Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Booms In the Night

I woke up for no apparent reason so I turned over and was drifting back to sleep when my wife asked me if I heard 'that'. That? She told me there was a loud explosion out by the highway and our electricity had gone off.

I got up and called into the electric utility hotline to report the outage which means you have to deal with the robot. You can't leave a message or talk with a human which at 4:30 in the morning is probably out of the question with most companies but still, I wish I could talk with a human. A half hour later I saw the truck pull into our driveway and park outside our garage out of sight. I put on some shoes and walked out to the truck but there wasn't anyone there. I walked around the house to the electrical meter box and found the tech there testing the meter for juice. I could have saved him the time had I been able to talk to a person and tell them that I heard the fuse down the road blowing but due to the phone robot, his time was wasted. I informed him of what my wife had heard and he drove down the road to replace the fuse.

Being thoroughly awake by now, I opted to light a candle and read the morning paper already on my doorstep. I was halfway through the front page when I heard another loud boom down by the highway. My first thought was to wonder if the tech had fused himself and was now charred in the road. I decided I should go check it out so I put on my shoes and then we heard a third boom. I decided to check things out anyway but once outside, I saw him driving back up the road to our house. He said that there was now a short in the line somewhere and that the fuses just keep blowing. I'm not sure how that happens spontaneously at 4:30 in the morning but I believed him. He told me that the box  on the corner of our property (opposite corner from the pole with the fuse) had an extra node available and that he could route electricity from the other side of the ridge up to our place and the other houses along our street. I said that was fine by me and left him to do his business.

By about 6:00 in the morning, the street in front of our house was a pretty busy place. There were three utility companies and a cable company all jockeying for position to mark their lines buries underneath our lawn in the vicinity of the junction box. There was also a truck with a trencher, a flatbed truck, a city engineer and another outfit that looked like a giant vacuum cleaner. That last one I have never seen before but since they ended up using it, I got to see exactly what it was. It had a high pressured water wand like a high pressure washer one might find in the car wash that they used to dig holes/trenches without the worry of cutting through buried pipes or waters. The large vacuum part was literally that. While one guy power washed a trench, the other guy vacuumed up the water and soil. Pretty soon they had their hole dug without the mess that a trencher would have made. Five and a half hours later after the initial boom, we have power from the other side of the ridge. That means there won't be any more fried squirrels out by the highway anymore.

This whole experience has taught me one thing, the next garage door I get will be lighter than the one I currently have. It is a 17 feet long door made entirely of solid wood and ways a ton. Because my wife needed to go to work, I had to go out to the garage and nearly get a hernia trying to lift it open so my wife could get out. Unfortunately once I got it open, I found out that it was too heavy to stay open and I had nothing within reach to prop it open. So I had to lower it down, grab a properly sized stick of wood to prop it open and nearly get a hernia for the third time in less than a minute. Fortunately I could wait to lower the door when the electric was back in service so I could use the door opener motor to assist.


Anonymous said...

Is the bit that went designed to go like a fuse or circuit breaker.
Amazing all the same the woman hearing it. Their hearing is designed to the higher register. It's us men that have their hackles on the back of the neck rise from low and/or loud ones.
Must be an evolutionary thing like the long second toe keeping them stable while pregnant, the high pitch awaking her where you could sleep right through a baby crying.

Ed said...

Vince - Is is a fuse that blows if there is a short somewhere along the line. In this case, evidently the short is somewhere between the pole with the fuse on the west side of my property and the junction box on the east side where my power comes from along with my other neighbors.

This time I was dead asleep so I didn't hear it go off but there is no mistaking it when I'm awake. It sounds like a shotgun going off from twenty feet away!