Saturday, February 16, 2008


This Update is entitled Welcome Home! This is our first quiet weekend in quite some time. We returned from Hanoi three weeks ago, left that following weekend for India, and spent last weekend there. Today was for relaxing. Welcome Home! Sunshine woke this morning to the smell of burning dust in my office. All the electronic equipment was out. There was odd, decentralized buzzing in the walls. Overhead lights would brown down to flashlight level then strobe brightly. Pops and crackles came from the closet. Sunshine got the fire extinguisher handy, woke me up (I was sleepily unclear about the electrical danger: I slept another hour). The first thing I noticed, getting up, was that everything was now unplugged, the lights were all buzzing, and smoke was pouring out of the living room AC unit. We called maintenance. This is a terrifying step, after all: once maintenance has been invited into the apartment they'll stay, they'll return day after day, fidgeting, respectfully parking their shoes in the hall, cluttering the apartment with ladders, drop canvases, and tools. Today, they dismantled several AC units, took electrical measurements, and ultimately replaced the microwave, the refrigerator, and many fuses. Our new fridge is temporary, I hope. It's too large to fit in the designated space and has been left in the middle of the kitchen floor. Monday, special air conditioner guys will replace the living room unit and the IT company will replace our Vietnamese modem, the only equipment unprotected by fused surge suppressors and electrical converters--thus totally burnt to a crisp in whatever event started all this while we were sleeping. It's good that everything else is fine, but there goes the first week of wireless internet and I must regress to the damn wi-fi caf├ęs to post this. [Cavin]