Thursday, January 28, 2016

Wow. Just. Wow.

I have an awesome wood furnace in my basement that was put in by the original owner of the house.  It's ducted to the whole house and that's what I've primarily used for heating the house in the winter, as opposed to the alternative electric baseboard.
I replaced the thermostat that controls the firebox fan about 4 years ago with the simplest, least expensive thermostat I could find; a Honywell "Round".  It worked fine up until about a week ago when it no longer activated at the turn of the dial.
I called Honywell customer service this morning.  I didn't get the warm fuzzies for a successful outcome to the call with the barely English speaking rep as she asked me for my name, phone number, email address and zip code.
As I started to try and explain to her what the issue was, I could tell she would have none of it as she had a checklist, doggone it.  She wanted to know what the temperature in the room was and what the thermostat read.  When I told her I was holding it in my hand, she wanted me to put it back on the wall.  I didn't, and told her that was a pointless exercise.  Then she wanted me to reset the breaker to the system, which otherwise has been running flawlessly.  When I've needed the firebox fan, I simply used a jumper wire on the low voltage transformer.
It was at that point I knew without a doubt that to continue the conversation was going to be very painful and and an exercise in patience.  So I thanked her for her time and promptly hung up.
I did manage to get some information out of her, which was one of the reasons I called;  It appears that there is a small battery inside.  When I asked about it, she said there was, but it was not replaceable.
I guess no one makes a simple mercury switch thermostat anymore.  Sigh.....

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Post storm report

What a mess.  Most emergency units were getting stuck.  Our utility truck was running all over the county assisting with a lot of the medical calls.  A number of the the other departments had placed tractors in service, but they can only go so fast or be in so many places at one time.
Fortunately for us, a couple of calls for the 6x brush truck and the utility were the only pieces to be on the street.
I had heard that the state was having issues with the fuel pumps at their their refueling depot.  If true, that certainly didn't help with their task of keeping the roads plowed.  I know in my area, the only plowing of the roads was done by my neighbor with his big 4x tractor.  I have yet to see a state truck.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The snow is here

Started snowing around 1:00 pm here. 
I'll head over to the firehouse shortly.  Last night we did some equipment preps.  That included putting chains on all 6 wheels of our deuce-and-a-half that we use as a brush truck.  It carries 600 gallons of water and has a 500gpm pump.  It's not much water if we have to respond to a structure fire, but it might give us a little time to get something else there.  Also chained the 1500 gal tanker.  This afternoon will entail chaining both rear axles on the engine tanker and  both front and rear of the utility truck; a Ford 250 with a utility bed and plow.  Also got the snowthrower that was donated to us a couple of years ago dusted off and started.  We are about as prepared for this storm as we can be.  A number of members have committed to staying for the weekend for staffing. 

I've had the dispatching pager open for awhile.  It's been pretty quiet across the county so far.  Hopefully it will stay that way.  I've responded on calls in previous years during snow storms.  Its just a wee-bit nerve wracking trying to be expeditious but maintain a safe speed driving a 60,000 lb truck when you really can't tell where the road is.  

Thursday, January 21, 2016

This is a first...

In the 16+ years I've had to deal cope endure traffic in the burbs of chaos, I believe I say for the very first time something very unusual. 
I took a bit of a detour and different route for a portion of my commute, as I heard in time (thankfully) on the radio that the BW Parkway was closed due to a wreck.  Not surprising as the many of the roads I had been traveling looked either icy, wet, or  most likely, a combination.  I had already seen no less than a dozen vehicles that had gone off the road.  Of all my commute, the Parkway is the road I detest the most. 
So if you've stuck with this so far, you're probably thinking, "Shut up already and tell what you saw!"
In my alternate route, I could see portions of the Parkway and backed up traffic.  I was glad I wasn't in it and figured I would continue taking an alternate route, albeit being a few miles farther around.  At the last moment I noticed that the traffic was moving. Slow, but moving.  I would only have to be on it for one exit; approximately 2 miles.  So I took my chances.  Lo and behold, the vast majority of drivers were being cautious and giving 2-3 car lengths space between each other!  Usually the obliviots are right on the bumper of the car in front and constantly tapping their brakes.
I guess the sight of all the other cars in the ditches and off into the woods woke a few people up!
It was nice to see for once (except for the car with the NC tag; there is caution, then there is just being scared.  You my friend should stay off the road.) but I know better than to expect it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Movie mini-review

I say "mini-review" because I am nowhere near anything of a film critic/ reviewer.  I didn't even sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
My wife and I watched the movie "Divergent" over this past weekend.
It is another in the seemingly popular post-apocalyptic event/ reformed society movies.  I find that in itself interesting.  unlike the Mad Max type movies where everything is mayhem  following whatever event happened, these movies portray a society that rebuilt itself.  There seem to be rules and customs that were developed to ensure that whatever the downfall was doesn't happen again.  However, the corruption of human nature that caused the societal collapse in the first place eventually rears it's ugly head in the plot of the movie.
We enjoyed the movie.  We thought it was well done with good special effects and acting and look forward to watching the 2nd movie, titled "Insurgent"
Supposedly there is a third movie coming out soon also.  My wife asked me if I knew what it was going to be about.  I told her it will probably be the same old story line.  It will be titled "Regurgent"  Then the fourth movie will be where the good guys come back and clean house.  It will be titled "Detergent".
Murphy, those were for you.  :) 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Happy second anniversary, Maggie!

Today marks the 2 year anniversary of adopting our Maggie.

 Typical of what she does when she's not doing this:
Happy Anniversary Maggie!  Hoping for many, many more.