Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Bye Bye Uncle Buck

Having finally finished all the wrapping and with a cup of tasty tea steeping beside me, my wife and I were watching the tail end of “Uncle Buck” on HBO before my wife headed to bed and I was to finish up a few things on the computer. The day was ending just how we would like it to when the night over took the apartment. Around 10:30 all the lights dimmed for a second or two, flashed, and then completely shut down. So long Uncle Buck.

At that point we didn’t have many options so we decided to head over to the front desk and try to offer whatever assistance we could. As soon as we manually slid open the front door we could hear the complaints filling the shadow filled entryway. Unfortunately, the weather had just turned colder in the past 24 hours and residents were returning to their apartments from unusually late dinners.

Not helping the situation was the fact that we could all see that the lights were on in every building around us. Simply put, this was not a power grid problem, this was a major building malfunction which seems to have only gotten worse over the past year. The piercing alarm resonating from the basement seemed to confirm the severity of the issue and did not lend an air of confidence that this particular problem would be fixed in a timely manner.

I know what it is like to be behind the desk during those moments and I knew that the situation was beyond his control so my wife and I began helping in any way that we could to make the situation at least a little easier to deal with for everyone. While my wife assisted residents up the stair well and to their apartments (not an easy task given the ages of many of the people) I was doing my best to relay messages, keep track of both entrances, and keep the other dark dwellers occupied by talking about anything but the electric.

After about an hour of walking all around the ground floor, entertaining residents, coordinating with the local police department, and getting updates from PECO and our in house maintenance people the power finally came back on. While there has been the occasional humming traveling through the walls and into our apartment, the power remains on. So, with the rooms again full of light, it was time to turn them off and try to rest before travelling all day tomorrow. Essentially, everything is back to normal at least until the next time the building falters or the grid fails.