Water outage reduces sleep

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, July 19, 2012

“Tom, we don’t have any water.”

     My deep, restful sleep was interrupted at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday by my wife Laurie’s proclamation.

     In a bleary-eyed daze, I tried to clear my head.

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     “What do you mean, we don’t have any water?”

     She patiently answered my question, with a hint of agitation in her voice. “Tom, there’s no water; no water pressure in the bathroom. The tank must be empty. The pump isn’t working.”

     A homegrown Mississippi gal, with an inbred, natural knack for engineering, Laurie knew exactly what was wrong. She was referring to our deep-water well and tank located about 30 feet from our home’s back door.

     With a groan, I sat up on the edge of our bed contemplating the situation. My dream was pleasant but I couldn’t remember the details.

     With a deep sigh of exhaustion, I grabbed the flashlight, slipped on a pair of workout shorts, shuffled to the back door and negotiated the three steps to the porch.

     A symphony of crickets, katydids and frogs greeted me. Don’t ask me what overture or key the chorus was in.

     Since the grass was soaking wet because of the high humidity, I decided to slip on my favorite muck boots. For the unknowing reader, muck boots are a dandy invention. They are made  from rubber and the sides covering the ankles are canvas, most appropriate for cleaning (mucking) out horse stables and wading through mud, etc.

     There was no water gushing like a waterfall from the pump area, so my next inspection was the pressure gauge that controls the flow of water to our home. The pressure arrow on the gauge’s face rested on zero.

     Perhaps the pump motor had worn out. That 5-year warranty had expired about two years ago. I shuddered at the thought of having to pull the pump from nearly 200 feet below the surface of the ground.

     That’s a job for three strong men. Ahh, the joys of country living.

     The next step was to flip the switch in the power box that controls the pump. Sometimes, when there is an electrical  power surge during those hot and humid summer nights, the well will lose pressure. Flip off, flip on. There seemed to be no response.

     I returned to the bedroom with plans to call Ross Jackson Plumbing in the morning. Let them take care of the problem.


     Drifting into dreamland, I awoke at 1:15 a.m., gasping for breath. The C-PAP (controlled, positive air pressure)  machine I sleep with every night had gone completely dead. Aha, an electrical power outage.

     Trying to look out the bedroom window, I realized it was pitch-black, almost like a cave. The outside pole light, which illuminates our front lawn, was off. Breathing another deep sigh, I grabbed my trusty flashlight and staggered into the kitchen where the other telephone was located.

     Laurie, bless her heart, was peacefully sleeping and I didn’t want to disturb her. Finding the Entergy emergency power outage number in the phone book, I dialed the number on her cell phone.

     After hearing the usual English or Spanish introductory statement, I pressed the 2 button for assistance and a young man answered, somewhere in never-never land.

     “We don’t have any power and the whole neighborhood is dark,”  I whispered. Sharing the address with him, he pulled up the Brookhaven location  in western Lincoln County on his computer for proper verification.

     After a pause, he said, “Your power should be restored by 2:30.”

     Thank you and back to bed I went. Lying there in near complete darkness, listening to my wife breathing softly, I tried to relax and think peaceful thoughts.

     Did a transformer blow up?

     Have the Iranians attacked us?

     The cool aluminum metal of the flashlight’s long barrel  pressed against my right thigh. Better keep it handy. Do problems come in threes?

     Dixie, our boxer, continued to guard the front door. Rambo, my mixed breed Australian shepherd, rested quietly in his pen, dreaming of a female dog. Shadow the cat probably was hunting breakfast. My horse, Smoky, and his two buddies, T.C. and Butterbean, dozed in the pasture through the night.

     At 4:25 a.m., the electricity again flowed from our power pole. The air conditioner kicked on and the refrigerator hummed with renewed energy. In 30 minutes, I would rise to greet another day.

     Apparently another big pine tree had fallen on a main power line, plunging the community into darkness. The Entergy repair crew worked overtime and made a lot of people happy. Some of us were still late for work.

     Trees, especially pine trees, are an aggravating nuisance when they’re located close to power lines. If all the pines were cut down within 200 feet of all power lines, we could have fewer power outages. It would be a better world.

     In our modern, high-tech age, electricity often is taken for granted and so is running water and air conditioning.

     Laurie awoke from her blissful sleep and headed for the bathroom. “Honey, we’ve got water again.”

     Good morning to you. Thank God for another day.


     Contact sports editor Tom Goetz by Email: togoetz@dailyleader.com