Saturday, December 13, 2008

You don't know what fun is...

You don't know what fun is until you've survived several multi day power outages. With two small boys. With no water because your well is run by ~ electricity! And you husband is out of town. Every.single.time.

I live in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. Its a small town with big storms. BIG storms. Big WINDY storms. Yesterday as I was driving Ben home from school I noticed something long and black laying across the entrance to our road. Our only entrance. We live on a cul de sac. Oh wait, its not a long black snake, its a power line. And it snapped right off the pole at the top of our street. HHHMMM, that doesn't look safe. Maybe I should call 911. "Yes Ma'am, we'll send someone out right away." So the fire chief shows up in his shiny red Suburban and says (paraphrasing here) "Yup, that's a power line alright. I'll call the electric company." and he drives away. He drives.Away.

This was at 4pm. We were supposed to have Karen and her kids over for dinner. Change of plans, we'll go to her house. I get the boys settled in with her and I head back to our house. Power line still there. So, being the brave soul that I am ~ I jump over it. With my eyes closed. Saying a silent prayer that I don't end up a charred hot dog. I survived. I walked down the street and into my very dark house. I fed the dog, let him out to do his business and stoked the fire (silent thanks for having a wood burning stove that we prefer to use over our electric heat). I grab the meatballs out of my luke warm fridge, some pj's for the kids and head back over to Karen's house after risking life and limb to jump back over the downed line. (Oh and I fired up the generator while I was at home, just get it warmed up in case we were in for the long haul). Yes, we have a generator. Sadly, this story is a common occurence. But wait, it gets better.

I decided to personally call the electric company to see if there were any updates on when I may be able to actually drive to my house. I was told all was clear and I had power. WOO HOO! So, after dinner and some chocolate we head home. OOPS, they lied. No one had been there. Big tree still in the middle of the road. Big power line still in our street. I called back. "Ma'am, I'm showing the tree on XYZ road has been cleared." Me: "That's great! I don't live on XYZ road, I live on RST road." "Oh, well Ma'am. There are lots of "emergencies" tonight and our guys are working as fast as possible to restore power." Me: "I have a generator, I don't care about restored power. I'd like to be able to drive home, please. Just have the line removed" (its about 9:45pm now.) "I'll send a note to dispatch about your power outage ma'am" Me: "Seriously, its NOT the power outage I'm calling about. Its the power line that is blocking access to my home." "Are you at home and unable to have anyone over?" Me: "No, I'm not home, I haven't been home all day and I can't get home." "Are you lights off ma'am?" Me: "I don't know, I can't see my house." "You aren't at home?"

The conversation went like that for about five minutes. Finally I hung up with them and called 911 back. They were surprised that the line hadn't cleared because they "showed that the electric company had been notified." Yeah, I know. So 911 dude calls electric company dispatch and is told "Oh, that ticket was cleared and marked as fixed. The tree has been removed from XYZ street." Oh. My. God.

So 911 dude explains the whole situation. Explains that its a downed line ~ not a tree ~ that is "isolating residential homes". Ok great, thanks 911 dude! So the boys and I go drive around and look at Christmas lights. About 11pm we drive back home. Nothing.

I called electric company back and explain to the very nice lady that maybe its just me, but a power line on the ground, "isolating residential homes" for 8 1/2 hours kind of seems like an emergency to me. But who knows...maybe I'm weird. She said "oh, we didn't know there was a line down, we're just showing a power outage." After a similiar conversation to the above one, I finally convinced her to call the dispatchers and explain what was going on. She did. They called the "guys on the trucks" and gave them a "gentle reminder" that there was a line down. HHHMMM, a gentle reminder? I thought no one knew about it in the first place?

So, I we hit McD's drive thru because we were all hungry and lo and behold, when we got back there were big trucks! Two of 'em! Picking up that line. I drove home and we walked into our dark house.

Got everyone settled in and was getting ready to climb into bed. I grabbed a handful of french fries and shoved them in my mouth. Apparently I shoved them too hard because one slid down my throat. Completely blocking all air to my lungs. The only thing I could think of was that I finally got home and I'm going to die. Here in my kitchen. In front of my kids. In the dark. So, I did what any panicked, tired mom would do. I stuck my finger down my throat. Crisis averted. But Ben was a little freaked out. Something about standing in the dark, by the light of a flashlight and watching your mom wretch and gasp for air traumatized him. Can't figure that one out.

We all climbed into my bed and the boys slept hard. And kicked me in the back, hard. And punched me in the face, hard. And then at 6:30 am all of our lights came on. And everything was right with the world. It was crazy fun!

Oh yea, Jason's in Orlando. He missed the whole adventure.
Cheers! I'm off to add something a little stronger to this coffee!


frillsfluffandtrucks said...

Good grief, Jess! What a crazy night!!

You know, our power used to go out all.the.time. for days on end. It was crazy. Plus it seemed that every time I had surgery (c-sections, appendectomy), it was a cue for the power to go out.

We finally broke down and bought a generator and paid an electrician to wire us for a whole house generator. Well guess what? The electrical company built a new substation and since we bought that (very freaking expensive!!) generator, our power has gone out ONCE. And it was for 45 minutes.

Not that I'm complaining, but it is ridiculous! Too bad your generator purchase didn't coincide with a decrease in power outages.

Dionne said...

I'm glad you are all safe and sound WITH POWER! When I first moved to the pacific northwest I was completely unprepared for how often the power goes out. For some reason, it still surprises me! Well, here's to a calmer, less eventful holiday!

CAB said...

Good grief! I'm glad you got home safe and sound...finally...sometimes I wonder if those people we call in emergencies are actually listening to us or just putting down what they think we're saying - ugh!! We're renting and have been w/o A/C since 10/30...uh...should it really take that long to contact the owner, get approval for the repair and get the guys out here to fix it??????? Thankful now for the cooler temps here in TX b/c if this had happened in Spring/Summer we'd have been in a hotel all this time...

Mary said...

All the fun stuff happens when the husband/dad is out of town! Glad you were able to dislodge that fry....