And so today.. wrapped up the present for the 9 year old sprog-of-cousin, ready for a post-office-lunchtime-dash, did a morning of brain-battering maths class, legged it across the park, paid stupid ££ for the surcharge to get it there for the birthday tomorrow (soooo disorganised and lastminute.com, tut)... found time to grab a coffee once back at the office, then had to make it up to the 5th floor in ONE minute. I know - I timed myself!!!! And took about 7 minutes for my heart to stop racing. That can't be good, surely.
Ambled home via the pretty route, casually window-shopping for knitted dresses. (As opposed to the usual route - a car-park-cut-through, a traffic-lights-dicing split second dash, and then an uphill 6-abreast-teenager dodge, as that way usually coincides nicely with chucking out time at the nearby human zoo). Picked up milk, bread, and 3 kinds of biccies at the corner shop, and had a chat with corner-shop-son about lack of paying jobs for graduates, economics, outsourcing.... and put key in the door, ready for a cup of tea and a catch-up with the kids.
"The emo's bedroom light's not working. And this one doesn't either..."
Uh oh. But this girl knows what to do. No, not phone a man.....
Torch? Under my bed, 2 floors up. Fetched.
Access to meter cupboard? Blocked by large plastic crate containing wii and paraphernalia (so-far-won't-work & "donated" to kids by ex - in lieu of having to visit them???)
Peer at fuse board consumer unit thing - state of the art, put in last year, so most reliable item in the house at the moment.
See that some switches are in the "off" position. Realise too late that the electrician has labelled one as "?" and has left another 4 not labelled.
Flick up "lights" one - yay! One hitch - burglar alarm starts wailing.... Loudly. And continuously.
Punch in 4 digit code. Still wailing. 4 digit code plus #. Still wailing. 4 digit code plus *. Still wailing.... Get screw driver, open burglar alarm fuse cupboard, to suss out how to disconnect the alarm from the electric supply. Only to find it is actually The Cupboard of Doom - wiring from hell, and no sign of anything I can pull out that might not actually be live.
By now I am becoming Headless Chicken-esque. Up to this point, my calm-in-a-crisis rating has been exceedingly good, don't you agree?
Notice the chap over the road washing his car seems to be oblivious to the fact our house may have been being ransacked, or have developed Severe Electrical Malfunction. Just as well I Knew What To Do... Wonder about knocking next door to ask the Very Capable Young Couple to help... but feel that to be a step too far. Ring the boyfriend instead. No answer at work. Nor on mobile.
Rummage in cupboard for file of useful numbers of Professional Bloke Types... last year's meter-installing electrician. Will have to get him out on Very Expensive Crisis Rate... but actually he's lovely, and talks to me about batteries going into meltdown and tripping and stuff, and advises me to rip out the battery in the alarm cupboard, and if that doesn't work, he'll come over and let me pay him to help me smash the box on the front of the house to get the battery out of that. Not too sure whether that's technical competency or taking the piss...
Is it going to burn down? the 11 year old asked.
The house? No, it'll be fine. (Trust me, I'm a vintage-collecting scruff of a superwoman single mum who knows a good wall colour and a Patricia Urquoila chair when she sees it, but electrics??? *scratches head and feels a bit helpless*)
Anyhow, the boyfriend then phones back, and comes round to have a look. Between us, we have the alarm turned off, back on again but making strangled parrot noises, off again, heave sigh of relief and remove the fuse from the alarm cupboard... only for the bloody thing to start wailing again. Fuse duly gets put back in. Put the "lights" switch back on again.... and the wall of noise stops. And stays stopped.
At this point dinner really is going to be uber-late. Go to fridge - broccoli, cabbage, dodgy things in bowls from, ooh, last week... open freezer. Stalactites hanging from outside of drawers... someone didn't close it properly last time... and feel that delving into freezer will create an even worse mess. Have inspired idea that dialling-for-dinner will buy me enough time'n'energy for sorting mess out later.
This one should really be called "Tonight's Excuse For Missing Most Of It Takes Two... Part (II)", but obviously something alluding to my burglar alarm crisis might possibly make it look like my life is a bit racier than it actually is. So, tonight's reason for missing the beginning of Claudia is because I was still cooking the dinner, but in a virtual way, by ticking boxes on the Domino's buy-one-get-one-half-price site. Though I did see enough of ITT to clock that Claudia was wearing a top that I'm sure my mother had as a lampshade circa 1978. But I'll say no more, as she was rocking some fab leopardskin stilettoes the other night.
ps Could just possibly get a Strictly USA habit too - just found out Alice Cooper's going to be on it!!!!!!