Necessity may be the mother of invention, but curiosity is its indulgent grandparent. You know; the grandparent who feeds their grandchild as much candy as s/he can hold and then returns the child to its parents ten seconds before the kid spews technicolor vomit all over the new rug.
(For the record, I thought my mom was remarkably heartless when I stumbled in the back door many decades ago and announced, “I don’t feel good.” I was looking for a hug and some sympathy, not a bellow of, “GET OUTSIDE!” I didn’t make it in time, of course. This is one of the many reasons why I never had kids.)
Hubby and I are both inventors. We’re blessed (or cursed) with the kind of rampant curiosity that frequently leads to… *ahem* …interesting results.
The problem with inventing stuff is that you usually don’t get it right the first time. Or the second. Or sometimes even the tenth. Our house is like a cross between Hogwarts School of Magic and a lunatic asylum: a place of sudden loud noises, unidentifiable odours, and shouts of triumph or chagrin.
Most of my experimentation is culinary, so it’s generally pretty unthreatening (unless you’re Hubby, who has an automatic gag reaction to garlic and curry). I love to create new recipes, which is wonderful when I perfect the new dish; but not so wonderful when I end up with three saggy, soggy gluten-free cakes that taste fine but have the texture of shredded paper marinated in half-set wallpaper paste. (I did finally get that recipe right, though!)
But I’ve never actually risked our health or safety. Unlike Hubby.
He’s an electronics genius; but if one of his inventions goes wrong there could be showers of sparks, the resounding SNAP! of an electrical breaker tripping, and/or the throat-closing reek of scorched insulation.
Which is why, when I was upstairs sewing the other day, I only had a momentary thought of, “Gee, this serger is starting to smell a little hot” before I bolted up from my chair and dashed down the stairs, following the ever-increasing stench of burnt plastic and yelling, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?”
Surrounded by a faint miasma of smoke, Hubby gave me a sheepish grin. “Don’t worry, my power supply just tripped the breaker.”
He carried the carcass outside and we opened some windows and turned on the fans. But the smell didn’t seem to be dissipating.
We prowled through the mancave and inspected the surge suppressor and outlet that had been connected to the offending device. Nada. But the smell wouldn’t quit.
After sniff-testing the mancave several times over the next few hours (and I can’t recommend that as a pleasant Sunday-afternoon pastime) I finally discovered that the culprit wasn’t one of Hubby’s inventions at all. One of his PC fans had seized, and it was crouching there smouldering quietly and waiting for night to fall so it could kill us in our sleep.
We banished it outdoors in disgrace, but I didn’t sleep easily that night. I kept imagining the firefighters questioning us while we huddled outside our burning asylum house: “But didn’t you smell smoke?”
“Well, yes; but that’s normal…”
Any inventors in your house?
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P.S. Just hit 75% on Book 13, and I hope to announce a release date soon. Woohoo!