Wednesday, September 7, 2011

hear me roar

If it seems like I'm standing a little bit taller and prouder than yesterday, it's because I started up this puppy all by myself yesterday:

Yes, that would be a Powerboss 5250 Portable Generator with Briggs & Stratton engine that requires its own separate manual. So not only did this involve operating power equipment, but two manuals.

From reviewing my email and phone history, I can see that this only took me 50 minutes, ten emails and 15 phone calls to David at work to figure it out. Girl power! Some of my questions were accompanied by pictures with subject line "what does this switch do?"

I know that I made David nervous because he offered to come home to get it started. I'm not sure why he thought he needed to bail me out; oh wait! yes I do! Perhaps it was the email sent at 11:16 that said "This generator is intimidating to me. I'll tell you when I'm about to start it so if you don't hear from me within 3 minutes of the start time you know something's gone wrong." Or maybe it was the phone call at 11:18 inquiring: "does the exhaust come out of the vents right over where the pull string is located? Trying to figure out which way to position this thing." Or could be the phone call at 11:25: "I'm sorry. Nothing about this is intuitive to me. Is "choke/run" the same as "on/off?" Finally, at approximately 11:50, I called him to tell him I was about to pull the string (I then had three minutes to call him back before he rushed home to put out the fire). Then at 11:52:50 I called to tell him that I was afraid I might not be strong enough/tall enough to pull the string hard enough to get it started. I decided to try one more time, and at 11:54, I heard some prolonged sputtering. I called David to give him a listen to see if that's what it was supposed to sound like. When he said no, I slid one of the little switch thingies from choke to run (or maybe it was run to choke) and voila! -- a smooth sounding engine sound. After letting it run for a few minutes per the manual's instructions, I plugged in our basement freezer and fridge and saw this beautiful green light:

Which told me that the freezer was running and its contents would be safe. (cue singing angels). Between the generator thing and successfully heating up my lunch in a cast iron skillet on the gas grill, I was really riding a "survivalist high" all day, until I realized (on the way back from Home Depot with Elizabeth and Caroline and a 5 gallon gas tank and a bag full of D and C batteries) that our whole flipping (large) neighborhood has power restored except for the 10 house pocket right around our house. Typically when life throws me a low-level nuisance like a flat tire or a power outage I choose to remain upbeat and roll with it rather than wallow in it, but today, I choose to wallow. That is all.

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