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Location: Minneapolis, MN

Dempsey is a Golden Retriever puppy who is in training to become a Helping Paws service dog for an individual with a physical disability. He lives with his parents Doreen and Paul, and Bailey the cat. None has ever trained a puppy before. These are their adventures. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the blog author. The contents of this blog have not been reviewed or approved by Helping Paws, Inc.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

A Power Struggle in Paris

I missed my 8am class today, as well as my 11am study group meeting. I need to write a note to my professor explaining my absence, but it’s going to be a long note, I’m afraid.

I think it all started last night, after I came home and took a nap. I woke up pretty energized around 10pm, and decided to get some stuff done. I threw a load into the washing machine and started cooking dinner.

Things were going really well. I had a vegetable consomme simmering on the stove, my whites were getting clean, there was a good song on the radio, and I was reading the New York Times online, sipping a Coke. Does life get any better?

Maybe not, but it does get worse. As I went to check on the consomme, the lights went out. I could hear the washing machine wind down. Rats – a power failure!

My first step was to look out the window to see if anyone else had the same problem. They didn’t. Next, I tried switching on the hall light outside, to see if it was just our building. Nope, it worked. So the power failure was only in our apartment. I got out a flashlight and looked at the circuit breakers. None of them had switched off. Strange. Not knowing what to do, I decided to go online and find a number for Electricité de France. But wait – without power, my modem and router don’t work. Maybe I can call Doreen. But wait – without power, my Internet phone doesn’t work either. It was almost midnight, too late to call any of my French-speaking friends. I need to figure this out myself!

I went back to the circuit breaker to double check the switches; they were fine. But I also saw a bunch of buttons, and I started pushing them randomly. After pushing an unlabeled gray button, the lights came back on, and the washing machine started spinning up.

Yea! Success! I’m a geniu --

The lights go back out, and the washer starts spinning down. Rats!

“Okay,” I said to the appliances. “I get it. I’m making you work too hard. You’re on strike. I need to cut your hours.”

I unplugged the computer equipment, turned off the lights and radio, and hit the gray button again. The washer spun up, and then stopped. Hmm. Apparently the Washing Machine Union is collaborating with the Stove Union.

I tried turning the washing machine off, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. (Like the front-loader we have at home, it’s locked after the cycle starts.) The stove, fortunately, didn’t require any instructions, so I turned that off. The washing machine and lights started working. Whew.

By this point, my simmering consomme had cooled considerably, but I was still hungry. Being desperate, I dumped two cups of couscous in the lukewarm consomme to make my curried couscous. This was bad. At this temperature, the couscous barely absorbed any water. I kept stirring and stirring, and finally gave up to eat a big heaping portion of cold, curried, couscous porridge.

I was still hungry, though, and went back to the stove for more. But the couscous had congealed, and it was now a big brown brick. I tried adding more water, but the couscous didn’t seem to absorb it. I was left with a big brick of couscous sitting in a puddle of brown water. It was really unappetizing.

Since we don’t have a garbage disposal, I plopped the remaining couscous into the toilet to get rid of it. But as soon as I flushed, I realized this was a bad idea. It didn’t break up, and the toilet backed up. Now I was left staring at this big brown log in the toilet bowl, complete with little specks of carrot and corn. I felt sick. I ate this thing? I was half tempted to leave it for the morning, but I didn’t want to find a bunch of mice in the toilet the next morning, feasting on my couscous log. So I took the plunger and slowly mashed it up till I was able to flush everything.

It was 2am now, and I had to get up at 6 to catch the train for school. I set the alarm and went to bed. Next thing I know, it’s 10:30 and I’m late late late. I look at the alarm clock, which I’m sure I’d set, and it was flashing 0:00. I guess the appliance strike hadn’t quite ended. I’d lost the power struggle after all.