Monday, January 08, 2007

I Sing the Sprout Electric

First, a well-deserved congratulations to Molly at Orangette for snagging a book deal. I am a huge fan, literally, of Orangette and am looking forward to her forthcoming book with a certain hunger.

Thank you, Molly, for reminding me of the Noble Brussels Sprout, but first a word from my electrician.

Dawn broke quietly over Casa Fondue. The cats were asleep. The birds were at somebody else’s house nattering away. The squirrels were tippy toeing around the yard picking up acorns. Barky Dog was, hopefully, trying to draw his last breath in the clutches of a half-starved python, and was silent. Not even the drone of the pool pump to disturb the solitude.

Not even the drone of the pool pump.

The pool pump that drones every morning was droning not.

No. Drone.

I bolted upright with visions of a mass of algae creeping across the deck into the kitchen! Quickly, I leapt out of bed, pulled on my best Pool Boy shorts, threw up the sash, and ran out to the side of the house to see what was the matter.

The pump was lifeless.

I opened the control box and toggled the switch. Nothing.

I went into the garage, opened the breaker box and…everything looked just fine. No red squares indicating a thrown breaker. To be on the safe side I “reset” the breakers. There were lots of breakers and I sort of had a Breaker Fest.

(Now, I put the word “reset” in double quotes because this particular action plays a role later on.)

Once again I checked the pump. Click. Click. Clickity-Click! Nothing.

Rats. Something’s wrong. What’s the best course of action at this point? Right, drink some coffee.

And that’s what I did.

On about the fifth cup, my daughter came downstairs and said that the lights in her bathroom weren’t working. Nor were the sockets. The lights downstairs on the same side of the house weren’t working either.

Uh oh. First the pump. Now the lights. Sounds like it’s time to call..

The Electrician.

“We can be there around 2. OK? If you smell smoke call 911 and not us. OK? Have a nice day!”


I brewed another pot of coffee.

Around about 2 the Electrician Guy arrived. After filling out the paperwork we went around to the pool pump, EG opened the box and probed around with his Magic Probe.

“Ah ha,” he said, “the pump is not getting power. Could be a problem with the cable under the house.”

What I heard was this: Ah ha. The pump is not getting power because the rats chewed through the cable. Rats? Well, they got in through this hole made by the termites. Termites? Well, they got in through this crack in your foundation. Crack? Well, that happened because a big sink hole is forming under your house. But don’t worry about any of this because the asteroid is going to wipe out your neighborhood in two days.

When we got back to the garage EG took the front off the breaker panel and checked all the circuits. They checked out just fine. Then he made an important discovery.

“Hey, lookie this!” he said, “This here main breaker thingie is not quite reset. When they put in the pool they jumpered these house light breakers over here. See? Looks like it blew, got stuck, and didn’t get reset. Then, somehow, all these house breakers got turned off. Did you try to reset any of these breakers?”

My silence gave him his answer.

Having thrust the knife in, EG twisted it for effect, “All we have to do is, click and click, and the problem is fixed. I like it when it’s this simple to fix!”

So, I called out an electrician to flip a circuit breaker. Nice. Although, as I wrote out the check for the service call I asked, “Now, about this asteroid…”


Shane said...

Sounds like some of our experiments with the wires under the floor tiles in the Reserch Center! They have lots of electricians there though. Thankfully. :)

Anonymous said...

Would you have prefered it actually be due to RATS? CHEWING? ON THINGS UNDER YOUR HOUSE? Hello! Be glad you were just a little "absent minded" :)

And by the way, I wish I were the "morning person" that you are.

Foo said...

Niiice. Well, at least it wasn't rats and termites and algae-negating, earth obliterating asteroids.