Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I planned on posting a blog yesterday -- now that I'm back in the swing of writing. I had good intentions, really I did. However, Mother Nature had other plans for me on Monday.

It's been a fabulous summer, weather-wise. I even left my AC off for nearly three weeks in July. July! That is almost unheard of in hot, humid Missouri. My electric bill will thank me for it. We've also had regular shots of rain -- just enough to keep the gardens and patio flowers happy. (And enough rain that I have to mow that lawn almost weekly.) We've also been pretty lucky in terms of severe weather -- only one or two tornado warning scares. Now that I wrote that, we are going to get hammered, right?

If you've spent any time in Thomas Hollow, you know that the rocky ground (at least, I think that's what it is) tends to "attract" lightning strikes. I've had to have the phone company replace my phone jack at least once a year since I've moved here. I've fried two TDDs -- which aren't cheap -- and several phones. Yes, I know you can buy surge protectors that include jacks for the phone line? But guess what? I've invested in two, only to have them fry almost immediately. At upwards of $50 a pop, I decided to let it go and be extra-vigilant about unplugging the phone & TDD when I'm not using it.

Monday was another story. A storm was rolling in, but didn't look too bad. We needed the rain, and I didn't pay it much attention. Keep in mind that I can't hear the thunder coming in and can only feel the thunder that is loud enough and close enough to my house. So I'm messing around on the laptop (OK, I was wasting time on Facebook), and Baxter was sleeping on the couch.

Boom. Just as I was looking out the window, a big bolt of lightning was visible right outside. The house absolutely shook. I seriously thought the house was going to burst into flames or explode. Baxter flew right off the couch, which was directly in front of the window. I sat there for a minute and thought, now THAT had to have done some damage.

Then I smelled something burning. I moved the couch -- the lightning had been so close that it blew the cover right off the phone jack! The wires were black. It fried the DSL receiver, the TV receiver and the wireless router. Everything else seems just fine. Believe me, I checked!

One of the advantages of having a rural telephone company is that my services are bundled -- LeRu seems to be fairly advanced, considering its location! My services -- phone, internet and cable -- are bundled in one tidy, if expensive, package. My great neighbor put in the call for me late Monday morning, and the service guy came out at 5:45 pm. I had the internet restored that evening, although I was a little leery of having my new laptop plugged directly into the broadband line. A new wireless router is on the shopping list!

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