The Power Incident

Trip Start Jun 27, 2010
Trip End Oct 05, 2010

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Flag of Mexico  , Yucatan Peninsula,
Monday, July 12, 2010


Ahhhhh, just laying out in the pool enjoying the warm sun and relaxing in the cool water. This is what life is about.  It's really warm out but the water is extremely refreshing.  Wait, I must be dreaming, our pool is a more of a murky bacteria pit than a pool.  Ok, I really am dreaming.  I hate it when you are in a great dream and you realize that you are dreaming.  Does that ever happen to anyone else???  So just when the dream is at its peak and I’m loving the relaxing sensation of floating in this perfect water I begin to wake up.  As I start to wake up I notice I’m soaking wet….what the %*!# is going on here?  I roll over and take a look at my cell phone, 2:34am.  Why the hell am I soaking wet?  And I mean drenching wet.  That’s when the heat hits me just like when you’re baking some cookies and you can’t wait for the timer to go off so you yank the oven door open to steal a cookie before your wife comes back in and starts yelling at you.  Except I’m not in the kitchen stealing any cookies and I’m not getting yelled at…..I’m laying in bed!  Seriously, why is it so freaking hot?  I sit up and feel all the sweat just dripping off of me…..crap,the power is out!!  Are you serious, can anything else happen to us?  It must have been off for a while now because the A/C isn’t running, the ceiling fans aren’t spinning, and the windows are closed so the heat is stifling.  Ugh.  Ok, well, there’s a bad thunderstorm washing the muck off the streets right now so that must be the problem.  Not much to do other then crack some windows and try to go back to bed. 

We wake up around 6 am and the power is still off.  Luckily it comes back on in about an hour, life is good again.  Throughout the day the power flickers every so often just enough to be annoying because it makes my modem shut On and Off and kicks me offline which doesn’t look too good when you still have to work 8-5.  I just tell myself that’s it’s out of my control and it will be better soon….I hope.  That night the power goes off yet again so we endure another night of dreams about the pool.  The following morning the power is back On, life is good again.  Around 11am the power goes off and stays off.  I’m panicking because I’m supposed to be working and it’s hard to work on a computer without power.  I call work and let them know what’s going on.  After 3-4 hours, the power comes back On.  Roughly 9pm that night, you guessed it, it goes back OFF.  I snap,  "When are they getting this crap fixed, it’s getting REALLY annoying."  I’m storming around stomping, slamming doors, cursing at anything on the verge of a breakdown after what has seemed like one problem after another.   Nina does what she always does and tries to calm the beast that is within me.  “Let’s make a couple drinks and drag the chairs back up to the roof.  At least there’s some cool air blowing up there” she says.  On the roof we go.  We stay up there until around 1am and while we’re up there we notice everyone else still has power!?!?  What in the world is going on here, why are we the ONLY ones without power. 

The power finally comes back on around 4am and interrupts another wonderful pool session.  I finally roll out of bed close to 7am and fire up the laptop for work.  At 8am it’s back off again.  This whole time I’ve been having thoughts of someone trying to steal our power because I’ve been reading that it happens quite frequently here.  “I’m going to check the damn meter!  If it’s still turning then someone is stealing power because it shouldn’t be turning if we don’t have any power”.  I run down the four endless flights of stairs and start looking for meters.  I find this old concrete building that is almost completely overgrown with vines and jungle plants.  It has a really old and beaten iron gate for a door.  There is supposed to be a lock on it, but you can tell it’s been pried off.  “Umm, that can’t be a good sign.”  I’m kind of nervous to open the door and stick my head in, but I’ve done crazier things in my life….I’m going in!  I slowly peel back the iron gate as it’s squealing, popping, and making all kinds of racket.  Poke my head in around the corner.  “Wow, this building is a lot bigger than it looks from the outside, but there isn’t anybody in here….GOOD!”  

It’s a concrete building, probably 20x20ft and it’s got a whole ton of meters all around the walls.  I start trying to find ours and eventually find it.  It was the one closest to the door, but with my luck it was the last one I checked.  (Which I guess it would be the last one I checked, I mean why would I keep looking for it if I had already found it?  Focus, Steven, get back on topic.)   I take a look at our meter and it’s actually NOT turning.  Woo hoo!  This is a good thing.  While it SUCKS to not have any power, at least no one else has tied into it and is directly stealing power.  So I kind of tap the meter and the damn thing falls into my hands!  “Holy crap!!  This isn’t good!”  I’m standing in a musty old concrete building in downtown Cancun with a power meter in my hands while I’m starring back at the mess of wire that’s called a “circuit”….more like a mess of spaghetti.  The heart rate jumps up a little bit and the blood pressure is close to squirting blood out my ears.  I’m not the kind of person that really wants to be messing around with a power meter.  I’m crazy, not stupid.

