Sunday, November 15, 2009

Until further notice

The universe hates me. Or at least takes a perverse sense of pleasure in confusing me!

In short, I (the one who NEVER goes to the doctor) ended up in enough pain to go to the doctor(s) on Friday. And they were SO nice! I generally hate going to the doctor as I tend to pick up weird tropical diseases and I have to diagnose and prescribe my own treatment, take it to the doctor with the list of symptoms and demand the correct prescription (I think they hate me too), but these ones were kind and gentle and taught me a bunch of new Afrikaans words...

Plus they claimed direct from medical aid. In Joburg not many do and you have to pay and then claim back and it's a bit stressful if you don't really know what's wrong and then they have to amputate a leg and it's a week before payday, you know?

So on Friday afternoon I was mildly fuzzy from painkillers, but elated at the nice doctors, the new Afrikaans vocab I was building up, the discussion I'd had with one of them over the ethics of shooting baboons. I was semi-wondering if I could just drive down here whenever I get sick or need a checkup, or else I'd have to move here (the people are nice, the shopping is amazing, the traffic is awful but not as bad as back home...).

After all that the storm of the century hit (well not really, that was on Tuesday, but there was another big storm) and as usual the power went out. I'm used to that, after all there are always big storms this time of year and they generally plunge me into darkness and then the power goes on the next morning/early afternoon. This year for some reason the power has been staying on, so I guess I'd been hoping for too much that it might do that for another two weeks.

The lights came back on after an hour or so, but the plug-points (which are linked up to some lights) didn't. I thought nothing of it and went to bed. The next morning, no power. The rest of the day... nope... the next day... nada.

It's never really bothered me too much before because I can always shuffle my day around a bit, work without power, I don't mind cold showers and there's  a gas stove so I don't starve or anything. If my food spoils I have enough in tins and that sort of thing to last me for days before that's a problem (the other bonus of not eating meat out here).

This time I realised just how bad the situation is... No power and I can't keep my samples frozen (this has been rectofied by my filling the freezer with ice and burying the samples somewhere in the middle). I can't process the new samples I took on Friday so I have to throw them out. I can take about 25% of the measurements I need (as long as my laptop stays charged) the rest need power. I can't boil the kettle which means I'm battling a sickness-headache coupled with caffeine-withdrawal.

I actually have no idea what I can do. I considered taking everything to a neighbour but I'm afraid to take the equipment over some of those roads. I can't take everything back to Joburg because I haven't got permits to do that and the offices aren't at heir most efficient right now.

So I'm currently in that quiet calm state of utter panic. I'm writing this in town where I'm getting my phone charged and stocking up on ice (at this rate if the freezer starts up again I'm going to have to spend weeks chiselling my samples out!

So now I just want to go home, where I don't have a parktown prawn under a box to deal with (again), where I haven't been invaded by centipedes (not millipedes), where I don't have to shower with six different spiders (I've named them all) and a frog (likewise), and where the electricity works...

Do you thing I could smuggle a couple of doctors home though? Right next to the climbing tree and Viktor?


po said...

Eerk! Poor you. Will someone not come to fix the power?

Olga said...

Hi there.. Hope things are getting better with you and you are starting to feel better.. After all the bad luck good times will sure come :)Take care!

EEbEE said...

i always kept a dc/ac inverter with me on field trips for that very reason.

came in handy too. You can only use your car battery to do so much though... (you can still forget about a hot shower and using the electric kettle).

there is something else you can try though...It may sound retardedly simple but give it a bash (what have you got to loose).

>>>the fact that you have lights means that your 'plugs' trip switch on your circuit mains might just be off. If'n you have looked and see that ALL the trip switches are already in the up positions (and this is the retarded bit) they may be lieing to you.

the switches (esp older ones) have a half-trip. i.e they stay nearly 100% up and when you try push them up all the way nothing happens(sort of squishy feeling but still no power). you need to pull the switch down fully until it clicks BEFORE pushing it back up. if you aren't sure which switch is lieiing to you, simply do this to all of them.

I have impressed many people with this rudimenary yet effective way of 'fixing' old trip switch circuit boards.

good luck

Kath Lockett said...

Shit-a-brick - I hope you get a ten kilogram gold bar with your PhD - you certainly deserve it!

Tamara said...

Hectic! Do you have power yet?

Helen said...

Po: eventually! it seems I'm one of many it b te storm, ut they were pretty promp in getting out to me and figuring out the problem!

Olga: thanks for the happy thoughts!

EEbEEL I'm going to spare you the feminit " know what a trip switch is!" tirade. Thanks for the advice! After the first shower of glass there was indeed a lying switch! SO I thought of you!

Kath: feel like talking to the higher-ups? I like your thinking!

Tamara: yes! (happy dance) and along with it another story to add to my collection! people out here are STRANGE!

SuvvyGirl said...

I hope things are looking up for you. Sounds like I spread my bad luck on to you