Thursday, November 15, 2007
(Gratuitous dog picture)
Part One: It Takes Me Forever to Get Out of the House
ok, first of all, i admit it: i was blogging. i've started squirreling away new episodes of "birth of a hack," which i hope to spring upon all of you in december. (Season Two will be called "the hack grows up.")
but that wasn't the main reason i was late; that was just a normal delay, which i had factored into my morning schedule. all i needed was for all else to go smoothly, and i would be fine.
but all else did not go smoothly.
i had just gathered up my gloves and keys and was about to call the boys back inside, when i heard a BEEP BEEP and the power went out.
it was a windy morning. maybe a line blew down. or maybe a branch blew onto a line. or maybe a squirrel blew onto a branch, which blew onto a line. i don't know; i'm not an electrician.
all i know is that no power meant that the phones didn't work--except for the old-fashioned black rotary phone we keep in the kitchen. (we don't have cell phones.) so i went into the kitchen and dialed Xcel Energy.
i got voice mail.
"for an electrical outage, press one."
but, of course, i can't press one; i can only dial one, and that doesn't do the same thing. so i waited. eventually i got a different voice mail, one that wanted me to speak. "for an electrical outage, say one."
i maneuvered through all of that, only to have the voice mail tell me at the end that it couldn't understand me and it would switch me to a live person. grrrr. couldn't they have just done that from the start?
the customer service representative was polite, but it was clear that she didn't believe me. "did you check your circuit breakers?" she asked.
"i didn't have anything running except the refrigerator and the crock pot," i said. "i was just about to leave for work."
"still, we don't like to dispatch anyone until you check your circuit breakers."
"look," i said. "they wouldn't all trip at once, for no reason."
i heard the clicking of her keyboard, and a little muttering, and then she said, "nobody else in your neighborhood has reported an outage, ma'am."
i hate when they call me ma'am.
well, they probably don't know there's an outage! they're probably all at work! i wanted to say. they probably all left on time because they weren't blogging!
but i didn't say anything. i was not about to hang up, go down the basement, check the circuit breakers, and then try to navigate through that voice mail hell a second time. so i just waited.
she said they'd send someone out in the next four hours. i hoped the crock pot chili wouldn't develop botulism in the meantime.
i whistled the boys inside, and i headed for the garage.
Part Two: The Garage Door
ah. you press the garage-door opener when the power is out, and guess what? nothing happens. it just hangs there on the ceiling and laughs at you.
i knew there was a red cord i was supposed to pull, so i walked over, located it, and jumped up to grab it. (i am short, it is high.) i grabbed the red tag that was attached to the red cord. it ripped. i fell.
grrr. so i dragged over a plastic garden table that i know doug would holler at me for standing on if he knew i was standing on it. i stood on it, and i tugged on the red cord. i heard a click. i climbed down, pushed open the door, put the garden table back where it belongs, got in the car, backed out, put the car in park, pulled the garage door back down, and drove off. this must be how the pioneers did it! i said, as i tooled down the alley.
Part Three: Road Closed.
so by now i am very late, and i'm zipping up energy park drive, trying not to speed in a noticeable fashion, and i'm passing slow buses and stupid cars going the speed limit, and dodging annoying bicyclists who have no business bicycling where i am trying to drive. and when i get to raymond avenue i see the ominous orange sign: ROAD CLOSED AHEAD.
grrrrr. this road wasn't closed yesterday! it was down to one lane, and had been for two weeks; i'd gotten quite skillful at maneuvering around the orange barrels without slowing down. but today it's closed outright.
so i have to turn right, and snake up through St. Anthony Park, which takes five minutes longer, and i get stuck behind not one, but two buses--those long ones, with the accordian bend--and then i almost get creamed by a green minivan (my fault) when i lose my concentration and forget to turn left until the last second.
by the time i pull into my parking spot, i am easily 15 minutes late. maybe 20. i fly up the stairs, shedding my coat as i go so that i can nonchalantly look like i am just coming back from, maybe, the bathroom, and not the parking lot. i sneak a peek at my boss's office.
ah. dark and cold, door shut, lights off.
hallelujah! he is late, too!
today, i swear, i will be on time.