Boy, do I feel dumb!

Just after dawn this morning, I woke to a buzzing sound. I listened for a few seconds before deciding it must be my husband grinding coffee. Then I turned to look at his side of the bed and saw him lying there with a puzzled look. “What is that sound?” he asked.

I got out of bed, and soon realized the sound was coming from the bathroom. I stepped in and listened. “It’s coming from the light fixture, I think.” We have a four-bulb fixture above the medicine cabinet. I turned the light off and back on. The sound persisted.

My husband investigated and came to the same conclusion. He set up the step stool and tapped on the light. He loosened, then tightened the bulbs. He switched the light off and on. “Go turn the breaker off. Is the one for this bathroom marked?”

The breaker box is outside, so while I was putting on my robe and shoes, he climbed down and put on his shoes. “I’d better go with you,” he said. To which I logically replied, “Then why should I go?” A few seconds later, the bathroom light went out—along with the clock radio and cable box. The buzzing continued. I relayed the bad news.

“Get me a screwdriver,” said my husband. He proceeded to remove the light fixture. The fixture, added to this home before we moved here, was attached to the ceiling instead of the wall above the cabinet, so it’s awkward to work with. Dear husband is not a handyman, and if I hadn’t been standing there, I’m sure he would have addressed the situation with a few choice words.

Alas! The fixture’s removal provided no further clue to the source of the buzzing. We debated the possible causes. Was there something in the attic space directly wired to the main electrical line? Ah-ha, turn off the main breaker!

You know what I’m going to say, right?

So … was it possible the men who put the insulation in two years ago, dropped something that just now set off an alarm … or turned on? Not likely, but “We’ll have to climb up and take a look,” DH said. Understand that our access to the attic is in my craft closet. It takes effort, and time, to remove all the cabinets, shelves, and hanging bags of things to be able to get a ladder in there.

When I opened the door to begin the unloading, my husband cried, “The alarm system!” The wiring box for the old alarm system in this house is also in that closet. He pulled up a chair and leaned in far enough to open it and snip all the wires he could see. “Go see if the buzzing stopped,” he said.

No such luck!

In desperation, he called our Utah son, who was an electrician in the Air Force, and I decided to turn to Google. I entered “buzzing sound in wall” and after reading through a dozen or so hits, I found one where a woman talked about a similar situation—also in their bathroom. Their cause? An electric razor in the shower.

“Could it be your trimmer in the medicine cabinet?” I asked hopefully. Now off the phone, DH headed toward the bathroom with me close behind. He opened the cabinet and pulled out his obviously silent trimmer. “Shoot,” I said. He started moving things around in the cabinet, then on top of it. When he touched the ceramic cup, the sound changed. Eureka!

Did you know a cheap electric toothbrush can turn itself on?

27 thoughts on “Boy, do I feel dumb!

  1. That is priceless!! Don’t feel too dumb, though. I once spent most of the evening trying to locate a trapped blackbird, finally tracking the loud peeping to a smoke alarm with a failing battery! Sometimes Duh just doesn’t cover it!

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  2. We had a similar problem (meaning annoying noise in the middle of the night) with a smoke alarm that wouldn’t stop beeping even after the battery was removed. We Googled it and found the solution. I did NOT know an electric toothbrush could turn itself on. Glad you found the problem before you started breaking into walls!

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    1. We’re glad too, Karen. Though, more likely, my husband would have called in a handyman and either he would have laughed himself silly after finding the cause of the buzz, or the batteries in the brush would have depleted by the time he got there and we’d have all remained puzzled. 🙂

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  3. When I first moved into my house, I happened to be standing in front of a vent when the AC kicked on. Hot air blew out and I ran and turned off the AC and called a repair man. $135.00 later I found out it is supposed to do that. You know, push out the trapped hot air. I feel so dumb just remembering.

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  4. Oh my, what an adventure! Thanks for giving me a laugh–I would not have remained as sane as you and your husband seemed to be. Never knew that about the electric toothbrushes.

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  5. I was torn between laughing my head off and worrying about your husband on the ladder, hoping he wouldn’t fall down or burn the house down or something. How long did it take you guys to put things back together again? And all of this for an electric toothbrush. What about going back to the manual one? LOL. But don’t feel dumb, I can imagine something like that happening to me.
    Christa, still grinning….

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    1. It’s only because I fear electrical work that he was on the ladder, Christa. Otherwise, it would have been me. And I think it probably took a good half hour to get that fixture back up. It’s in a cramped space, so one of the biggest challenges was both of us fitting in there so I could hold up the heavy fixture while he reconnected the wiring. Like I said, it should never have been installed on the ceiling. Then I held it in place with a long pole while he screwed it back to the ceiling. Both of us ended up with sore necks and shoulders. The experience gave us a good belly laugh later that morning, though, and laughter is always good for your health. 🙂

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  6. It’s always something with this “tech” gear. You may have to return to that old-fashioned, manually powered toothbrush. 🙂

    And, what did your Utah son have to say about the buzzing sound?

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    1. Yes, fivecats, an old-fashioned toothbrush would never have caused such an early morning ruckus. 😉 My Utah son was stumped by the sound, which he heard when my husband held the phone up to the ceiling — just inches from the cause, I might add. But he had a good laugh when we called him back to tell him we’d solved the problem. 🙂

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