Personally, I don’t see the problem with plugging into one single outlet (two plugs): two computers, two monitors, two printers, one transcribing machine, one cordless headphone base, one lamp, one phone charger, and one electric heater. Apparently the outlet thought otherwise. Go figure. Actually it did fine until I added the heater, and even then it gave it a valiant try. It took days, even weeks, before two days ago, with absolutely no fanfare at all, that little outlet decided it was time to quit working so hard. Actually, it quit working completely. I wonder if that’s in its union contract.
I headed to the electrical panel located in the spare bedroom, hoping to find a flipped breaker. No such luck. Then, thinking of the rumors that there’s a separate panel for the “new” part of the house (which predates my entrace into this world), I went in search of such, even braving the basement with its assorted wildlife (real or imagined). Spiders and mice are the usual suspects. I didn’t find another electrical panel, but I did find the fabric I’m going to use for my next online quilt swap. No small feat, considering my fabric is all in garbage bags heaped up in a pile under the stairs. I figure that’s a good place for it – a comforatable place to hang out should Olivia and I have to head to the basement in case of a tornado warning.
Back upstairs and outside. No electrical panel. So I began the task of moving my office to the living room so I can continue working so I can earn more money so I can hire an electrician to come out and tell me how moronic I am. I thought maybe it was just the actual plug itself that I killed, but since the back porch light doesn’t work either (and it’s on the same wall as my much-abused office outlet), I suspect something more $$$-intensive than just replacing the plug. Unless somewhere I find that elusive second electrical panel…
So now I’m (a) living without propane; and (b) living without electricity in my bedroom. I ran out of propane a week ago or so, and I decided to protest the required 200-gallon minimum by saying “up yours” to the propane companies and doing without for a while. I have my wood stove for heat and about a gazillion electrical appliances for cooking. Microwave, rice cooker, chicken-shaped egg cooker (eat your heart out, Evelyn – or my eggs up), toaster oven, tabletop roaster oven, and crockpot. The only thing I was missing was an electric frying pan or griddle. I thought about getting one of each, but then I realized that all I needed was a hot plate, so I went to www.overstock.com and found this awesome infrared burner (I don’t know why it seems so awesome – maybe it’s the pretty color of red it turns when fully heated) for thirty-something dollars (refurbished), so I ordered that, it arrived day before yesterday, and I can now cook anything that requires using a pot or skillet.
Between that and another load of firewood, I’ve spent about $120, as opposed to the almost $400 I’d have spent on a minimum 200 gallons of propane. I confess it’s a lot easier to push a button and immediately have propane heat than it is to build and maintain a fire, but there is a lot to be said for the appeal of a fire – the heat, the coziness, the warmth it gives, both physically and emotionally. Olivia and I love to pull our rocking chairs up to the wood stove and just sit and enjoy the feeling we get in our “cozy cottage.” I’ve lived in more “refined” homes – this one needs a lot of work – but I’ve never lived in one that felt more welcoming (curious, considering the violent demise in the house of the previous owner).
And I remind myself that there are a lot worse things than having to move my office and building fires. Walking to school uphill both ways in the snow, for example. Or losing a child. Or going blind. Or having no home, albeit so humble, made possible by the best of old friends. I am so blessed to have this home that is just the right size for me and Olivia, with its beautiful acre of park-like yard, my wonderful neighbors, near to Olivia’s incomparable school, and a basement large enough to hold my rather large fabric stash. I am sitting at my desk in the living room (my new office), and the sunrise out the window is beautiful. Life is good.
And now I’m going back to bed. Because the view of the back of my eyelids is far more enticing than any sunrise…