Power’s Out

I think it’s fair to say, now that it’s officially over, that the summer was unsettling to say the least.  It didn’t help that I tried to blow up the neighborhood.

I was sitting in my bedroom that morning, working on a file, when I heard a bang and saw a flash in the hallway out of the corner of my eye.  And the power immediately went out.  I rushed to the back of the house and although I could smell a little lingering smoke, I couldn’t see anything.  When I went downstairs and out to the backyard, all the other neighbors were out as well, checking to see what had happened; everyone had experienced the same thing, hearing the bang and seeing the flash.  Everything looked ok – no power lines down, no big blackened patches on garage roofs or yards.  And the smoke smell dissipated pretty quickly, so we texted the power company and wandered back inside our respective houses.

The power company showed up about an hour later.  I saw the lineman up at the power box two houses down; the power came on for about 10 seconds and then there was another bang and flash.  And again, the power left us.  Since I was standing in my backroom watching the power guy, I saw exactly where the flash came from – the power lines at the back of my yard.  It gave me a sick feeling, quickly totting up the various worse-case scenarios.  The power guy must have seen it as well; he headed straight for my garage roof, I headed for the backyard.  After about 10 minutes of poking around with a long pole, he headed back to the line to reinstate the power.  This time it stayed on.

I couldn’t resist going to talk to him and was rewarded with a tale of exactly what had happened.  A branch had broken on one of my trees, but instead of falling into the yard, it had tipped over and connected two power lines, one at the top and one at the bottom of the branch.  That caused the first burst.  When the power was restored the first time, the branch was still in place, so it connected and exploded again.  After he poked the branch with the pole, it fell into the yard; with no more connection, no more issue.   It’s hard to see in the photo above, but the branch is all blackened and many of the leaves are dry and burnt.  I was so relieved that it hadn’t been anything horrible and/or expensive to repair, I fessed up to all the neighbors that my tree was the guilty party.

When was the last time you had to have a repair person to your place?

32 thoughts on “Power’s Out”

  1. I consider the concrete workers as repair people, as they are repairing years of our trying to deal with the back yard ourselves. They are putting in a path between a bed of ferns and another bed of rhododendrons and bleeding hearts where we walk and where it is too shady to grow grass. It is slate colored decorative concrete with a pattern to make it look like stone. They are replacing an ugly cement pad that was there when we moved in with the same patterened concrete, and then paving another large area with the same material on the north side of the house where husband’s new grill will have pride of place.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. the good news bad news about being a renter is the landlord fixes stuff. last week the toilet broke and even though i have made the repair before i called the repair crew. scheduled it 5 days out and then called in sick it took over a week and when it was done i had to mess with it to get it right . my landlord is the largest in the country with over 10000 properties and if you pay the cheap helper to do the cheap fix and string it out for a long time the year end books look better
    my deck took 2 years to do a terrible cheap on my wall repair from mold took a year to respond to and has now had furniture sitting in the middle of the room since june
    my heat/air from the basements to the bedroom is a really bad situation that has been dealt with in an ineffective way
    my wall repair and ceiling work they have done is very poor craftsmanship that takes an unbelievably long time
    thanks vs
    obviously i needed to vent

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I had a landlord who was awful about making repairs. Found out later that he was the only volunteer for a program I worked on a couple years later that was kicked out in the middle of the program (it was a one week residential affair – the company he worked for as his “day job” was a major sponsor and I think he was in a bit of trouble when he got back to work…).

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I am frequently dismayed by one of my psychology colleagues in town who has lots of rental properties and who treats his renters poorly and resists fixing things properly. Greed is destructive.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I don’t know if, strictly speaking, this counts as repair. Maybe. It’s taking care of a mess that is in the ground from the dry cleaners that used to be in the building behind me. I had folks in on Monday putting in an abatement system – same kind as you use for radon, but mine is to deal with some other gas that is the residue of dry cleaning chemicals. I have been assured that whatever it is (I would have to look it up again) dissipates quickly when it hits the air, so 18 years of digging in our back yard have not been a health hazard. We are only barely into the state’s limits for “unacceptable levels” and not even close to the federal level. But, hey, if the state is going to pay for it to go in, fine by me. Glad we don’t use our too-narrow laundry chute – it made a great path to get from basement to roof with a 3″ PVC pipe…

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Earlier this year the flat roof where I live was replaced. I heard a frantic knocking at my apartment door and a workman asked if I had any plumbing leaks.
    Are you sure?
    I’ll look.
    The roofing crew had broken a water line to the water heater (please note that I did NOT call it a “hot water heater”). The DMV offices below me were being flooded. Cleanup wasn’t too bad but the landlord decided to replace the cold water heater (Yes! I finally got to say it!). Unfortunately the tank replacement is larger than the original. The closet door would not close so I cut out the back of the door and a little bit of the front. Hanging a beach scene sign covers everything nicely.

    Liked by 7 people

  6. Our landlords are wonderful. Own many properties across MN. Want to attract good renters so keep building and apartments in excellent shape. Maintenance man is here 40 hours week, plus he takes care of two smaller buildings next door. He is great, Kevin. Any request of many has been addressed within a half day, unless there are issues. Tomorrow they power clean the garages. Have to have car out by 8 but so worth it to see garage cleaned each year. Building is 17 years old so many of the appliances are going. They don’t even question putting in new ones, and much better ones. New washer/dryer stack, twice the capacity of old one. New oven with glass top, which we got to choose. New refrigerator. Upper middle level buildings are springing up all over Mankato/North Mankato and get quickly filled. Who are all, these renters?

