whilst cleaning out an old blog I found a few entries I thought good enough to move. Here's one:
The smell of power
Yesterday when I got out of bed I detected an odd odor in the house. I made some coffee and walked out to get the paper, and then when I opened the front door to return, the smell was there – vaguely – in the foyer. A bit later I went to wake Hannah. It definitely smelled odd in the hallway, and in her room. Suddenly my nose made an identification: scorching electrical wiring.
My adrenaline moved up a notch. There was no smoke, no sound of arcing, and no other identifiers. I woke Hannah and started walking around the house checking electrical equipment and unplugging things. I also detected the smell heavily in our older daughter’s room – and she moved most of her things out last weekend so that room has no electrical stuff left in the flotsam and jetsam that remains. It also smelled in one spot in the lower level, and in the stairwell.
Now, I’m truly puzzled and getting a bit nervous. I start clicking off breakers, turn off the furnace, check the well pump, inspect the dryer outlet for lint fires. Stumped, we open the house up and turn on all the fans. I suspect that if something has been frying I had already unplugged it and the plan is that after we air the place out, we’ll slowly bring the electricity back online as we inspect each item to try and find the culprit. 45 minutes later I close the place up and I notice that H Girl has a new addition to her dresser top – a small incense burner and bottle of those little burnable cones with the odd name “Spiritual Power”. I opened the bottle and took a whiff – sweet, dopey, cloying - nope, not the smell I’m looking for. I continue my search and although some of the odor still lingers I can’t find anything that could be causing it.
After I get everything from the computer equipment to the close drier plugged back in I go back to the incense bottle. H Girl says she burned one the night before, but only one, and none since. I get a lighter and light one up. Very quickly I recognize the smell. Underneath the sicky, jasmine, dopehead smell I easily detect the ‘scorching wires’ I am looking for. Evidently after the perfume dissipates, the smoke hangs around, and had settled in the house through the ventilation system.
Then Hannah and I did one of those Stupid Homeschooling Tricks. We worked the whole experience into a learning thing. We had a talk about how incense isn’t the smart thing if you have allergies, also a bit of “history if incense – from the Catholic Church to the potheads” – and then the philosophical implication of how ‘spiritual power’ you can buy for $2.00 a bottle smells a lot like burning wires.