A Disturbance in the Force

We’ve been without dependable telephone service since Tuesday morning. Sometimes there’s a dial tone, sometimes not. When there is a tone, there is usually so much static it’s difficult to hear the caller…but not always.

The internet is glitchy, too; I’ve had to reset our router four six seven times since Friday night, and Walking Partner’s network, which we use as a back-up, is fading in and out, too. When I can get online, the download speed is about a third of what I’m paying for.

I informed the phone company–we’ll call it AT&T–and the phone part is semi-fixed, meaning I now get a dial tone frequently instead of only occasionally. This afternoon a nice lady called and promised someone would stop by on Friday to have a look at things.

{Friday? Was she serious? But of course she was. We now return you to our regularly scheduled post…}

I suspect the tech who eventually shows up will find the problem is squirrel damage to the phone/DSL wire. It usually is.

However, this morning as I was heading across the street to meet Walking Partner for a stroll to The Bridge, I discovered a sinkhole by the main cutoff valve near the curb. The hole was about four inches in diameter then; when we checked on it a couple of hours ago, after a moderately heavy rain, the hole had grown to about six inches, wide enough that we could see inside. Past brown tree roots and a yellow cable of some sort, I saw water reflected on one side, and darkness on the other.

I poked a long stick down the hole. The depth seems to be around three-and-a-half feet deep directly under the opening, and farther than the stick would reach on the right (to the bottom of the photo).

I was tempted to go back with a flashlight and longer probe, but in a moment of uncharacteristic caution, decided it might be a good idea to stay away from that part of the street lest the pavement collapse as well as the ground.

Besides, what if the hole isn’t just a hole. What if it’s…a Portal?

© 2011 Anne Bingham and Making It Up as I Go

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6 Responses to A Disturbance in the Force

  1. Anne M Leone says:

    Hah! That last sentence cracked me up. Ah, writer brains. You never know! 😉


    • Anne Bingham says:

      Alas, the city finally came today and put up a barricade, then opened the utility access cover (nee manhole) and checked around. No hellfire, no smoke, no squid — not even so much as a bat.


  2. I had the same phone problems–exactly the same problems–and it ended up being corroded wires on the pole at the end of my driveway. Too many windy rain storms flooded the box and did the damage. Squirrels are notorious for faulty phone wires, too.

    It wasn’t a portal? So disappointing…


    • Anne Bingham says:

      Andrea, I wouldn’t be surprised if the phone problems ended up being dampness and corrosion. There’s a hurricane-like spiral of low pressure that’s been sitting over Ohio-Indiana-Michigan-Wisconsin for a week now. One 36-hour period we had a series of summer-like downpours that gave us two inches of rainin two days, another day we accumulated an inch and a half in another two-day period. Watching it on Channel 4’s weather website has been fascinating, since we can check it to street level. {OK, the rain just cleared our street and the next arm of the spiral is still over the lake; I have about half an hour to get errands finished!} It’s supposed to clear out this afternoon — and then we have wind to worry about!


  3. MaryWitzl says:

    We’ve had similar phone problems here, with terrible static some days, then perfectly clear reception the next. I can never figure out what’s going on, but I find it all too easy to imagine that machines have diabolical natures and enjoy watching us tear our hair over their antics.

    I’d have poked a stick into that hole; I wouldn’t have been able to stop myself.


    • Anne Bingham says:

      The hole was filled yesterday (I have video!) and the phone company FINALLY came today. The problem was, indeed, apparent squirrel damage to the “drop line.” The wait for service due to a lot of the crew still being deployed out East cleaning up after Irene, on top of which there have been two bad windstorms in-state, one just this week, that have taken down thousands of trees and power lines.


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