I am startled awake.
It is 3:46.
But I’m ahead of myself already. For the tale of the inadequate fuse box begins on the previous day, a day in which no egg is safe from a weatherman’s sidewalk.
On Tuesday, it was 103 degrees Fahrenheit in Minneapolis. That’s 39.4, for those of you of the Celsius persuasion. Some say it was really 105 (40.6), but let’s say it was 103, just for fun.
Those two degrees will not save you.
In the time I stagger the three blocks between the bus stop and home, my coloring moves from freckled white woman to what could accurately be described as “crimson”, perhaps leaning toward “magenta”. My ancestry overwhelmingly Northern European, my blood cries for deciduous trees, for lefse…
For air conditioning.
I stagger into the house, climb the stairs to the second floor, thighs chafing, throw wide the door –
And am greeted with a 300-degree blast of heat.
Maybe 100 degrees.
The window air-conditioning unit – mostly sufficient for a 1300-square-foot abode – has proved too much for our 100-and-something-year-old electrical wiring. The fuse has been tripped, and who knows how long ago this happened.
I look down.
Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys) and Dolly Gee Squeakers (formerly of the Humane Society Squeakers) have stretched themselves out on the hardwood floor, directly under a ceiling fan apparently not on the same fuse.
Liza Bean opens one eye, shoots me a look that says “Expect a little something in your shoe later”, rises, and trots into the kitchen, where she stares at me, then the fridge, then me, then the fridge...
I open the refrigerator door, pull out the can of cat food and serve her a third of it on a garage-sale china saucer.
She doesn’t thank me.
I pick up my phone, text George, live-in artist and attic dweller. “Please trip fuse?”
She has received this request before.
The electricity is on.
Or so the Russians would have you believe, because not more than 20 minutes later, I turn on the TV and –
SCREEEEEEEK! The electricity is off.
I grab my phone. “So sorry, George. Do again?”
We repeat this process a few more times, once as a result of me being so audacious as to attempt to iron my clothes while the aquarium light is on.
I sit in a cold bath in the dark and ponder the frailty of the human condition.
And pumice my feet.
Eventually I find myself in the bedroom with a book. I’ve shut down everything in the house but the fridge, the air conditioner, and the 40 watt bulb in the lamp on the nightstand. I read until tired, then spend the rest of the night tossing and turning, visions of $75-dollar-an-hour electricians dancing just behind my eyes…
At 3:46 a.m., the fuse is mysteriously blown, again; and I decide that my day has started…
And I suddenly recall complaining about the cold...
* We get a high-pitched SCREEEEEEK when the fuse blows/returns. Might be the fire alarm.
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