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Kevin takes care of us old farts, including Judy up on the 3rd floor who whines about everything. He has twice driven me to medical appointments for which I could not drive. Only 3 and 1.5 miles away, but wonderful of him. He is a big time feeder of wildlife, especially birds.

      Liked by 7 people

  7. Boy, I’m glad that wasn’t any worse, VS!

    A neighbor warned us this summer that we are responsible for keeping branches away from power lines in our alley, and a neighbor helped Husband cut away some of “my” hackberry, the only shade and wildlife sanctuary behind the house… sniff. Back in R’dale, the city came and whacked off stuff, overdid it and took out a fledgling mountain ash…

    And not exactly repair, but as we speak there’s a truck out front, and guys in neon vests doing asphalt repair on this side of the street – they did the other side Monday. For this I am grateful.

    Husband usually wants to “do it himself”, but we did have someone out last spring to unclog a sewer pipe to the street.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I have also been told that it’s my responsibility to keep the tree branches away from the powerlines, but it’s a job that is beyond me. And also over the last 30 years the power company has come out at least three times and cut down a lot of the branches near the powerlines anyway. Two of the times they even carted all the branches out of the backyard and disposed of them. One time of course they left a huge mountain of branches that Teenager and I had to take care of. So I was kind of expecting within a week or two of the power incident that either XCel would show up to cut branches or I would get some kind of notice. But so far nothing

      Liked by 3 people

  8. I’m grateful to be able to say that I haven’t needed too many repairs. I called a local appliance repair guy about a year ago because my washing machine wasn’t repairable (by me.) He was a nice young guy and fixed it quickly. He warned me that the new ones are harder to fix so I should keep my old one. He didn’t even cost too much and left me his card. I need him to look at my refrigerator next because it leaks and pees on the kitchen floor. I know there is a tube blocked somewhere from the water filter but I can’t get the back panel off to clean out the tubing myself. I have tried and failed twice. So I just open up the bottom freezer and chip out the ice once a week to prevent puddles on the floor. When I get a few extra bucks or something else goes wrong, I’ll call him back.
    My condo association isn’t prompt about fixes. There have been enormous ice dams here. Two winters ago it was the worst I have ever seen. There was such a problem in one unit that the upstairs ceiling collapsed. The condo association master policy wouldn’t cover it, nor would the owners HO6 insurance rider. The owner was stuck with the bill. Many owners were furious. The association paid for an attic inspection the following year and the guy told me what his recommendations were. Nothing has been done. I dread winter.
    I’m having tea on the deck right now and attracting both hummingbirds and yellow jackets!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Ice dams are problematic for me, too. There are 4 attached single garages for my half of the building. My garage is closest to the entrance but also where two roof lines meet. Every stinking winter for over 20 years my garage has the biggest ice dam. When the weather cycles through melting and freezing, ice builds up right in front go my garage door – sometimes several inches. I eventually bought an ice chipper to chop all of that up and shovel it away. This year the Homeowners Association FINALLY hired a company to add insulation to the crawl spaces/attic spaces in every building. They did my crawl space a couple of weeks ago. Fingers crossed that the ice dam problem will be gone – or at least a much smaller problem.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. There’s a transformer on a pole in the alley behind our house. It happens a couple of times a year that a squirrel accidentally shorts out their highwire highway which results in sparks and a big bang from the transformer. Inevitably we find the scorched squirrel close by. Considering how much squirrel travel takes place on these electrical wires, it’s a small miracle that it doesn’t happen more often.

      Liked by 4 people

  9. I don’t know that we’ve ever had a repair person in the house to fix something that was broken. We’ve hired professionals to sand and refinish our wood floors, install a couple of new furnaces, and do some wiring to install a new electric dryer. We also hired a “professional” crew to re-roof our house, re-stucco the exterior of our house, and dig a foundation under an old sagging porch and restore it to a glory that it was never intended for.

    Hans is such a handy person with a lot of different skills, and has never shied away from tackling just about anything that has come up. That’s not to say that I didn’t wish he had enlisted “professional” help on occasion. For instance, waiting eleven years to replace the doohickey that mixes the hot and cold water as it flows into the tub, seems just a tad excessive. For eleven years I worked around that damn thing, because once the hot water started to flow you couldn’t control the temperature, and scalding hot water is just not acceptable for rinsing your hair. It is an undeniable fact, though, that I now really appreciate that I can.

    Why didn’t I just call someone, you may ask? Every time I’d make noises that I was going to, he’d get busy and try something else he hadn’t already tried; so it seemed like he was trying. After eleven years, I finally told him that I didn’t care what it cost, but I wanted that damn thing replaced. If he was my landlord, I would have just moved.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Husband isn’t very handy, and I am the one who fixes things. I have no hesitation calling in the professionals, though.

      Today is Husband ‘s first attempt at sausage making with his new electric meat grinder/stuffer.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. What kind of sausage did he make? There’s a group of us who have gotten together at the Danish American Center for the past few years to make Medisterpølse for Christmas. It’s a fun project for a group, a bit much for one person to do alone, I think. This year, alas, it has been cancelled.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Last year I had the damper on the boiler replaced. It was somewhat related to the chimney liner issue I’d had fixed shortly before. When the chimney liner was stuffed up, the damper was trying to open and sending air back flow and closing again. Burned the motor out.

    One thing leads to another.


  11. The well pump on our off grid property went out this summer. I normally fix everything myself, but I resigned this to a company that had the correct equipment for the job. My wife and I were relieved not to do this replacement. Self-sufficientcy needs a break every now and then.

    Liked by 1 person

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