Friday morning Liam and I woke up to discover half of the kitchen didn’t work. None of the outlets had power, and the oven and microwave wouldn’t turn on. I checked the fuses in the living room…and then in the basement, and couldn’t find anything. This place has five circuit breaker boxes. Five. I’d read in some of the materials the Embassy provided that Greek electricians like to wire with abandon, putting in random switches that don’t do anything (we have six of those), wires that randomly come out of the walls, and circuits that trip at the drop of a hat. Also, notably, not near enough electrical outlets for this day and age.
At any rate, I was whining to Liam that we couldn’t make waffles and I wasn’t going to be able to make tea in the electric kettle when he piped up, “But, mom, just move the toaster to the living room or something.” Like, duh. This kid has officially outsmarted me. So we made waffles, toast and tea on the living room floor.
Later that day I had to have a technician from the Embassy fix the fuses. Apparently there was ANOTHER circuit breaker in ANOTHER room in the basement that I hadn’t checked. We managed to trip it again somehow today, and James and I were able to figure out the right fuse to flip. We weren’t sure because two were off. Then I noticed there was a new flood light on in the backyard after it got dark. So we had to run downstairs and flip that one off. I’m not sure if it’s a Greek thing or a Smart House thing, but I’ve surmised that all of the exterior lights are controlled solely by these breaker panels. There’s no switch on the wall to simply turn on the porch light. You’ve got to open a panel in the living room, read the key to figure out which switch controls it, then press this tiny little “on” button under it. Super weird.
So while I’m still scratching me head over the mental stability of Greek electricians, I did make some headway on the phone situation. I’ve been trying since we got here to unlock my iPhone, but I guess AT&T isn’t going to let me until I pay that final bill with the fee for breaking our contract. Presumably on our next billing cycle. I’m sure I could investigate further, but I hardly ever need to call anyone in Greece, and the phone does everything else on WiFi just fine. But, it has made me a little nervous to leave the house on my own without a phone, just in case there was an emergency. I mean, I guess I could use these scuzzy pay phones I keep stumbling across randomly, but no telling if they actually still work. So I finally just popped by the Vodofone store and bought a cheapo phone with some pay-as-you-go minutes on it. Viola! I have a mobile phone number now! I programed a few important numbers into it using the old-school keypad. And it just about killed me. How did we EVER do this before we had smart phones?! And texting! I just thought about the tedious texting!