Chanukah ended a couple of days ago, but our personal “miracle of the lights” happened at just about three this afternoon.

About a month ago, I turned on my hair dryer while the microwave was working. My kitchen is three rooms away from the small bathroom, all the way at the other end of the house, so how my hair dryer could have anything to do with the wiring in the kitchen, I don’t know.

I started drying my hair and the lights went out. I went into the hallway, where the lights were working (no idea what circuit they are on) — really, I don’t really know much about what is on any circuit because whoever wired our house was taking drugs. I went into the kitchen and everything was out. Down to the basement, I flipped the circuit back on. No problem, the microwave began working. Unfortunately, I forgot to turn off the dryer, so the lights blew a second time. I went back to the basement, flipped the circuit again … and …

I had turned off the hair dryer, so all was well in the kitchen. A little while later, I went into the other bathroom and turned on the lights. The ceiling fixture went on. The fan went on. But. The lights over the sink did not go on.

I changed the bulbs. Still no light.

The fixture was old and more than a little loosey goosey, so I figure “Okay, the fixture died.” I mentioned to Owen that the big bathroom was pretty dark without lights over the sink and he said I should order a lamp and he would install it.

I did that. Ordered a modest little two bulb lamp to replace the two bulb lamp that had been there before and the next time Owen came by, he installed it. I turned the switch on. No light.

Owen turned the switch on. Still no light. We stood there, looking at the lamp and the switch.

“The switch is probably burned out,” said Owen. “I’ll have to bring my voltage meter over to check it.” It turned out, he couldn’t find his voltage meter. He’d had the meter for a dozen years at least and suddenly, it was gone. No idea where it went or why it left home without him. Voltage meters usually stay put. Finally, I bought him a new meter as I was the only electrical issue on his agenda. It got here a few days ago and he hadn’t had a chance to use it yet because Christmas and all that, so the new meter is still in its wrapping on top of the refrigerator and the new fixture is installed, but waiting to be made to work — but not working.

Every day, I turn the switch on, just — you know — to sort of check. Because who knows, right?

Today, I turned the switch to “ON” and … there was light. I got all excited and ran out to the living room where Garry was watching the Patriots beat Buffalo (again).

“You’ve got to see this! It’s a MIRACLE!”

He dutifully got up and came to the bathroom where the lights were bright and shining. “I thought it didn’t work,” he said.

“It didn’t work yesterday or any of the days since was installed. Today, I turned the switch … and THERE ARE LIGHTS IN THE BATHROOM. It’s a miracle. The miracle of the lights!” I quickly took a shower before the lights changed their minds and went out again. When I got dressed and came back down the hall, I turned the lights on … and they still lit up. Wow.

I’ve turn the lights on and off three, maybe four times. Each time, they have … lit.

Christmas Eve. The Miracle of the Lights.

Why didn’t the lamp work for the past three weeks? Why didn’t it work in the first place?

I took pictures just to prove it’s true. The glass covers aren’t on the lamps yet because I’m still afraid they will decide to stop working again. In this house, who knows? But for now, we have had our very own miracle and there is light in the bathroom!

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

39 thoughts on “THE MIRACLE OF THE LIGHTS”

  1. That is quite bizarre. Nothing else has stopped working? It makes me worry a bit about the wiring in your house but I guess you’d rather take the miracle and not enquire too closely into the state of the wiring right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’ll change the switch because it probably IS bad. The problem is, to fix the rest of the disastrous wiring, we’d have to tear down all the walls and start from scratch which we can’t do. I’m very careful about how I use electricity and we’ve had some rewiring done — and the circuit board is new, too. But the original wiring was done poorly with really cheap wire, so we are stuck with that.

      Liked by 2 people

            1. The guy who built our house (and about a dozen others like it) was, I believe, thrown out of town. Dodgy didn’t even cover it. It took a while, but it turned out he’d built our house half on the a neighbor’s plot, so we had to exchange a piece of land with the neighbors. The wiring was done without any logic or common sense. I think he was just ESPECIALLY bad. Most of the house has since been fixed, more or less, but the wiring … we’d have to tear down all the walls and we aren’t in a position to do that.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I understand, I think rural areas are especially prone to this kind of cowboy. Hope the snow is not causing you too much trouble. I heard that it was pretty cold in Boston.


  2. This is funny, and so familiar. I just figure whatever isn’t working is like a three year old with the sulks. Leave it alone for a day or two, and it will get over itself. Or burn the house down.

    Wiring and I do not agree. Im frankly terrified of the entire process and even have moments when I’d rather sit in the dark than change the lightbulb. In the face of advancing coyotes or bobcats I’m fairly calm and rational–but give me a wonky light and I panic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am also afraid of wiring. I’m still not sure why the electricity doesn’t just fall out of the walls if nothing is plugged in. Explanations are futile. I won’t understand.

