Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mississippi in August and no electricity

There I was, minding my own bees-wax, sweeping up Rex's hair from the floor. Ka-thunk! Silence...and darkness. There are no windows in our kitchen other than the one in the door to the screened porch, so lack of light is fairly significant in there. Now usually when that happens, it is just a short glitch (welcome to rural Mississippi) and the electricity comes back on anywhere from in a few seconds to a few minutes. It's 103 here today, so I was hoping it was that few seconds thing today. It wasn't.

I called the electric company that services our area; I understood fairly quickly why Randy said, "Good luck with that" when I told him it was out. First, a recorded voice, spinning off a list of numbers and options. Not being familiar with the system, I selected "report an outage" naively assuming a person would come on and I would be able to have a conversation. I don't know why that always surprises me these days, but I confess to being unprepared, and no, I do not have the telephone number of our service account, nor the account number. Hang up and redial. Wait for the entire list of options. Oh, there it is: to speak to a representative, dial 0 or stay on the line.

She confirmed that it was an outage in the area as they were changing out a battery and it would be back on in just a few minutes. "While I have you on the line, we called several weeks ago to report kudzu on our transformer. Do you know when they might be getting out here--it's getting pretty bad."

This is my version of "pretty bad." Mississippians already know that kudzu can grow several inches in a day. (When we first moved here and our computers were in the room that is J's now--with a view of the transformer--we used to make bets on how far up the pole it would go overnight--you could visually see the difference from one day to the next.)

She pulled up the work order and said, "It doesn't say when they will get to it, but we do have the order here."

"Well, I just want to let you know that it is pretty bad and it is all over the transformer."

"Sometimes he waits until he has a number of them in the same area and then does them all at once. However, if it gets real bad before he gets out there, call back."

Hmmmm......what is your definition of real bad, because that's where I am with it right now.

"If your lights start flickering on and off, call back."

Okay, I can do that, but what about if that happens in the middle of the night, or on a weekend? What about if it happens when it is 107? How long will it take him to get to it then? "I think it is already really bad; the kudzu is totally all over the transformer and wires, and you know, it grows really fast."

Yes, of course she knows. Everyone in Mississippi knows that. Give it an inch and it will wrap around your arm and rip the hoe out of your hand as you are trying to chop its little tendrils off. From what I can tell so far, there is no peaceful co-existence with this stuff. It wins or you do. Currently, the score here is Kudzu: 8,392; Suzassippi: 0.

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