Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ty Ming

I think that’s an ancient Chinese curse.  Something about Ty Ming is evy sing…

One of the primary tasks Mum and I had while we were out and about yesterday was grocery shopping.  On the list were quite a bit of frozen veggies, milk, OJ and other refrigeables.

Last night I left my computer on to charge the doodad.  That’s my nickname for my mp3 player.  I almost never leave the computer on overnight.

This morning I awoke to a vaguely familiar sound.  Beep beep beep.  I’m on vacation so I don’t have that kind of alarm set.  Beep beep beep.  What the hell is that?  Beep beep beep.  I don’t think the charge controller for the solar panels makes that noise…  Beep beep beep.  I looked up at the ceiling to see what time it was on my projection clock.  It’s dark.  No clock.  Beep beep beep.  Huh?  Now I’m confused.

Beep beep beep. 

Oh crap!  It’s the power failure alarm on the telephone system’s battery backup!

I can’t see the projection clock because there’s no juice for the projector!  Why is it that the power chooses to go out right after we fill the fridge?  Ty Ming is evy sing!


So I roll out of bed and secure the computer and unplug the doodad.  Looks like the neighbors don’t have power either.  Good.  Not that misery loves company – I was afraid I might have forgotten to pay the light bill!  There’s a chance it will be fixed before too long.

National Grid (formerly Mass Electric) has a very personable computer.  I finally managed to weave my way through the maze of menus to report that the power is out.  That was around six this morning.

Then I went back to bed.

Beep beep beep.  Grrrrr!

It eventually stopped when the batteries died.  Of course then we had no phone except for my cell…  (Glad I charged it!)

The power was still out when I finally got up for the day around eleven o’clock.  After calling National Grid on my cell phone and actually speaking to a real live human* I made the executive decision that Mum and I should hop in Galileo and go off to Ihop for breakfast.  Where it’s warm.

* Pro Tip: Instead of pushing buttons or responding to the menu with one of the provided selections, say “Operator.”  That will get you into the queue to talk with a human.

Before we left I went out on the enclosed porch and announced to the batteries “You’re on – and this is not a drill…”  I haven’t installed the wiring yet that will allow me to just throw a switch to switch between grid power and the inverter so I had to string an extension cord between the inverter and the fridge as I had done for the test I wrote about here.

The cord gets strung through the hall window that looks out into my workshop, up over the curtain rods and behind a water jug that I put on top of the kitchen cabinet over the fridge to hold it.  That way the cord is over our heads instead of running across the floor.  It would really take some effort to trip on it up there!

After stringing the cord I added a blanket to block the window.  It’s cold out there in my unheated workshop and I didn’t want the shop sharing that with the rest of the house.  The curtain rods were not at all happy about that idea.  The top brads mounting the brackets to the wall were simply not up to the task.  I had to replace them with screws.  Now we have an actual load bearing system!  Curtains, power cord and blanket.  No problem!  And minimal heat loss.  Works fer me!

And the fridge was fine running on the modified sign wave juice from the inverter just like during the test.

On our way out to Nashua we stopped by and chatted with one of the guys from the crew that was working to fix the problem.  He said our neighborhood has a radial system.  They were still looking for the cause of the problem.  Once they find it they will have to dig up the road to fix it.  “Power should be back on by the end of the year…”  Har har!  The person on the phone said ‘probably by around noon.’  But it was already ten past one!  His real estimate was four to six hours after they find the cause – which they were still looking for at that point.  We thanked them for their efforts and headed along on our way.

By the time we got back the power was back on and all was well with our little corner of the world.  (“Corner”?  But the world is round…)

That’s the second power failure in as many months.  Not as wide spread nor nearly as long an outage.  But still, I hope this doesn’t become a habit…

No comments: