Friday, December 17, 2004
Wow, what a night. After replacing the lightbulbs in the kitchen, weird things started to happen. Some of the lights would flicker on and off and if all the lights were on, the lights in the other rooms that were on the same circuit would flicker too. Stranger and stranger. I finally got fed up after I had turned off the largest bank of lights and was not able to turn them back on again. The switch just went dead. The other lights on the circuit were fine. I went down to my utility closet where I had a few boxes of replacement toggle switches and grabbed one. A load tester, 2 types of screwdrivers and a face plate were also required. I then yanked the dimmer switch after removing the screws. With the switch out, I could see that this was no ordinary installation. There were four wires for the switch and only 3 were hooked up. Ok ... the 4th wire was obviously for a double switch system, but why are there two black wires and one white. More shenanigans. I did a load test and found that the white wire was actually a ground and the 2 black wires were the ones that were needed to complete the circuit. Ok, nice. I now had to find the correct breaker to shut off this circuit. This was not simple. The wiring in the house was not done in zones. They essentially strung several lines from one end of the mansion to the other. If there was a light or outlet along the way, it got tacked on. Soooo, if I turn off a breaker, I could very well turn off the lights in the dining room, some outlets in the kitchen, the stairway light and half the outlets in the Master suite. The only breakers that have labels are the ones that I have previously had to identify. I have about 36 breakers and I nearly had to go through half of them before I got the right one. I would trip a breaker, run upstairs, test, curse and then run back down to try another. In the end, I had a lot of digital clocks to re-set. The switch labeled 22b was the one. With the power off, I installed the toggle switch and screwed the cover back on. It worked perfectly, and no more flickering nonsense. That was a very expensive switch too, what a shame.
I could not resist giving the kids some of the ginger bread house. They were clambering at the edge of the giant glass dining table to get a crack at it. I snapped off the snowman and the ginger-bread man and handed it over to them. They were enthralled with the treat. Jacob ran to the toy chest, crawled inside and did his best to chew the little buttons off before anyone could take it away. A treat this good MUST be a mistake! It was as if he were a prison inmate protecting his cherished desert at dinner. Later on, the Mrs was in the receiving room where we set up the tree. The kids were sitting in her lap as she reclined back in the giant leather lounger we got back when we found that she was pregnant with the daemon seed. She had one of the laptops we have scattered about the house on the wi-fi network and was at the Disney Site going through the different activities with the kids. They love to play with that, but need a bit of help. Their favorite game is 'Push The Big Power Button Till The PC Shuts Off'. It's not much fun after that. We bathed them and sent them to bed. Going back, I could not find the gingerbread that Jacob had. I know he did not eat the whole thing. I guess it will show up sooner or later. If I let the Hounds scrounge about a bit, I'd wager that they would take care of it pretty quickly.
I had burnt the last of the wood in the brackets and it needed to restock since we are expecting snow soon. Not a lot of snow, mind you, but the cold and wet would make for an unpleasant environment to bring in the wood. So in and out I went. It took several wheel barrows to completely fill both of the brackets. I made hell-hounds stay outside till I was done or they would follow me in and out each trip. I would probably have gotten either run down or knocked over as they jockey to see who can get through the door first. The Mrs was there to open and close the door for me, so she was on the job of intimidating them to stay out. The wood outside is under a tarp and the arid winter air has made them quite dry. They should burn like a Southern California hillside.
The Mrs and I finally retire to bed at 2330 ... a bit late, but we should be able to get a good 6 hours of sleep in, or so we thought. Right at the stroke of midnight, Jacob started to complain and steadily increased his volume till it was a full out wail. I went in to see if he had lost his pacifier or was stuck in the bars of his crib, but he was fine. It was the itching that was keeping him awake. The dry air and a recent flare-up of his eczema made things pretty miserable for him. He spent the next three hours thrashing about and periodically getting out of bed to run about the house. The Mrs went so far as to change his clothing to something we thought a bit softer and slather his body in Elidel lotion. He finally settled down at 0330 and went back to sleep. The 0600 hour came much too quickly.
As for the rest of the day, I'll have to skip the corporate 'pirate pollyanna' since they are having it at 1600, about 15 minutes before I have to go pick up the kids. Oh, and I've developed this nasty sore on the inside of my mouth. The thing is right at the ridge of molars, on the inside of my cheek. I cant eat or drink anything without aggravating it. Since one of my most favorite pastimes is eating and drinking, this is having a very profound impact on my lifestyle. And it hurts. A lot. Dammit.