29 October 2009

Power Failures, Generators, and the Roof

Wow, what a lot can happen in just a few days. Sunday was a relatively quiet and unproductive day, but I enjoyed church in the afternoon, and then dinner at the Garden Centre Cafe, including poached fish, masthed potatoes, broccoli, and feta cheese salad, and then topped it of with a slice of Mississipi Mud Pie (not quite chocolate mud cake, but not a bad substititute). As I was enjoying my dessert, the heavens opened in a tropical downpour, so, even with my trusty poncho at hand, I decided it would be wise to delay the journey home a little. It was still raining when I eventually left, but not quite as heavily. Monday and Tuesday were relatively normal days with a Curriculum Review meeting in the afternoon (somehow I ended up on the HPE committee), and nothing special on Tuesday. However that's when the week changed. Tuesday afternoon I got a text message from the Landlord saying they would be starting the roof on Wednesday morning, and would be at the house for several days. "Oh no", I said to myself, "now I have to find someone who I can trust who can stay in the house while the tradespeople are there." Fortunately I was able to get a young lady whose mother works at the school, and whom I have met several times, and she was willing to help out. She got to the house before my helper left and stayed until I could get home from school. At that stage they were still pulling metal frame up to the roof, but about 5.00pm they started using their power tools, and 10 minutes later I lost power upstairs. Hmm. The circuit breaker had tripped, and so I reset it and headed back upstairs. 10 minutes later it tripped again, so I went upstairs to investigate. I was not impressed. There were bare wires connecting power saws to powerboards, that were in turn plugged into the power supply. There were also bare wires joining the welding equipment to that power supply. I contacted the landlord and explained my concerns, especially with the power going off twice in such a short time, and told him I would not turn it back on until they left, and also asked that he get them to fix the equipment before they returned the next morning at 7.30am.

Well, the next morning they all trooped in at 7.30am, and the landlord arrived shortly afterward, and we went up to the roof so I could show him my causes for concern. When we got to the landing below the roof, I was horrified to see two bare wires had been stuck directly into a power outlet (no plug, just the bare wires). Fortunately the landlord was able to understand my concern, and when he saw the other dodgy connections he agreed that they should not be plugging into the house elecricity, but would use a generator. With this confirmed, things starting to happen, and Rebecca arrived to keep an eye on things, I headed for school and a day of meetings. The cinnamon rolls and juice were great, and the meetings were OK. Lunch was Indian food, which was OK, although it didn't really excite me. The afternoon meeting also went well, and I was home by about 2pm.

That was when the day really started to get interesting. The first thing I discovered was that someone had locked my bathroom door, so the boys couldnt' use it (the landlord had asked them to use the one downstairs). Unfortunately it was the one door in the house that I had no key for. So I phoned the landlord and he arranged to get that problem solved. While I was waiting for that problem to be fixed, I discovered was that the electricity downstairs was off, and no-one could tell me how long it had been off. I turned the circuit breaker back on, but 5 minutes later it had tripped again. I tried once more, and 10 minutes later it happened again. Since I couldn't find any obvious cause, and the landlord was already on his way to solve the locked door problem, I waited until he arrived and then explained the new problem. Explaining my concern about food going off, etc, he managed to get hold of an electrician, and they came and spent considerable time trying to resolve the problem, including the fact that we cannot run my housemate's airconditioner and the microwave at the same time. Eventually around 6pm everyone left the house, and 10 minutes later the power went off again, and again 10 minutes later, then again an hour later. I give up! It's too hard for me to deal with this evening.

Tomorrow is going to be a long hot day (since I need to be home most, if not all of the day) and the generator will be running, and there will be strange people in and out of my house, including the washing machine repair man, so I guess I'd better head for the shower and bed! The roof guys will be arriving at 7.30am. I refused to let them come any earlier, partly out of a desire not to get up any earlier than I do for a normal school day, especially on a holiday, and partly out of consideration for the neighbors (imagine if the generator started at 6am, how popular would I be then).

There have been other things going on as well, but this post is quite long enough, so I'll leave them for another day! Good night!


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