So I got a lot done today, but not nearly as much as I had hoped. I exchanged Ben's skates, which I got him for Christmas but unfortunately the box had one size 2 skate and one size 3 skate. Now he has to matching skates that fit properly. I installed the second pet door, so now the cats will have an open route to get to and from the garage, where their food and litter boxes will be located. Finally, I replaced several outlets in the formal dining room, which turned out to be quite an adventure.
When the previous owners repainted, they did a very sloppy job in several areas. All five of the power outlets in the formal dining room had been partially painted over and just looked tacky. We got some nice new outlets, and I set about replacing them this afternoon. I threw the breaker for the room, checked the overhead light to ensure it was off (it was), and then just to be double sure I plugged a lamp into the outlet I was about to replace. The lamp came on. How weird, I thought, the outlets must be on a different circuit. So I threw another breaker that might possible apply. Still power to the outlet. So I threw another breaker, and another. Eventually I had thrown every single breaker in the box, theoretically powering down the entire house, and still the outlet had power. I checked the others, and all five in that room had power. So did all of the outlets in the kitchen, and I could hear the compressor on the refrigerator still running. Very strange.
I walked through the entire house looking for another breaker panel, and couldn't find one. I certainly wasn't about to swap out power outlets with live current running through them. Although to be perfectly honest I briefly considered it for a moment. "What could possibly happen?" my inner Guy asked? Then I pictured myself lying in the hospital bed explaining to my wife how Competent Man was defeated my his mortal enemy, Reckless Guy. No, I had to figure this out. Especially because if there really were outlets wired without breakers, that was a serious potential problem. But one that never should have passed inspection, so it didn't make sense. I finally called an electrician and explained the situation to him. He was very nice, and suggested that I look for another breaker panel outside right next to the power meter. Sure enough, there were another half dozen breakers out there, one of which was clearly labeled for the outlets in the dining room. So with the power switched off I swapped out four of the outlets and it looks much nicer. I may still need to swap the fifth, but it looks mostly ok. The little bit of paint that is on it can probably be cleaned off.
After that I went over to say happy birthday to Ben. He was all cuddled up under his new Snow White comforter (which manages to not look girly at all, so that's nice). He was happy to see me and gave me a big hug and kiss. And then he told me, "buh-bye." He knows his schedule, and he surely wasn't going to go anywhere with me on a Tuesday. Go figure.
In other news, mom managed to short out her cable modem today. Important safety tip: when watering the plants, don't pour water onto the electronic equipment. It tends to cause smoke, fire, and that oh-so-pleasant carbon smell. So if anyone is worried at her being offline all day, she is perfectly fine. I spoke to the cable company, and will be able to swap out the cable modem for her tomorrow morning. She should be back online by the afternoon.