Our new house is kind of dated. One thing is that the electricity comes into the house through fuses instead of breakers. I guess that’s how it works. I haven’t really looked it up. All I know is in my apartment on Dooley, sometimes, if I used the microwave, the iron, the computer, and the stereo all at the same time all the lights in the apartment would go out. I would then have to hunt for the basement key, go outside and down to the basement, through the dusty door, past the bedroll where my neighbor let a homeless guy sleep sometimes, past the booze bottles, over to the breaker panel marked #3. The lights were burned out in the basement (no matter how many times I donated a bulb to the cause), so you can bet I brought a flashlight with me. I’d open the panel marked #3, stop and realize that even though my apartment was Apartment #3, that the breaker panel was the 4th one set up, so I’d redirect the beam of my flashlight to the panel marked #4. I’d find the correct breaker (ie the one that wasn’t facing the way the other ones were facing) and flip it, and when I walked back upstairs VI O LAAA I had power.
That’s about the extent of my electrical expertise, unless you count the decorative lighting fixtures I’ve installed from time to time, which I don’t, because Dwight often goes behind me and re-twists the wires together and re-wire-screws them. He doesn’t know that I know that he does this. But it irritates the crap out of me. Anywhoo.
So this morning, fixing some breakfast, because breakfast is a great way to start your day, I ran into a bit of a problem. I was just standing there in the kitchen, thinking about how nice it was that I don’t have to work until 10, so I had TIME to make breakfast and clean up after myself, and all that crap, and all of the sudden…as I was putting the turkey bacon back into the refrigerator…the refrigerator light went out.
Crap! Did I accidentally put the turkey bacon over the switch for the light? No! I go over to the toaster. My NutriGrain Eggos have popped up, but they are neither golden brown nor crispy. I look at the microwave. No glowy numbers. Shit.
I call my husband. He tells me to go to the fuse panel, open it, find the one that says “Kitchen Recepticles” and look inside the little window to see if the fuse is burned out. ?!?!?? How the crap should I know? I’ve never looked at fuses before. I said I guessed it was a little, well, smudgier than the other little fuse windows. He said did I remember the bag of fuses that the previous owner left us? It’s on the table in the blah blah blah and I’m all, “Yeah, but aren’t you just going to come home and fix it? Because there are, like, dozens of dollars worth of food in this refrigerator, and I’m all helpless and delicate (all the while I’m attempting to unscrew this questionably burned-out fuse) and could he just scoot on home for a sec and take care of this?”
He says the food will probably be fine until he has lunchtime, and to just not open the refrigerator anymore. I’m thinking of the eleventy hundred times I opened and closed the refrigerator trying to make the light come on again before I realized that none of the other electrical doodads in the kitchen were functional. Nah, that food probably won’t be OK until lunchtime. At this point I’m getting a little upset. I’m not mad or anything, but I’m frustrated that my stupid fingers can’t get the stupid fuse to unscrew and that the stupid refrigerator ws not working and that the stupid toaster hadn’t cooked my Eggos enough yet, etc. I get off the phone and cry a minute, and then I’m all, “Wait a minute.”
So the problem with trying to unscrew the fuse is that my hands are sweaty because I’m nervous about potentially electrocuting myself (which, incidentally, is a crappy way to start my third day of Part Time Job Part I) and because I’m frustrated and in a hurry. So I think “Rubber Gloves!” and go put some on. I try again. The little jerk comes out of his little hole. I take a replacement fuse (that was in a box, so obviously new) and screw it in. Nothing happens. I go check the fridge. Nothing. I call my husband again, “The new fuse doesn’t work either – the electricity is broken.” He says, “Did you screw it in the whole way?” I’m like, “YES.” He asks, “Did you use a new fuse?” I say, “I used one in a box.” He’s all, “Just because it’s in a box doesn’t mean it’s new. Sometimes people take the old one out and put it in a box blah blah blah.” I start to cry. He says he will come home.
I get off the phone sobbing. I put my rubber glove back on, climb into a sitting position on the washing machine, and unscrew said maybe-not-new fuse. I (still crying my stupid head off) take yet another 20 amp fuse and insert it into the hole. I screw it in. I, with excruciatingly tiny movements (because of course said fuse goes crammed in next to other fuse) continue to screw the stupid thing in.
Suddenly, the microwave beeps. Through my tears and gritted teeth I exclaim, “That’s right you Son of a Bitch!” and I jump off the washer to confirm. I have done it. I have replaced the fuse. I call husband. He’s all , “Way to go” and I’m all, “Blubber blubber tears tears” and I finally got to eat my damn Eggos.