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August 31, 2005


We are, of course, the only house in our neighborhood still without power. Today I called an electrician, who came and squinted up at the wires. Then we had the same conversation I always have with guys who come to look at broken things:

HIM (pointing): You see that? That's your problem right there.

ME: See what?

HIM: That thing up there? Dangling down? To the left of the other thing?

ME: No.

HIM: Right below that curvy thing?

ME: No.

I can never see the thing they're pointing to. But basically, as I understand it, our top leg is hot. (I swear he said that.) But because of this other thing that I can't see, the dangling thing, we are not getting any volts or amperages into our actual house. The electrician says we need to have a person from Florida Power and Light come with a long pole and push the invisible dangling thing, and we will have electricity again. But the way things are going, that may not happen in my immediate lifetime.

Fortunately, our mail service has been uninterrupted, and we just received our electric bill.


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invisible dangling thing? I'm sorry to hear that.

You're powerless because of your dangling thing? I think they make pills for that.

I'm sure FL&P has knowledgeable, friendly technicians who can see and fix invisible hot top legs.

it all sounds vaguely naughty. good luck with that.

Did you ever get the impression that those guys go back to their trucks and just laugh and laugh and laugh?

The guy pretending to be an electrician was really Christobol!

Chianca ~ They usually wait to laugh until they are cashing the check.

Every bank teller has waited on someone giggling faintly.

They worried me.

Dave, Maybe you and Judi could activate your WonderTwin powers and take the form of FL&P technicians. I'm sure Judi would like to go after your dangly thing.

Yeah, sorry about that, Dave. I couldn't resist.

Actually, I've seen a power company employee reattach the invisible dangling thing at the top of our power pole (back before they buried our line). He used a really long rod with a hook on the end of it. It was quite a feat, made no easier by the fact that the other three workers stood there and mocked his efforts the whole time, making jokes about his manhood everytime he failed. Ultimately he killed two of them before finally restoring our power.

So, when the FL&P guy shows up, if he's alone, you'll need to go out and mock him Dave.


Don't wait around for FL&P when you can easily do it yourself. I'm not a trained electrician per se, but I've met some, and it seems easy enough. I'll walk you through it:

1. Disconnect your combobulation modulator with a 3/16 hornking wrench.

2. Splice the top leg into the frenulated ballast receptacle, making sure you are not grounded, otherwise you will trip your flanged voltage circuit reductor, which is probably fatal.

3. Using a standard 9/35 gradiated axial joist, wench your flush-mounted semi-conducive AC/DC bracket to your neighbor's electric pole. If they object, tell them it's a matter of Homeland Security.

4. Voila! (French for "you've blown the fuse to Miami") You should now either have electricity or are wanted by the FBI.

I hope this helps.

Can't believe the guy wouldn't use the proper names of the "thing", "leg", etc. for you, Dave.

Years ago, when Mr. MOTW was a mechanic, the thing he hated most was customers not only in the shop, but standing at his elbow asking him to explain everything (such as, "The sign CUSTOMERS NOT ALLOWED IN SHOP AREA applies to YOU, too."). Anyway, one guy was being a particular pain, so ...

Mr. MOTW - "Oh! There's your problem right there ... see that?"
Customer - "Where? What?!"
Mr. MOTW - "Carb mites."
Customer - "Carb mites? Is that bad?"
Mr. MOTW - "Well, they can get past your air filter and choke the carburetor."
Customer - "How do they get there in the first place?"
Mr. MOTW - "Well, the eggs come in thru your intake and hatch. Once they get to breeding, you can have a real problem, maybe even have to get the carburetor rebuilt."
Customer - "What do we do to get rid of them?!"

Now, this happened to be at a large chain store that had a shop (rhymes with HeyFart). So Mr. MOTW directed him to the Pet Center located just inside the door from the shop.

Mr. MOTW - "Go get a flea collar ... the one for LARGE dogs, so it'll fit around the air filter. Don't worry about paying for it, I'll just put it on your ticket."

The customer was out of the shop in a flash to find a flea collar, Mr. MOTW got his work completed (except for putting the top back on the intake) and wrote up the ticket. He caught hell from the service manager when he saw the charge for the collar, but it was worth it.

Fed, you forgot to mention that Dave should stay at a Holiday Inn Express the night before attempting this.

Maybe if you, perhaps with some friendly assistance, managed to get your bottom leg hot, too, your dangly thing would become visible. Personally, a technician with a pole would not be my chosen partner in this effort, but whatever works for you. Closer examination of the curvy thing might help, too.

Here's to a happy resolution.

Looks like a job for Florida Flash & Flicker!

And I liked his use of extremely technical terms. Quite impressive. How much did you pay him?

Ackk, my father worked for Florida Plunder & Loot for years and what Dave said made sense to me. I think I need to up my meds.

We are, of course, the only house in our neighborhood still without power.

That's why the phrase is Keeping up with the Joneses and not Keeping up with the Barrys.

This happened to my folks, at our farm, when I was a kid. A bird hit the breaker switch (dangly thing) next to the transformer (the grey, barrel-shaped thing at the top of the pole) and with a loud POP the power went dead. I got to watch the power company guy go up in the hydraulic basket and flip the breaker back on (but only after he flicked charred bird remains away from the contacts). While this is fascinating for a ten-year old, for a grownup its a pain in the butt.

Good luck, Dave.

Dave, we empathise with you man. We just got our power back in our neighborhood after 5 days of watching every street within a rock's toss get their lights back on. But their is a positive in all this: you do not have to see any repeats of the MTV Video Awards.

After a 35-ft cottonwood limb pinned the powerline to our back fence, half of our street was w/o power for six days last June. (It was quite spectacular when the lightning hit it. We actually witnessed it because the wind was screaming so loudly that we went to the windows.)

We have a police officer on the corner who said folks were beginning to talk about tar and feathers ... Ha, ha. Real funny.

Here in the NW, we don't get such exciting weather, but I recall reading in the Police Log that one officer, who must have been pretty bored to write the entry, was called in for a fight. OF COURSE there was no one there when he got there, but he did notice a squirrel running across the power line, then a flash from the transformer box, then no more squirrel. Laughed myself silly and immediately sent it to all my relatives.

The joke in SoFla used to go:

Question: What's blue & white, has ten wheels and sleeps six?

Answer: A Florida Power & Light truck.

After six hurricanes in less than a year, we don't joke about the guys from FPL at all anymore!

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