I haven't had electricity in my bedroom for about a week now. I think it was last Monday night when I flipped the light switch, heard a pop, and stood in a dark room. (The days of flu blur together a bit.) My clock was dead as well so it obviously wasn't the light bulb. The breaker is conveniently located directly above my bed so I tried flipping it, but it felt floppy and wouldn't stay in position. I tried unplugging my clock to ensure I wasn't overloading the circuit; still nothing.
This would have been a good time to call the landlord, except for the minor difficulty that the only thing I know about him is that his name is Larry. I talked to my roommate, and her old roommate used to have his number, but she lost it some months ago. My roommate does, however, know both his name and where he lives. She was expecting him to come by that weekend to collect October's rent since he always shows up within a couple of days of payday so we decided to just wait and tell him then. It was a bit of an inconvenience, yes, but I can get my work done in the living room and now have an excuse to wear this cool headlamp I bought a year ago and pretend I'm spelunking even as I type this post.
The weekend has come and gone with no sign of the landlord, and I'm a bit less charmed by my electricity-free quarters. It's time to either get serious about fixing the circuitry or buy a kersosene lantern. I'm about ready to take matters into my own hands. After talking to my favorite former apprentice electrician, I now know that the place to start is to replace the breaker and see if that fixes the problem. It sounds simple enough, and it'll probably be safe as long as I cut off power to the house, invest in a circuit tester to be doubly sure, and get my roommate to stand by with a broom handle. The prospect of moving on from fixing our toilet to doing our own electrical repairs is pretty exciting, actually.
There's just one teensy problem. A weekend visit to see that former electrician and his family has left me rather low on funds for the week. I have $8 cash plus $13something on a Wal-Mart card for groceries, gas, and school supplies. I suspect that won't get me a breaker, and I am loath to wait until I collect my Friday afternoon allowance to try to restore power to my room. I think it may be time to break into that $1,000 "life happens fund" sitting in savings. Based on the cost of bills for the past two months, I'll certainly be able to replenish whatever a breaker costs by the end of the month. It doesn't really matter whether I just take the money out of checking instead, but I'm more likely to take it seriously if I treat it as a debt to myself.