Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The nightmare after christmas

Tim Burton's masterpiece of the early 90's featured a bony figure with the head shaped like a pumpkin.  His name was Jack Skellington.  After Halloween Town celebrations began to bore the fictional celebrity, he stumbled upon Christmas Town.  He decided to emulate Christmas Town's leader, Santa Clause.  He and members of his town made presents filled with snakes and broken heads.  Using skeleton reindeer and his personal ghost of a dog, zero to drive the sleigh, Skellington went through Christmas Town to the horror of town members.  My nightmare after Christmas did not have Tim Burton's imaginary genius.  There was no Jack Skellington with a ghostly Zero leading his way. 

My nightmare came on the evening of December 28, 2010 as an overdue Eagles vs. Vikings game was about to start.  I was at my computer and had noticed blotches of brown on my ceiling's corner, which bordered my condos back wall.  I heard some dripping as well and centered my attention on the circuit breaker panel that sat flush against my back wall.  The dripping was coming from inside the circuit breaker panel!  I opened up the panel with swirling emotions enveloping my body.  To my horror, I saw water in between the individual breakers!

Ok. I needed to stop and think.  Had I ever had this happen before?  No.  Knowing that water and electricity were never a good mix (even though Phil from Groundhog Day might disagree), I asked a friend to help me with figuring out the best course of action.  He shut the circuit breakers off, and I immediately phoned the owner of my condos property management company.  She said she would work on getting a roofer out but doubted it would happen that evening.  Wonderful.

Darkness filled my one bedroom condo leaving me with a flashlight and my cat.  I went over to my dads to watch the Eagles get upset by the Minnesota Vikings.  I remained restless about my condos state.  A call from my property management company gave me more information about the situation with water inside the circuit breakers.  Her husband, an electrician, told me that just because you shut off all power in side your condo, you still have power coming in.  I pondered the purpose of even shutting the breakers off at that point.

Water continued to drip onto the black plastic covers of the breakers.  Fortunately, I noticed where the water was coming in with the aid of my trusty flashlight.  The breakers themselves rest in an enclosure against the wall.  The entire cover lays on top of this enclosure.  Drips of water were seeping through the crack between the enclosure and the cover.  This was how water was landing onto the breakers!

I took a trip to walmart well beyond midnight on my nightmare after Christmas picking up three candles, scented Garden Rain (if I'm going to be in the dark, I might as well have something that smells nice).  I came back and wondered what I was going to do next.  I was thinking the worst, an electrical fire featuring something similar as a terminator entering the planet earth from the future to save John Connor (minus a naked Arnold Schwarzenegger).

I soaked up the fear, knowing that I might as well use the moment to feel a little trepidation (after all, I have lived to write about it).  Then I had an idea.  Thomas Edison would have been proud.  I decided to shove paper towels in between the space of the leak and turn on the circuit breakers.  The dripping was consistent enough so I decided to use 30 minute intervals replacing a half a sheet of a paper towel with another one.  At least, I could go online now and not feel like I was a member of the Apollo 13 mission.  This lasted about five times, and I eventually got tired of this being worn out from the day prior.  I cut the breakers again providing a minuscule amount of personal security and climbed into bed.

Hours later, the day began as I lay asleep in my queen sized bed.  A phone call from my dad got me up.  I began to wonder when the roofer would get to my place.  I looked over at the circuit breaker panel and saw the paper towel hanging town.  I removed the paper towel and noticed the dripping had stopped.  No more worries for me.  That was my nightmare after Christmas.


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