Me and C.H.A.D.
Lost in the hubbub of the past couple of days is this terrifying true story.
I got out of the shower on Thursday and walked into my bedroom to get dressed. I had Spoon’s Gimme Fiction playing on the stereo in the other room. I flip on the light switch and POP the light blows and with it, the stereo and everything else in the house turns off.
I’ve never blown a circuit in this house. I remember asking the previous tenants where the circuit breakers were and they didn’t know. So I check the closets even though I’m already afraid I know where the breakers are. Finally, hoping the breakers are actually in the crawl space and I’ll have to call the landlord anyway, I call the landlord. And he confirms my worst fear: the breakers are in the attic.
So I’m halfway dressed for my temp job and I’m pacing around and yelling obscenities because I DO NOT want to go upstairs with the spiders and the C.H.A.D.. Shit, I figure, maybe the breakers are right at the top of the stairs. So I get the steppin’ stool out and take down the attic stairs. And I climb them, flashlight in hand. I get to the top and scan around. To my right, to my left, dead ahead. And then finally all the way around behind me. And there’s the box.
Seriously, if it were any further away it would be on my neighbor’s side of the house. And since the central heat and air was installed after the house was built, all the ducts and tubes and stuff are just sprawled across the attic. Fuck it, I decide, I’m in my work clothes and I’m not going to change into jeans, crawl across the fucking attic with all the loose insulation and then change back into work clothes and go to my office. So I put the stairs up and leave.
Which means, of course, that I have to come home at lunch and do it. Damn it. I psyche myself into it and lemme tell you, it was such a fear factor moment. I get up in the attic and I have to crawl under pipes and through spider webs and it’s dark and there’s insulation spilling out everywhere. So I get to the breaker box and I don’t even notice the labels on the switches. I just throw them all and get the hell out of there.
I go downstairs and nothing has power. Fudge. So I clean up and call the landlord and eat lunch. The landlord didn’t answer so I left a message, but after lunch I knew I’d have to go back up there.
This time I turn on a radio downstairs and a click a couple of light switches so that if the power comes back I’ll be able to notice before I get out of the attic. Then I get all kitted up with my safety goggles and long sleeve shirt and get the fucking stairs down again. And again with the Fear Factor routine. This time, however I notice that the switches are labeled. Doesn’t help though. But I notice that one of the switches takes like a pump motion to click. Didn’t quite do that the first time. I throw it and suddenly there is light and sound.