Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What Really Freaks You Out?

Spiders, snakes, heights, germs....everyone has an irrational fear of something, and I think I've finally discovered mine. Every winter, it rears it's ugly head and terrifies me.


Yep. During the cold season, I'm forced to plug things into the power outlet, and then submerge them into water!!! I goes against everything we all learned as a child! It's in the top 10 things that are taught by moms across the world:

Stop, drop, and roll.
Look both ways before crossing the street.
Don't run with scissors.
Don't touch the stove or you'll get burned.
Wait 30 minutes to swim after eating.
Don't cross your eyes or they'll stay that way.
Never stick your finger in a light socket.
Don't swallow your gum.
Wear clean underwear in case you get into a car accident.
Never submerge electrical things into water or you'll DIE!!!!!!!!!!!

In the last week alone, I've had to plug in a water- pump and submerge it...cord and all... into a river, and then into a water tank MULTIPLE times to haul water to the cows. I've had to plug in a de-icer and submerge it into the chickens' waterer to keep it from freezing. Then, I've had to submerge multiple stock tank heaters into water for the livestock. Each and every time I plug something in and go to submerge it, my mother's words of wisdom scream in my mind! Flashing lights and sirens buzz in my head.  It goes against every instinct I have. I break out into a cold sweat.

Consequently, I usually plug the cord in, and sort of toss the heater, letting go before it touches the water.  Then I wait for an unsuspecting chicken to come for a drink. If the feathers fly and I hear squawking...I'll run for the breaker box! If all is well, then I know that things are working despite my fears.
API 15N 1500-Watt Sinking Tank Heater with Guard

The stock tank heaters are the worst because:
a. They are heavily used and deteriorate quickly.
b. There isn't much between the electricity and the water; just a thin piece of rubber and plastic.
c. Curious calves gnaw on things. What if they chew through the cords and ZAP? Dead.

I'm sure that if I had a better understanding of how these things are made, I might not be so worried. Ignorance about electricity is to blame. I'm sure that there are some protective measures in water heaters: like those switches that pop the breaker every time I plug my curling iron, hair dryer, and hot rollers in at the same time.  But what if those switches malfunction? What if they're faulty?

Does anyone test these things before they are sold? If so, what is the turn-over rate for a water heater tester and is there hazard pay? In olden times, the king had a royal taste tester/ cup bearer who ate and drank everything before the king did so that if it was laced with poison...the tester was the one to die, and not the king.  I guess the chickens sort of serve this purpose, but what about the stock tank heaters... cattle are much more valuable than a chicken. I wouldn't want to lose one.

I'd much prefer to just chip ice every day, but with temperatures in the negative numbers, some things start to freeze solid this time of year. So for the next few months...I have to re-conquer my fear of electricity. I've done it every winter since I've lived in the frozen arctic tundra...and I'm still alive to tell the tale. But I'd like to research some alternative ways to keep the tanks from icing up...that don't involve electricity.

What about you? Do you have a creepy fear of anything? Just shout it out in the comments section...whatever it is. I need to know that I'm not alone in this.



  1. LOL we had to change a breaker for the tank heater the other day...I touched a hot wire with the screwdriver and got to watch the husband drop and was hillarious!

  2. I'm sure you're well aware of my fear of snakes after the display at Grandpas this summer. I grabbed Emma and ran for the hills, actually, locked myself in the bathroom until the boys left the general vicinity.

    As for frozen watering systems... We have water bowls, which I don't think is the same system as a stock tank, I guess it's because our are hooked up to a well. In any case, the water bowls are equipped with a light bulb socket and we just screw in a light bulb. The subtle heat is all you need to keep the water from freezing.

    In the older water bowls, tin pie plates are used to keep the water from splashing and shorting out the bulbs. I've never heard of anyone getting zapped in this process. We are more fearful of our electric fences, they can pack a wallop.

  3. I can understand your fear of being electrocuted. Mine is heights. I've gotten better over the years, but it's still there. It was a lot better when we used to live by the bluffs. We didn't live on the bluffs, just beside them and we used to love to climb them, me included. I know it probably seems weird that I love it and am afraid of heights, but my love for the outdoors trumps. Climbing actually helped the fear get a little better.

    On a side note, I thought of you today when I bought a new flannel shirt. I went into the farm and home store and spent some time looking around. Out of necessity for our jobs, we moved into town a couple of years ago, but the old saying is true. You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl. I love that store ;) I was so excited to get a new flannel :) Mine have all been relegated to "chore" status because they're so ratty. It's gonna be nice to have one I can proudly wear in public.

  4. Sleeping naked. In case of a house fire. The last person I want to be is the lady who runs naked and screaming from her burning home.

    It happens. Swear.

  5. Thankfully I'm not in a position where I have to worry about electrocution but, your description of your fear was enough to send fear shivers up and down my spine.

    I have several different fears that turn me into a pathetic mess, snakes, heights, and mice. We were having problems with mice in our ancient farmhouse kitchen and my husband was catching one every night for several weeks. Though I hate dead mice the worst thing we found in the trap was a long mouse tail minus the mouse which is still roaming free having learned how dangerous a trap can be.