From our embassy handbook, “Why, when you run your A/C in the bedroom, along with the food mixer in the kitchen, and the hair dryer in the living room, does the circuit breaker trip? Who knows? A good guess is that each of the outlets are on the same circuit. Again, we need to look into the mind of the Greek electrician. Instead of wiring a circuit for each room or area – as would be done in the States – he found a length of wire in his tool box that is just long enough to reach from the bedroom to the kitchen to the living room, and so those outlets were wired on the same circuit.”
Last night the lamp sitting in the dining room went out. And the ovens. And all the outlets in the kitchen. And the outlets in the bathrooms upstairs. And the outlet in the living room for the TV. This happened once before, and I knew exactly which fuse to switch. I marched confidently downstairs, flipped the switch…and it promptly tripped. I unplugged everything that I could, tried again…no dice. It was raining outside, had been raining all day and night, and I seem to recall it was raining the last time this happened. So I surmised (with some helpful advice from friends) that an outlet outside got wet and was tripping the whole system. Why, oh why would the electrician route the oven, dishwasher, toaster, tea kettle, hair dryer and TV all on the same circuit with an outdoor plug?! Even worse, I discovered this morning that the hot water heater and floor heating system are on the same circuit as well. And to top it all off, it’s a Greek holiday and the Embassy staff is off today.
All of this stuff I can live without, really. I dried my hair in the living room using the one outlet that worked. I made toast and tea in the living room, too. We are experts at ordering take out for dinner. I took a shower this morning with the last of the hot water. I can watch TV on my computer. And while the temperature is dipping down this week, it’s still comfortably warm in the house, and we have wall heaters in each room as a back up.
But…remember the well?
Even from upstairs I can hear water trickling into it. And as the day has progressed, I’ve been checking the water level. This morning it was still pretty low, but by 3 o’clock it had risen considerably. Still several feet from overflowing…but better safe than sorry. I called the emergency Embassy number and they sent over a plumber to check it out. And good thing I did — apparently there are two pumps for the well and neither one was working! In fact, that was the reason the circuit breaker was tripping. After some fiddling he managed to get everything fixed. Yay! And holy Hell, what a racket the well pump makes! I’ll know for sure next time if it stops working. With any luck this will be the last of our electricity woes. Riiiight.
Wait, why am I complaining? I’m living in freakin’ Greece!!
I will shut up and savor my blessed existence now.