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I know you will find it hard to believe that after Mr. Wu the electrician and his gang spent many, many days this winter at my house ripping walls and floors apart to fix the electrics, that he would be back here so soon. But yes, today he was. I too find it hard to believe, even after all these years of chaos and crumbling, that my house is determined to disintegrate. But it is.

The other day, I noticed the green light on my computer power link wasn’t lit. I tested the wall socket it was plugged into; it didn’t work. Contacted my tenant about access to the panel, went down, flipped various breakers, nothing. Okay, not urgent, I plugged my computer in somewhere else and moved other appliances around until the outlet could get fixed.

Last night, my Vancouver friend Judy was coming for dinner so I turned on the oven to cook a chicken. After 15 minutes, I realized it was hardly heating at all. The oven, I thought, must somehow be connected to the damaged plug. Without panicking, I coolly shoved the chicken into a small dish and squeezed it into the toaster oven, where it cooked – slowly, but it cooked. I was able eventually to feed my friend, though not the potatoes that would have baked in the oven at the same time.

Down to check the panel again – no change. This time I pushed a thingie that said Test, and realized that not only had it not brought power back, it had somehow disconnected power to another part of the kitchen, and even more outlets didn’t work. Luckily, the divine Mr. Wu happened to be nearby and agreed to stop in. After flipping and checking, he told me the dead kitchen plug must mean a dead or snapped wire. This means, he said, to go from the panel at the front of the house to this plug at the back, we need to cut a trench through the drywall the length of two bedroom walls downstairs, through the bathroom, the storage room, the living room, and then up to the plug in my kitchen.

No. No. Shani has just settled in with her small child and I am still recovering from the utter chaos of a reno. NO. If possible, I will live without that plug.

We tackled the stove, which he finally concluded was a separate issue entirely; my oven has broken, I merely need a new stove. Wonderful! But also, the wiring behind the stove, done after the fire in 2005, is appalling and dangerous, he said. And then we discovered the overhead hood fan and light don’t work, so, attached to the nonworking plug.

Mr. Wu and his men fixed the basement wiring, the second floor, the third floor, not the main floor. Now – a whole new job opens up. Will I ever dig myself out of debt? Probably not.

But the sun came out, so I went out to make myself feel better by raking and sweeping and talking to neighbours I haven’t seen since we turned into moles last December.

The elderly woman I wrote about in the letter yesterday, despite the fact that her circumstances have not changed, sounds stronger and happier today. Someone stood up for her. It matters.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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