Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Power? No Power?

Why is it that we never know how much we love something until it goes away? Like electricity, for instance? I am confident that I am prepared. I can handle a little inconvenience when necessary. What I don’t handle very well is unnecessary inconvenience.

A storm occurred. It knocked out power to 8500 homes in the area. It did not knock out power in my home, at least, not completely. Some lights worked. Some outlets worked. The refrigerator and water heaters worked sporadically. Some lights dimmed. None of the major appliances had enough power to run. Some power, just not enough. The furnace certainly did not work!

How can this be? Well, I assumed the problem was in the wiring in my home, so I called my electrician. He checked the work from his previous visit and quickly diagnosed the problem. One of the connections on the outside of my home was burnt through – a casualty of years of weather abuse. This explained the partial power. Some power was getting to my home, just not enough. It was a simple problem, easily repaired. It would take a matter of minutes.

Enter the unnecessary inconvenience. My electrician was able to repair the problem. He just wasn’t allowed to repair it. Huh? That’s right, because the problem was outside the house the problem was on the power company’s side. This meant the power company would have to repair the wires. Did I mention there had been a storm that knocked out power lines? I don’t think I mentioned that I was way down the list, or that my son was home with the flu. How about the fact that I have lived in my home for twenty years and the same power company responsible for maintaining outside lines has never attempted maintenance on said lines?

My electrician could have corrected the problem in a matter of minutes, but the power company would have none of that! Rather, I waited hours! When, after a second phone call requesting repair the service man showed up it took him exactly fifteen minutes to restore full power to my home.

What did I do first? I turned on the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer, furnace, and stovetop. I reset four digital clocks - again. And then I listened. I listened to the sound of my house running. What a beautiful noise – a house doing what it was built to do! I love the convenience of electricity!

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