When we last convened, Farmer H had decreed that it was the responsibility of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom to change the bulb on our dark dusk-to-dawn light. Okay, not so much for her to shinny up that pole like a ring-tailed lemur, or a postman who grew up in the Pacific Northwest...but for her to report it to the electric company, and make the arrangements.
At 8:30 Wednesday morning, I called. After a brief sojourn listening to a recording stating that all customer service representatives were busy...I was connected to a polite young man who asked for my address. Even though I'm sure they can see that from your phone number when you call in. They probably have a little camera on that utility pole that can watch me inside the Mansion, too. Oh, wait! That's the camera in my laptop, Shiba. OH WAIT! That's just my conspiracy-theory mind working overtime.
Anyhoo...let's call this representative Chad. He seemed befuddled. Asked the nature of my problem. There had been a select-a-number option for STREET LIGHTS, but since our light is not on a street, of course I didn't choose that, but selected to talk to a real person. Besides, they had a section all about dusk-to-dawn lights, and didn't refer to them as street lights. So I told Chad that my dusk-to-dawn light had quit shining last week.
Chad seemed even more befuddled. So I said, "I know I should have chosen street light, but I don't think it IS a street light. It's a dusk-to-dawn. On a utility pole, in our front yard." That didn't seem to clarify matters at all.
"Are you sure you have a light? I'm not doubting you, but..."
"Yes. It quit working. We pay $11.22 a month for it."
"Oh. Um. Thank you. That's helpful. Um. Do you have more than one account?"
"Yes. I'm sorry, I have the statement here, but I don't see the account number. I think it was on the part I mail back with the check. We have an account with the BARn that we built in the other field, before we built the house."
"No, no. That's fine. Let me look it up. Here. I see. Yes, you DO have a light. Sometimes...people call us and say their light is out, when it really belongs to their neighbor, who called and said they were tired of paying for that light on the property line. But I can see this is your light."
"Yes. I have the number from the pole. Would that help? My husband took a picture of it."
"Is it [REDACTED]?"
"Yes. That's it."
"Okay, ma'am. We'll put a work crew on it. I just want you to understand that it generally takes 7-10 days. And if the weather is stormy, it will take longer. At one point back in May, the guys were 3-4 weeks behind."
"Oh, I understand. Like now, with the heat, I don't expect them to fix my light ahead of people without power."
"Yes. We'll get to it as soon as we can."
Yeah. So...I typed up the gist of this conversation Wednesday morning right after the call. Got my post all ready. Set it to publish at 6:05 p.m. on Wednesday...
AND AN HOUR LATER, THE AMEREN TRUCK SHOWED UP!!!
Yeah. That's what I get for working ahead. I was NOT going to re-do that post. So NOW, I'll share the rest of the story.
The truck stopped out by the carport, where Copper charged at it with gnashing teeth. I thought the guy might be afraid to get out. I stepped out on the front porch, and told him he could drive though the yard when he stepped out on his running board. As he crossed the yard, I hollered that "It's not my dog, I don't even know his name, but he hasn't bitten anybody that I know of."
The Ameren guy said he hoped he wasn't hungry for a leg, and drove over to the light pole, then hollered that he was going to turn around, and proceeded past Shackytown to the BARn field, and came back to lift himself in his bucket.
I sat on the front porch, hollering, "DOG!" at Copper, hoping he'd lay off. Once that lift bucket started to rise, Copper got spooked, and ran across the yard with his tail between his legs to lay in the shade of the tree by the driveway where the dogs have dug their main mole holes. Jack and Juno sat at my feet, behaving like a proper gentleman and lady, content to be petted and watch the new light put in from afar.
I didn't take a picture while the work was going on, because who really wants random pictures of themselves on the internet for just doing their job. Besides, I was so startled that only ONE HOUR into my 7-10 day wait, the repair truck showed up...that I forgot my phone, and was dressed in pajama pants, my button-front walking shirt, and red Crocs.
After the installation, the Ameren guy walked over to the porch and said, "Tell Farmer H that I said HI. I used to bowl with him. What's he doing over there, building his own town?"
"He'd like nothing better than to show you every single thing in each one of his shacks! They all have a theme. He's retiring in five weeks."
"Well, when he gets retired, I'll give him a call. One thing's for sure...you'll have light tonight!"
Here's the pole after the new light was put on. I noticed a different shape to it, but I don't know much about lights. Only that they're apparently my responsibility to replace when they go wonky.
Hick looked at it when he got home. "Huh. Looks like he gave us an LED light in place of the old kind."
"I hope it doesn't cost more every month."
"It might be because he knows me. I saw him put one in up by HOS's house, and it was the regular kind."
"Well, he said we'd have light tonight."
Now I know what he meant by that. Farmer H sent me a picture after dark.
I sent him back a text. "Looks like you'll need protective eyewear to save your retinas."
For some reason I'm feeling like Julia Louis-Dreyfuss in that scene in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation when Clark finally gets his lights turned on.
(at around 1:40 in this clip)