11 p.m. and I’m settling down to sleep tucked under my warm duvet, the nocturnal quiet unbroken except for the occasional hum of the furnace fighting off the 20 degree temps outside, and then…BOOM, and total darkness.
Struggling through the moonless night to the kitchen for a flashlight I trip over first the dog’s rawhide bone, then a box of …something…and finally plunge my bare right foot into the dog’s capacious water bowl, before reaching the refrigerator and the flashlight.
Down the steps to the cellar and the fuse box; they look okay but what the heck -- I'm a software geek, not an electrician -- I reset them all, just for good luck -- twice. Twenty-three switches thrown and nothing; 23 thrown again, still nothing. Strangely, the refrigerator, computer and cellar chest freezer are still running -- are they haunted or just refusing to give in to darkness -- too bad the furnace doesn't have the same tenacity.
What should I do now: call the police, the electrician who installed this damn box or the power company and their dreaded depersonified recordings? Not to worry, the phones are out too.
I could keep fighting with the circuit breakers, but my wet foot and bunny slippers are no match for the cold basement, the dog is howling, terrified by the moving beam of the flashlight, and I'm ready for a drink. I’m no dummy; I’m bailing, heading the warmth (and spare bed) of my nearest friend – the problem will still be there tomorrow morning.
And it is.