Monday, October 1, 2012

Spanish Electricians

I house sat for Andrea today so that she could go to work while the electrician fixed the electricity in her new flat. It was quite the comedy made even funnier by the fact that I don't speak Spanish.

Apparently the wire from the basement to the flat was not working. So the landlord had run a wire down from his apartment into the circuit breaker panel to give it juice.

Two guys showed up. Their tools were in a plastic bag. The tools consisted of a pair of diagonal pliers (side cutters), a drill and a screwdriver. (note the absence of a voltmeter.) They had a new circuit breaker panel.and breakers. They disconnected the temporary power and proceeded to remove the old panel and replace it with the new one. This took about 1 1/2 hours. So far so good. Then they went down to the basement and turned the power back on. Of course nothing happened since the problem in the first place was the wire from the basement. They spent the next three hours (yes, three hours) trying to figure out why there was no electricity. During this process a third guy showed up and they all were talking with each other about the problem. Finally, I am not sure how, they did get power into the apartment. At this point they started to work on the ceiling lights.They got one of the two lights working, when they hooked the second light up there was a spark and they blew the breaker. At this point they started taking more things apart. Since they didn't have a meter they attached wires to the drill and used it to test for power. You haven't lived until you have watched a guy hold a drill with the trigger pressed while another guy pokes around in a power box. After about another hour of this they declared the light fixture broken. Fortunately by this time Andrea had finished work and was able to talk to them in Spanish.

The best moment came when one guy was up on the step ladder working on the light and the other two guys were standing on the ground on either side with all three chattering at rocket speed in Spanish. It reminded me of the "how many ... does it take to change a light bulb? One to hold the light bulb and two to spin the ladder."

When I volunteered to house sit I wasn't real concerned. I figured I could take my laptop over and read a book on my Kindle for PC. Of course somewhere in the middle of all this the battery died.

Fair winds and following seas!

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