Sunday, August 06, 2006

Time to Back up

We had a scare yesterday. Around noon, as I was sitting at the computer checking blogs, mail, and news, I heard sizzling sounds, saw fire leaping, and smelled the acrid odor of melting electronic equipment. I started ripping cords from the wall, but I couldn't get to everything and the sounds and smells and fire wouldn't stop, so I burst out of the office to find my husband and children who were bursting out of the kitchen. Hubby said I was so freaked out that I didn't recognize him, but that wasn't true. I just wanted him to do something. I started screeching, "Pull the breakers! Pull the breakers!" He did. And the sounds stopped.

Though there was not even a breeze, a limb broke(from a perfectly healthy tree) and fell across the power line. It pulled the neutral wire loose, yet didn't break the positive and negative wires. The electric company man who came to cut power said this was the most damaging sort of situation because breakers can't trip and surge protectors can't trip because there is nothing to ground the raw energy.

The meter base and all those wires were pulled off the house so Mr. Electric Company said that he had to cut the wires and pull the meter, but that he would come back once we had a new meter base installed and inside wiring checked for damage. I did what any self respecting Southern girl would do, I called my Daddy. He swooped in, accessed the situation, and started calling in the troops.
  • The limb was sawed and stacked by an employee Daddy had called and told that there was an emergency and that the electric company needed the limb moved immediately to get the truck in the yard. The truck had already come and gone, but who is complaining.
  • Hubby and an electrician (who Dad also sent) whose name is Scooter disconnected the old meter base and removed the remaining pieces from the wall.
  • Daddy arrived with a new meter base and he and Scooter re-attached the wiring, etc. Dad kept telling me to go call the electric company to get someone on the way to reconnect the power (even though they were not finished).
  • I drove into town twice to get pieces that were broken or melted. When I got back from town, Mr. Electric Company had arrived even though Daddy and crew were not finished. He was patient.
Electricity was restored by 3:30. We, then, had to go around and check voltage for each breaker in the box and all the plugs and outlets. Once this was done, Daddy started restoring power to each room and I could go around and find out which of my electronics would have to be replaced. Here is the list so far:
  • refrigerator
  • scanner
  • television (was not even on)
  • a USB dock
  • charger for my Palm Pilot
Even though this was a very expensive day, I feel so lucky. Our house could have burned, my computer could have fried, the limb or live electric wire could have fallen on one of my children or me, but it didn't. I have a Daddy who knows how to fix things and commandeer troops. We live in a small town where we actually know the people at the power company so power was restored quickly. I have a husband who can laugh at the situation and not be so insecure as to mind my Daddy swooping in to take over when there is a need. I am thankful for all these things.

Last night and this morning, I am backing up the contents of my computer. I do not think I would have panicked as much if I had had a recent back up or any backup. I have on several occasions, recently, clicked "skip backup" even though I know how stupid that can be. I do payroll for a couple of companies (no backup), web site design for 6 companies (no backup), graphic design for several companies (no backup). I teach my children at home and use the computer as a record keeping tool (no backup). I run an almost paperless home office (no backup). After yesterday, I vow never to skip a scheduled backup again.


Mother Crone's Homeschool said...

OMG! I am so thankful that you are all okay, and that you were home when this happened. You have a great perspective about it, because in truth, it could have been worse than a few material possesions.

How wonderful to have a Daddy that is capable like that...especially in a time of crisis.
Wishing I was closer to help y'all out!

Susan said...

Good heavens. I'm glad y'all are okay. We had a tree fall during a lightning storm a couple of weeks ago. Just a trash tree, but big. Thank goodness it missed the house. You make a good point about backing things up. (I would never have known to kill the breakers...)

Frankie said...

Oh my stars! How scary! I'm so glad everyone is okay.

Thank goodness for great dads to save the day. (And for husbands who don't get bothered by that!)

Mama Chaos said...

What a scare! I'm glad you all are ok and that things didn't really turn bad.

JoVE said...

That does sound scary but you dealt with it admirably. What I don't understand is why the power company guy couldn't fix the meter and stuff. Does your house insurance cover this kind of thing?

wisteria said...

The electric company is only responsible for getting power to your house. You, and I assume it is a universal you, are responsible for everything else. Anything touching your house is your problem. In fact, they are not supposed to give any advice because of liability.

I have cleaned out the refrigerator and tomorrow morning I will call a repairman to see if it can be salvaged or if I need to start looking for a new fridge. We actually have an old one in the shed. I moved everything that was still good out there this morning. I will leave the television situation up to my husband. He always makes informed choices in that area. We don't use it often, but I am sure he will want to replace it.

When I think of the whole situation today, I think I am more scared. Seeing the melted plastic on the surge protectors and the smut marks on the side of the house and on the walls is frightening. I am feeling more and more lucky as I finish cleaning.

wisteria said...

Oh, I forgot. Susan, what is your "trash tree?" I just want to see how Mississippi you have remained.

Susan said...

Wisteria, the trash tree (perhaps "unplanned cultivation" is better...ha) is a locust, which actually makes nice hardwood for burning in the fireplace next winter. The most prolific trash trees in our overgrown yard are the Ailicanthus (sp?), the "Tree Grows in Brooklyn" trees. Lots of those. I'd give anything to have a mimosa tree sprout up around here!

wisteria said...

You've proved your Southern roots. Mimosa and jack trees were the first trees to pop into my head when you said trash tree. I, honestly, think you can grow a mimosa, though you would have to plant it. I know where I can acquire as many seeds as you want.

susan said...

Unbelievable. I am so sorry.

Natalie said...

I've been buried in my own work and just popped over to see what you've been up to for the last week or so.

Good grief, I'm so glad you all are ok and that the house is generally unharmed. You are such beautiful people, and that is such a beautiful house (I imagine).

I second the Southern girl's 911: Call Daddy. It used to drive my husband nuts (he is neither handy nor does he wish to be). Six years later, if I can't fix something--after giving it a cursory glance--dh says, "I dunno. Call your dad." LOL

Thank goodness for daddies.

Again, I'm SO GLAD disaster was averted. Thinking of you.

Becky said...

As if your life hadn't been exciting and busy enough so far this summer lol. So *very* glad everyone was safe and sound, and that you were all home to deal with it so capably. Phew...

Hornblower said...

Whoa - what an adventure. I hope the bills for all the appliances won't be too horrendous.
Hey, in my neck of the woods, a car drove into a power pole & dropped a line which caused a power surge to about 2000 customers and fried their electronics. The electrical company and the car insurance company (we have pretty much 1 provincial carrier) did get together to provide compensation to the people....

wisteria said...

Our refrigerator is fixed!! I am drinking ice water which feels great on this day that reached 98 degrees with a 103 heat index.

I will investigate a new television in the next few days.