My Mystery Light Switch

speciwoman-Light-switch-on-800pxI did it again and I don’t know why.

As I left the garage, I instinctively flipped the light switch.


Like I said, I don’t know why I did it. All I know is that nothing good will come of it.  One would think that a light switch would control lights but ours doesn’t.

We have several such switches in our house.  Each a mystery.

We have no idea what the one in the garage does but we are sure it does something.  The one in the entryway does something too – but we are not sure why it does the things it does.  Not so the one in the kitchen.  That one is completely predictable – sometimes.

This mystery began about a year ago when lights suddenly stopped working and dead outlets just as suddenly sprung to life.   The appliances got in on the action too – blinking in and out of consciousness – all because some switch somewhere had been flipped.

We suspect much of this was caused by the crazy old handyman who wired our place years before we bought it.  We have tried to undo his chaos by taking careful notes and systematically rewiring his obvious errors but all we got for the effort was more riddles in our walls.

In a rational world, one might simply disconnect the mystery switches.  We did that – but over the normal course of flipping lights on and off, we slowly and surely shut down our household.  To save ourselves we reconnected them.

We called several local electricians but they know our place and never called back.  We called professionals from out of the area only to watch them speed away after confronting our beehive of wires, so after I set off a fresh round of chaos by flipping the garage light switch, I called my buddy Stan.  He can fix anything.

He poked around a bit then sighed that heavy sigh of his and said, “I don’t do magic.”

“Too complex for you, huh?”

“Not at all,” he said, “with complexity, you know there is an explanation for what you don’t know.  With magic, you know the explanation is beyond reason. What you have is beyond even that.”

“What should I do?” I asked.

“Have you tried superstition?”

“Yes,” I told him.

“Try harder,” he said.

Just then my dog barked.

Scooter has never made the connection between the food in his dish and my daily trips to fill it. He blames the dish for being empty and gets so angry about it that he knocks his food and water around his kennel.

So we went to the shed to take care of Scooter.

“You need to buy him feeders,” Stan said, “big ones.  Big enough so he can’t bat them around and spill his water.  If you do that, I predict the dark lord of electricity will reward you.”


“Trust magic,” he said.

So I did – and Stan was right, it worked.

As soon as I got Scooter his feeders, the switch in the garage became utterly reliable, the one in the entryway became downright dependable and the kitchen light performed predictably.

I called Stan.

“What the heck?” I said and described what happened.

“I figured so,” he said, “when Scooter knocks over his water dish, he grounds out an outlet and since your supply is routed through the shed, it scrambles your grid. You need to get that line and the breaker box replaced.”

Author: Almost Iowa

47 thoughts on “My Mystery Light Switch”

  1. scroll…scroll…scroll…oh, hey, now I can leave a reply. 🙂

    Okay… riddles in our walls. – So, when we visit your house will you look like Jim Carrey as the Batman Riddler…with riddler’s questions marks painted on all the appropriate walls? Riddle me this…riddle me that…

    I think everyone needs a pal like Stan. Can you have him deal with our realtor? (and our dishwasher)

    1. In the case of your realtor and dishwasher, you need Stan’s ex-girlfriend and current sister-in-law, Darcy. I recall what Stan said about her after their first date. “She has the personality of a buzz-saw.”

      Does it sound like she would be helpful?

  2. Have I told you that Scooter was the name of my prairie dog? Here he is. I don’t care how good your Scooter is at fixing things, my Scooter would have stayed two steps ahead of him. On the other hand, if you needed to really burrow into your wiring, he would be your man. Animal. Whatever.

    My only real problem with switches is in the bathroom. There are two doors, with a switch by each door. I believe they call them three-way switches, which makes no sense, since they go up and down only two ways, like every other switch. What I do know that that I’m constantly having to walk from one door to the other to figure out how to make the lights come on. The worst part is, there’s no one I can yell at and say, “Stop flipping that switch.”

    1. First of all, let me say that I am in awe of your Scooter, however if one plays with the language, my Scooter, a dog who lives on the prairie, could in all honesty also be called “a prairie dog”. I am not sure how he would feel about that though.

      Three-way switch derive their name from the three states found in all electrical circuitry: on, off and magic.

    1. Stan is very predictable. If he promises something, you can predict with certainty that it will never happen. If he runs out of beer, you can predict that he will have his head in your refrigerator within minutes. If you clean your shed, you can predict how fast he will fill it with junk.

  3. the switch in the bathroom must be flipped down in order to turn on lights, but up to turn on the electrical outlets in the same room…explain that one! lol

  4. Okay…this is an unbelievable situation…made believable by Stan. Call the Scooterbuster to solve your electrical problems! You should advertise! Happy Valentines’s Day! Elizabeth

  5. After 20-some years, I think we have figured out, rewired, rerouted and replaced all of the mystery in our house. We still have some voodoo and magic to work out, but we’re gaining on it. Careful though, Scooter might go to work on the heat next.

  6. So, do you flip the switch up or down? I’ve always had problems with that. My husband seems convinced that electricity will behave better if the switches are left the right way. I, of course, keep leaving them set wrong. But perhaps you could ask Scooter what he thinks.

  7. I think you have a friendly poltergeist. There used to be a lot of these in Florida. The last hurricane blew them to Almost Iowa. At least, that’s what the weather girl says. I can trust her. She’s a blonde and blondes never lie. It’s the brunettes and redheads you have to watch out for.

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