Saturday, December 25, 2010

'Twas the night before Christmas....

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring....

... Except me because I'd just blown one of the circuit breakers. Whoops.

Using my iPad as a flashlight, I wove through the dark living room to the fuse box and examined the situation. On the top row were a half dozen black rectangles that resembled dominoes. I had no idea what to make of those. The lower row showed six switches, one of which was in the 'off' position. Ah-ha! I was a genius! I flicked it to 'on', God said 'let there be light!' and....

.... nobody paid the slightest bit of attention.

I returned to the kitchen and confirmed that no one had listened there either. Dejectedly, I flicked the light switch a couple of times and returned to study the fuse box. It was after midnight, so possibly the best thing to do would be to go to bed and sort it out in the morning when it would be daylight and my parents would be awake. I looked at the switch I had just turned on and paused. Had I flicked the unmarked one on the end or the one beside it labelled 'cooker'? If it was the latter, then the oven had probably reset itself... The oven with the turkey in it.

That ... would be bad. Oh yes.

Deciding I would be in deeper trouble for letting such a catastrophe go unmentioned than for waking someone up, I crept upstairs with my iPad-flashlight. I have to say, the illumination from this make-shift lamp was not great; there should totally be an app for this. Creeping past my brother's room, I tapped on my parent's door.

"Mum? Uh... I blew all the lights.... And maybe the oven."

I'm unsure whether it was a reflection on my childhood that my mother seemed totally unphased by this occurrence. She located a real flashlight and I moved to documenting the events via twitter on my freed iPad as we moved around the house. Returning to the fuse box, Mum took out one of the domino thingos from the row above the familiar breaker switches. It turned out these were breakers too, but ones which you had to manually feed a strip of fuse wire into yourself.

I feel the need to confirm this was Christmas Eve 2010, not 1910.

One screwdriver and a length of 5 amp fuse wire later (5A for fuses, 15A for most electrical appliances and 30A for cookers. It's never too late in the year to improve your education of devices you thought you were born too late to have to deal with) and we were back in business. The other breaker switch that I had flicked turned out to be the unlabeled one and was not connected to anything. Actually, we're not sure, but Mum turned it back to 'off' to see if anyone complained.

"Sorry to wake you," I said sheepishly. "But I wouldn't have had a clue how to reset that fuse."

"It's fine," Mum said cheerily. "You can see why I study fossils now... Anything old is right up my alley!"

I consoled myself by thinking that at least I got to demonstrate how to get new mp3s onto her iPod this week.

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