Electrical bizarreness

When I say that Switzerland is in a class of their own, I don’t mean it in a negative way! I have yet to fully understand the macro and micro workings of this little country and today, I have one more thing to add to my “bizarre happenings” list – not that I really have one to begin with. HAHA!

Anyway, this morning I woke up to the thought of making some Malaysian-styled pancakes as you probably have seen in earlier posts. Nil had already asked for some pancakes yesterday night – yes, we have pancakes on weekends quite often – so okay, off I went to the kitchen. I open the fridge and hmm, something doesn’t look quite right. There is no light. Strange. Looked around, and the radio-clock isn’t working. Tried the exhaust light and fan. Nope, not working either. Tried the kitchen light and it works just fine. Turned on the oven light and oven and it’s working as well.

So maybe it’s just the extension cord linking the fridge and radio-clock to the power socket. Okay, time to waddle around the apartment to look for a new extension cord. Found on, pulled out everything and replaced the old one with this one. Tried plugging it in. Nope, that didn’t work. Tried another plug – there are only two in my kitchen (I know, I know). Didn’t work either.

Time to call out the big guns – in other words, the hubby. He walks out, checks and comes to the conclusion that we probably blew out a fuse. Okay, so we go hunting around for another extension cord because the fridge can go without electricity for too long. It took us three extension cords to link the fridge to the nearest non-kitchen power plug. Geh. Then he heads off to bed to relax since it’s a Sunday and no one is open, not even for emergencies.

I start up the electrical plated stove (since the Swiss don’t really fancy using gas) – thankgawd the oven is still working, I tell myself. And just as I finish uttering those words, the light indication starts doing the 70s retro club dance (read: blinking before passing out for a number of seconds before blinking again). I call Nil again and he starts cursing as I related the whole thing while heading back to the kitchen. He comes in, takes one look and then, the light dies. I mean kaput, no light, no nothing. For a moment we wondered if the stove was turned out. I had to find out with some basic common sense – water on hot plate and such. Okay, it’s still working but still…I don’t quite relish the idea of not being able to cook, especially with bowls of batter lying around.

Our fuse box...yes, Swiss styled!

After breakfast and coffee, Nil decides to really take a look at the whole problem. The two power sockets, lights above the power socket, exhaust fan and light all don’t work. The stove, oven and ceiling light (on the opposite wall) are all okay. So he assumes that it’s the fuse. I go hunting online for some idea as to what exactly is going on while preparing lunch as well. Just as I start cooking, Nil starts removing the fuses on our fuse box.

Now, our fuse box (pic above) is unlike anything I or him have ever seen. His cousin who is an electrician told us (jokingly of course) to move out of the country! Later on, he remarked that it was a pretty old system. In fact, the entire wiring for the apartment is old and inappropriate for modern living.

Just to give you an idea, we have one power plug in the master bedroom and it’s right in the middle of the room. In the guest room, the only power plug is below the light switch next to the door. In the hall, we have one near the balcony and another next to the outlet for the TV and phone. The other plug is right next to the entrance from the hallway. After that, the only other plugs are in the kitchen – one next to the window and the other next to the dish drying area. Lets not get to things like lighting or fixtures (eg these discount lighting fixtures).

Nightmarish really…

Back to our little problem in the kitchen, Nil removes the first fuse (from the right) and nothing works in the kitchen, not even the stove while everywhere else in the entire house is okay. Alright…he puts that in and removes the second one. It’s the same – nothing in the kitchen but everywhere else is fine. He puts that back and removes the third fuse, the smallest and everything in the house stops working.

Here’s the kicker.

When he puts the third fuse back in, EVERYTHING in the kitchen went back to normal. The exhaust fan and light, the stove top and oven, the power plugs, the light above the plug…all of it started up as if it never broke down to begin with. Even the darn oven indicator lights have stopped dancing and are back to their usual self.

So really, what just happened??? Hm…I think I’ll just chalk it down to some good old-fashioned bizarreness. Geh.

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