      Whoever wired this house saved probably $50 by using the cheapest wires that were legal at the time and put them in totally randomly. Parts of some rooms are on one circuit, the rest on some other circuit. A few circuits have maybe ONE outlet attached, but then there is the kitchen where all the heavy users of electricity are bundled onto ONE circuit.

      I’m amazed anything works and even more amazed we haven’t burned down yet!

      Liked by 2 people

        1. We caught fire once … but my son smelled it and we tore out that wall and replaced that wiring. But when you live in a house with really crap wiring, you always worry about turning on too many things. Although that wasn’t too many things. It was just a bad patch of wires. I think those wires aren’t even legal anymore.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Yep, I knew it. Same house…although ours probably has a different “story”. Mine was built in 1908 and moved up the hill (off an underground spring that kept sinking the house) and then added on to 5 or 6 times over the years so that each room and section seems unrelated to the rest. An architectural nightmare but for my 43 years here, a perfect configuration for living separately but connected with housemates and family and my office and Group Therapy room. I absolutely love it.

            So glad your wiring hassles have been less than they could have been. Fire terrifies me.


            1. I’ve seen a lot of those added on houses. They are very popular in New England where the whole family keeps the farm and it’s too cold to walk outside all the time, so everything is connected by a labyrinth of rooms built over a long period. This house was just badly built in the beginning. That it has survived this long is because we have been careful and maybe a bit lucky too. Who ISN’T terrified of fire?

              Liked by 1 person

  3. And I thought the shoddy wiring in my house was scary. One at a time, I eventually lost all three breaker outlets in my kitchen… outlets which are not supposed to even be installed on aluminum wiring, and guess what they were installed on…

    To make the electricity games even more fun, I bought a bunch of those squiggly shaped light bulbs back in 2009 when we were phasing them out (Not long after they were phased in!) for literally pennies on the dollar. They work, and do last a lot longer than the old incandescents did… but they don’t just “go out”, they kinda stop working unless you twist the bulb a little more or give it a light tap. Every time I’ve ever changed a “burned out” squiggly bulb, it’s always come back on while I’ve been removing it…


    1. Yes, I have noticed that, though in this lamp, two brand new squiqqly bulbs still didn’t light, so I figured the switch was gonzo. The switch probably IS gonzo, but decided to work — for a while until it stops working again. You must have had the same bizarre electrician as us. AWFUL wiring that makes NO sense. I think they save a penny a yard installing the cheapest possible wiring and to repair it, we’d have to tear down ALL the walls and rewire from scratch — a project way beyond our capacity. We’ve replaced the circuit board three times, but the original wiring is really bad. It hasn’t burned the house down yet, though it tried once.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I know it was flummaxing and problematic, but omg, Marilyn, it was amusing too. I’m glad it’s back on and hope it remains so, but I can’t help but chuckle because it is temporarily fixed? and you have lights and your very own Miracle 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We had a power out the other day. There are skylights in my sons room and laundry room, whatever for I’m not sure, but in the main part of my house there are 2 windows and a pony wall in between so don’t get a lot of light in my living room. With a black cat and black mat at the door, he gets stepped on – a lot! My desk chair is black and he also has been sat on, a lot! but he never fusses about a thing. I love natural light. A bathroom not having light is a whole other matter!


        1. Mostly, it gets a bit dim in the shower. That side of the house is very bright in the morning, if there’s sun that day. But the shower is surrounded by wall and a curtain, so if you can’t find all your parts without light, you can be in real trouble 🙂


  5. Your post made me chuckle. We have an old house (built 1924) and the former owner also had some very weird ideas about the circuitry. We also had blown fuses which affected seemingly unrelated areas of the house! On Christmas a few years ago, my daughter was cooking a meal for 12+ people when part of the kitchen went out, as well as the dining room and our (detached) garage door! We were going to move the dinner to my sister’s house but we couldn’t get our cars out, so we started taking hot dishes out to my son’s car which was parked in the street. Then the lights came back on so we decided to host the dinner after all. After everyone arrived, the same lights went out again, but we flipped the switch once again and got them working again. We never did find out which combination of things caused the problem. Now we have a new circuit board so it doesn’t happen anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have a new circuit board, but we don’t have wiring that makes any sense. The most common problem is the microwave in combination with an air-conditioner on the far wall of the living room or my hair dryer in a distant bathroom will blow out a piece of the living room, part of the kitchen, some lights in the basement, and a part of each of two bathrooms.

      What? Seriously?

      Who wired this place? It’s like they grabbed random batches of wires and plugged them into the first circuit they found. But we’ve lived in other badly wired houses including our condo in Boston. When we moved in there, it turned out they had forgotten to wire one of the bedrooms, so they plugged it into the nearest circuit — the kitchen. Who ARE these electricians?

      Liked by 1 person

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