Category Archives: Weird

Kafka In Palm Beach County

We’re having to deal with a bizarre situation with a house we own in Lake Worth, Florida. The Building Department is demanding that we close a permit, and threatening to fine us a grand a day until we do so. Fun fact: The permit was opened at the time the house was built, two owners prior, and we have no idea what it’s for, and neither does the Building Department, but they’re demanding that we take care of it and have it inspected anyway. It seems to basically be an extortion scheme by a money-hungry local government. Does anyone have any ideas about how to get them to cease and desist pro se? Or know someone who would take it pro bono?

House Renovation Blues (Part 2)

Here’s a weird one. After the fridge thing, I decided to put in a shut-off valve for the fridge line only, so if it ever happened again, to either me (I hope not) or the new owner, I could shut just that off and still have cold faucet and filtered water in the kitchen sink. Shortly thereafter, the garbage disposal (which I’d installed about a decade ago, when we remodeled the kitchen, along with all the appliances) quit working. There is no action when the switch is flipped. I checked the breaker, and it’s not tripped. I can turn it freely with an allen wrench from below, so it’s not jammed, and there’s no hum. However, the armored cable to it from the switch is broken at the interface to the machine, and I can see a black wire-nutted wire sticking out the side, though it seems to be connected, at least from visual inspection.

OK, here’s the weird part. I went to Home Depot to pick up a non-contact voltage detector and a multi-meter to trouble shoot. When I bring the detector near the cable at the interface, I get a voltage signal. But only when the switch is off. When the switch is on, it disappears. When I kill the breaker, I get nothing either way. WTF?

Anyway, I was hoping to avoid pulling (and even worse purchasing a replacement). But it looks like I won’t figure it out without doing so. On the upside, if I do pull the device, it will make it easier to get at the new shutoff valve behind it, which is dripping…

[Tuesday-morning update]

On further inspection, the neutral wire is clearly broken going into the disposal, so off it comes to repair it. I must have done it when I was installing the shut-off valve. That’s why it was sensing voltage on the hot line.