Sunday, July 23, 2006

My neutral is loose

I'm able to update the blog again...from yet another computer. This time I'm at Mom and Dad Z's, whom I have to thank for so many different reasons.

We have power, oh yes, we have power. Not nearly enough to do anything, really. We seem to have a "loose neutral." Which essentially means that all the strong winds knocked our ground wire loose from the either the pole or our house (our best guesstimate is the pole) and so just a bit of current is trickling through. We can run some fans, the lights, the TV, and re-charge the electric toothbrush, but anything more than that causes first what looks like a brown-out (the lights all dim waaaay down and everything looks eerie) and then causes whatever large appliance we've just fired up to eventually burn out. This means no A/C, no dishwasher, no refrigerator, no washer, no dryer, no microwave, no computer. It's like a big electrical tease from Ameren. Well, either a big electrical tease or a giant "F--- you!" And the kicker? Well, because we're the only house around affected by this (of course), Ameren has absolutely no plans to come out and fix it as they have bigger fish to fry what with 400,000 homes still being without power.

I'm trying really hard to see the humor and irony in all this, but it's wearing thin. To top it all off, Zozo's raging diaper rash is back with a vengeance, for which I broke down and called the doctor's exchange today (on my cordless phone, which apparently doesn't draw enough power to do any major damage and so works just fine). She's (Zoe, not the nurse) taking four sitz baths a day now, in baking powder, and has A+D ointment. This evening she is sleeping au naturelle (in the buff, nude, naked as a jaybird, in her birthday suit) per the nurse's recommendations. That was fun...we did up the bed all right with a towel and pads (I should say Mom Z did up the bed) and we put her down, and within thirty seconds she peed and we (Mom Z) had to do it all over again. We kissed her goodnight, threw her in the crib and got out of dodge before she could pee again (or before we could see her pee again).

As of tonight, we are staying at Mom and Dad Z's temporarily. Hopefully temporarily. It all depends on when the good folks of Ameren decide we've been inconvenienced enough and fix our loose neutral. We held out as long as we could at our humble abode, but since I can't even nuke two little jars of baby food for Zoe or store anything in my fridge, we finally called it quits and are going to hang out here for a bit. It's quite convenient, as I don't have to move my 800 pounds of facial stuff here but can simply run across the backyard to apply all my goodies.

I called Ameren again today (I now have the trick to getting through to a real Ameren's too convoluted to type out here, but if you want to know, call me, on my cell because I can't live at my house just yet) and pleaded with the woman who answered, Lori, to pleeeease have someone come out and fix my loose neutral (she recognized the term, which was heartening) as I have a baby at home for whom it's becoming increasingly difficult to care. I think I got through, as she kindly said, "Oh, I'll get this written up right away." Now, she could be saying that to every single person who calls in, but it made me feel just a bit better.

I've heard the term "loose neutral" so much over the last two days that it's become part of my everyday vocabulary. I told Mom Z that it's going to be my insult of choice from now on. Instead of saying "He's got a screw loose" or "the lights are on but nobody's home," I'm going to say, "Bless her heart, she's just got a loose neutral."


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