Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tree-Mit

There I was, happily typing along on my story, that is making me cackle with glee as write it, when my IM window opens. "Hello Dilly" is about all that is exchanged before there is a large crash.

Oh Fuck!

Something just fell

A tree I think

Power lines with it

Better go check it out < send >

and I got off the couch and went onto my front porch. Where indeed, YET ANOTHER tree had fallen in my yard. And as it every so gracefully descended, avoiding the house, the front porch, and my car, it yanked the cable and electrical wires from my house AGAIN.

I returned to the house, realized I still had electricity, and that the wireless was still up. UNFORTUNATELY, the cable was no longer FEEDING the wireless, so my message remained unsent to Dilly.

"Better call the energy company," I thought to myself. and the realized I had no idea what the name of the energy company is ... Next bright idea, "I'll look at my bill!" Except my bill? Electronic, on line, which needs ... THAT'S RIGHT, Internet access. Of course, when it's stressful, the only names I can bring to mind are, "PG&E" (California electric company), "APS" (Arizona Public Service), and CP&L the defunct Carolina Power and Light.

So I called my neighbor, Kayak girl who wasn't home.

Then I called Dr. Esq. who wasn't home.

Then I called Dr. Esq.'s cell phone. And even though the call came up, "private number" he answered it.

"What's the name of our utility company?" I asked.

"What?"

"What's the name of our utility company?"

"Who is this?"

"It's Mit! What's the damn name of the company that supplies our electricity?"

"Progress Energy. Why do you need to know?" he asked.

"A tree just fell, and it took the electrical wiring off the house."

"Hang on, I'm a mile away, I'll be right there."

"I don't need you, I just need to call them," but I was talking into dead air.

I looked up the number, dialed, and got an automated response system that finally reassured me, "There are no reported outages in your area. We have no estimated time of restoration. Thank you for calling."

It wasn't a very satisfactory message - certainly not like when I'd talked to the HUMAN, last time this had happened, and the nice men came out in 2 hours and had everything ALL BETTER AGAIN.

Next I called the cable company. After wading through endless menu options, assuring the computerized voice that, "NO, my TV screen wasn't blue, and NO, I did not need support because of an UNKNOWN problem with my internet connection, I ended up with a human on the line. After telling him my phone number, my name, and my address, he asked what the problem was,

"Tree came down. Ripped the electrical wiring off the house. Took the cable wires too," I informed him.

"Let me bring up your account. What are the last four numbers of your social?"

After muttering my entire Social Security Number under my breath, until I got to the last four digits, I announced loudly, "zero, zero, zero, zero."

"Do I have your permission to look at your account?" was his next question.

"WTF?!!" is what immediately popped into my mind. But I didn't say that, instead I said, "yes". But really, I just couldn't help myself.

"What do you say to the people who say "No"? I asked "Do you tell them, "Nice talking to you, Good-bye?" I mean, what kind of question IS that, "May I access your account? Of course you can access my account. I want stuff to work again!"

Of course, he was laughing by this point. Which was good. "I'm required to ask," he finally gasped out. "And if they say no, then I have to tell them WHY I need to see their account, but I cannot tell them good-bye."

"You have got to be kidding me! I'd tell them, 'Ma'am? See that little button on your phone? That disconnect button? Please push it now."

Continuing to crack up he said, "Well, I guess technically it wouldn't be ME hanging up on THEM, would it?" and we both chuckled.

After a moment of silence, while he was typing away, "Crazy red-head" in the data base, he said,

"So it's windy there today, huh?"

And because I was on a roll, and couldn't control myself I said,

"Yes, and I guess my tree got tired of being pushed around."

He laughed. I felt bad. "I'm sorry, I know that was really a bad joke."

"No, no, it was pretty funny, actually. And well timed. However, I don't think your service repair is going to be so well timed. We can't get out there 'till between 10-12 tomorrow."

"That's okay. I'm sure the electric company needs to get here first anyway and I said good-bye.

A few minutes after this delightful conversation, Dr. Esq finally pulled up. "You were only a mile away? What did you do? Crawl here?"

I never did get a satisfactory answer, but he immediately walked in and took over. "We need to call the electric company," he announced.

"Already done," I said.

"When will they be here?"

"I don't know. It was an automated thing. They said there were no outages in my area, and no ETA on repair."

"Oh! That's not good enough. Did you call the right number?"

"I called the one that said, "Power outages" in the phone book.

"But no human? You should have called a different number I'm sure. Let me see?" Peering at the phone book, the triage doctor affirmed I'd dialed the right number, but insisted I hadn't done it 'right'. So HE CALLED. Listen to the menu options he crowed, "Ha! I bet you pushed "1" for power outage didn't you?? You should have done #6 for "line down" now we'll get somewhere.

Where we got, was not where he intended. As he listened to crappy jazz music, and "You call is important to us" messages, he had time to fill me in on his Super Bowl party, the three women he's dating currently, his mental and physical condition, AND that he has once again decided to keep his house.

After waiting 20 minutes for a human, he said, "I can't wait anymore. I need to get going. Maybe you did it right after all." And he was off.

As I was saying goodbye to him, my next door neighbors return.

"Mit! Oh my goodness! It's always your trees, isn't it?" Then they looked at the toppled tree.

As we looked at the tree, the curly-headed boy said in his southern drawl, "Not much holdin' that tree up, was there? Look, no roots or anything came up when it fell over."

He was right. Not a single root in evidence. We chatted for a few more minutes, then I went inside, and continued to work on my story. At 5:00 o'clock I thought, "hmm, I should get some laundry done and start dinner." But when I turned on the washing machine, everything dimmed and flickered. I abandoned that project and moved on to dinner.

I'd defrosted a whole chicken earlier in the day, so I got busy making the wild rice, pine nut, and garlic stuffing. As the rice cooked, I started dishes and glanced at the cook book. "Pre-heat over to 400." Knowing the rice was almost done, I turned on the oven ... and everything dimmed and the radio turned itself off ... and I thought, "Hmm - ovens must use a lot of electricity too!" Then I called my neighbor, Kayak girl.

"You have dinner plans?" I asked when she pick up the phone.

"No, but I'm going to yoga right now, why?"

"I wanted to borrow your oven."

So ... here I am. Using her internet and her oven to cook my dinner, because apparently electrical outages are only fixed M-F from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

I'll "see" you all when I get to work tomorrow .. assuming that is that I GO TO WORK, as I don't know if I'll need to be home when the electric company shows up.

Dinner's done! Bye!

1 comment:

tp said...

Your "2nd" tree that fell ? When and where did the "first" tree fall? You certainly lead an exciting life, don't you !!! Maybe you'd better go out there and push on all the other trees and see if there are more "tired ones" waiting to lay down. How could you be so lucky the 3rd time - to 'NOT' miss your car, porch and house ????