Sparks Fly

Last weekend was a long weekend.  On Friday, I encountered an electrical problem.  Have you ever heard a sizzle behind your wall when you have used a light switch?  Have you ever smelled burning plastic smells at that moment?  Imagine how I spent last weekend!  I shall not spend this long weekend the same way…fearful, vigilant, consumed!  This weekend I will spend luxuriating in peace and calm.  This weekend will be gift of relaxation and fun.

I quickly ‘googled’ my dilemma and after a time, came to this.  The words that really stuck out for me were,

“The point is, these are all very specific warning signs that a switch is getting bad and is likely defective. There is a need to change them right away when these warning signs rear their ugly heads. And I know what you’re going to say, “I’ll get to it tomorrow.” The only problem is that tonight might be the night it gets hot enough to start an electrical fire and burn down your home. So if you identify the problem, fix the problem. At least, if you don’t want to tackle it yourself and you want to call in a professional, turn off the power to the circuit. That way, you and I both can get a good night’s sleep.”

When in doubt, turn off the breaker.  In one case…the case where the bathroom fan would not turn off and the switch fell off in my hand, I located the breaker without issue and felt a calm pour over me as everything turned dark and the fan came to a halt.

In the case of the back yard light switch…not so simple.  A dozen times I ran up and down the stairs, running a check for the matching breaker.  I dismissed #1 initially…not sure why…because as we come to the close of this pathetic narrative, I found this to be the correct breaker although it is labeled ‘basement lights’…in fact, I think that I dismissed it for just that reason.  It had nothing to do with the family room pot lights or back entrance.

Once I felt defeated…some time around midnight, I gave a call to a local electrician, advertising in the yellow pages that they offered emergency services around the clock.  It  turns out that they charge 295.00 just to arrive at your door.  At this point, I was resolved to guard the switch throughout the night and do something about this in the morning.  hmmm…long weekend…

Have you ever routinely felt a small patch of wall for warmth?  Have you stuck your nose up against a light switch again and again until utter exhaustion sets in?  From one who has…the mind begins to create scenarios.  The emotions become stripped.

This is when self-doubt and self-talk become rampant.  All of a sudden, spending time in self-monologue, the world becomes a dark place.  The light switch began to represent all of my life choices.  I laugh at all of this as I type.

With the light of day and my first cup of coffee…somewhere around 4:30 a.m., I began to make my first phone calls.  I left phone messages with every person I knew who might have the most remote knowledge about electricity.  By end of that day, I had decided I could, indeed, leave the house in order to walk the dog.

I showed up on a neighbour’s front door step.  Rick has helped me out of at least a few jams.  In fact, he taught me how to replace my stove element…educated me about the installation of a new car battery and so I held out hope that this would pan out.  In the end, most people I connected with over electricity offered alternatives because they just didn’t feel right about electricity.  Wow!  Did I ever understand that feeling.

My readers will be pleased to know that in the end, Larry showed up after his dinner on Monday night, just as the long weekend wound up.  Larry had completed the renovation of my family room level.  He had been out of town for the weekend, but had returned to find my shaky voice on his voice mail and came right over, tools in hand and with tremendous confidence about changing up light switches.  To begin, he went down to the breaker as I stood guard over the light switch of concern!  He began systematically, with breaker #1.  You got it!  The deep basement was on the same breaker as the back door light…demonstrating the historical order in which this house was wired.  It was, in fact, not connected at all with the new development.  Sheesh!  Lesson learned!

Patiently, Larry explained and guided me through the process of taking care of first the faulty switch and then the bathroom fan.  When he left, I had a sense of peace that I had not enjoyed all weekend.  I feel gratitude for good friends and for new knowledge.  I also appreciate the support of all of the individuals who were plagued with my weekend story.  This was labour day weekend for another year.

Dear Friend…and all-round talented guy…Larry, during the renovation…2008.

After renovation…March 2008.

1 thought on “Sparks Fly

Leave a Reply