I Single-Handedly Closed Down San Diego Gas & Electric Company—Part 1

This is a true story. The names have not been changed to protect anyone.

My personal experience will explain temperaments in such a clear, concise way it will astound you.


I am a YELLOW/RED – a delightful YELLOW first, therefore a usually happy person, wanting fun at all times. It takes an extraordinary event for my tough, forceful RED to emerge in full bloom as it did one weekend a few years ago.

To give you some background:  my mom broke her neck and needed to come live with us. Duane began a second story addition to our home, so mom could have her own apartment on the first floor.

My husband, a licensed contractor, had moved some wires, disconnected some others and was in the middle of installing a new electrical panel on the side of our house. Everything was legal and to code.

It was a Tuesday, before a three-day holiday weekend, and both our refrigerators were overflowing with extra food, as we were expecting out of town company.

The electric meter man was making his neighborhood inspections. We were not home. He walked down the side of our house, decided we were doing something illegal and disconnected our electricity. Not only was his conclusion incorrect, he then removed the wires from our house to the curb, leaving us without any possibility of reattaching power.

The next three days were a blur of attempted phone calls, loud portable generators, no TV and cancelling our weekend guests. By Friday morning, we had not yet spoken to a live person or had our power reconnected by the electric company.

At this point, my YELLOW temperament disappeared.

My RED emerged, inaudibly, 6:30 a.m. on Friday morning. Seventy-two hours had passed with little or no electricity in the house. I had showered in the dark. Our refrigerators were full of rotten food.  The stench in our house was unbearable.

Duane had already gone to work.  Our trash cans were overflowing, and, my RED temperament knew it was time to solve the problem.

I found an oversized cardboard box, filled it with thawed, spoiled food from both refrigerators, freezers and trash cans. My final entry on top of the rotten food was a 22 pound turkey seeping blood everywhere.

I dragged the 80 lb box to the car, deciding at the last minute to wrap it. I found an oversized baby stroller plastic gift bag in a drawer. I certainly didn’t want the box of soggy food to leak in the car.

With more strength than I imagined I had, using a shovel, I hoisted the box into the back of our SUV. Incidentally, I was fashionably dressed in a sparkly gold pant suit, accessorized with lots of jewels and 4 inch heels; because,  I was on my way to teach my kids’ drama class.

I drove directly to the local SDG&E office, opened the tailgate and dragged the giant box up 30 steps to the company’s front door. There was a tag on the gift bag, so I signed it: “Sincerely, the Chapmans.”

The electric company had caused this disaster. I figured they could dispose of it.

I jumped into the car, and drove off before they opened at 7 a.m., never realizing SDG&E caught the entire delivery on their parking lot surveillance cameras.

It was three hours before I received a phone call from Duane. I detected the sound of a police radio in the background. With an unrecognizable tremor in his voice, he asked, “Kathleen, is there something you want to tell me?”

TO BE CONTINUED … (Part 2 here)

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