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There’s an upside to having off-grid power at your house. Very frequently the power goes out in Gracias, and we still have power up here at our house. We don’t have to wait around in the dark for the power company to repair their system.

There’s a downside to having off-grid power at your house. When the power goes out, you’re the one who has to make the repairs.

Today our power went out. There wasn’t any warning, just one minute there was power, the next minute there wasn’t.

Christopher and I didn’t know what to do. We really needed Allen. Unfortunately, Allen was out working on the bridge project, and he’d left his phone in his vehicle. Russell had his phone on him, but the speaker on his phone had gone out, so he couldn’t hear us trying to call him.

Rachel was spending the day in town. We called her, and since we couldn’t reach Allen by phone, she jumped onto a bus, and headed out to the bridge project, which is about 20 minutes from town. Before she got there, Chris tried sending Russell a text message, and Russell got that. I have no idea how he realized there was a text message, when he didn’t know he had a phone call, but at least we were able to contact them! (We called Rachel, and she got off the bus and headed back to town, without a word of complaint or anything – what a trooper!)

Over the phone, Allen coached Chris through the process of disconnecting our inverter from the positive charge, and reconnecting it . . . and like a miracle, we had power again! I guess it was like re-booting the computer.

Later in the afternoon the power stopped for a moment, and started right back up again. Based on this, we figured the end was probably near for this piece of equipment.

Last year we had a nearby lightning strike which damaged this inverter. Although it still worked, we knew it was damaged because after the strike the internal fan ran constantly, rather than coming on and off as needed. We’ve had a spare inverter stored for just such a situation as this. If we didn’t keep a spare on hand, non-working equipment could mean doing without power for a long time, until we can get new parts to us down here.

So, when he got home tonight, after an especially long day at the bridge project, Allen switched out inverters – by flashlight, because of course there’s no power when the inverter is disconnected – with the help of Chris and Boo.

And that’s what happened today.