The week where everything just breaks

You know, sometimes you just get those weeks from hell – weeks where everything just crashes and burns, you feel like you’re swimming upstream against a raging torrent… that kind of thing.

Well, last week was one of those.

First off, last week Saturday, I got back home from our department teambuilding (quad biking at Melkbosstrand – which was so made of awesome, I want to do that again!), flicked on the bedroom lights, and… nothing.  “Well, that’s great, the bulb has gone” thought the protagonist.  “Since I don’t have a spare, let me steal one from elsewhere in the flat.”  So, I did that, and… still nothing.  At this point, I decided to let things be, since I was heading off for boardgames night (and it was my turn to supply the boardgame), did a quick e-mail check, and noticed that my IRC client had been disconnecting and reconnecting since just after I left for the quad biking.  Thinking “well, I need to head on out, I’ll take a look when I get back”, that’s exactly what I did.  Off to boardgames night I went.

I returned home in the early hours of the morning, and tried flicking on the kitchen light.  Nothing.  Noting that my PC was still on, I tried fumbling around in the dark for my flashlight, eventually located it, and took a look at the circuit breakers.  Noticing that the circuit for the lights had tripped, I flicked it back on.  Kitchen light came back on.  Armed with hot chocolate in hand, I returned to my room, flicked the light on – and the entire flat was plunged into darkness.  Back to the circuit breakers I went, and noticed that while none of the lights in the flat worked, the trip switch for the lights had actually remained up.  At this point, I realised that I had a serious problem on my hands and turned off the trip switch manually.  Realising that I couldn’t do much else at that stage, I went back to my computer, noticed that the ADSL was still very intermittent, and decided to get some sleep and tackle it in the morning.

The next morning, fighting intermittent internet, I managed to get the number of an electrician to come and sort the lights out.  They arrived an hour later and spent another two up in the roof trying to figure out what the problem was.  As it turned out, the wiring to my room ran through an old metal pipe, and the insulation had decayed due to age.  Live wire touching earthed metal pipe – you can guess what it did.  It actually tripped one of the power phases down at the meter box (and took some other flats out with it).  After the problem was found, it was simple enough to rewire and get my lights back – although that’s now left me with the matter of R1,100 that I’m still trying to claim back from the landlord.

With the knowledge that my flat wouldn’t suddenly spontaneously combust, I started investigating the intermittent internet.  Within a short period of time, I discovered that the voice service on the line was totally dead, the upload part of my ADSL seriously degraded, and the download part still fine.  That was definitely a line fault, and during a quick burst of connectivity, I managed to log the fault online with Telkom.  Telkom isn’t known for their service though, so I thought that I would be without internet for a while.

They phoned me the next Monday at work, asking when it would be convenient for them to fix the issue.  Tuesday morning was agreed on, and sure enough, the technician popped over right on time.  After one hour investigating the flat’s telephone wiring, he decided that the problem lay between the flat and the exchange (which is only around 200 m away).  Off he went, and an hour later called me on my now working landline informing me that the problem had been solved.

But wait, that’s not the last thing that broke – just to add to a week of breakages, I managed also to pick up a slow puncture in my car, and that was another morning disrupted to get that fixed…

On the plus side, my code didn’t break…

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