Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Back to reality

Every night when I get home I forward my cell phone to my home number. You see, my cell phone number is posted on the back of every door at Ste. Anne's, and every guest who checks in gets a note telling them to call me on my cell phone if anything goes wrong with their stay at the spa. Luckily for me, I have a great team of people working for me, so my cell phone almost never rings, and for that matter, my home phone doesn't ring that often either! Oh well, I guess that's a good thing, right? Well this morning I was awakened by three short little rings from the phone beside my bed around 6:00 a.m. Because of my general lack of incoming calls, I tend to associate an off-hours ring with trouble, so I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, picked up the receiver and squeezed out a sluggish "hello". There was some static, and no dial tone - my alarm clock was still staring at me so I concluded that the power was still on. Must be a power surge, I thought. Now it was my bladder's turn to get me out of bed, full from the pop I consumed at the Capitol Theatre in Port Hope last night. (I took my mother to see Shortbus a movie someone else picked for us, a somewhat sexual, artsy film; not a movie you want to take your 78 year old mother to). Back to my bladder. . . "what the heck", I thought - "might as well get up and get to work". After bathing, brushing my teeth and getting dressed, I ventured outside. Despite all the hooplah in the media about some big blizzard coming through town, other than a few snow drifts, this so called storm really was a bit of a disappointment. When I got to the office, Sarah was at the door to tell me the power was off. Here we go, I thought - it's going to be one of those days. Others started to arrive, my cell phone rang to let me know that some people weren't going to be able to make the drive, and people started walking around in circles, not knowing what to do with no phones and no computers. Luckily, we had installed a generator at the spa a few years ago, so we were all able to go over there to get our fix of technology. I then thought I better place the call to Hydro One to let them know we were having a power outage. Of course, I went to Google them, and found our T1 connection was down, because the router is located in one of the buildings without power. How to find the phone number? Once I found my glasses, I discovered that the good old paper phone book still works pretty well, even without power! I dialled the number, ready for a busy signal, or a long wait for service. Turns out that gal - you know - Emily - the same one who answers the phone at Bell (she didn't say her name, but I'm sure it was her), is now working at Hydro One! Once she sorted out my language preference, she told me that she already knew about the power outage in my area, a team had been dispatched, and our power would be restored by 9:45! Go figure. I was really impressed. How did she know where I was calling from? This Emily is a real asset to the corporation. I'd love to meet her some day - maybe she'll come to the spa for a massage, or a facial. Still a little out of sorts, and without power in my office, I decided to drive the roads and see if I could find the source of the problem. It wasn't long before I spotted a crew of guys from Hydro One all smart looking in their orange suits, up in their Canadarm baskets fixing things up. These guys are real troopers - just like Emily - but a little less mechanical sounding, more mechanically inclined. In a situation like this, they're like gods - we are so helpless without electricity. They had the problem fixed in no time, and then they were on their way. I invited them in for a cup of coffee or a hot tub - they said they'd be back, and I'm sure they will. Hat's off to all the men and women at Hydro One who keep the lights on, and thumbs down to the overpaid executives who keep getting fired and receiving fat severance cheques while the front line labour force keeps getting their numbers squeezed. Yea, boo, yea, boo.

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