. This was my quality knitting-time. I needed entertainment while I purled.

But then everything went dark. My laptop stayed on, and I discovered, much to my sadness, that a certain family member who borrows my headlamp from time to time had scavenged a battery from it (you know who you are).

All was dark. Except for Anthony Bourdain, who was eating something unspeakable that had been coaxed out of a fish.

We quickly discovered that the power wasn't all gone. The air conditioning still worked. The living room had power, as did part of the kitchen. The basement had power, meaning the well was working (so we could flush the toilet), the washer and dryer were working, and the dehumidifier was still going. What did all this mean?

We had blown a fuse.

Dad proved uninterested in solving the problem, so Mom was left attempting to determine which fuse had actually gone out. This was more complicated than one would hope, since we have no less than three fuse boxes and one breaker box.

Yeah. Really.

I have begun to believe that the people who built our house hired a drunk monkey electrician. We have even had the house rewired. But that just got us a breaker box. It did not consolidate the fuse boxes.

One fuse box handles the varied appliances and a non-specific portion of the house. One handles the garage and part of the house. The final seems to cover the same things as the other two, plus my bedroom and Paul's and the unfinished (i.e. the SAND ROOM because it is filled with PILES OF SAND plus lots of spiders and maybe snakes, weasels, and Satan) portion of the basement.

In our infinite wisdom, no one in the 25 years we have lived in this house had ever thought to figure out which fuse provides power to which section of the house. No electrician we've had has ever labeled them, either. So we have between 16-18 fuses and no one knows what any of them do. Also, we have a circuit breaker box which appears to control which of the fuses are on or off at any given time. Part of the fuses are numbered 60, part are 30, and part are 20. None of us have any idea what that means.

Naturally, we did not have any replacement fuses in the appropriate numbers. So Mom and Paul drove to Walmart* at 10:30 PM. I let them go without me because I had found a way (while the lights were still on) to pour olive brine down the length of my body. Also on my pillows.

By the time they returned, Dad had gone to sleep (Still without bothering to look at any part of the problem, but why would he? His room had power.) And when they arrived, Paul promptly went to sleep so he could wake up for work the next morning (today). This left Mom and I to replace the fuses.

We replaced every fuse we encountered. This meant all the garage fuses. Then we went downstairs and Mom slithered up into a cabinet under the stairs and replaced one of those fuses as well, because she thought it "looked funny." We observed it in better lighting and determined that it looked perfectly fine.

Nothing happened.

We still had no power. We resolved to sleep, and cope with the problem at some other time. Like, when the electricians were awake and able to answer phone calls from desperate people.

Approximately ten minutes later, power was restored to our house. Explain that to me. I really don't understand.

We were astounded. But we still went to sleep.

This morning, I woke up to get dressed from work only to find that we'd lost power AGAIN. In the same parts of the house, no less. So whatever is wrong, it is wrong enough to 1. Blow fuses for fun or 2. Consciously think up ways to torment us.

And because we are all overscheduled is unlikely that this problem can be fixed when no one is around to kidnap an electrician. But I am just happy we can flush the toilet more than once without going down to the river for buckets of water. That gets old pretty fast.

*Walmart failed to give us half the stuff Mom bought. Also they sold us a flashlight that does not work. Then they did not apologize when we called to notify them. That was really friendly of them.

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