January 4th, 2009

Kevin and Lisa

Good Thing We Noticed

[Posted about 12 hours later because Lisa's father's internet service was offline this morning when I went to collect my computer equipment and I didn't have enough time at PDX this afternoon to get online again.]

Last night was extremely clear and getting cold, just below freezing. Lisa and I went out for a 2-3 km walk after dinner, walking down Ferry Road in Mehama, back to her father's place so she could see the photo-essay about our work yesterday, and then across the bridge to Lyons. There we watched an electrical crew working on hooking up a pole line that we assume must have blown down during the storm. One of the workers in one of the two bucket trucks was working on live lines with a long pole. We know the lines were hot because you could see the sparks and hear the *bzt* as he poked the lines into place.

Heading back to the trailer, Lisa had a look underneath the remnants of the wrecked tarp covering the old porch. Lisa yelped, "The window's broken!" On the right of this photo along the wall of the old house, beyond where the rake and shovel are leaning against the wall, you can see a window. That window consists of a bunch of panes of glass. What we hadn't noticed during all of the excitement of the past two days is that the branch that first fell on the shelter must have hit that window and broken some of the panes.

One pane was smashed out completely, and one was cracked but was holding in place. Another pane had fallen out but not broken. That will be handy, because we can take it to a plastic shop and order panes of clear plastic cut to exactly that size. But in the meantime we needed to do something now. The room onto which that window opens is one of the semi-habitable spaces, and includes computers, electronics, video equipment, and books. Fortunately, the heavy curtains appear to have prevented glass from flying all over the room and kept the worst of the wet out over the past couple of days, but we needed to do something to prevent further damage.

Lisa got out a large roll of plastic sheeting and a heavy-duty stapler. I held the ladder -- the site in question is actually quite awkward to reach with the ladder due to there being no firm level ground handy -- and Lisa stapled heavy plastic over the entire window structure. It should hold until we can do something better.
Conrunner Kevin

Return to the Bay Area

After all of the weather-related drama these past two weeks, you would expect it to be capped off with tales of woe in airports, but I was thankful that it was not to be. Just like my flight up to Portland was just before the heavy snow hit (and was thus unaffected), today's weather was overcast and a little cold, but no rain or snow, and there was no weather drama for me, thank goodness.

Lisa's father's DSL was off-line, due to the backup battery system running down again. There must be a problem with the ground-fault circuit, because it's triggering when it should not. I didn't have time to troubleshoot why the DSL was down, although I suspect that simply cycling the power to the DSL modem might have reset it. Instead, I packed up my computers and headed back to the trailer, where Lisa was struggling to get sufficiently awake to take me back to Portland.

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The airport had not been nearly as crowded as I would have expected for the final day of the two-week holiday period, but my flight was full. Aside from near-continuous light turbulence, the flight was quite uneventful, and we arrived at SFO some fifteen minutes early.

I was happy to see Cheryl, who was there waiting for me at Baggage Claim, having seen that United was projecting an early arrival. Said early arrival was apparently offset by an inordinately long wait for my checked luggage, but I was in a good mood -- far better than I had been after going through Terrorization in Portland -- and not troubled.

We headed back to Fremont, stopping to pick up burritos from Chipotle and buy an item from Orchard Supply Hardware -- it's Train Calendar season, so it's time for me to buy things from them I've been planning to buy, but spacing the purchases into multiple trips over a short period of time so I can get several of their calendars.

Then it was home to eat the burritos and to open a couple of late presents. Cheryl gave me some DVDs and -- prompted no doubt by two unfortunate incidents lately -- one of those portable power supplies you can use to jump-start your car via the accessory outlet. With luck, I'll never be stuck in a BART lot with a dead battery ever again. I'm very grateful for the presents, and we watched the first two episodes of The Planets -- one of the videos she gave me -- over dinner.

Alas, tomorrow comes much too early, with a 7 AM Pacific Time conference call/online training seminar that is scheduled for two hours, so I need to get unpacked and into bed soon.