Saturday, February 03, 2007

It's About Time

That's what I figured out. Things are about time, including how long it takes to get your electricity turned on. I used to believe it's about work and vision, but now I know that those things are incidental to this...thing, this concept, discovery or you know I really don't care how you view time, as long as you realize it matters most.

Of course, I am being a litte bit facitious and what the fuck am I talking about really? Well, I am here to announce that I have electricity! After months of rewiring and 4 months of calling and waiting and moving the meter can and removing this and adding that and mostly just not knowing what they (DTE) wanted from me, two days ago something that took them probably 10 minutes tops to hook up finally happened.

Did I ever tell you about the time that I called the main operator system to try and trick them into coming out. Oh yes, I was desperate by then. I figured if you have a downed wire that they would come out right away. I never looked forward to calling and going through all the choices on their automated menu (though I was starting to get pretty good at it), but this time I was feeling like this was gonna do something, this attempt would matter. I was a little worried that maybe I could actually make the situation worse if I just straight out said there was a downed wire and sparks were flying or something, so I said "you know I am trying to get my power on and there are some downed wires in the alley (which is really just my driveway at this point) and am not sure how safe that is..." ok sir can you give me your address (or sometimes it's social security number, phone number or name) so I can look up the record on your account?" I think, 'nope, doesn't look like she's buying it'.

Turns out that she is actually really interested in figuring out why I do not have electricity yet and begins to ask me about the situation. I tell her that I finally got a meter installed and that I had to move the meter can and add a ground wire beforehand, but at this point "my electricians" (read-friends) say everything looks ok and we should be good to go AND I have this reference number for a DTE inspector to come out to see if there is a problem, but the problem there, is everytime I call and eventually get an answering machine that is full, so it just hangs up on me. To this she assures, seriously, that she is going to help me, and she's really down to earth and I believe her. How I feel about this person matters to me, but that's a whole nother story about one of my phone calls to a different DTE operator. That was a bad one for sure.

She says, "if you hold I will call their office for you and then connect you. See, they are moving their offices and I hear things are a little busy over there right now." Of course I say, "sounds good, please do". "Please hold sir". So, the downed wire thing didn't work and I hold and I hold and I walk around my yard, rake a few leaves and then just before it gets bad here she is. "OK sir, I got someone on the line and they should be able to help you out." "Wow, thank you I really appreciate it". "No problem, just stay on the line and I'll patch you through." It rings and guesss what happens? It's that same fucking answering machine and the same thing that always happens happened, it would not even allow me to leave a message and hung up on me. And, in all my excitement I forgot to get her name which means I had no way of getting back in touch with this operator, ever. Doomed, I must be doomed.

It wasn't long after that that I gave up and seriously started thinking about just saving up for an alternative power source and for now making sure I was stocked with batteries, candles, wood and pyschologically ready to go ahead and face the winter without electric lights or a space heater. Around that time the weather was not so bad and I think we had just went through that really warm spell, so I had a short reprieve and it wasn't too bad yet. I bought a cheap chainsaw, started scoping out places to get wood and rearranged my furniture again ( I do this about once a week, and again that's another story), but low and behold last Tuesday or was it Wednesday, as I was pulling up, this guy with a clipboard starts to walk up to the upsidedown house, using the sidewalk! 'This must be an official', I think, but rather than drive off worried that they were coming after me for something, I jumped out and said "hey, what's going on?" HE says he's form DTE and the inspector and just needs to look on the outside. NO problem.

As I suspected there were no issues and he apologizes and shows me with his thumb and first finger the size of the stack of orders he has to check on and says he really wishes they would hire other people, which sounded like to me that he was the only one who had this job. I did not envy him nor did I give him a hard time. I simply told him that I was surprised to see him because I had given up. He said that he would put "live in" and actually showed me that he wrote this down in large letters on the order form and also said that should help a little bit and hopefully they would get to me soon. 3 days later, whala!

Thought that was the end of the story did you? Hell no. Did I ever tell you about the time that I got a bill from DTE, as a matter of fact two (turns out all I ever get in the mail at this point is bills for utitilities I do not have). Yea, that's right they started billing me before I even had service. At first I thought, "what the..." then I realized, maybe they will come out to turn my electricity off and I can get them to actually turn it on? Ridiculous huh? Yea, but not as ridiculous for how long it took to get my eletricity on so I can start paying them money?? OR, did I ever tell you why I had to decipher "meter can must be no more than 17 inches from meter can", which was them saying that we needed to move the meter can down before they would insert the actual meter because they wanted it in a better position for shutting the power off if I ever don't pay my bill, for a service I had yet to even begin to recieve...

Now, to remember that they are evil and I should try and minimize my usage and keep on working toward having the choice to be off the grid. For now, it was so good to hook up my stereo system today and listen to XTC's Drums and Wires, especially the 2nd song.

Power to the Peoples!

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