GirlWonder and I had just returned from a pleasant dinner with friends. We just wanted to relax at home. Instead, we stood, mouths agape, staring at a towering electric pole that had crashed from our pasture into our backyard.
Still connected to power, the thick, ropy lines, black as snakes, swayed gently, and ominously, in the evening breeze.
I am no electrician, but this seemed wrong.
I dialed the number for the electric company and paced while prowling through the endless auto prompt suggestions.
Having finally punched enough buttons and hashtags (formerly known as pound signs) to identify myself as worthy of not dying in a horrific electrical mishap, I was able to speak to a real live person. She was fantastic. She did keep telling me not to touch it, not to go near it, and to please stay far away from it.
I don’t know how their usual clientele behave, but I assure you I had no intention of going near those dangling lines. At this point, our entire backyard and pasture were dead to me.
The nonexistent pole
Forty minutes later a bucket truck arrived. Absolutely enormous with flashing lights, looking official, it lumbered up the drive. Hopping out of the truck, a man in a safety vest who looked like he knew a thing or two about electricity, thank you, Lord, immediately assessed the situation.
This wonderful soul was sent out to tell the coming crew what they could expect. Apparently, they could expect quite a surprise. We were told the electric company’s files had no record of the pole. According to dispatch, the pole that was currently trying to kill us did not actually exist.
Technology may be the wave of the future, but I really appreciate the boots-on-the-ground folks. This man patiently explained repeatedly to someone back at headquarters via telephone he knew what the computer said but he was looking at it and it was definitely here and it was definitely their pole.
One section of downed line was so old (and dangerous) that he had, and I quote, never actually seen one like it in use. Leave it to us to have limited edition original lines, perhaps installed by Edison himself?
In the interest of safety he disconnected all the power for the entire property at the road. I have never been so relieved to see a power outage. It was now just about 9:30 p.m., the power was out and that worked just fine for me. You know I do love an early bedtime.
I was more than happy to leave the repairs to the pros and go to bed. Within fifteen minutes of retiring, GirlWonder and I whispered across the hallway from our respective bedrooms, our voices echoing in the eerily silent house.
As it turns out, neither one of us is able to sleep if it is too quiet. No hum of air conditioners, refrigerator or fans. No clicks and sighs of various appliances cycling. I laid there thinking how ridiculous it was that all that rural peace was keeping me awake. As an aside, I don’t know why the term “crickets” is used to imply silence. Crickets are rowdy as heck.
Sometime around midnight, the darkness was pierced by flashing lights reflecting on my ceiling. Seconds later BoyWonder yelled for me to look outside, sounding more like an excited small boy than a college-aged man.
Getting power back
I peered out the window to see that our electric utility did not send one truck. It appeared as if they had sent all of them. Three enormous bucket trucks crept in a convoy up the lane to our house.
For the next four hours, a team of hardworking workers lassoed the lines, removed and reset the pole, operated an enormous auger inside our pasture fence and had our power back up and running safely.
They were conscientious, dedicated and kind even to nosy goats who had to eventually be locked in the barn since they could not be convinced that their assistance was not needed. Let me state for the record that whatever they pay those people, it is probably not enough.
The lights are on
Everyone is safe. Sure our yard is a mess (three giant trucks and an enormous auger will do that) but it certainly cannot be helped. Nonetheless, it was all quite exciting, and I learned just enough about how electric lines work to be fascinated.
As I staggered through the next day on three hours of sleep, a friend said that despite the upheaval, I seemed to be taking it all pretty well. I figure it’s all in how you approach it. Attitude, after all, is the difference between having an ordeal or having an adventure.
STAY INFORMED. SIGN UP!
Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!