Sunday, December 1, 2013

Peaceful Holiday Weekend? Not!


Well, folks, I’m a bit punchy-goofy weary.  It’s quiet around here again right now, as weekends typically are used to be.  For over a month, we’ve had some sort of activity around here every weekend.  You’d think a holiday weekend would be serene . . .

Even on weekends, we rarely sleep in, and are up and about by 7:30 AM.  Yesterday, we slept in.  At 8:17 AM, my phone rang.  A power company truck was at the gate needing in to do some work at the substation on the property.  Fine.  Mad dash to bolt out of bed and throw on some clothes.  The gate has to be opened, as does the office for visitors to sign in and we find out what’s going on.

The FedEx delivery that was supposed to happen Friday was next up.  It was my turn to trot to the gate, although I didn’t really mind.  This was a special package for Dave for Christmas, all the way from Scotland.  I was relieved that it actually arrived after Friday’s delivery fiasco.

Power crew leaves.  They get signed out and gate opened and closed.

Put on laundry.  First load was in dryer and the second on just started the wash cycle when clunk . . . the power goes off.  This was right at 11 AM.  Oh good grief.  This happens now and then, usually associated with bad weather of some kind.  In this case, weather was not an issue.

First priority is a phone call to the power company.  Of course, it’s an automated system that does not understand the normal speaking voice, (I know from past experiences) so I have to speak loudly and sternly.  Otherwise, the automaton on the other end says something like, “I’m sorry, I didn’t get that,”  similar to this voice-activated elevator sequence (pardon the language, it’s in Scotland).  Sorry about the alignment; I couldn’t place it in the center of the page.


Electrical items – computers, phones, printer, washer, alarm system - get unplugged in the office during a power outage to protect against surges when power is restored.

Next is to fire up our generator, which is a manual pull start model.  No problem.  Get the power cord adapter out of the storage box in the office.  Unplug power box from source on office trailer and plug into adapter.  Unplug RV.  Turn off furnace inside RV.  Take off the weights holding down the tarp over Genny’s shelter.  Fold back tarp.  Lift cover.  Check gas level and top off if needed.  Begin start procedure, which we do as a team. 


Genny’s shelter, which Dave built.


Meet Genny.  Her handle folds down and she stays in her shelter.  She’s a big girl, construction-grade, and runs whatever we want/need in our RV.

Well, even though we exercise Genny regularly, it was bloomin’ cold out.  Took a bit to persuade her to fire up, the longest it has ever taken.  Thank goodness it was sunny and not blowing, snowing or raining – even though it was pretty darn cold.  Once she was humming along, the adapter gets plugged in and I check Genny’s “pulse.”  Everything looks good, so the power cord gets plugged into the RV.  Furnace gets turned back on.  Water heater gets switched from electric to propane. 

I send an email to our boss advising him the power is out.  Of course, our Internet is also down at this point; my iPhone sure is a handy in these situations.

We thought we might not have water; we’re on a well and when the power goes out, the water stops flowing.  So . . . valve on hose into our rig gets turned off.  Faucets opened inside the rig and water pump turned on.  Faucets turned off once flow is seen.

At 12:18 PM, the alarm company calls with an automated message telling me apparently there’s been a loss of power to the alarm system here.  No kidding, but thanks for the call.

Dave was then free to hop on the bike for a ride whilst I awaited the arrival of the power company.  As Dave was leaving, another power company guy came to finish a bit of the work the other crew started in the morning.  Dave leaves.  Power guy is ready to leave (all this coming and going means the gate has to be unlocked, opened, pulled shut and locked).  He has called about our power outage but hasn’t heard anything.  He says he will call me if/when he finds out something.  Good guy, that.

Our RV is nice and cozy again and it’s cold out, so I go inside for a while.  Sit down and start to doze.  That won’t do, so I start dusting furniture.  At 12:22 PM a neighbor calls asking if it’s okay to cut firewood from the downed trees at the other mill down the road.  Yep, help yourself.

The nice power guy called at 2:30 PM to tell me a crew will be working our problem in about an hour.  It’s now an hour past the initial restoration time provided by the automated system during initial contact.  Lovely.

Time passes.  At 3:31 PM, the power company calls to ask if we have power.  No.  Okay, they’ll be sending someone shortly.

At 4:25 PM, I call the power company and, using the “elevator technique” above, am connected to a live human being.  Oh.  They are on their way.  A crew truck and one guy shows up about 4:40. 

From then until 5:10 PM, it was hanging out with the crew guy and getting our site electrician on the phone, and passing information back and forth.  Did I mention it’s dark and cold(er) by now?  Electrician arranges to have a buddy come see if he can get us back up and running, as it appears not to be a power company issue.

His van shows up and power company truck leaves.  More time in the dark outside and finally at 6 PM, we have power again!  Whoohoo!  Only seven hours off the grid this time!

Let Genny run a bit just to make sure the power is stable, then turned her off and reversed the above process, getting her snug for the night.  Our RV is now back on shore power and all the unplugged items in the office get plugged back in.  Water pump gets turned off.  I start up the laundry again.

I shoot off another email advising our boss that power has been restored.

A quick dinner, some chess and the last load of laundry folded and put away around 10 PM.

And that was Saturday.

This morning we were both up around 3-4 AM, probably from being unable to sleep after spending so much time outside in the cold Saturday evening.  Dang.  We were both so wasted, we decided to postpone our Perkins breakfast, getting a couple of things at Lowe’s and a wee holiday excursion to the mall. 

At 10:33 AM, the son of one of the company guys calls and is heading our way to fish.  I’m finishing my breakfast, so Dave gets the gate.  They get signed in. 

Okay, so there’s a minivan parked in the driveway out front and a woman hanging around.  Sometimes folks park to make phone calls, motorcyclists have been known to stop for a break and consult maps, etc.  Well, she’s been there a while (we’ve been keeping an eye on her, me via the office window and Dave via binoculars) and now there’s a pickup.  Okay, let’s walk out and see what’s up.  Another trip to open the gate and walk down the driveway.  Sure enough, she’s broken down.  I get her name and phone number; she says a tow truck will come get her vehicle.

At 12:10 PM, the fisherman calls to alert us to someone walking a property road by the river, headed towards the mill.  Dave jumps in the company truck to go investigate.  He returns shortly, having advised the person that they are on private property.  They’re leaving.

We decide to get a few things from the grocery store, so make a short trip out around 1 PM, arriving back a bit after 2 PM.  Tow truck comes to tow stranded vehicle.  Fishermen are ready to leave, so they sign out and are let out through the gate.

In between all the above activity, there are periodic patrols of the mill down the road, too.

Dave’s watching a video and I’m blogging.  It’s just about 4 PM and getting dark already.  We’ll each grab a light dinner and then play some chess later.

I bet we’ll sleep tonight!

Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

  1. Never a dull moment in your world. At least you stay busy meaning you stay alert.


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