Black out, Check in hand, guard dog

So as Cindy and I were watching this week’s episode of the Walking Dead on X1 the house suddenly went black.  When it stayed that way for more than 10 seconds I knew it meant there was something more than the occasional power burp going on.  We sat tight and actually finished watching Walking Dead as the power in the UPS was enough to drive the AV set up for about 45 minutes.  Normally I would have stopped the show and turned everything off but X1 has this annoying glitch, without internet connection you can basically do nothing on the box, not even pause a recorded show.  I shit you not.

So we verified our entire surrounding area was dark.  After a half hour of darkness we decided to take some action.  I told Cindy I could easily set up the generator to power the RV.  I was due to run the generator for a period of time anyway as preventative maintenance so it was an easy decision.  With Cindy handling a flashlight so I could see I gassed up the tank maybe a quarter of the way and started it up, on the first pull no less.

The RV makes for a very comfortable no house power retreat since it is easily powered by a single extension cord.  With the cool air no AC was needed and everything else in there worked, including TV.  While Cindy got situated in the RV I grabbed my Mten to ride around out front a bit to survey the situation.  I verified our entire road looked dark.  I rode down to Immokalee and saw the street lights were on which is right about where FPL service picks up, we have LCEC.

When I joined Cindy in the RV I went on the LCEC outage map and saw a HUGE area in red.  I read later that somewhere around 90,000 homes were affected.  We chilled out in the RV for probably another half hour until I saw our Xmas lights click back on by the house indicating utility power had returned.  I was totally comfortable hanging out there, with the slide out living room combined with the copious amount of windows in the RV, you never get the feel of being confined. I headed back towards the house and undid all of the temporary provisions, glad the 90 minute outage didn’t turn into something longer that would have required additional power wrangling.

Yesterday in the mail I finally received my second check from my insurance company which was for the revised amount I had been fighting for.  I was glad that what they originally told me, that I would be getting three checks with two of them having contractor names as co-signers was not the case.  It’s just one check for the entire amount with my name and my credit union’s name on it.  I am glad because I am leaning towards not using the contractor that gave the screen estimate as it appears that they have more than doubled what they would normally charge for the job based on my research.

I have one more potential hassle to deal with.  When I got the check for damages after Hurricane Wilma in 2005 again the check was made out to my name and the banks name.  When I took it in to get it deposited/endorsed the bank gave me a big hassle and would not let me deposit the funds, they would only allow a new check to be cut in the contractors name that was rebuilding the pool cage.  I suppose it was their way of ensuring the work was done, protecting THEIR investment.  Of course this strong arm tactic didn’t sit well with me then.

Well this time it is more complicated since I have two contractors involved and the way it works is you pay them a percentage of the overall work when the job is contracted, partially done and then the balance on completion.  If the bank thinks I am going to go to them to cut a check for each time this is necessary they are going to have a big fight on their hands.  I understand their intent but as a customer who has already satisfied the primary mortgage on the property, has a stellar credit score, and has done nothing but exhibit responsible home owner behavior over the last 16 years, I am going to push that a little common sense is applied on their part and they just sign the check, let me deposit the funds and draw from it as I need to fund the repairs.  The fact that I am actually going to be upgrading the roof beyond it’s original construction hopefully will be another chip in my favor.

This morning when I let Elsa out she made a bee line towards the back of the shed which was unusual.  Once she got there she froze and was  staring at the fence line.  I had no idea what she was doing.  All of a sudden she bolted towards the fence and I heard a noise.  As I focused I saw a large racoon scurrying up one of the palm trees on the other side of the fence, apparently scared of Elsa even though she was on the other side of the four foot fence.  When I walked towards the tree the racoon scurried down and disappeared into the brush.  I was surprised a raccoon, the killer of three of our chickens, would be out and about as daylight broke.  Elsa seemed quite proud of her guard dog abilities afterward.

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