Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sixth Sense: The Bogeyman Works for the Power Company

(photo courtesy of abc home preschool)

Everyone is aware of the five senses. Some people have less than five working senses while some people have an extra sense, or a sixth sense if you will. For some it’s seeing dead people for others it’s something completely different like knowing when it’s raining. You know, you look out the window!

My sixth sense is a hyper awareness of the bogeyman.

But the bogeyman isn’t real? Is that what you said? No he’s real alright. And he lives in my head. At least when I feel most vulnerable. He knows everything about me. He is an expert stalker. He knows when my man will be out of town on business and that’s when he strikes. He’s afraid of my man. But single white female in a house full of kids = instant victim.

I do everything I can to not tip him off. I try not to give detailed information that could easily lead him to my house. I think he knows anyway. I never announce that Heath will be on a business trip. I wait until he comes home before sharing my latest brush with my crazy lunatic stalker Bogeyman.

Some may call the interesting coincidences in my life Murphy’s Law. Not me. They are the work of the bogeyman. I’m sure of it. Do you know what he did yesterday? He killed the power for eleven hours. I’m not making this up. Let me share the story and you tell me if it doesn’t have bogeyman written all over it.

My sixth sense was tingling so I wasn’t sleeping really well. My eyes opened at 3:00 am. The alarm clock confirmed the time. Drat! I couldn’t remember when Heath said he was waking up so I tried to go back to sleep. Approximately 45 minutes later I heard his cell phone bing bonging to wake him up. He walked into the bathroom only to walk right back out.

“The power is out,” he announced.
I sat straight up in bed, “What!”

Bogeyman? I think so. The bogeyman knows I’m a keystroke off crazy when the power is out. He also knows how wound up I get when Heath has to go out of town. I am convinced a police officer will contact me to identify my husband’s body smeared all over wherever. Cutting the power was brilliant on the bogeyman’s part.

Heath found a maglite, which would have to do since he didn’t have enough time to find a lantern. It was shower time. Monday morning shower time would happen in the dark.

I laid in bed not sleeping but feeling sorry for my poor husband who had to be up so early showering in the dark, getting ready in the dark including putting contacts in his eyes in the dark, and hoping to look halfway decent for a meeting with a client in a few hours. My worrying was so effective. It totally solved the problem. (Why is there no sarcasm font?)

Well, so Heath was ready to go. The maglite lit the way down the stairs. The garage door was manually opened and outside we saw something very strange indeed. From our house to the left nobody had power. No street lamps on. Nothing. Heath saw that out the bathroom window. But to the right there was power. Our next door neighbors had the carriage lights on their garage on. Street lamps were on, etc. A van slowly came around the corner tossing newspapers. The driver had to pull out a flashlight to see house numbers for half the neighborhood. Weird job, Bogeyman.

So Heath found an old power bill to report the outage. Not surprisingly this was the first that PG&E had heard of the issue. Not a lot of people are up and in need of electricity at 4:00 am.

We hugged and kissed our goodbyes and he left. My heart fell. I missed him already plus I could feel a panic attack coming on. Stupid bogeyman! I tried to rationalize with myself. What’s the big deal? PG&E would fix the problem and life would move on. Go. to. sleep. But I couldn’t. I had to pray first.

My heart had only begun to resume a normal pace when the phone rang. Assuming it was Heath I answered. I couldn’t imagine who else needed to call me at 4:45 am.

A PG&E representative. aka The Bogeyman

Rep: Is your power completely out?
Me: Yes.
R: It’s all dark and nothing works?
M: Yes.
R: You can have power restored in a matter of seconds if you go outside and flip the main breaker.
M: What?
R: If you go outside I can talk you through it. Can you tell me when you get to the box?
M: No, I’m not on a cell phone. I’m using a phone that plugs into the wall. What do you want me to do?
R: Oh. Just go outside and find the round meter. There should be a box under it. Open it up and find the switch that says Main. Flip the switch all the way off then back on. I’ll wait on the line.
M: Ok. Hold on.

This seemed strange to me but at that hour no human being should be alert for I couldn’t figure out what was so strange about the request. Until I got outside. There are a few boxes under the meter. Two say phone on them. Not a single one open. And why should they? If I have easy access to the main breaker for my electricity wouldn’t any yahoo off the street (like the bogeyman) be able to cut my power at will?

M: There are a couple boxes and none of them open.
R: I was hoping you could just flip the switch so I don’t have to go out there. It will take me about 45 minutes before I can get there.
M: I’m sorry I can’t figure it out. Could you just come out? It’s not like we’re up or anything.
R: Yeah that’s fine but it will take me a little while to get there. You just go back to bed.

