A couple of days ago I was humming along working happily when suddenly, doink! The power went out. It was a beautiful bright sunny day, and so I might not have noticed right away except that my new printer (see a couple of posts down) clicked and when I looked over at it, I saw that the little blue power light was out. When I looked back at my machine, my screen had dimmed. I was on battery power, and all my connections to various Internet-based services started going down one by one.
As my wife will attest, I am not very good during power outages. I immediately shouted down the stairs, "The power's out!" and raced down there to see if my wife and daughter were all right. They seemed oblivious to the problem.
"We have no power!" I exclaimed, watching as they inexplicably continued to sit on the couch calmly and color in a coloring book.
"Really? I didn't notice," my wife said without looking up.
"Yeah," I said, trying to look as nonchalant as they were. "I guess I better get back up there; I only have two hours of battery now in which to work."
"Ok," she said, still not looking up.
I went back upstairs to my office and sat in my chair. The power was still off. This isn't coming back, I thought. I better call the electric company.
I actually have the electric company's emergency number in my cell phone's memory so that I can call them at a moment's notice if the power goes out. In my defense, we have well water, not city water, which means that when the power goes out, our water also goes out. So it's pretty important that that the power goes back on as quickly as possible.
I whipped out my cell phone, looked up the number and dialed it. An automated system greeted my ears, wanting to know the nature of my call, what my phone number was, and some other things. Apparently, it couldn't understand me when I tried to give it my phone number, because I got transferred to a live person.
"How can I help you?" a pleasant female voice asked cheerfully.
"We have a power outage." I stated.
"Really? I'm not showing anything on my board," was her incredible response.
"You're kidding me, right? Don't you guys have some kind of- of- a grid or something?!" I not-so-calmly asked.
"How long has the power been out?"
"It's been out, like-- like, three minutes!"
"Have you checked your circuit breakers to see if they've tripped?"
I hadn't done that.
"No, actually, I haven't done that. But they've never tripped before. If you hold on, I'll go check."
She agreed to hold on, and I put the phone down (I would definitely lose the signal if I carried it down into the basement) and ran as fast as I could down into the basement to check the circuit breakers. Since it was dark and I forgot to grab a flashlight on my way down, I actually couldn't tell if they'd tripped. So I flipped the main switch back and forth madly a bunch of times. Since there was no effect, I took that to mean that they hadn't tripped.
I then raced back up to my office again. A little out of breath, I grabbed the cell phone and asked, "Hello? Are you still there?"
"I'm still here," she stated.
"The circuit breakers weren't tripped."
Probably sensing my near-panic, she said, "Okay, I will enter a service ticket and we will dispatch a truck immediately to see what the problem is."
"Thank you. Thank you very much!"
"You're very welcome, sir. Have a nice day."
I hung up the phone and then went back to my machine and tried to work. Since most of the time I'm writing documentation, I can get some stuff done without the benefit of being connected all the time. But it was hard. Every few moments I'd look over at my printer to see if it'd magically turned back on again. Nope, it hadn't.
I'd look up at my power icon as it started to move downward, indicating that my machine's battery was getting drained. I suddenly had to go to the bathroom, but knew I couldn't, because we had no power and I couldn't waste precious water by flushing the toilet. Of course, now I understand that all of this was completely psychological, but at the time I was getting more and more panicky. Minutes became a half an hour, a half an hour became 45 minutes, and I transformed into a twitchy, sweaty, having-to-go-to-the-bathroom mess.
And then suddenly, doink! the power went back on. Just like that. I jumped up from my chair, raced downstairs again and exclaimed, "The power is back! The POWER IS BACK!!!"
My wife and daughter were still sitting on the couch, coloring away.
"It is? That's great," my wife stated. This time she did look up and give me a knowing smile. "I'm really glad."
"Me too," I said uncomfortably. She always displays more grace under pressure--if she even felt any pressure in this instance--than I do. "I didn't know what I was going to do if it stayed off long enough for my battery to die."
Knowing full well that that was not the source of my previous panicky state, she simply stated, "I know. Now you don't have to worry about it."
"Yeah," I said, shamed and looking at the floor. "Well, I guess I better get back to work. Let me know if you need anything down here."
"Bye, Daddy!" my daughter called, looking up from the coloring book.
"Bye, sweetie! I love you," I said.
"Wuv you too!" she said cheerfully.
I went back upstairs happily. I didn't even have to go to the bathroom anymore.