My day started with a bizarre noise in the kitchen. I didn’t realize it was an execution.


It was loud. And it was coming from one of the electrical outlets near the sink. I tried the GFCI switch and I couldn’t push it in. Then I noticed a faint odor (which means it was probably a powerful stench, since I still can’t smell much of anything).

I hadn’t had my coffee yet, making problem-solving extra challenging. A random electrical short seemed like it couldn’t be a good thing, and I didn’t want to mess around. This was clearly a job for a professional.

While I was waiting for the electrician to call back, I noticed the ants. The little buggers show up from time to time and can wreak havoc on our peaceful existence. Louise is in favor of taking out the napalm, while I am more willing to wipe the ants away with a sponge and see what happens (sometimes what happens isn’t pretty).

There were ants crawling out of the electrical outlet. Not a lot, but enough to get my attention. Could that smell have been ants frying? When the electrician arrived, I told him my theory. “That’s a good one, lady. I’ve never heard that one before,” he scoffed.

He opened up the box under my watchful eye. Guess what! There were ants inside!

See 'em on top of the outlet?

He said he wasn’t sure why the outlet had shorted but that he would replace it. Once it was removed, I took it out to the porch and opened it up. Sure enough, there was a little line of dead ants inside on top of one of the wires. I showed it to Steve. “Well, I’ll be,” he said. “They completed the circuit!”

I’m kind of embarrassed to admit how proud I was of myself. I posted on Facebook about it, complete with photos. I couldn’t wait to show Louise all the evidence.

I was still thinking about it this afternoon as I was driving home from some errands. The traffic report said the long weekend was already causing big backups on all the major highways. I was heading north on Grand Ave. and the cars were backed up for blocks. To make it worse, there’s still a lot of construction and the three lanes had to merge into one. It seemed we could sit there forever.

Just as I got to Lloyd Blvd. a woman came walking up next to the car. She had a lot of interesting tattoos and a determined stride. I was in the left-hand lane and made a snap decision to pull into a little parking lot there before crossing the freeway. I jumped out of the car.

“Excuse me!” I called. The light had turned green and she was just about to cross the street. She turned and looked at me then kept going. “Excuse me!” I called again. This time she stopped and waited for me to catch up. We were standing in front of a barricade and cars were zipping by.

Friendy passersby

She was looking at me and all of a sudden I wasn’t sure what to say. I told her I was passing along a gift in honor of my mom and I handed her the hundred. “Wow,” she said. “Wow.” She said she was sorry about my mom.


“I guess you didn’t know what to expect when I stopped you,” I told her. “Yeah. I don’t have a car, so I walk or bike everywhere,” she said. “A lot of people talk to me. Usually when it’s a woman it’s okay.”

Her name was Ana and she said the money would come in real handy toward her credit card bill.  She’s a freelance graphic designer and the economy has taken its toll on her business.

I told Ana about the blog and a little more about what I’ve been doing and why. She said I could take her picture. “That’s a really lovely way to honor your mom,” she said.

We shook hands and said our goodbyes. By the time I got back to my car I had lost sight of her. A couple of blocks later I saw her turn onto Multnomah. Maybe it was just me, but I think she had a little spring in her step that I hadn’t noticed before.



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One Response to Completing the Circuit

  1. DJan says:

    Well, your story put a little spring in MY step, too. Interesting how often an “expert” scoffs at our theories if they don’t fit their preconceived ideas. And Ana looks like an interesting character!

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