Joanna 20 minutes in hell

I have faced child birth, root canal without novocaine, and my 16-year-old sitting behind the wheel of the car, but never have I experienced the bone-chilling, blood-curdling fear that I did this past Sunday.

It was 12:30 pm, and the heat index had just hit 1000 degrees when, all of a sudden, our little igloo in the burbs fell off the grid — and our lives came to a grinding halt. No air, no fans, no clocks, no phones, no ice.

No way.

Running around like a Thanksgiving turkey trying to hop out of the oven, I searched for the cell phone and punched in Aunt Sophie’s number. As she picked up the phone two blocks away from my house, I frantically asked, “Hello, Aunt Sophie, do you have power? Ours is out.”

“Yes everything is running fine,” she responded. “My AC is nice and frosty.”

I hung up, ran downstairs and checked the circuit box, all of the switches were in place. No help there. After 10 minutes, there was still no buzz of the AC unit, no lights and no fan. What to do?

The next call was to brother-in-law John, who works for Con-Ed.

“John are we having a black out?”

“No,” he said. “Why? What happened?”

“We don’t have any power.”

“Do your neighbors have power?” he asked.

So I ran outside into the even-more blistering heat only to discover the happy hum of condenser units chewing up the carbon footprints in my neighbors’ yards.

What could have possibly occurred to create this hellish situation?

Perspiring, cold and wet with fear, I called the ConEd hotline and spoke to a calming voice on the other end.

“Did you check your breakers? Did you check the outside of the house where the cable enters? Did you turn everything off and turn everything on again?”

“Yes, yes and no” I said.

At this point my husband emerged from the shower, wanting to know why I’m having a meltdown and why it was so hot in the house — and clearly not putting two and two together.

“Well I’m having a melt-down because I don’t do heat, it’s a 1000 degrees, I don’t know why there is no air and ConEd said they will send someone — but we might have to wait four-and-a-half hours!” I screamed.

My husband went downstairs trying the breakers. Shutting off the main switch, flipping the levers and turning them on again. Nothing. Ever the optimist, he tried four times. He gave one last stab in the dark, patiently shutting off the main switch and each lever, then repeating the process, flipping them the opposite way into the on position.

Heaven finally responded — the music played, (the radio was on), the lights flicked bright and the happy hum of the condenser serenaded us. Yippee! We were back on the grid!

After the power was restored I shut everything down except the central air unit. Everybody complained, no TV, no computers. But I say, Not for Nuthin, I could certainly live without laundry. But without air-conditioning?

Too frightening to think about.

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