Okay, time for a bit of trivia. What do all of these things have in common?
I’ll give you a moment here to think about it.
Answer: At our house, they were all fried by lightning yesterday!
I got home around 3:30 or so. As I pulled into the driveway, I was unable to open the garage door. I went so far as to get out and punch the code in. When that didn’t work, I stopped the car and headed for the front door.
The first sign that something was amiss was that the alarm system was going off and a phone was ringing somewhere. At first, I thought maybe Leann had just set the alarm and that I’d set it off because I got home before her, which is fairly unusual. As I quickly began looking around the house to find out which phone line was ringing (T&S or our personal line), I discovered that lots of lights and electrical appliances in the house were not working. I also eventually discovered that the number pad for our alarm system was ringing, not any of the phones. And there was also nothing on the number pad’s display.
After calling Leann to have her drop the kids off at the Kumor’s house, I found a flashlight and headed out to the garage. It turned out that about half a dozen of our breakers had tripped. I reset them, hopeful that I had just fixed all our problems. Little did I know…
As I went back inside, the alarm was still going off. I started going around the house to see what was back on and what wasn’t. Initially, it looked like everything was working again. However, when I picked up the phone in the kitchen to call Leann, I got nothing. I tried the cordless phone in my office, which is on the other phone line, and still got nothing. Frustrated, I called Leann on my cell phone. She had actually just pulled into the neighborhood, and got to the house a few minutes later.
I called the alarm company and they walked me through disconnecting the battery first, then disconnecting the actual wires from the control panel. Thankfully, the alarm stopped. They told me to try to connect it again in an hour or so.
After I got off the phone with them (my cell phone, of course), I started trying to figure out why the phones weren’t working. I was able to get a dial tone on my corded office phone and the phone in our bedroom, but not the kitchen phone or my cordless office phone.
In the office, the line to the cordless phone first goes through the printer/fax. It turns out the printer had been fried. In examining the other equipment, I found that my router had been somewhat fried as well. The wireless access was still working, but the wired access was not.
Those blinking lights are deceptive.
The old printer. The new one is identical except for the stickers from being on display.
In the kitchen, Leann and I determined that one of the circuits with the GFI plug in it (that’s the plug with its own circuit breaker) was not working. At the same time, Leann had discovered an electrical burning sort of smell in the kids’ rooms. So we went ahead and called an electrician as well.
The electricians showed up and replaced the GFI electrical outlet. They also determined that the electrical smell was likely the alarm system. We also discovered then that the garage door opener was shot.
The fried garage door opener
I called Brent up and headed to CompUSA to replace some of the computer equipment while Leann stayed at home and waited for the alarm guy. So the next two parts of this story happened concurrently.
Brent and I had the following shopping list.
I’m pretty cheap, so we ended up getting two fairly inexpensive UPS’s. On the wireless router, I did spring for a wireless N router. On the printer, I ended up getting the exact same model we already had. It was the last one they had, the floor model, actually. I got 10% off, and ended up saving about $65 total over the next model up, once you consider price difference and ink cartridges I didn’t have to buy.
Meanwhile, the alarm guy had shown up at our house. After a half hour or so of checking everything out, he discovered that the alarm system was totally fried. However, it wasn’t responsible for the smell.
This is where our number pad was before the alarm guy took it.
Our next-door neighbor is a heat and air guy, so he came over and offered to check out AC system, which is in the attic. Turns out it is fried also and was responsible for the smell. Leann also found while I was gone that the television in my office was gone.
Air conditioning circuit board
So we got fixed and replaced the things that we considered emergency, or that I personally needed to get back to work on web design stuff tonight.
Here’s the damage and status of it all:
What fun. Hopefully all this will be taken care of by this time next week.