Friday, June 12, 2009

Extra Crews, My Hiney

So Wednesday night, a storm rolled through - in case those of you playing the home version of The Eleventy Billionth Blog didn't know. A big storm, apparently, although the only evidence of it in my neighborhood was a few limbs - nay, large branches - laying in yards, and the colossal darkness that enveloped the neighborhood when the power went out. The first night wasn't so bad. Apparently the router dealie thingie that Uverse gives you to power your Internets has a battery on it. That battery lasts about three, four hours. I didn't even really notice the first hour of darkness go by - I mean, I could still sit there and make fun of the dog, and simultaneously play Farkle. I was fine. F.I.N.E. fine. Then the laptop battery died. But I was still OK with that. We'd get power soon, right? It was fun to sit on the front porch, watching the kids run around outside. Normally, they'd be inside, watching TV. This power outage forced them to do what we old people used to call "playing outside." We'd do it all day in the summer, and beg to stay out just an hour more when our mothers called us in for dinner. We amused ourselves with endless games of tag, hide-and-seek, and fort building. Wave after wave of stormy goodness cascaded over the DFW area that night, and on into Thursday. Our neighborhood regained power sometime in the night Wednesday, only to have it ripped from the clutches of a few of us. In other words, my side of the street? DARK. Other side of the street? Lights. When Thursday morning rolled around, the sky still roiled and churned with angry looking clouds, ready to dump rain and mayhem without any provocation whatsoever. It was fun getting dressed in the dark, and praying I put on black pants, not brown, with my definitely black shirt. Makeup by candlelight? Well, that just forces you to go down to the bare basics - a little powder, some lipstick, mascara. I did my hair by the dome light in my car. Thursday, after work, I stopped at Wal-Mart to rape and pillage the sporting goods department. I picked up some LED lights, and a battery-powered fan. That, and some prodigious help from Boston Market, helped Thursday night pass. I was still feeling rather Zen about it at that point. It's like camping. I goofed off with the LED lights for a while after I discovered that if you move them around, you can make it look like the ceiling fan is moving. I read a book. I thanked Jeebus that "The Digital Transformation" hadn't happened yet, and we could still get local television broadcasts - the audio, at least - on our nifty battery-powered radio. And as I drifted off into sleep Thursday night, with the cool air coming through the windows, scented by some sort of flower outside, I thought, "You know, this isn't THAT bad. I can deal." And then I looked over. I saw, on my bedside table, a bar of soap I bought at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello a couple weeks ago. Wildflower scented. I sniffed it. I realized, at that point, that there was no magical floral scented air wafting through my window. IT WAS REGULAR AIR, and not having electricity sucks. SUCKS. And at that point, I became not OK with having no electricity. I was pissed. The air suddenly wasn't cool enough, in fact it was sticky. The dog was breathing too loud. I couldn't find a cool side on my pillow. And when I awoke this morning to find that there was still no electricity, I seethed - both inwardly and outwardly. When I sat on the front porch, where it was cooler, and saw the TV on in the house across the street, I gritted my teeth. And the object of most of my vitriol became the Oncor confirmation number. See, when you call Oncor to report an outage - and it's always Oncor that repairs this stuff - they tell give you this confirmation number. Now, the first time you call and get this number, you carefully make note of it. I mean, it's a confirmation number! This surely means that the next time you call, you will get an opportunity to enter it, and something will happen. Then you call again, 12 hours later, when you still don't have electricity, and find out there is no opportunity to enter it, and they give you the exact same confirmation number as last time. So Oncor, you suck. I mean, I understand there were/are a lot of outages, but you could at least attach some sort of function to your cotton-pickin' confirmation number. Let us enter it, and the computers can tell us an estimated time the power will be back on. By the fourth time we've called, maybe you could connect us to a live human being? And while I realize there were, according to you, 500,000 people without power and you've knocked that down to 120,000 as of this morning, there's really no way for the media to verify this. I know you say there's extra crews, but given that last night you said there were 180,000 without power, and today it's 120,000, and yesterday it was supposed to be 500,000, I'm thinking the math doesn't add up. You managed, in the hours between say, 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at 10 p.m. to knock out 320,000, yet between 10 p.m. last night and 8 a.m. this morning, you could only manage 60,000? Really?