Friday, July 12, 2013

And then the lights went out...

Finally, it was a beautiful day on Thursday in Southeast Michigan, with lower temps and almost no humidity!

I went to the Newburgh Grill for lunch and got a patty melt and fries. Then I went to my real destination: Lowe’s. I wanted a dowel and a paper towel holder.

I raced home after work, as I needed to cut the grass. I checked the mail and found I had finally gotten my new debit card. So, I called in and activated it.

I changed clothes and put the Wednesday night wash into the dryer. I had left it in the tub last night, filled with rinse water, because it was so late. I also started the dishwasher, which was also full Wednesday, but I didn’t want the extra heat in an already warm house. I had the TV news on and just left it on from habit when I went out to cut the lawn.

I got the front lawn cut with the push mower and then put it in the garage, closing the door. I went in the house to get the tractor key and the shed key. But, I stopped for a quick glass of water. I was standing at the kitchen sink at 6:25 PM when I heard a loud “boom” and all the electricity went out!

WTF? I grabbed the flashlight and checked the fuse box – nothing had blown. So, I went outside. People across the street in the townhouses were milling about, so I called over and asked if they lost power. They did. So, I got my cell phone and called DTE. They said they’d send the next available truck.

I went inside and turned off the main breaker (fearing a power surge if the electricity came back on). Then I turned off the power strips to the computer and the TV/Cable Box. I also opened the kitchen and the bedroom windows (up to the security stops) to let the light north wind help keep the house cool.

I walked down the street a ways, asking people who were outside if they, too, had lost power. I met a few new neighbors, BTW. However, everybody’s power was out, starting with my house. Oddly enough, the row of townhouses across the street and just to my south still had power. But, when I looked, I realized their electricity comes from the pole just south of me, not my pole.

Since there was nothing I could do, I went back home and proceeded to cut the back lawn. Unfortunately, about half way through, I hit a tree root with the mower blade. The bent blade cause a vibration, but I decided I could finish the lawn (it really needed it), so I did. Since I was out there anyway (and there was nothing better to do), I put up the paper towel holder in the shed (so I can check the oil in the mower, etc.).

Having no way to reheat my leftover chicken fried rice (my planned supper), I decided to thaw out some hot dogs and grill them. Now, to be honest, I could have followed my neighbors’ lead and just walked over to the Coney Island for some food (a lot of neighbors did just that). But, I was toughing it out! (Insert “Mountain Man" theme song, here.) I thawed the frozen dogs in cold water and lit the charcoal chimney.

When the coals were ready, the hot dogs were pliable, so I opened the package and put them on the oiled grill grate. The sun was starting to set, BTW. I pulled them off when they were done and took them into the darkening house. I didn’t have any bread left (it is on the grocery list) so I just ate three of them on a plate with yellow mustard. I turned the main breaker back on and the small lamp in the bedroom, so I would know if and when the power came back on.

DTE showed up about 9:15 PM, but drove right by my house to the dead end of my street. They slowly worked their way back towards me. Finally they were at the pole across from my house. I took a photo for you, but the camera made it look a lot brighter than it really was.

The flashing yellow bubble lights were driving the poor fireflies crazy, BTW.

The power came back on just before 10:00 PM. I went around and reset all the digital clocks. Then I read for a bit and went to bed. Since it was supposed to get down below 60 degrees F. overnight, I just left the windows open. It was pleasant to fall asleep with a light, cool breeze and the smell of fresh-cut grass.


  1. The Mountain Man strikes again...You probably shouldn't have ran over the underground cable with your, what now, a new blade? I don't think you can successfully straighten a blade (without vibration when your done) can you?
    p.s. Yes, I know it was a tree root.

  2. No, you can't straighten a bent blade. I know, I've tried! I've had to replace the blades (one or both) about 7 or 8 times since I bought the damn thing. Trouble is, if the grass is long, you can't see the tree roots (and for some reason, I have a lot of them above ground). So, I always keep two new blades on hand.