Repost from Southern Expressions
I haven't posted for a while and there's a good reason for it. I had no electricity. Last Saturday, we had an ice storm which knocked our power out. Of course, we called it in and asked to be on their "priority" list because of my step-grandmother who relies on an oxygen machine and nebulizer for her breathing problems. I guess to our power company priority means absolutely nothing.
This isn't the first ice storm I've dealt with. There was the one in 2000. However, this time we had not only water but hot water. Our water heater is hooked up to the gas. We also had our gas stove to cook on. So, we had at least one hot meal a day. Our phones were still working for a short time until they went out. We also had a gas heater. I know you're not suppose to use gas appliances and/or heaters to heat your house because of carbon monoxide, but we have a carbon monoxide detector and we didn't have it going all the time. Plus we didn't use it all week.
My step-grandmother wasn't doing too well after a couple of days until one of the nurses who drop by every week told her how she could nebulize. Just as things were starting to get better, that step back came into play. She was running low on her oxygen tank and the company that refills and delivers them didn't have power. That left us with the options of either taking her to the hospital or to her other son's house. We chose the cheaper route. He only lived an hour away in Stillwater and he had everything up and running. So, he came and picked her and her son Shawn up on Tuesday.
My step-dad also got our generator fixed that same night, but the way people were acting it was safer for her to go there. Now for the step up. We had one day of safe warm air and light that didn't run on batteries or wax. It was almost ruined by my dad. He picked this week to call about child support crap. I also got a Christmas card from my great Aunt Mary from California. First one I've gotten this year.
Early Thursday morning, someone tried to steal our generator. The four big dogs in the backyard scared them away but not before breaking our generator. My step-dad tried to fix it, but we have an old model and no one had the part we needed. So, it was back to the gas heater. A couple of good things though. Our phones were back up and we remembered that we had a laptop. So, we got to check our emails. But this leads to the next thing. We called the phone company about the outage. They said it would be Dec 21st when they could fix it. About 250,000 homes and businesses in Tulsa County were without power and they predicted it would all be restored by next week. However, the phone company who only had about 8,000 reported outages tell us the wait will be two weeks. Don't know what that's all about.
Friday, we had to make a decision. My step-dad had a wood burning stove in the shop that he was thinking about bringing and placing on the back porch. It was either that or buy a new generator. We took the generator route. We paid quite a bit of money for a brand new one that a guy who owns a small engine repair shop had for sale. With getting the new one came the same fears of it getting stolen. Some people showed up next door claiming to be from the EPA, but they were in unmarked vehicles and they were doing a heck of alot of staring in our yard while taking the "soil samples". They showed up again a day or so later at another neighbors house. That is when we called the sheriff department. They stopped by and talked to them and got their information. Don't know what came of it after that. Maybe they really were from the EPA. I don't know. In situations like this, you don't want to take any chances.
Anyways, when we got our generator, we hooked up the freezers and the furnace and my mom and step-dad's TV. For the first time in six days, we got to watch satellite TV. It was a glorious day. It was suppose to snow Friday night into Saturday morning, but it only rained a bit. It started snowing around 10 am on Saturday and continued throughout the day. We got about an inch and a half. With the new generator, we got back a little civilization, but the excitement came later that night.
For the first time since this whole mess started, we saw a power company truck on our street. Of course, we were all happy about getting our electricity back on until they got to us. See they had this policy about the meter box and weather head. If either was damaged or pulled away from the house, you had to get an electrician to repair it. That means $500 has to come out of your pocket before they will consider reconnecting you. And every available electrician had a list of at least a hundred people with such damage. Ours was still attached to the house. Our carport shielded it from any damage. The problem was there was locks on the meter box and here's why.
The people who use to own this house (who by coincidence live next door to us) would rig the meter box to steal power when they shut it off. So, the power company put locks on it. When my step-dad bought the house ten years ago, he asked them to remove the locks and even replace the box, but they refused. The former owner was known to use aliases and the power company thought my step-dad was one of them. This particular company was bought by another one. So, the keys were probably lost in the shuffle or whatever.
When it came time to turn our power back on, they had to look in the meter box but couldn't because of the locks. We called the power company and they were acting like it was our problem. We needed to find someone to get them off even though it was their locks. They were even going to reconnect all of our neighbors power except for us. You can't even imagine how pissed we were about that but in the end, they just left the area and didn't hook anyone up. Finally, a troubleshooter guy from the power company came and got them off in two seconds. Unfortunately, there was no one there to hook us back up. So, we spent another night without power.
Despite the frustration, the power guys came back early today and finally reconnected our power. Ironically, it was the first time the sun shined since the whole thing started. We spent the rest of the day cleaning, getting caught up on everything. Let me tell you, I am so so glad to have power back and for this to be over with (minus the tree limb clean up). My step-grandmother and uncle will be coming home tomorrow and boy, she's ready to come home.She called everyday since she's been there asking if the power was back on.
The problem is between groceries, new generator, gas, monthly bills and replacing spoiled food, we probably won't have a great Christmas this year. It really sucks. There's really only one thing I want this year and if I get it, I wouldn't care about the rest. I guess I'll have to wait until the 25th to see what happens.
I took some pictures. I didn't start taking any until like Wednesday. By that time, most of the ice had melted. Anyways, I posted them on my Myspace page. You can't miss them. They are in the Ice Storm folder.