Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lights Out Again

(Note: I wrote this last night, but am publishing it today. I couldn't publish it for obvious reasons.)

I'm sitting here in the dark - again.

The power is out, but I can't tell you just how relieved I was when I went to the window and discovered that, this time, it's not just us. It's the whole freakin' street.

Luckily my laptop had a full charge- that's keeping me occupied, and the iPod was likewise prepared for disaster- that's keeping Lucas occupied and out of my hair. Kid won't sleep, that's for sure. Problem is I have a client who at this moment is wondering why the hell I didn't make our 10PM call. Well, I have an excellent excuse. Gotta say I'm feeling a bit nostalgic for a dial-up connection... at least that way I could send him an email. Oh well.

Some of you may have read my previous post about my frustrations with the electric company, frustrations that were ongoing for a couple weeks as our electricity fluttered and failed at unpredictable moments... The voltage regulators snapping angrily when the washing machine and/or iron and/or microwave were running. We put that all behind us a few days ago, or at least I thought we did until tonight. Hence my immense relief to discover that we are not the only dark house on the street.

One thing I didn't describe on this blog was the heated argument I had with the repair crew that finally showed up after one of my calls. At the time they arrived here, the electricity was normal, and despite my insistence that the problem came and went like the wind and the rain, the sun and the moon and the tides they said that if the voltage was normal there was nothing I could do. I decided, against my better judgement, to argue that they were taking the word of a stupid little machine over the word of a customer who knew very well that he had a problem, a capricious problem that wouldn't wait 3 hours for a repair crew to show up to prove that it existed.

So I decided to call the electric company every time the lights got funky- what other choice did I have? As it turned out, I got very lucky after only a couple calls- a very excellent repairman and one of a disappearing breed of 'good people' on the planet showed up here and although he couldn't help me, he didn't tick me off and better yet- he gave me his phone number. The next time the lights went out I called him, and even though he was off duty, he hopped on his motorcycle and came right over. Unfortunately, the lights were back on again when he arrived, and although he fixed a couple possible causes the problem continued.

A couple days ago- was it Thursday? the lights blinked out once more. By this time I had convinced myself that the problem was the wiring in my house, and therefore not the responsibility of the electric company (I even suspected ants at one point) so I went looking for another electrician who lives across the street. Turns out he was in the hospital with dengue fever. So once again I called Dênis, the Good Guy. He was at home, but he hopped on his bike and rode over.

This time, the lights were still out when he arrived. This was good! And better yet? The problem was on the power pole out in front of the house, and not in our internal wiring! Only problem? Dude was on his motorcycle, and my extension ladder is shortish, and aluminum. The nearest repair truck would take hours to arrive. Dênis said he'd give the ladder a try, so I went to get it. You're going to hold it for him, right? asked Evani, to which I stated in no uncertain terms that no fucking way was I holding an aluminum ladder for an electrician as he worked on our electric lines. I was more polite than that.

Dênis climbed to the top of the ladder but was still almost ten feet below where he needed to get to. Amazingly, he didn't stop- he just kept climbing- putting his feet on those old-school bulbous ceramic insulators and all the rest until he got to where the real electricity happens, at the very top of the pole. He started grabbing wires and stripping them and sparks were flying and I was praying that he didn't light up like a christmas tree up there; one of the good guys turned crisped electrician. I'm not kidding about the sparks. There were lots of sparks. They scared me. But he knew what he was doing and he fixed it and he came down safe and I put my ladder away and thanked my lucky stars, and his, too. I also thanked him, profusely, and tried to press money into his hand which he refused with vehemence.

And we've had no problems with our electricity since.

Until now.

But now my relief has dissipated, much as the charge of my laptop battery dwindles, my patience begins to wear once more, although I must say the relative quiet brought on by a lack of electricity is quite marvelous.

Here's hoping they fix the lights soon.

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