Sometimes I wonder how I got myself into a certain mess*. I’ll look around at the circumstances: at people with whom I never thought I’d be associated, in a place, real or figurative, that I would not like to be, or, like a couple nights ago, surrounded by the darkness of my powerless home. And I’ll go all David Byrne for an eye-blinking, head-scratching, stock-taking** moment of: How did I get here?
Yes, I paid my power bill. But you were wondering. The thing is, I’m pretty good when it comes to owning up to my mistakes. I’ve lost bills, paid things twice, forgot to tell a company I moved, overused, overspent, underestimated, and I thought “budget” was something that other people did until my 30s. I’m not beating myself up by any means; it’s just the truth, and that truth is generally surprising and often mildly to moderately funny (much like the side effects of many TV-recommended solutions to life’s problems).
So when it comes to certain situations, I may not see clearly, or right away, who’s responsible. And duh, it’s because, like life, not everything is black or white. Anyone who’s been following my life might agree that keeping the facts straight was easy at first: like catching one tennis ball at a time. Cause and effect. Action and result. Simple. But when the tennis balls began to come faster, it became harder to keep up. Since I’m what you’d call a “math person***,” I’ll use a line graph to illustrate my point. You’ll see that the tennis balls became somewhat overwhelming and uncatchable sometime in 2009.
But we haven’t got all day here, so back to Monday night. Some of you may know that I’ve been in the process of converting my single-family home into a two-family for quite some time. That is only one layer in the proverbial onion of complication coinciding with the above deluge of tennis balls in my life, but an important layer at that. I’ll explain more on why some other time, but for now, what you need to know is****:
1. Part of the process includes adding a second utility meter to separate service between the old part of the home and what will be the new apartment. It requires a big new double meter electrical panel to replace the single meter. In the world of electrical work, it’s more on the dangerous side of things, involving the utility company shutting off power from the pole, and lugging big heavy pieces of equipment and other Things Electricians Do.
2. I thought this had happened three Thursdays ago. Why? Because Electrician Dude told me he was doing it then. What he did not follow up with was the actual truth.
3. I’m often the last to know what’s actually going on in the construction progress at my house. My landscaper who lives nearby and has nothing to do with electrical work but has a penchant for showing up at odd times to weigh in on things unrelated to landscaping probably knew what was happening before I did.
4. Electrician Dude gets a low D for his Time Estimation grade. (Yeah I’ve started grading people, watch out.) Not only did he say to me at 6:45 pm, “Hi! [surprised to see me] I thought I’d have this done before you got home!” [Because he knows where I’ll be when?]
5. To T make O a O long L story A short, T my E my electricity was off until almost 11pm that night. Because Electrician Dude was about seven hours off in how long the process would take him, and apparently doing major electrical jobs in the dark is less than ideal. Despite the two helpers holding flashlights, and the headlights from his truck shining on the front of my house.
Yeah it wasn’t the end of the world. I became a little “righteous consumer” around 9:45, asking if I could have a “realistic timeline for when the power would be back on since [they] said 15 min more three hours ago” because I had some amazing zucchini pasta leftover concoction in the fridge and dinnertime was beginning to overlap with bedtime (two things I’ve made great strides in separating). But the hunger wasn’t squelching my fears that electrical work completed in the dark of 10pm was akin to performing surgery in the back of a school bus, running late.
What’s even more entertaining is that the work is still not finished, although Electrician Dude tends to take a long hiatus after every obvious appearance, and I’ve already had two people tell me the work appears to have been done incorrectly. Not to mention my poor house is now certainly the laughing stock of the neighborhood, having been defaced by a 90 degree PVC conduit stapled smack across the front of its facade.
Yes, I’m taking all the necessary steps to do all of what a responsible person would do in this situation. And I think, as the purple shading in my graph clearly shows, I handle these life farts***** better now than I used to. So the Team and I lit some candles, made a couple phone calls, and thought about how different things were since the last time the power was out. Well, I did most of the thinking. Grace worried about the noises outside, and possible fire hazards, while Levi carried around his baby lamb, smiling incessantly and stretching often.
*Mess: probably not the best word; too broad. Overused. A fine mess–the best kind)
**I wasn’t sure before I wrote this if I had ever taken stock. While I’ve undoubtedly spent time reflecting on my life for both constructive and stupid reasons, the parody part of my brain can’t help but think of ransacking the store room, stealing provisions from Olsen’s Mercantile, plundering and pillaging in the face of fear, stockpiling comfort food the way Connecticutians (A Word) do before a snowstorm, while shouting things like “Batten down the Hatches!” and “Hunker Down!” because we think we should. That and stealing soup. Who took my stock?!
****It’s at this point in writing that I’m already fearing the breakdown of my original point. I can see this entry has become reminiscent of me attempting to tell a joke at the dinner table when I was little. At this point I’ve lost some or all of my audience but my mother is still listening and patiently waiting for me to get to some point. Thanks, Mom.
*****I just Googled this phrase, and I don’t see it. Saw a lot of other scary things I don’t click on, so I don’t suggest it. But I think it’s pretty accurate. Life farts are little things that stink to varying degrees, and sometimes the best thing to do is wait them out. Because I don’t need to say it, but they too shall pass.