Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Me + Sparks = Bad

Yeah, so the electricity in my house almost killed me last night.

My good friend Suzie is staying with me for the next several days. She got in last night and after we'd talked for a while, I decided to be a good hostess and make lemon-poppy seed muffins for us to enjoy for breakfast this morning. And you know when you're dumping the batter into the muffin cups and the batter can splash a little and not end up in the cup? Well, I tried to wipe most of it up but apparently didn't succeed because after 10 minutes in the oven, you could smell a little burning. It wasn't anything serious, just a smell. No smoke anywhere in the house, but then I heard this very loud beep. One I am unfamiliar with and hadn't heard since I moved in here. But it doesn’t take long for me to realize it was the smoke alarm. It only beeped once, and as there was no smoke in the house, I thought maybe it was the battery warning me it was getting low. No big deal, right? I am a self sufficient woman who can take care of herself.

So I drag out the step ladder, twist and pop off the alarm from it's holder and begin to look for the battery. (Why I did this instead of hitting this test button I'll never know.) Mind you, Suzie is simply watching me up on the ladder, curious to know if her friend might burn the house down with her lemon poppy seed muffins. Then I notice the alarm has two wires attached to it. At the same time I notice this, they come off.

Hm. Logic, at this point, has failed me because I am still searching for the battery not even really wondering why there are TWO COPPER WIRES HANGING OUT OF MY CEILING. But it gets worse. I then notice the test button and realize the stupidity of what I've just done. I read the instructions on the under side of the alarm that tell me where to put the WIRES THAT ARE HANGING OUT OF MY CEILING. So I pull the wires down so I have more slack to attach them to the alarm.

See, this is where it got bad. Sparks flew into my hair, all over and in front of me, landing on crocheted round thingy (a gift from my mother years ago) that's on top of the cabinet that sits just below the alarm. And all the ceiling lights go off. It all happens in slow motion as I see the sparks land on the cloth and my heart stops. Just for a little bit. And all I can think is Isn't it ironic that my smoke alarm is what's going to cause this fire?

There was no fire. The alarm could hardly be blamed if there was. My goodness, I work for a lighting company. I'm not an electrician but I know enough to switch a breaker off whenever wires are being touched by stupid humans.

Because the ceiling lights in the vicinity went out, I check the breaker box and it thankfully flipped (knowing someone like me would someday move in). Ceiling lights restored, I decide to take the alarm to work and talk to one of our electricians to make sure I was reading the instructions correctly. I didn't trust anything I was capable of at this point. I tuck my tail between my legs, grateful I didn't kill myself or Suzie (who at this point isn't remotely concerned because she was looking for her contact case, only to realize she'd left it at home.) I am happy she is as laid back as I am, and had something to distract her. Or she may never come stay with me again.

What really sucks? The muffins weren’t even that good.

What I'm listening to: Shawn Colvin's A Few Small Repairs (And no, I'm not kidding. The irony is not lost on me.)

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