We're not in Wilkinsburg anymore...

Sunday night around 7:30 p.m. I was outside finishing up some gardening work, and DH was inside in the office.  I heard some popping and snapping sounds that initially sounded like fireworks, but then became so loud and explosive that I thought it might be gunfire.   I jumped up and noticed that across the street, the power lines were popping and sparking, smoke was coming from the top of the pole, and the wires were bouncing like crazy.

I called for DH, and he came running out.  I told him what I saw happening across the street and he said that he thinks a tree or some branches fell.  We walked down the driveway and then down the road, and saw our neighbor from across the street running through the trees, on the phone.

It turns out that DH was right - a tree HAD fallen.  A big tree.  A VERY BIG tree.  The road was completely blocked.  Power lines were down and laying across the road.  Our road gets a ton of traffic, so we stood up the road from the tree for a few minutes waving down people to stop them before they got too close to the tree.  The really funny thing is that most people thought that we were waving just to be nice.  So they smile, waved back, and when they turned their head back to the road to resume their driving, were shocked to see a tree right in front of them, and they proceeded to slam on their brakes.  Maybe using waving as a means of alerting drivers to a danger up ahead is not the best thing to do in the suburbs.  People apparently just think you're being nice.

Which brings me to my initial thought when the tree initially fell.  I immediately thought it was gunshots, even though that would be totally ridiculous given that we barely have any neighbors.  "We're not in Wilkinsburg anymore..." DH told me, and he's right.  But that doesn't mean that I still don't think like a city resident.  I lived in two different buildings right on Fifth Avenue in Oakland, and a couple of the trashiest streets in South Oakland.  I learned to sleep through the roar of Port Authority buses, helicopters, police and fire sirens, and drunks screaming outside my window.  I learned to recognize the sounds of gun shots, particularly when we lived in Edgewood, right on the border of Wilkinsburg.  And apparently, I think that the sound of a tree falling - a sound that I have never heard before - sounds a lot like gunshots. 

We live very close to the police department, so within 2 minutes, the first police car had arrived to block the road.  Thankfully, we still had power so we went to the grocery store (our regular Sunday evening plans) and when we returned we found the top of our road barricaded with a "road closed" sign. We easily drove around that, but then about 50 feet from the entrance to our driveway, we saw this:

Wow, now they're getting serious.

So we drove around that too, and I walked down to see if any progress had been made on removing the tree, but by this point everyone was gone except for one power company truck, who was apparently assessing the damage.

Around 10 p.m. we were getting ready for bed.  We heard the power company trucks outside and I watched them from the office window.  They raised a guy up in the cherry picker trucker, and he held out a long tool which he stretched out to the pole.

Right before the snap poof

Then I heard and "snap" and POOF - complete darkness.

DH and I were soooo mad.  Couldn't they at least have called us to tell us that they were going to be cutting the power.  I'm actually glad that I saw that they were the ones who cut it because we didn't have to waste time calling the power company's hotline to report a power outage.

But still, we were pissed.  For us, no power equals no water, so in addition to having to run around the house to find flashlights and candles at 10:15 p.m., we had to get out our case of bottled water so that we could brush our teeth.  I couldn't flush the toilet and DH used the outdoor facilities (the "boy's bathroom" when the power is out.)

Oh, and let's talk about trying to sleep.  First of all, there were at least 3 large power company trucks roaring just down the street, and they kept backing up to the pole right in front of our house, so I kept hearing that annoying "BEEP BEEP BEEP" that large trucks make when backing up.  On top of that, have you ever tried to sleep when they're cutting a tree apart with chainsaws right outside of your window?  I closed the window on that side of the house, but I didn't get much sleep until after 2:40 a.m., when the power came back on and everyone went away.

DH slept like a rock, although he tried to tell me that he didn't sleep at all.  I don't believe him - I was awake, and I know that he was sleeping like a rock.  Men.... how do they do it???


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