Been There, Done That – News – Record-Courier

There has been some unexplained weirdness with the electrical system in our bedroom and the upstairs bathroom lately. 

I woke up one night with the tap light on the headboard having a little “thunderstorm,” running through all three light levels and back off again, over and over. 

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OK, so the light is toast. What do you want for 10 bucks from the big box store? It’s probably three or four years old. How long can a little tap light last anyway? Although, the one it replaced had been bought 20-plus years before when I was pregnant with our No. 1 son. 

I didn’t want to have to fumble for the light switch with a baby in my arms, so I had to have a tap light for his room. When he got older and his room decor changed, the tap light ended up on the headboard in my bedroom. 

It still worked when Dave decided we needed to replace it. That was after 20-some years, so this new one shouldn’t be done after only three or four years, but whatever. 

Somehow, we happened to have a spare (hoarders), so I swapped them out. I put the one with issues on our dresser, but didn’t plug it in. Well, not until I was looking for socks and couldn’t see anything by the light from the lamp on the other end of the dresser. 

And the little tap light worked just fine, so I left it plugged in. If the light is OK, then it must be the receptacle that’s bad. I waited until I had a couple of doses of liquid courage to quell my claustrophobia before I crawled behind the bed to unplug the alarm clock and tap light. Well, after I eliminated the cobweb condo that had developed back there.

I found a short extension cord (in the first place I looked — imagine that) and ran it to the receptacle beside the bed, stretching it behind Dave’s nightstand to limit the chances of getting tangled in it and unplugging it. 

Yeah, good luck with that. I’ve caught it with my feet a few times already, just trying to get out of bed in the mornings. We just got this new alarm clock, too. We had our old one for about 30 years. I could reset that one in my sleep. Good thing, too, because all the words rubbed off years ago. 

We didn’t get any instructions with the new one, but I’m getting pretty good at resetting it now. Everyone knows directions are for sissies anyway. 

Everything was going well until I woke up one night to both tap lights going crazy, blinking on and off. So what now, they’re both bad? Or are three receptacles out of five in our bedroom bad? 

And then there was the issue in the upstairs bathroom. The fan was in the window and plugged in, but wouldn’t turn on. The night light wouldn’t come on, either. It finally dawned on me to hit the reset on the GFI and then they both came on. And turned right back off. 

By process of elimination, I determined that the night light was fine, it was the GFI receptacle that needed to be replaced. Every time I plugged the fan in, it had to be reset. 

Then it occurred to me that the GFI wasn’t bad, it was doing its job. Plug in something questionable and it kicks off. So it’s the fan!

We have three identical window fans upstairs. I really don’t even know where they came from. I have no idea how old they are, but evidently, one doesn’t work anymore. So I took it out of the bathroom window. The next day when I went upstairs, there it was in the window and running just as pretty as you please. 

OK, so it only works when Dave plugs it in. 

Then, I had problems with the fan in our bedroom window. An alarm clock located not more than three inches from my head, blaring for all it’s worth, will not necessarily drag me up to the land of the living in the morning. But if the fan turns off, I wake up immediately. 

Well, this time it must be the fan and not the receptacle, because the other fan sitting on my nightstand is plugged in to the same one and it was still running. Fortunately, I didn’t actually get rid of any of these “questionable” appliances before I had my “aha” moment, which came when I was in the bathroom and the light flickered. 

When I got back to the bedroom, the TV was rebooting itself. OK, this is all getting pretty crazy. I called our insurance company and they sent us an electrician. 

While he was checking everything out, all the appliances and receptacles were on their best behavior, which is the polar opposite of what I wanted. 

I needed fans not working, lights flashing and the TV rebooting, but nothing doing. The good news is the electrician believes we’re having electrical issues and it’s not just the “loose nut behind the wheel.” And he’s coming back in a week or so to fix this mess. 

Copyright 2018 Laura Nethken 


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