Riding the Pain Train

It’s been a horrible week, for a number of reasons. Some self inflicted, some not.

I’ve been fighting a cold and stomach bug nearly all week. It’s not the coof. My sinuses were stuffed (not dripping, inflamed), My stomach’s been on the edge of nausea, and I’m not sleeping well. The sinus medication wrecks my stomach, which hasn’t been happy anyway.

Lot of interconnected systems get gooched when I get sick. So it’s slow recovering from nearly anything.

Then, peak misery showed up around 5:30 this morning.

I woke up to piss, and it seemed very dark. And so it was. The power was out.

So I went back to bed after setting my phone’s alarm. Screwit. It’ll probably be back on when I get up. I laid there thinking that I’d heard the spa running when I got up around 3AM. So power couldn’t have been gone long. Sleep wasn’t going to happen, so I got up and grabbed around for the camping lamp we keep in the room to start my routine.

The dogs weren’t happy. They went out tentatively and didn’t want to come back in. Looking around, I realized that my neighbor had power, but the lady across the street did not. That could mean only one thing – an idiot hit a pole down the street. Sure enough, when I called Oncor to complain, they told me what happened and it would be up by 3PM.


Power out means no interwebs – can’t work, or I have to use my mobile as a hotspot. My work mobile needed charging. I had one APC still alive, so I plugged the phone into it. Of the other two, one is too small to run the interwebs and accesspoints – I need to fix that – and the other, much bigger one, is old.

Luckily, I have gas appliances. So I have hot water, a stove, and a gas fireplace that put enough light out to keep the dogs happy. So I fed them and myself, and got enough caffiene to function. I figured I’d walk along the main road with them and see what the deal was.

Sure enough, about 50 yards from the next street over intersection, there it was. Utility trucks and a busted pole. They were setting the new pole as I waddled by. When I got back I dug out the generator to fire things up for the day.

This is what kills me; I was looking at buying more extension cords. Specifically at least two 50′ 30A ones. But I thought, meh, I’ll hook it up to the panel soon enough.


What I need to do it keep the cords I have handy. I found the newer 100′ one, but had to dig for the other. I got it all plugged in and fired the machine up.

Or tried.

Problem #1 – Didn’t buy cords, didn’t put mine back in a spot where I could get to them.

Problem #2 – Laziness. Didn’t start the generator for a few months. I usually fire it up once a month.

Lot of cussing. Lot of pulling. Just as I was about to switch it to propane, it sputtered once.

Couple more pulls and it belched a cloud of smoke and caught.

It’s really an amazing machine. It ran two refrigerators, interwebs, wifi, cameras, and both computers (5 screens).

My life back on track, I waddled back to the scene to get a sense of when the dudes would have things up. At that point, the pole was set, and they were securing the second high power line. Huh. Should be any time now – three wires under it, and replace the down high power link, and we’d be home free.

About 1:30 things lit back up. I have to give the power distribution company around here some credit. They don’t screw around. That said, there’s a couple issues here that cause them to be really busy. First is that most areas in DFW, mostly the older ones, didn’t take utilities into consideration whatsoever when planning. Those poles along that particular road are literally right up against the curb.

Back in the 70s, the county where I lived in Virginia went around and moved poles away from roads, moved things that obstructed views on corners, and generally made things safer. For instance, there was a mailbox on our street right on the apex of a corner (I ran into it at least once on my bike). They moved it 20 feet, out of the way.

Not so here. Those poles should be going up the alley that’s parallel to the street.

Second thing that’s an issue is shitheads that can’t drive. No skid marks, no burnout marks, straight road. They just up and hit the pole. Probably texting. Maybe racing. Dumbshit stuff. A lot of this is that since COVID, and BLM most likely, the police haven’t been real active deterring dumbshittery on the roads around here.

Hopefully that’ll change. I’ve noticed more cops pulling cars over this month (at least here in Richardson) than I’ve seen the last two years, easily.

For me? I need to buy those extension cords and a couple power strips, and keep them somewhere handy while I plan out the panel connection as well as picking up a couple more camping lamps.