Gremlin: with the origin of the word possibly derived from the old English gremian, 'to vex', the gremlin is said to be a mischievous goblin-like creature with an inclination to damage or even dismantle mechanical devices, as well as disturbing all things electronic.
I've got one.
And the little bugger apparently likes to travel, for things have not only gone berserk at my home, but elsewhere (read: everywhere I'm at) too. At this rate it won't be long before I'm shunned as the Visitor from Hell - as opposed to the usual red carpet treatment (I Come Bearing Gifts - chocolate mostly).
It started with the cooking unit. That stopped functioning from one minute to the next; cooker, oven and microwave. Let me tell you there's definitely a limit to the amount of cup-a-soup and take-away meals a hard-working girl can endure without reaching the upper levels of crankiness. We deserve a hot meal. Especially with these temperatures.
Next thing to go was my internet connection, followed close on its heels by my laptop. I have broadband that works reasonably well most of the time, but over the past two weeks it's been all over the place. And none of the usual tedious tricks, like resetting the modem (with much exaggerated sighing and rolling of eyes) seemed to make much of a difference. The laptop added to the rage by taking up the habit of rebooting on its own accord. Mostly when I was right in the middle of something very important - like trying to browse for a new winter wardrobe. Obviously the thing was out to spite me.
The list goes on. I won't bore you by mentioning all the bits of hardware, software or general gadgetry that over the past couple of weeks produced a mocking death rattle as I dared approach them, but take it from me that they were plentiful. So plentiful in fact that if I hear the well-meant phrase 'have you tried switching it on and off' one more time, I swear someone is going to get hurt.
The ultimate blow was saved till last though. Out of the blue, my central heating system stopped working last week. Now I know that I've been gushing about the autumn season and it's colours, and how the evenings have an added level of cosiness to them - but only when the indoor temperature is significantly higher than that outside. It's all very well to enjoy the sound of the wind howling around the house when you're snuggled up nice and warm on the sofa - but it stops being fun when you're shivering under three throws. And no amount of pretty candles or a glowing fireplace can restore that feeling of cozy comfort provided by a well-heated home. Try reading a book with icicles for fingers. It just doesn't work. Suffice it to say this one was seriously below the belt. Something definitely has it in for me.
You'll be relieved to hear (I hope) that most of the problems have now been sorted or have at least stopped from happening. Things have been incident-free for a full two days. But I'm not fooled. My gremlin is trying to lull me into a false sense of security - so that next time he strikes, it will catch me unawares.
Someone please lend me their cat to hunt the critter down.