Cirque de ter Keurs

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The past few days have been relatively quiet with not a lot to post. We’ve had visits with family and lots of shopping and of course we’ve found lots of playgrounds. The weather has been relatively good, meaning we’ve gotten outside everyday despite the intermittent rain. It is also fairly chilly but fortunately we have lots of warm clothes!

It has been very relaxing…except for last night.

Jet was busy in the kitchen making us dinner which included fries in the deep fryer, mussels and delicious salad. The kids and I were playing with toys in the living room and helping to set the table. It was dark and rainy outside, but we were cozy and warm inside with the smell of dinner cooking and the sound of the wind outside.

Suddenly, there was a flash and the kitchen went dark. Fortunately, we could still see because the lights in the rest of the house were fine. It seemed that a fuse had blown due to all the kitchen appliances running at the same time. A few quiet profanities as Jet tried to remember how she managed to fix it last time it happened. The fuse box is located in the most inconvenient place ever…on a landing above the stairs to her front door (see photo below).  In essence, the landing hangs over top of the stairs with no apparent way to reach it. If you’ve never experienced the death-defying steep stairs that are found across Holland, this story might be lost on you. The stairs are about 10cm deep and are at such a steep incline that it is like climbing a ladder.

Finally Jet remembered that when this happened last time, Chris was here he boosted her up on his shoulders and she was able to reach the landing and replace the fuse. Now, it was more logical for me to climb up on her shoulders and to hoist myself onto the landing due to the fact that I am half the height of Jet! So Jet balanced herself on the steep staircase and I stepped onto her shoulders one leg at a time, cirque de soliel style and pulled myself up onto the landing. Phew, made it up there with no casualties and didn’t even want to think about how I was going to get down again. Facing the wall of switches and fuses, Jet had to now describe what to do.
“You have to turn the switch to the left.”

“OK”. Click. Click. “Nothing”

” Hmm, what if you turn it in the other direction?”

“OK.” Click. Click. And then everything went black.

No, I didn’t pass out. But the electricity in the entire apartment went out.
Obviously that hadn’t worked, so I quickly turned the switch back to where it was. Nothing. No lights. Oh my god. And I am stranded on a landing that might well be impossible to get down from with the lights. Really, there were a few moments where I really thought that we are going to have to call the fire department to get me down.

First thought, get the kids in one room so that they don’t come near the staircase. Next, Jet passed me a candle so that I could at least see the panel in front of me. I played with all the switches, but still nothing. Panic starting to set in. Must stay calm. Kids around. Then I managed to somehow balance the candle, unscrew one of the porcelain fuses that I think was labeled “keuken” to see what would happen.
Click. Flash. Lights on and the hum of electricity wound up again. Thank god. At least we could see again.

Now, to get down from the landing. Jet carefully positioned herself below me and I managed to get one leg on her shoulder and started to lower myself down. But all of a sudden, I lost my footing and ended up hanging with my hands, swinging from the ledge about 2 meters above the stairs with Jet trying her hardest to keep me, and her, from falling and taking a sure tumble down the staircase. Somehow we managed to fumble our way so that both our feet were firmly, and with great relief, on the stairs.

We laughed about it later, but I have to be honest that trapped on the landing, headlines were running through my head:

“Canadian woman electrocuted in Amsterdam”
“Three children stranded alone for two days in Amsterdam apartment”
“Fire department deployed to save crazy Canadian”

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