The View From A Slightly Twisted Angle

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Power Outage

on August 2, 2012

We haven’t had rain for about a month here unless you count the approximately 45 sprinkles that fell last week (I’m still not convinced that wasn’t a plane flying overhead and leaking something.) so last night as I checked the radar I was pleasantly surprised to see some rain headed our direction. I’d forgotten what rain looks like on radar.  Of course, this being Nebraska, it can’t just rain.  No we have to have wind and possible hail and big lightening if we want precipitation in the summer.  No nice gentle rains.  We have productions here.  I’m ok with that if it means I can quit watering my lawn in vain.  I’ll take the rain no matter what packaging it comes with.  At least that was what I was thinking until last night.

The wind began picking up quiet nicely.  Then it picked up some more.  “Great” I thought. “We’re going to get blown away but the rain will miss us just watch.”  I noticed some lightening and some rumbles of thunder.  Things were looking better for some actual rain.  Then suddenly – BOOM – we heard a loud pop and saw a large flash. The power blinked and came right back on.  Then it “blinked” and stayed off.  We were plunged into total darkness and quiet.  Well it was quiet until my younger daughter who was just at the end of taking a shower at the time yelled, “Did the rapture happen???Are you guys still there??”” from the bathroom.   It gets pretty dark in a bathroom at night.  She was a little freaked to say the least.  Meanwhile my older daughter and I are walking around using our cell phones as flashlights trying to find the real flashlights or a candle or…well…anything illuminating. (2 Notes to Self: 1 – check flashlight batteries BEFORE the next power outage. 2 – Look into that flashlight ap for your phone.   You know.  The one you used to make fun of.)

Did I mention that the power went out right as the Americans were pulling ahead in the 4×200 freestyle relay?  After finding sources of light  my oldest daughter said, “I can’t believe it couldn’t wait to go out until after the race. I know you already know Mom, so did they win?”  I surprisingly didn’t know.  I was trying to be good yesterday so I hadn’t looked.  “What?!” she said, “Well I NEED to know!”  “Look it up on your phone silly.” I replied.  “Oh.  Right.” (Smart phone does not always equal smart user.)   In the meantime my other daughter quickly finished her business in the very dark bathroom and joined us.  She was in high dramatic form as per any fourteen year old girl should be in this situation.  For example,  I wanted to go out to see if the problem was just our house or if power was out in the area.  “Mom you’ll get struck by lightning! Make her go look.”  my younger daughter said.  (She knows who does her laundry and cooks.)  Nothing like a little drama in the dark.   Ended up my older daughter did go out to look.  Our block was out, but not the next block over.  Weird.  I decided to call to report the outage. This is where the story gets really funny.

My oldest daughter walked into my room with the phone book and her cell phone. I had mentioned to her earlier that my charge was getting low.  “I can’t find the number in the book.”  She said handing me the phone book.  “Nebraska Public Power District?” I asked.  “Oh.  I thought it was just NPPD.”  (This is a 4.0 student remember.)  Then she said, “You can use my phone Mom since yours is dying.”   “I can use the landline in here.” I said.   “Mom.” She replied like I was crazy. “The power is out. The phone is dead.”  “B.” I said, “The phone in here works.”  She got a strange look on her face.  Well I think it was strange. It was pretty dark so maybe I just thought it was strange. “How can the phone work if the toilet doesn’t work?”  Yeah.  I got lost too. Then she continued, “You always told us how Grandma used to fill the bathtubs and water bottles if she thought you were going to lose power when you were growing up.”  Laughing I explained, “Grandma and Grandpa have a well.  It takes electricity to turn on the pump to pump the water from the well.  We don’t have that problem.  This phone works because it isn’t cordless so it doesn’t need power.”   “Oh!” she said.  I left it alone and called the power company.  They were just beginning to get calls so they were sending someone out.   While I was on the phone I noticed she was frantically texting someone.  I asked her about it when I got off.  “Oh.” she said, “I’m just telling our band director that we might not make it in the morning if they don’t get the power back on because we won’t be able to get out of the garage.”  “Huh?” I asked. “We can get out of the garage.”  “Mom.” she said calmly, “We have ELECTRIC GARAGE DOOR OPENERS, remember??”  “Brittnie,” I was hysterically laughing by now, “You can pull the string to disengage them and open them manually you know.”  “You can?!?!”   Yes.  I have 21st century kids.

You’ll be happy to know that the power was restored about 2 hours later. I was much relieved because if I hadn’t been able to make coffee this morning it wouldn’t have been pretty.   I have a new respect for the service and   bravery of electrical linemen who go out into storms and mess with power lines.  They really are super heroes.   Obviously they do a great job because my girls are completely unaccustomed to losing power for more than a few minutes.  That’s a good thing I’ve discovered.  They’d be trapped in the house not calling anyone or using the bathroom.

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