What a weekend we had!
It was a long one, John had Thursday and Friday off, I had Friday off as my birthday holiday. John did most of our Christmas shopping on Thursday which was a big help, the deadline to get our gifts shipped to California and New Mexico was looming.
Friday morning was the big day to pick up my Horn cabinet from Quilter’s Corner. The Horn company does not ship your order to your house, it ships to the dealer and you’re responsible for getting it home. We don’t have a truck and I was pretty sure that the box would not fit in my CR-V. I don’t know many people who own pickup trucks but I tried to borrow one but Dave was going to be out of town (with the truck). I checked with Enterprise and they didn’t have any pickups available until late Friday afternoon. Since I had our friend Ed reserved in the morning to help John load and unload, I couldn’t wait that long. So, long story short, I took a chance on renting, without being able to reserve, mind you, a truck from Lowe’s. It all worked out fine and all the better as it only cost me $25 to rent the Lowe’s truck as opposed to $75 for one from Enterprise.
I had a pretty long list of errands that needed to be run that day, one of them being “renew my driver’s license.” Officially, it expired the next day on my birthday but you have until the end of your birthday month to renew. I just wanted to get it over with, but although John thought it wouldn’t take long, we needed to get our gifts wrapped and packed so that he could take them to his office and get them sent out with Friday’s Fedex shipments. The threat of snow that afternoon was also on our minds. So I resigned myself that I was going to have to wait. We checked off, little by little, everything on the list and finally we were down to the DMV and getting my watch battery replaced at the mall (which didn’t have to be done that day). So we went to the DMV, sat there for an hour but finally my number was called, they took my smile-less picture (you can’t smile in your DMV photo in Virginia anymore), I got to write off 30 pounds in the weight column (since my last renewal, woohoo!) and we were off.
We got all the gifts wrapped and packed and John ran off to his office as the snow began to fall. When he got home, there was quite a bit on the ground already and we decided we’d go up to the mall (2 miles away) for dinner at Maggiano’s. First stop was the gas station, as my fuel light was on. The station was mobbed but we did nab one pump. But it wasn’t working. None of them were working. The station was out of gas! Someone said there were a lot of stations out of gas, probably an exaggeration but it doesn’t surprise me. When there’s a forecast of snow in Richmond, everyone descends on the grocery stores and wipes out the bread aisles, it’s a running joke around here. Fortunately, a tanker truck pulled up right then and filled up the tank, we filled up and drove slowly to the mall. We expected that the snow would keep the crowds away, but no, Maggiano’s was packed like a normal Friday night. Few stores in the mall were open however and there weren’t many shoppers. We had a very nice meal and as we were getting ready to leave, got a picture message from our friend Susan (wife of Ed) and they were out in front of Nordstrom’s. So we went down there and discovered that, lo and behold, the watch repair place was open and I was able to get my battery. Bingo, that was the last thing on my to-do list! Who would have guessed?
Short Pump Town Center is an outdoor mall and it was so pretty covered in snow. I posted photos here.
We woke up to 13″ of the white stuff. More than enough to keep us locked in. John spent several hours shoveling the driveway. He didn’t ask for my help, it was my birthday, after all. Joey doesn’t like the snow, apparently, and it was deeper than he is tall. I had to shovel a path for him on the deck out of the kitchen door, but he hasn’t gone far to do his business.
Late that afternoon, I went into the kitchen and smelled an electrical smell. Not a burning smell, something different. It was fairly strong in the kitchen and I didn’t smell it anywhere else. John usually tells me I’m imagining things, but he smelled it too. I went into the garage, which shares a wall with the kitchen and it was stronger in there. But we didn’t see any smoke and couldn’t trace the smell to anything. The only thing out there with a motor is the old refrigerator (our first marital appliance, 32 years old) so John unplugged it, to appease me so that it wouldn’t burst into flames. We thought that was the source of the smell because it seemed to go away overnight.
We didn’t go to church on Sunday because we weren’t sure about the condition of the roads, but we were able to get to Walmart for groceries in the afternoon. I got some supplies to make myself a birthday cake and I was doing that when the computer in the kitchen rebooted itself. Strange. John noted that a light went on outside which was also strange. He went into the garage and the smell was back. John messed around with the breakers in the electrical panel (which is on the wall shared with the kitchen) but wasn’t able to accomplish much of anything. He did determine that something was wrong and it was in that panel. Our next door neighbor is a contractor and John called him over to find out if he could recommend an electrician and get Mike’s opinion about what our problem might be. They futzed with the breakers some more and decided to turn off the one they thought was the problem. That one controlled some of the outlets in the kitchen and the oven and also the furnace. John put our inside refrigerator on an extension cord to a working outlet. Fortunately, the microwave was working, so we were able to defrost something that had been in the outside freezer for our dinner.
We had electricity to about half the house but no heat Sunday night. Considering that when we got up Monday morning, it was 17° on the outside thermometer, it could have been worse than the 54° it was in the house. But that was still too chilly for comfort. We didn’t even know if we had enough hot water for showers (we did). John called the electrician who, fortunately for us, had just had a job cancelled that morning and came right over. I went to work and John stayed at the house. Turns out our main breaker was bad and the whole panel had to be replaced. Susan calls that an underwear purchase. Where you spend a lot of money and nobody can see it. It took the guy all day to complete the job. John was miserable in the chilly house with no electricity to run his work laptop and no TV to watch and as he’d forgotten for probably the first time ever to charge his cell phone overnight, he couldn’t spend a lot of time chatting on the phone. He needed to be on a couple of conference calls in the afternoon and needed to save what battery life he had.
So it was all said and done by the time I got home. I stopped at Five Guys and bought us some dinner, I figured John deserved a treat after the day he’d had.
And while a new electrical panel wasn’t quite the Christmas present we were looking for, we are thankful we didn’t have a fire, or that our heat pump didn’t go out. That would have been an even more expensive underwear purchase.