(The song “Remember, O Thou Man,” is available on my Free Christmas Song Each Day page)
A small chunk is missing from the tip of my left middle finger, and the Band-Aid covering it has severely curtailed my typing speed and efficiency. The tingling, for the most part, is gone. It only hurts when I use that finger to hit a key.
I would love to say that I hurt myself trying to stop a car door from slamming on Ben’s little hand, or even that I was playing tug of war with Cassie and she inadvertenly caught my flesh. Either of those, especially in light of the recent dumb van engine killing incident, would have been fine.
Instead, it was pretty much because I lost presence of mind.*
Sir J and Lady J came over to our house for supper, along with their son, O. He’s a year old plus change, and gets around very well. I look forward to when he’s a little older so he and Ben can play together, instead of their current practice of playing separately until Ben decides “tackle baby” is a fun game.
Okay, there are way too many e’s in this post.
After finishing their pizza first, the ladies retreated to Ben’s room with the boys. I mentioned to Sir J that I still wanted to install a cooling fan in our TV stand/entertainment center. It’s a tight space with glass doors on the front, and inside are my surround sound receiver, DVD player, and DishNetwork DVR.
Sir J’s an engineer who gets into both home improvement projects and calculating thermodynamics. I like wiring things and listening to engineers figure out thermodynamics, so this project was perfect for the geek in both of us.
I fetched the fan and the A/C cord from the computer room closet and Sir J confirmed that the voltage ratings on everything matched up. We went to the garage for some wire strippers and electrical tape. Somehow, after installing at least 10 ceiling fans in my lifetime, I had no wire nuts left over. (But I never let any wire strippers near my wire nuts. I swear.)
“If you had a thermometer, you could check the temperature inside there right now,” Sir J said. “Then you could compare it after you put in the fan to see if it’s helping.”
“I do.” I dashed into the master closet to grab it. It’s one of those digital thermometers with a main sensor for indoors and another on the end of a wire for outdoors.
On top of the DVR, the reading rose from a cool 64 degrees (cold closet, eh?) to a balmy 94. On the receiver, the “mercury” hit 103.
In a feat of sheer brainery, Sir J looked at the volume of air per minute that the fan’s box claimed it could move, estimated how much space was inside the TV stand, checked the room’s temperature, and declared, “We can cool it down about 10 degrees in there.”
Other people do cool stuff like that; I just write about it.
He wired up the fan to the A/C cord and I plugged it in. Within a few seconds, the fan was up to speed and running quietly. For a reason I can’t recall, I reached to take it from J’s hand.
Pain shot through my finger before I dropped the fan. I had stuck my finger right in the path of the metal blades, spinning at their rated 2200 rpm. My fingertip tingled and throbbed, blood escaping from underneath the edges of the small skin flap. I rushed over to the sink to rinse it.
I do stupid stuff like that, and I write about it.
Back at the TV, I stood as Sir J and I explained to the ladies, in the kitchen, what had happened. I told him that I had talked to the Radio Shack salesman about a local source for safety mesh to cover the fan.
I saw sparks fly as Sir J snapped his head back.
“What was that?” Shannon asked.
The smell of an electrical burn filled my nostrils.
“The wires touched,” Sir J said.
In our haste to test whether the fan would make much noise, we hadn’t wrapped electrical tape around the connections. When I dropped the fan, the wires must have nearly touched, only to finally meet when Sir J again held it aloft. On one side, they had blown apart; on the other, they had fused together.
A few minutes later, as I applied a Band-Aid to my wound, the J’s gathered up their son and their things. “I wonder if I shattered bone in my fingertip,” I said.
Lady J laughed and rolled her eyes. I do tend to dramatize things for comic effect.
Then I write about it.
* My use of the term “lost presence of mind” can be attributed directly to my childhood memory of a letter posted on a deer camp barracks wall back in the late 70’s/early 80’s. More recently, I found it online, and it still makes me laugh.