December 20th, 2007


What The Hell Is Going On?

No Power

Monday night at 10:30pm the lights went out. Actually, they struggled to go out, or perhaps struggled to stay on. In any event, in the great battle between light and dark -- the darkness won.

We waited for the fancy pants new generator to cut in. And waited. Nothing.

Okay, now it was officially Really Dark inside the house. If I'd been thinking more clearly, I'd have realized that right next to me there would've been a couple of my Swiss Army Memory devices, which include a red LED flashlight. Instead I slowly made my way across the living room and found my usual emergency white LED chip light. Checked the breaker box -- and flipped all of them. No problems.

Eventually I went outside and opened up the front panel on the generator and saw an error code OC: Over Crank. Guess it tried to start and couldn't. Pushed the red rocker switch from AUTO to RUN and it started right up. Lights came on. I reset it to AUTO, lights and generator went out. Then it started again. We're good. About two hours later, I checked up on the transfer switch and it had green and red lights, indicating that Consumer's Energy had come back, but the generator system was checking to make sure it was REALLY back. So I stood in the garage, looking out at the neighbors who had their Christmas lights restored, and looked back at the transfer switch and THUMP! Switched back. Now the generator purred on for a few more minutes, doing its cool down. Crisis averted. House remained bright and warm and comfortable, except for a couple of minutes there at the start. I still love backup generators.

2:22 AM

I was just in the process of getting ready for bed -- this being the last night of grading before grades were due at noon -- when in the middle of my back exercises the lights went out. Okay. Six seconds later, they were back on. In the dark and quiet I'd heard the generator come on -- guess it was warmed up -- all switched over automatically like it was made that way. The countryside was dark again. But we had power, so I went to bed. In the morning, two green lights on the transfer case. From the run time counter, looks like the second power failure was also about two hours. Never noticed.

That's how it's supposed to work.

No Gas

If that wasn't weird enough, I stopped at the Mobil station at US-31 and M-45 on the way to Holland MI on Wednesday. Space is a little cramped at the edges at this gas station, so I prefer the center islands of pumps. Pulled up to Pump 9... and got a whole 26 cents of gas (0.085 gallons). Only. Don't quite think that fills the tank. Turns out Pump 9 has had a problem, pumping only an arbitrary number of gallons total on a series of credit-card-at-the-pump purchases and then stopping. Someone had been by a few hours earlier and "fixed it". The helpful person inside suggested I back up to Pump 7.

Pump 7 had its credit card slot taped over with an index card saying CASH ONLY. Sigh.

Out of a dozen pumps, I had to use a quarter of them to get one tank of gas. Actually, about half a tank of gas. Seriously.

Insult To Injury

Gas was three cents a gallon cheaper back in Allendale.

Dr. Phil
  • Current Music
    Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas