19 September 2012

The Power is Out in Half Of My House

I may or may not have alluded to it in any of my other posts, but I am not completely devoid of maintenance experience. When an outlet doesn't work, I can fix it (though I rarely do, as I live in apartments). When a breaker trips, I go to reset it. When we buy stuff from IKEA or Walmart, I assemble it (while grumping that I could have built a better one myself.)

So when we got a new dryer, devoid of hookups or installation help, it was no big deal. The vent is an easy thing to put in, obviously, and the plug just requires you to screw the leads into the back panel, and then you plug it in. But somehow, somewhere, something went wrong. I plugged in the dryer. It arced with a stunning blue flash. Power is now out in half of my house. Me and my wife did a quick survey of our domain- the lights are out in the master bedroom, the master bathroom, the guest bathroom, and one of the living room lights are out. The light by the "shed" is out, as well. Uncomfortably, the air conditioning is off, too- I say uncomfortably because even in September it can be humid and miserable here in Virginia.

Luckily, our brand new dryer works just fine, so I test it. My wife, still upstairs, shouts down that the lights are back on! I turn off the dryer- and the lights turn back off. Now that, certainly, is unusual. I had to concede my ignorance and call in the maintenance guy. He was nice enough, but I think, used to people who don't know what they're talking about. I explained what was going on, and he patiently pretended to listen, reset the breakers, and called it good. I gave him the benefit of the doubt- I'm a nice guy, really, and I like to think that people are basically trustworthy and intend on doing a complete and thorough job.

I should know better, of course. Where I just moved from, it took the maintenance guys almost half a year to replace our broken dishwasher, the burnt out lightbulbs, and the leaking air conditioning. Half a year. Half a year we stared at a completely useless dish washer while doing the dishes by hand. I don't mind doing dishes, but the fact is that there is no reason it takes half a year to cart a new dish washer to our house. And when it came to the air conditioning, the man took thirty seconds to look at it, adjusted something, and left. The problem came back later the same day, so we asked once again for him to fix it. Same deal- quick fix, left in a flash. Had to call him again, where he took a little time and did it the right way, the way it should have been done the first time. Like I said, I know a little about maintenance. I may not have the tools, and may not want to mess with shit that I don't own and am not supposed to be messing with, but I do know a little bit.

But I digress. The power to half my house only works when the air conditioning is running, which is both stupid and confusing since it only blows lukewarm air. All I want is to have my house running the way it was before I plugged a completely mundane appliance into them. I wasn't aware that was such a tall order!

BREAKING NEWS: While writing this, I heard a knock on the door. In the time it took for me to get downstairs, I saw a white truck with a toolbox driving off. Did I miss the repair guy? He must have a lot of work to be unable to spare me more than thirty seconds of his time.

IMPORTANT EDIT (12:30am): The maintenance guy came over and brought a friend- the two of them spent nearly an hour but did succeed in getting my air conditioning working. The lights are still out in the master bedroom (that nobody really occupies), the master bathroom (ditto), and the guest bathroom (hello, candlelight showers). They did some thorough work, which is nice of them, and the most important parts of my house are working now. But I would very much like to have working ceiling fan in my bathroom, for pedestrian and obvious reasons.

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