With all the activity last week, I didn’t have time to write down probably one of the craziest things that is happened since I’ve lived here. Last week I had jury duty. And as such I blew off the day. I have an astonishing amount of vacation still left to burn. What happened is, when our company was finally assimilated by a much bigger company, our vacation was allowed to rollover. This is something that the big company I work for now does not do. However, what they did is bridge everybody seniority.
So I get 20 days vacation a year, which is a lot. So January this year, I got 20 days. And I had another 20 days rolled over. Here’s the rub; they want you to schedule all your vacation in advance, but won’t let you take two consecutive weeks without approval. That’s one hell of a challenge.
When I took the day off for jury duty, I thought to myself awesome, I only have 10 hours to burn until the end of the year. I’ve done my duty and scheduled everything I had to schedule.
Wrong again! That’s 10 days, not hours. So I do plug in more time to take off.
But I digress.
I had the day off, got sprung from duty around 9 AM, came back, walked the dogs, surfed the web, answered emails. Then I went out to the dining room and smelled something I shouldn’t have smelt.
“OK, Who shit?” I asked the dogs. It stunk. Someone dooked.
Turns out, it was a poop bag that I threw on the table by the door, meaning to take it outside when I brought the dogs back in. And probably forgot about it. So I waddled outside with the bag and the dogs in tow. Dumped the thing off where I dump these things, and then BLAM!.
A huge crash, which turned out not to be 50 feet away from me, on the other side of my fence. I heard bare rim scraping on the ground, and people yelling and thought what the shit? The dogs went back inside at the first impact. I went through the house to go out the front door, and as I opened it saw an explosion of bricks in the alley in front of my house.
I went outside to find mayhem.
A pickup truck had smashed into the pole next to my yard, broke it, then back all the way up the street to my neighbors yard, and blew out that telephone pole going backwards, as well as the brick fence. Power lines were down, the pole on top of his truck.
It was amazing how fast Richardson police showed up, as well as the fire department. Oncor, the power provider, who owns the poles, showed up a bit later. They had to cut the live power that was dangling on the dude’s truck. My neighbor thinks old boy had some sort of medical thing, stroke or heart attack, that made him hit the first pole, freak out, and hit the second.
I spent a lot of time mooking about, watching the goings on. Thinking to myself, it’s going to be 100° today, and thanks to this, no one has power.
Good time for a test of the new generator.
In short order, I had the generator cranking, extra gas in the shed, air conditioning and sunroom, a fan blowing in the garage, and my inter-webs up.
It took maybe two hours for an absolute swarm of utility guys to start putting things right. It was a sight to behold. There was probably a dozen trucks from at least four different vendors.
I chatted with the spectrum guys, who have my inter-webs. They said three hours before it’s up. Mine was actually up, because my connection runs through the alley behind my house, and not down the road. AT&T had a massive fiber cut, thanks to this. Super glad I didn’t switch.
It was actually a joy to watch these guys work.
Super coordinated. Super teamwork.
When it came to the pole leaning towards my house, I went over to the liquor store and got a sixpack, opened up a lawn chair, and watched the dudes do their stuff.
Think about it. Seven hours after two poles are knocked down, power is back up. Just as the heat of the day is waning.
So what did I learn?
- The generator works flawlessly. It purred along for seven hours using maybe two thirds of its tank.
- I don’t have anywhere near enough extension cords. I need a handful of 30 amp ones.
- I thought about pre-wiring my house so that I have one cord that goes to the generator, and the outlets already installed to just simply switch. That will be a thing this fall.
- The house itself is incredibly well-built and shaded. Had 100° outside, it had only gotten to 83 inside. You could walk inside and still detect that it was cooler inside than out. By a lot. This is why I have a trivial electric bill.
- My APC game is pretty weak. My big 1500 on my server rack stayed up for four hours, and charged my phones. My little one running my network lasted a little over an hour. I replaced the battery at another 1500, but it needed two. That one is going to get its additional battery.
- Richardson city services, police, fire, utilities, are outstanding. Then again for the amount of tax I pay they better be.
I chatted with one of the cops later in the afternoon, telling him that the liquor store lady had been standing outside and saw the whole thing. He asked if maybe I had camera footage. What wouldn’t you know? I did. One of my cameras overlooks the front of the house, pointing southeast. It records motion. And it happened to record the pickup passing my street, then backing back up. I sent that along to them.
The video is actually fascinating, but I won’t post it. You see the truck go by, you see my neighbor run out of the alley towards the first collision, then you see the truck backing up, and then it dies because old boy killed the power.
Herself has been working late, because ’tis the season. So by the time she posted, the house had already cooled. And all she had to endure was a story of a crazy day of heat and misery.
When you contemplate the amount of rank incompetence and stupidity around, it’s nice to see those that know what they are doing. When you see the amount of silliness today, you think, “Man, I’m going to miss flush toilets”.
That said, there’s still more than a few around that know their stuff, thank God.