Tuesday, September 23, 2008

We Gonna Rock Down To... Electric Avenue

I was on the Métro on the way to work this morning when the lighting blinked out and with that movie-like "powering down" hum, the electrically-powered train came to a grinding halt. This is sadly quite normal on the infamous Ligne 13 (reputedly the worst line in an otherwise great transit system), but I couldn't help but think, "Hmm, maybe somebody accidentally drilled into a power cable!"

Because that's what I did yesterday.

As if hitting myself with a nice jolt of lightning-juice while installing a medicine cabinet last week wasn't lesson enough, I went back for another taste of 240V goodness. Luckily, this time, I was saved from any pain by the sturdy construction of the trusty Ryobi cordless drill. In fact, the drill transmitted no shock and just kept on going, despite the shower of sparks produced by piercing through the plaster wall and striking gold copper wire.

The metallic-smelling electrical smoke wafted through the now-darkened air (after all, I'd knocked out the power by, you know, drilling right into it) and I heard a commotion down on the street below us. I feared for the worst: That I'd knocked out power for our whole block (which is populated by a gazillion popular restaurants), or at least our whole building, which is home to a popular bar downstairs. Soon the crowds would be rallying, wielding pitchforks and torches and readying the National Razor for my arrival. Does the mandatory renter's insurance cover decapitation by reason of power outage?

By the time I made it down to the ground floor, though, I heard music from below and discovered I'd just tripped the circuit breaker. All was still well in Bricolage-land, aside from me being a little rattled, and Alannah being very rattled on my behalf. (Thank you, honey, for having the useful, self-preserving sense of danger that I apparently lack.)

I immediately made my 9th trip to Leroy-Merlin in 3 days to pick up something I should've bought much sooner: A stud/wiring detector. Unfortunately, the only one they carry is some cheap made-in-China piece of shit that has to be held at a precise angle in proper alignment with the sun while the Atlantic coast is at low tide, but it worked, and we were able to finish putting up our kitchen cabinet.

Yes, all this drama was for a kitchen cabinet. But dammit, it looks gooooooood.

Besides, I needed a little excitement in my day. In lieu of work, my Monday was spent with my ass planted in a back-breaking classroom chair in the craptacular suburb of Nanterre for eight hours, learning all about my rights and responsibilities as a resident of France. It was mildly entertaining at best, and wouldn't have been tolerable if the instructor wasn't so damn pretty.

And with that, I now have a certificate saying I've completed my formation civique, meaning I have completed the last step of French residency paperwork.

Now if only I can get certified in not getting myself electrocuted.

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