Well, this has been an eventful week in our State. We had us some STORMS, y'all.
Where we live, we got some wind and rain...but nothing major. But other areas were hit really hard, and sustained a lot of damage. Many are without power, and my heart aches for all of them. We've been there. Oh yes, we have.
My husband works for the largest utility company in our state. He was out-of-town all last week. He came home for a long weekend, but had to leave again in a matter of hours...for work.
He's not a lineman...one of those who does the actual physical work involving trucks and ladders and poles and wires. We have great respect for them.
No, the type of work Jim does involves many things, like figuring out who needs power, prioritizing those customers (hospitals, schools, large residential areas go first) and getting it back on as soon as possible. The main part of his job involves customer service, and dealing with customer complaints.
I understand that people are hot and frustrated...I do. Storms rarely happen on a cool Fall day. It's either an ice storm when it's freezing cold...or severe weather in the blazing, hot summer. There's never a convenient time.
But the people who are out working in this weather? They are awesome. Yes, it's their job...but as hot as you are in your home without power, they are even hotter out working in the elements. Or colder, if it's in the winter.
There are rules and regulations about how much they can work. They can work 16 hours, but then they are REQUIRED to rest 8 hours. Unfortunately, some of these storms happened at the end of a shift, which meant they only had a few more hours they could legally work on that first day.
The utility companies called in help from other states...and they are making good progress. But it's been DAYS, and the frustration is real.
I just can't get over the ANGER that is being directed toward the utility companies and the employees. I'm talking Facebook RANTS. I'm talking people FOLLOWING utility trucks and berating the linemen for not working in their neighborhoods. People counting the number of utility trucks at restaurants.
Ummmm...just like you and me, THEY HAVE TO EAT.
There are even people GOING UP TO THEM IN RESTAURANTS AND ASKING THEM WHY THEIR POWER ISN'T ON YET (they don't make that decision...they have work orders they follow).
There are people asking if the utility companies are going to pay for the loss of their food in their refrigerators...or if they are going to be reimbursed for the hotel room they were forced to get when their power went out.
That would be "no" for both. These storms are considered an "act of God."
People are reporting that they have someone with special needs in their home, and it's hot. Or there's a member of their family who needs oxygen or other equipment to sustain or enhance their lives. The utility companies will tell you that if you have someone with a dire medical need or condition, and your power goes out...if you don't have a generator to help, you need to get them to medical care. Go to the ER if you need to. We can't realistically expect other people/organizations to take care of our loved ones. We have to take care of our own families.
Several years ago, Jim had to go to a town in the southern part of Louisiana. They'd been hit with a tornado, and subsequent flooding. Restoration was more than just hooking up fallen wires...it required new poles, because the old ones were snapped in half by the wind. It took a long time, and tempers were flaring. Jim was working at a "customer care center," and they had to call the police to post up in there during the hours of operation, because they were being threatened.
Is this what we are going to?
Are you kidding me?
I don't think everyone understands that the people who are working hard to restore power? They left their own families to serve ours. Their own homes may be without power. They are missing vacations, ballgames, birthday celebrations, and other family events....in order to help out the people of our state. Days off have been canceled until all the power is back on. They are working as hard as they can.
Yes...it's their job...and NO, it doesn't end until everyone has power restored to their residence or place of business.
Tonight, I am thankful. Some of our family members, and some of our friends, have been without electricity for several days...but we are all okay.
We are safe.
Today, there have been annoyances, both big and small, for all of us. But today, no one has shot at my children, or tried to run over my family with a truck.
Today, it's time to count our blessings.