The phone call ended and I hung up. My sixth sense was shouting at me and doing an Irish jig to get my attention. Something was not right. First of all, half the neighborhood was black but I assumed Johnny Danger power rep knew that. Heath had reported it which I assume is why some PG&E rep was freakin calling me at 4:45 am whining that he didn’t want to drive out to my house to investigate! I called Heath who told me the guy must be an idiot!

My bed stared at me. But I couldn’t get back in before pacing the floor concocting some scenario of a random PG&E guy climbing into my open bedroom window and I didn’t know the rest of the bizarre story. The bogeyman was either stealing my children or coming to bludgeon me in my sleep. I just knew it. My sixth sense doesn’t lie.

So I closed and locked every window. The house was cold anyway. I double checked every door and window downstairs knowing full well they are always locked. Then I locked the deadbolt between the laundry room and the garage. Just in case.

My dreams felt real as if I wasn’t actually sleeping at all. I tried to test the reality of each one as I dreamed. They all seemed to make perfect sense although now I realize how weird and unrealistic they all were. I was so tired and unrested.

I heard the click of things coming back to life as power was restored. Immediately I reached out to my alarm clock. If I hit the snooze button the light comes back on. Only it didn’t. I squinted up at the TV to see if the LED light was on at the bottom of the screen. No. Sixth sense confused, I attempted sleep again.

The kids and I were up for the day by 7:20. No reason to be awake but we were. It took a minute for them to adjust to the idea that there was no power. Then they were just upset they couldn’t play on the computer.

In the light of day, however cloudy and foggy it was, I was feeling more rational. But why did I know exactly when Johnny Danger flipped the breaker yet nothing was on? I’m telling you, this guy was the bogeyman or they were best friends or something. Something wasn’t right.

I called PG&E to ask what gives. A cheery prerecorded voice told me she was already aware of the outage in my area and that she expected power to be restored at 8:30. Heath called me when he landed about 8:40. But there was no power. So I called the company again. The cheery prerecorded voice had been updated and said power was expected to be restored at 1:00 pm. Once Gavin got over the fact that it should have been restored already he accepted 1:00 as if it was law.

We moved on with our day. When I finished showering in the dark, which by the way is not as bad as you would think but not nearly as fun either, I checked the phone for missed messages from Heath. There was no dial tone. There was nothing. The phone was dead.

The isolation was oppressing and I could almost hear the bogeyman chuckling at my bad fortune. Not only was my cell phone out of battery but we have dropped my service because I never use it. We meant to start a new pay as you go service but haven’t done it yet. I couldn’t email Heath because there was no Internet service. I was pretty sure we no longer had minutes with OnStar. Silence was suffocating to me.

PG&E trucks were concentrated around the corner. Road Work Ahead signs and traffic cones sat in the street. Prerecorded cheery voice girl wasn’t kidding when she said the outage was due to an equipment failure. Initially I thought that’s what they say when they don’t know what to say. But this was shaping up to be a pretty big deal.

Not being able to breathe from a fear of being completely cut off from the world, I ran next door. Before I could play it cool I asked my neighbor if I could make a long distance phone call (Heath’s cell number is a San Francisco number). My voice caught at the end as I almost shouted, “I’m afraid the bogeyman is out to get me!” but I refrained.

My neighbor started to dash for his house but stopped and said, “We don’t have power or phone service either. I can get my cell phone.” This was the house I mentioned earlier that had carriage lights on in the middle of the night. A jumble of emotions flooded me. Relief that I wasn’t the only one. Then embarrassment for being so openly dramatic about it all. I didn’t know phone lines could go dead during a power outage. We talked for a minute about how Heath had left that morning for a client meeting in Austin. I told him that’s why I knew our power had been out since 3:something am.

I may have served questionable milk for lunch. I made an effort to keep the fridge shut as much as possible but the fact that we had five and a half gallons of milk in there after a Saturday trip to Costco was haunting me. The milk was still cold. Just more like the temperature when you drink milk outside for a picnic.

The bogeyman is probably annoyed that he didn’t end up poisoning us with rotten milk. The power came back on around 2:30 pm. I couldn’t bear the thought of throwing any food out. What a waste of money. PG&E doesn’t care about spoiled food until the power outage has lasted for at least 24 hours.

What did I do? I still made my traditional breakfast for dinner. I was so grateful I didn’t have to manually open the garage to take my kids to McDonald’s for dinner. They didn’t know that was my plan if the power never came back on. I used to crave McDonald’s after Gwen was born but now I can’t believe that ever happened! Well, the eggs were fluffy and delicious. And the milk we drank tasted fine.

Ok, so my sixth sense isn’t always right. But ha ha you didn’t win this time Bogeyman! It still made for a strange day. Heath is home now thoroughly exhausted from the effort it took to make a two hour meeting with the client in Austin.

1 thoughts:

Dawn said...

I think it is time for you to find an exorcist for that bogyman sense.I am so glad you made it through the frightful day. Barry just shook his head and said, "She is really a good writer."