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Living Without Power

We camped this week without leaving the house. I knew we were in for an interesting time when I watched the local TV weatherman last Thursday. He was pointing excitedly to a big glob of red and yellow stuff on the radar map and jabbering like a spider monkey, about spring cold fronts and moisture coming in from the gulf.

I normally pay attention but predicting the weather accurately is like trying to pick next week’s Powerball numbers.

As it turns out, he was right this time because a front moved in Friday night and promptly blew our lights to somewhere in South Carolina.

We have huge trees in our yard and the wind made them sway like a barmaid listening to Elvis on the jukebox.

I have Alabama Power on speed dial because the service out where we live can be spotty at times. I was on the phone to their computer before the shadows faded from the walls.

The repairmen arrived sometime before the chickens got up and they had our lights on in time for our morning coffee.

We planned to plant our garden Saturday, but that darn weatherman was back on the tube saying we hadn’t seen the last of the bad weather and it was going to get cold again. So we sharpened our garden tools and drooled while browsing through our seed catalogs.

Easter Sunday was a beautiful morning and while we were reading our morning paper, I glanced out the front windows and noticed a tiny squirrel scampering down the power line in front of the house. Otherwise it was as still as a painting outside. At that moment, the power went off again. Now I’m not saying the squirrel caused the outage, but you have to admit it was an interesting coincident.

A while later, a technician showed up and reset the fuse up the road. I wanted to offer up the dancing squirrel idea as the root cause of the outage, but feared he might take a dim view of my theory and leave my lights off until Christmas.

Fast forward to Sunday night/Monday morning – distant thunder woke us up. I listened, as the sound of the wind got louder and louder. You could hear limbs cracking and debris rattling against the side of the house. Before the wind died down, our lights were out again for the third time in three days. I had a sinking feeling that the fix this time would take more than a few hours.

When I called in, you could tell their system was in overdrive. I got the definite impression that the computer which normally sounds friendly and cheerful, wanted to say “get in line Bubba, you’ll get juice when we get to you!”

I took off work on Monday and headed to the station to get gas for the generator. On the way out, I passed by downed power and cable TV lines.

I drove about ten miles to find a station that had electricity, and bought enough gas to feed the small generator for several days. The unit is only big enough to keep the fridge and freezer cold.

Just before I left for work on Tuesday morning, the phones, which depend on electricity to keep the batteries in the repeater boxes charged, died. So at that point, we had no power, no cable TV and no phones.

Later, I was eating lunch at my desk when Jilda called. She had headed out on errands and called to say, “I have some good news and some bad news.”

“Alabama Power is working on the lines on our road,” she said mirthfully. I waited for the other shoe to drop. “But apparently some of the work crews got off the edge of the road and broke the water main. Water is shooting up 30 feet into the air,” she said laughing hysterically. It struck me funny too and I spewed tea all over my desk and laughed until I had tears in my eyes.

So at that point, the situation was- we had no power, no cable, no phones or water. I told her to keep an eye out for locust or other pestilence in the area.

It’s funny now, but I know these “weather events” are no fun for all the utility people who work day and night to get our lives back to normal. I want to say thanks to them all for all their hard work. We now have water, phones, and lights. Our cable TV is still not on but we’ve decided to do what we do when we go camping and read instead of watching TV.

 

 
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