Murphy strikes again!!

Oh, why does Murphy think he needs to stop in and see us? I don’t understand, because he sure isn’t welcome in our home. But, none the less, he’s popped his ugly little head in and has decided to have some fun with us.

I’m not really sure what’s going on in our basement, but overnight we’ve developed some electrical issues with our outlets. We have a portable air conditioner unit down there that we use for the dogs, since it does get a bit warm down there from time to time. In the last couple of weeks, the reset switch on the plug has been tripped several times a week. We didn’t really think too much about it, just kept resetting it when we’d notice it had tripped, and turned the air back on. Well, Tuesday we noticed the plug wasn’t resetting, so we figured there was a short in it, or we needed to change the filter out and this was just a safety measure. Like lazy-crazies, we just unplugged the unit and went on about our way. We didn’t test the outlet itself, because as I said, we just figured the problem was in our plug.

Yesterday afternoon I’m sitting at my computer typing away when our security alarm starts beeping at me. I rush over to the keypad and see a strange and disturbing message that I don’t recognize. I quickly pulled out the manual (thankfully, I didn’t toss it or hide it) and begin frantically searching through the list of codes for an explanation. When I finally found the right one, the troubleshooting guide indicated that there was no power to the main unit and it was running on auxiliary power. It also indicated that if the power was not out at the residence that we needed to call for service immediately. Huh?????? The power definitely wasn’t out in the residence so I was stumped.

Thinking I knew what was going on, I rushed downstairs to take a peek at the breaker on the electric box – hoping and praying it was somehow tripped. Nope, I was wrong. All the breakers in the box were on and fine; but, I noticed that the surge protector for the television wasn’t working – that’s in a different room than the air conditioner unit and security alarm. I’m puzzled at this point, and a little bit nervous. I really don’t want my security alarm shutting down because we’ve run out of power, and I don’t want a fire because we’ve got outlets or wires shorting out.

Puzzled and unsure how to proceed, I unplugged a small fan that was sitting by the television and I decided to check all the outlets in the basement. Low and behold, there were three outlets in various parts of the basement that weren’t working! Why or how in the world that happened, I’m not really sure.

So I fiddled, and I frigged, and I flipped switches in the breaker box on and off, and I unplugged things and plugged them back in and I prayed and I grumbled, and as the beads of sweat started to stand out on my forehead and my level of panic slowly began to rise, I debated whether or not I should call Sam. In the end I decided not to since he’d be home in a few hours anyway. So I trudged upstairs to wait it out, hoping and praying the alarm wouldn’t start beeping at me again……….

A few weeks back, we had picked up and extra plug at Home Depot since we had an outlet in the basement that needed to be wired up. In our busyness, Sam hadn’t gotten to that project yet, so after walking around in the basement with a flashlight for twenty minutes staring at the ceiling (tracing the wiring around), Sam used our extra plug to change out the one we thought was faulty. I’m happy to say that his replacement job on the faulty plug worked – the power is now back on to our alarm system. Yeah!

However, the story gets stranger – before he changed out the plug, one of the outlets that wasn’t working before (the one by the television) started working again. Don’t know why or how it started working, but I turned on the tube just to be sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me. But, after he changed out the faulty plug and we turned all the power back onto the house, not only did the television plug not work again, but a plug on another wall which was working before, was no longer working. Holy cow!!!! What’s going on here?????!!!!!!!

The wiring in our basement looks like a pee-poor DIY job anyway, so I’m not really sure what or where some of the wires are really going. So, after a lengthy discussion about what and/or why things are going wrong down there, we’ve decided we’re going to buy a bunch of plugs at Home Depot this weekend and switch out all our plugs in the basement. I think we’re gonna spend a few bucks extra and get the GCFI plugs so when one blows we’ll know exactly which one it is, and we’re gonna buy one of the small circuit testers too so we can determine the outages more easily. Hopefully, new plugs will solve our electrical problems, but if I’m being honest with myself, I can hear this nagging voice in the back of my mind telling me this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Thankfully Sam’s father was an electrical contractor most of his life, and Sam was forced to work in his company several summers during high school and college. So, while he’s terrible at most home improvement projects he’s a pro at changing out plugs and wiring up light switches, and small things like that.

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