Friday, March 02, 2007

Surging through disaster

I guess I slept through a helluva storm last night. I woke up this morning and there was no electricity, or so I thought. This is not unusual here so I didn't think much of it. But as I staggered into the kitchen wondering what I was going to do about coffee I noticed the store was still up and running. They usually lose power if I do so I became a little suspicious and started investigating.

I discovered a big ass tree fell down and the electrical line was nearly pulled off the house. So I called the electric company. Little did I realize what disaster lay ahead. I suppose I should have made a connection when I opened the refrigerator to get some water and the light bulb went on and then popped, that something bigger was amiss but it wasn't until I talked to my neighbor, who was picking up the pieces of the tree that fell in his yard, that I discovered the true extent of what had befallen me.

"Power surge," he said. "My Dad's on his way down now to check it out."

He then went on to explain a lot of stuff about volts and amperage that meant nothing to me. I stopped listening when he said it had fried all his computers and other electronics. I'm standing there in my pajamas and I couldn't hear anything over the Oh Shit ringing in my head. Then I came in and smelled burning wires in the kitchen. I called the landlord.

So picture me, at the height of this head cold, sniffling and miserable, doing the quick clean on the bathroom and madly swiffering the floors before the landlord arrives. The electric company arrived first. The guy didn't really want to talk to me and did nothing for my anxiety when he asked if I had renter's insurance. I knew it was going to be bad then.

The indoor electrician arrived next. He took apart the fuse box and waited around for the electricity to come back on. I was so already so overwrought at this point I had to go lie down for ten minutes or pass out. He whistled while he worked. It was the most beautiful whistle I'd ever heard but a song I didn't know. Nonetheless it was very calming. It probably saved me from having a nervous breakdown.

The landlord arrived shortly thereafter. I've spoken to him exactly three times in two years but I love the guy. He's also very calm and kind of soothing in a favorite uncle kind of way. And he takes care of things so promptly and efficiently. We established that the refrigerator was dead.

They brought me a brand new one within the hour. He didn't mind when I pointed the plumbing problems I had been avoiding dealing with since I already had him here. He got a plumber to come in the afternoon. He even decided to replace the horrible drip pans under the burners on the stove for me. I hadn't been able to find the right model. He took off with the electrician.

In the interim I discovered that my computer was still working, God bless the fifty dollar surge protector I cursed Kevin for making me buy. I take back all the cranky things I said. The blessed thing came with a 22 page instruction booklet that I never understood but it saved the old 'puter and more importantly all the stuff on the hard drive I've never backed up. I also discovered my heat wasn't working.

Miraculously, the cable company sent the tech right out. John barely had time to get here with a new power strip so I could make sure the connection worked before I let the tech go. At this point it was 3:00 and I hadn't had coffee, much less food. John and I walked over to the store for that but when we returned, all the trucks were gone and I still didn't have drip pans or heat or a working toilet.

Momentary anxiety ensued but the plumbers arrived shortly thereafter so full fledged panic was once again averted. I was just about to freak out again when the landlord arrived with the drip pans and the news that the heating guy would come to fix the heater. At this point it was 4:40 and I had another attack of nerves when they all pulled out leaving me alone in a cold house, but the heating guy arrived just as they were leaving. He fixed the heater in ten minutes.

It was almost five when I discovered I still didn't have real computer connectivity. I was getting a screen that I didn't get when it was first installed and I couldn't get onto the internets. I had visions of a tech nightmare but one phone call to support fixed it from their end and I was finally in business again.

So I sit here tonight with the smell of burning wires still lingering in the air. I lost my television. It works but the picture wiggles. I didn't discover until I went to nuke some food at around 7:00 that my nuker died in the battle against the amps. But I got a brand new modem which seems to have improved the performance of the 'puter a little. I've got a brand new refrigerator. My stove looks new and shiny, my plumbing works again and my house is pretty clean.

As disasters go, I've been through worse but I hope under the law of averages I won't have to go through another one for a long time.


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