Sunday, December 13, 2009
If Our Neighbors Didn't Hate Us Before Tonight...
...they might now.

I could have also titled this post, My Husband is Superman, but we'll get to that later.

In the middle of preparing dinner and encouraging naked children to clothe themselves post-bathing, our house went dark and silent. The refrigerator stopped humming, the heat stopped running, dinner stopped cooking. Blackout.

Even more troubling, a quick glance out the windows showed me that we were the only house on the block that was dark. Across the street Christmas lights still twinkled, our neighbor's on both sides were all aglow. It was only us.

Now, in the past month, I have handed all bills and financial woes over to my husband. The sheer stress of trying (and failing) to balance our meager budget was making me ill. And so my very first thought upon seeing the rest of the neighborhood alit whilst I was toiling away in the dark with naked child bottoms scurrying and squealing past my legs, was that someone (not naming names here) had forgotten to pay the nice electric people their due and now we were in trouble.

Not the case. A quick call to my husband at work revealed that our account is in good order. Next thought? Did we trip the breaker or blow a fuse or whatever it's called when you have the Christmas tree, stove, lights, pellet stove, heater, dryer, etc, etc, all blowing through electricity like it's going out of style?

Husband explained where to check and how. Still black.

While we waited for him to phone the electric company, the kids and I lit candles and sang Christmas Carols. Asher, who had been slumbering when the house went dark, decided that being awake and into everything would be much more fun, especially in the dim lighting with the chance that he might, if he played his cards just right, be able to start a fire.

All this to say, my hands were full.

Turns out, there is a breaker box outside our house, the electrical people finally informed us (upon our second or third call in). I set out into the dark night and crunched over the snow crusted yard to check things out. Sure enough, there was another "Master" breaker right out there for anyone to stop by and mess with. And so, I clicked it off. Waited a beat. Clicked it back on. Turned to our house, still dark. Tried it again. And again. Nope, still dark.

Husband decided to come home from work to see if he could figure things out. Half an hour later and seven Christmas Carols down, he arrived, poked his head in the door and asked, "Did you do the box closest to the road, or the one closer to the yard?"

It was the one facing our yard, I told him.

He had tried it too before coming in. Only, he, being a guy, who likes to understand what buttons and switches and knobs do - what they connect to, how things are wired, what will be the effect of the cause, etc, etc - he was wise enough to look both ways when clicking on and off that switch. And he noticed that in our efforts, we had been actually turning OFF and ON the electricity going to our neighbors house.

Less than a minute later, he was back out by the road and had our house up and running in the flick of a switch.

In the end, the kids and I got to make candle lit memories, our neighbors probably wound up calling the electric company to complain and my kids are all further convinced that their father is a superhero, capable of all things. And I am too.

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Blogger Skye said...

Wow, what an eventful evening for your family... AND the neighbors, I'd imagine! :D

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