Ah, that magickal flip of a switch that turns the lights on. Today, most everyone takes it for granted. However, those of us who lived in a tent for two years and are just recently closing in on the wonders of electric light still see the awe in flipping a switch and having the lights come on.
Now, it hasn't been that bad. We have propane lanterns and oil lanterns. We cook on a propane stove and heat with a wood stove. And we have the occasional decadence of a generator so we can watch movies and hop online to do e-mail.
But that little switch flip - I have to tell you, I'm counting down the days like a little kid at Christmas, just waiting for it to happen.
And of course, like most things in the country, it's never an easy process.
We had the local electrical co-op come out and look at where we had power lines on our property, and then look at where our cabin was to see how they were going to get the lines up our lovely 600 foot high hill. Underground seemed to be the best way to go. They checked that our dwelling was larger than 500 sq. ft (which it is by quite a bit) and saw that we had a contract to put in a well, so the representative said to go ahead and get the trench in and we'd go from there.
So, in goes a four foot deep, three foot wide, 600 foot long trench, right up our main driveway. Yes folks, I now have the Ozarks version of the grand canyon in my front yard. Anywhoo, we call the co op folks, all excitedly and say, come on out and let's do this.
Ah, that was our first mistake - getting excited. It's just not ever that easy.
Out they come and go - well, turns out "we can't lay the lines yet, as you don't have your well." Oh really? And what about the 600 foot, four foot deep, three foot wide trench we just dug? How do we get the well guys to the well site over the chasm? Needless to say, the Marine and I were beginning to see the value of going solar and not messing with the co-op, if they were going to be acting quite so contrary. But I miss my washing machine and dryer, I'd really like to have a modern stove again to cook on and, to be honest, I kind of miss watching television.
After several phone calls, we reached an agreement - if we signed a contract, guaranteeing that our well will be in by December 31, they would come and lay the lines - but NOT turn on the meter until the well was in. Meanwhile, I'm sitting here thinking: they've already missed out on three years of monthly electrical payments from us, they have all those expenses from the bad ice storm in 2009, and they're still going to make us jump through hoops to get power so we can pay them? Really?
Oh, and here's the best part - now they have decided they need a concrete pad to put a transformer on half way up the hill. So we have to build and pour that too, before they'll come out and lay in the lines, so we can fill in the trench, to get the well guys in to dig, so we can get the meter turned on.
Patience may be a virtue, but I'm about to the point where virtue doesn't really impress me all that much. Here's to hoping that next week, we may finally get some lines in. All just so I can flip a little switch and see the lights come on. Honestly, I'm beginning to think my propane lantern and stove do just fine.