Friday, November 2, 2012

How Kentucky Got Me Through Hurricane Sandy

On Monday -- the day Sandy was supposed to arrive in the Mid-Atlantic -- I decided to buy a book from Amazon for my Kindle so that I would have something to read while I was riding out the storm.  But something went wrong, and the book I wanted wouldn't download.  After trying everything I could think of, I called Amazon to get help.  Actually, of course, you don't call Amazon -- what happens is that you tell their web page that you need help and then someone from Amazon calls you.  The person who called me had a very familiar accent.  It turned out that she was calling from Mount Sterling, Kentucky.  We had a nice chat about that, and soon I had my book -- which I read while the winds howled and moaned outside.

We lost power at about 6 PM on Monday, and the next day we saw that down the road from us, a tree had fallen across our street, pulling down the electrical lines with it.  About noon on Tuesday, Number 2 son and I walked down there to see what was going on.  I noticed that one of the trucks had the UK logo on it, and so I introduced myself as a fellow Kentuckian.  It turned out that the men sent to repair our wires were mostly from the rural counties south of Lexington -- Jackson County, Estill County, and the like.

I kept checking on the situation throughout the day.  The Kentuckians explained that they had done all of the prep work they could, but that they couldn't proceed to remove the fallen tree or reconnect the power lines until the circuit had been turned off -- and that this could only be done from a central location somewhere.  This didn't surprise me -- I am well aware of the mania for centralization that dominates life on the East Coast -- but it seemed odd to them.  I last saw them at 9:30 PM, still standing in the dark, while someone from the local power company sat in his truck, communicating to the main office via cell phone and computer.

I walked back to my house in a terrible mood, annoyed that the whole process was taking so long, and fell asleep in the cold.  I woke up at about 6 AM on Wednesday in a dark house, and started to get dressed.  I was hoping to get downtown early to use the showers in my office building.  Just as I was finished dressing, however, I heard a small "beep" and then suddenly everything was back on.  Our power had returned.  Apparently, the central office had finally done whatever was necessary, and then the Kentucky crew had worked throughout the night to clear our street and reconnect our power line.  It was hard, cold, and dangerous work, but it made a huge difference to the Go Heaths and everyone else on our street.

So somewhere in Jackson County and the surrounding area, there are men who didn't get to see their kids on Halloween, because they were up in Northern Virginia helping a bunch of Washingtonians get their lights back on.  I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but I'm very grateful for their help.

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