Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I think that Murphy guy is stalking me…

So, Friday morning we grabbed the Yorkie and jumped into the car headed for Durban, a drive of six or so hours. Hubby’s brother was celebrating his 40th and, now that we are within reasonable driving distance, we headed down to share his day.

Our maid came to Joburg with us from Cape Town and is now living in, so we left with no concerns: she would take care of the Maltese Mafia and make sure the house looked occupied…and was securely locked up…while we were gone. We left with clear minds, no thought of problems…we had, after all, sorted it all out. Yah, right…

Just as we sat down for a Saturday lunch of Mum’s delectable chicken curry with the family, my phone rang. Uh-oh…the call is coming from home…not a good thing when you are 600 kms away and home is a rental, not your own place (over which you have the power of decision and choice). Sure enough, it’s T and “water is everywhere!” I handed the phone off to Hubby who helped her find the water shut off valve to the house and sort out the problem, which turns out to be the hot water heater. The handyman, who lives on the grounds of the house next door, came over, crawled up into the attic space and came back, and pronounced the device to be “ok.” He told T that it had just gotten too hot and boiled over, sending water out through the overflow pipe which, inconveniently, deposited water in the ceiling space, causing it to run out the eaves and cascade from the porch roof in a steaming waterfall, some of it even finding its way to the light fixture hanging in the stairwell and flowing down its branches onto the stairway, creating a cascade down the stairs. But he turned the thermostat down and told T that it was fine and it was all resolved.

So, Monday evening we get home and unpack, then head off to the grocery store because the fridge is bare. As we are checking out my cell phone rings…it’s T and “the water is everywhere again!” We hurry home and, sure enough, hot water is cascading from the porch roof, a wall of steam rising from the earth in front of the entrance. Hubby calls the landlord…phone goes straight to voicemail; he tries calling Mrs. Landlord…same thing. Fortunately, we have the phone number for the landlord’s mother, who organized a plumber for us…for the following day…meaning we were without hot water until the plumber came to sort out the problem.

This would have been bad enough, but when we came back from the grocery store, Hubby couldn’t get the automated gate to close properly behind us. This is a big deal in Joburg as it is not nearly as safe to live here as Cape Town and the failure of this gate meant we were vulnerable to unsavoury sorts just opening the gate and walking onto the property. This wouldn’t be a huge problem…it would be “luck of the draw” that someone would randomly test our gate…except for one thing: the motor for the gate, which is located just inside the garden wall, was making a “peep peep peep” noise to warn us that the gate was not working properly. Unfortunately, anyone walking by on the other side of the wall could hear the warning as well, motivating him to give the gate an experimental tug. Interestingly, the gate was not working properly last week and the repair guy came out and replaced the battery and transformer…now, less than a week later, it has failed again. Could he come out that evening and repair it? Nope…we had to go through the night with the warning sounding nonstop, a temptation to any chancer who might happen by. Hubby, engineering wizard that he is, found a way to manually lock it for the duration but neither of us have the cell phone number of the tenant who lives in the cottage behind us (and shares that gate), so it was just dumb luck he didn’t try to come home that night and find himself locked out of his driveway!

So, the gate temporarily sorted, we got inside, unpacked, used up the rapidly cooling water in the hot water tank (Hubby switched it off at the power board to prevent additional boilovers) with a couple of quick showers, and sat down to check my email for the first time in four days. I’ll bet you can guess what’s coming, huh?

Internet fired up fine, but my Outlook didn’t seem to be working. I kept getting a message that it was unable to connect to my POP3 server. Then, contrarily, two dozen emails downloaded in rapid succession, only to be followed by the inability to connect notice just a few minutes later. Too tired to deal with it, I took care of the emails I could, then sacked out, hoping it would be resolved by the morning.

No such luck…got up yesterday morning to find the email was still occasionally spitting a few messages my way, then stalling behind the inability to connect notice.

So, now it is Wednesday…the plumber came yesterday and the hot water heater (“geyser” in South African) seems to be working properly. The gate guy came, but the gate is still intermittently misbehaving. And Outlook? Well, I dunno…this morning there were a few emails in the Inbox, but that is in keeping with the intermittent nature of the problem, so no proof of cure. I guess if there are no more “inability to connect to the POP3 server” messages, I can consider it resolved.

The real question, however, is “Who is this Murphy guy and why is he stalking me?”


  1. Looks as if you two have had your hands full. I have missed your presence over at BlogCatalog and hope you'll hang out a lot more now.

    You moved? I'll take a look about your blog to see what it cvan tell me. Toodles.

  2. OMG--what a weekend--and part of a week! It sounds as though there are some forces perhaps trying to tell you and hubby to get the heck back to Cape Town (I understand that this is not really a possibility).

    I am well familiar with that old bastard Murphy, though--and his damn law can really be a killer.

    Or perhaps it is the rainy season in SA? Because often, when it rains--it really does pour. I sincerely hope the sun comes out soon and that old bastard Murphy finds a new person to stalk. I'd say you guys have to see a change in the weather soon!

    Take care and keep us posted!



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