Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Comedy of Errors / Importance of Signage / How we Learn

Guess which one I am?
Courtesy of Google Images

This story has to be told from the very beginning to get the full effect.

Yesterday Lars and I went on a service call to Osby, a small town about one and half hours drive through some country roads.  Lars hadn't been there for about 8 to 10 years so we used a GPS.  The trip took us through some icy and snowy roads with beautiful scenery.  The temp was about -7 degrees celsius.

We finally get there and the cooling machine is on the second floor in a dentists office that has been newly renovated.  The machine is over 30 years old.  We check the indoor unit which has an on/off power switch just below it.  The machine doesn't turn on so we check if there is power to the switch.  No power.  Aha, maybe we have a blown fuse.  So we check the label on the machine which tells us what group of fuses it is attached to.  We check three locations of electrical fuse boxes, but can't find any numbers or descriptions matching the machine.  So we check all the fuses anyway.  These fuses are easy to check but there are many of them.  There is one location we can't get into down in the basement.

Electrician Number One:  We call an electrician in town whose name we found in one of the fuse cabinets. He agrees to come in and help us.  He does all the searching we had already done and finally tells us that he no longer takes care of this building.  He has been replaced.  So we get the name of another electrician who is responsible for the building who has master keys and agrees to come in and help us.

During this time I ask Lars about this funny looking new switch by the door near the old machine.  He doesn't know what it is.  He hasn't seen it before.  So we try it and nothing happens.  We leave it in the position that it was in.

Electrician Number Two:  The second electrician arrives and checks the old machine and checks all the fuse locations we had already checked.  He is baffled.  We go downstairs to the basement and check the main electrical room.  Nothing is there with the labeling we are looking for.  All fuses are good.  We look at some old building schematics and determine that the fuse location must be in the dentists office.  This electrician finally leaves and says that he can't help us any further.

Lars and I then decide to check the outside machine on the roof for further clues.  We take the long ladder off the shop van and haul it up the stairs thru the waiting room and the dentists office to the outside second  floor roof where we can get to the third floor roof.  This in itself was comedic sort of like the movie "The Long, Long Trailer" with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez.

We get to the old old machine and check for labels on it.  The main power switch handle is broken so you can't tell what position it is in.  We take a side panel off and check the incoming power.  Nothing.  Then we switch the position of the main switch and behold we now have power.  Lars goes down to the indoor unit and turns it on.  I stay on the roof and the machine works.  Someone had turned the machine off on the roof.  Who, How, What, Ghost, Spider Man, apartment dweller from the adjacent building with a window to the roof?  Mystery.

We button up the machine and take the tools, ladders down to the van.  But, there is still the mystery of where the fuses were located.  The machine is now functional.

Lars goes back up to the dentists office to tell them what had happened and that we were done.
When Lars returned he tells me that as he was leaving he asked one of the workers in the dentists office if they turn off the machine at night.  She went over to the "funny looking switch" by the door and said "Oh yes we turn it off here"  This new switch is labeled with another fuse location number.  The problem of the missing fuse is solved.  There were two on/off switches.  And none of the electricians were aware.

On our way home it began to lightly snow and was starting to get dark.  Lars and I looked at each other and began to laugh.  There were so many twists and turns.  It is laughable.


  1. David, I am curious how anyone would know if a COOLING machine is OFF in SWEDEN in FEBRUARY!! By the way, it is going to snow here in the central California foothills tonight, with accumulations expected to be as much as six inches! Snow could fall in San Francisco also.

  2. Well Karla, put twenty hot Swedes in a room and there you go. Snow? We are always glad to share.

  3. Wow! We love that story. Especially because it sounds just like things that happen to us. Now we know we are not the only ones who have those kind of days. The building was probably decades old so the wiring was a creation.

    The snow Karla mentions is falling now. A couple of inches in the last hour. In the last ten days we have had about 10" to 12". Thank goodness most of it melted between storms so the accumulation is only about 4" at this time.

    Debbie left for Montana today to spend the next five months with her daughter and family. We plan to drive up in July and accompany her back to california. We are relieved she is going to be with them, because she lives alone in Waterford and her MS has reached the point where she can no longer get herself up if she falls which seems to happen about once a week now. Luckily she has wonderful neighbors who are able to come over and help her.