“Here goes nothing….I’m gonna try to put it back together.”  As I’m trying my best to put the power meter back on (with my teeth clenched, lips pressed, one eye closed and the other one squinting …kind of like the look of someone being electrocuted although nothing is happening to me), I’m waiting for a loud pop and for what’s left of my hair to burst into a smoky mess.  I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories about these things frying people up like a piece of bacon.  Somehow I manage to get the meter back on.  You can obviously tell that someone has been prying it and broke off the locking collar that holds it on.  I’m not exactly sure what the motive was.  Maybe they were putting our meter onto their line and hoping we wouldn’t notice the power failure, while they let our meter run up on their line while saving them a pretty penny in the electricity bill….I don’t know?  All I do know is that the meter has been tampered with and it won’t really stay back on the box.  Each time I try to plug the meter back in, it keeps falling back into my hands.  “So this explains why the power kept crapping out on us.  It won’t stay connected good enough to provide a good circuit.  How in the world am I going to fix this?!?” 

I go straight into MacGyver mode….duct tape!!  I run out to the truck and grab a roll of the trusty silver tape and few zip ties.  I’ve fixed worse with less….I can do this.  Long story short (ha ha), I was able to tape the meter back on and strap a few zip ties to it to help hold the power of life together.  The meter guy is due to come read the meters on the 18th, so surely he’ll report it.  Nevertheless, we contact the landlord and he places a call with the electric company.  He tells us they’ll be here within 5 days to fix the locking collar to keep the meter on and locked up.  Uh huh, if I’ve learned one thing while being here it’s that “manana” doesn’t really mean tomorrow.  It means any day other than today.  So until then, I’ll keep my duct tape handy and the zip ties close by.  If the power shuts off again, I’ve got a nice size pipe sitting by the front door, so I’ll take the “persuader” out with me and see who’s messing with it. 

I guess there’s nothing else to do now except enjoy the time we have down here and make the best of it.  I mean, what ELSE could possibly go wrong…….
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mom on

good god you could be electrocuted!!!!!!

king (dad) on

maybe you can leave a note on your meter to ask them to come to your apartment and discuss what happened. Maybe you can get them to put a lock the room again. Nina better get the Rosseta stone out and study, could be some serious dialogue coming your way.

-losviajeros- on

Ahhh, nah. I got this covered (steven). It always goes something like this:

Me: (nodding and grinning nervously) "Si, Senor" (then i rattle off a big confusing sentance in english).

Them: (that look like they have NO idea what i just said but want to be friendly, then rattle off a long sentance in spanish) "Si, senor"

Both of us: (just look oddly at one another grinning, the nod our heads like we understand.)

Hey, it works!

sherri on

Steven, your could have been killed! but that you, will try anything once..LOL

Rene Kennedy on

You guys are so adorable! I love love love reading your blogs. I am so impressed on how brave y'all are. I would never do what y'all are doing...unless I stayed drunk the whole time. I'm really brave when I've been drinking. Seriously....enjoy your adventure - you are so fortunate to be able to do this. Stay safe and can't wait to read more. Love ya!!

Barb Hutter on

We love reading the blogs! You both are so brave! We miss you a bunch! Stay safe and take care of each other.

Nicki on

Hey Macguyver...nice work!!!! OMG, your description of THE REPAIR was hysterical!!!! I swear I could see your facial expressions....too dang funny. Crazy, insane, AND brave.....all YOU!!!! I am just thankful you are ok?!?!? In Texas, duct tape and bailing wire....Mexico, a few zip ties instead and you are golden, huh? Sure hope they have or will get there soon to make sure it is fixed for good :) Ok, one more time....BE CAREFUL and have fun!!!

John on

Hey you guys! More please!! What? You think just because you guys got there and sorta almost got settled that you can slack on the blogs??!! The way you to go at things I expect Nina to write about how she sent a Jaguar running for it's life in the local woods and Steven bartered for a cheap generator which instead of just using as a backup power source is now pimping out power to the locals at a profit or something at least as entertaining!! We're all waiting for the next blog!! lol
BTW, I call dibs on publishing the first 2 books when you guys get back!!


Scott on

LMAO - reminds me of the electrical fence bubba, All Angela and Nina could hear us saying was ohh s**t that hurt, and then do it again, till it finally threw us on the ground LOL............Great times, Great stories

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