October 18th, 2014


Plan C

Yesterday afternoon after work, we shut off all of the computers and then the master circuit breaker at Fernley House so that Lisa could attempt the most difficult part of Plan B: Running a length of 10/3 wire into an existing conduit from the main electrical box.

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Lisa now has come up with Plan C: We need a bigger conduit on the line she'd been trying to use. She wants to buy larger conduit, disconnect the "trailer" wire from its circuit, then run it and the new wire through the new conduit, using adapters at the top end to fit it into the existing hole in the electrical box. (There's enough room in the hole into the box to admit all of the wires if we could get them to all run through the conduit.) Lisa was there when the electrician laid the trailer circuit, and says digging out from around the conduit lines under the house (about 30-40 cm, she says) is easy and can be done with a hand trowel in the sandy soil. Perhaps today we'll go looking for larger conduit and adapters.

If this doesn't work, there is a Plan D: drill a fourth hole in the box and run a fourth conduit. We really don't want to do this as there is almost no space left to run more conduit without running afoul of the phone lines to the right of the existing box and conduit.

I was surprised at how tiring this was, considering that I mostly spent the time standing and waiting for Lisa to tell me what to do while she did the really hard work crawling around under the house with tools. However, I was completely fried by the time I went to bed and slept for eleven hours.

Fernley: Outpost of One of the Evil Empires

Promoted from a comment in an unrelated post by msconduct:

...[Seeing] your Fernley location reminds me. I'm currenttly reading The Everything Store, about the history of Amazon.com, and to my surprise it mentioned they had a fulfilment centre in Fernley. I'd always imagined Fernley as quite small, so I had no idea it had enough population to staff one of those things. It seems to have had quite an interesting history - a disgruntled employee attempted to set fire to it in 2010 for example, and it's often had visits from the Big Man Jeff Bezos. Is it still there, or are they working people to death for minimum wage somewhere else now?
Fernley is a city of about 20,000 people, and indeed, there is an Amazon fulfillment center there. It's apparently named RNO1 in the Amazon system, which presumably means people think it's in Reno, 30 miles west and in a different county. I see the building quite regularly as it's across the street from Lowe's, where we shop regularly when we don't have the time to go to Big R in Fallon for hardware and home improvement needs.

I would guess that Amazon is probably the city's (and probably Lyon County's) largest employer, and it gets even bigger around this time of year as they start to ramp up for the holiday season. Hundreds of people flock to Fernley each year to work at Amazon. Fernley has a bunch of RV parks that as far as can I see make their entire annual "nut" from the Amazon Surge. There was even a front-page story in the Wall Street Journal a few years ago (the December after we bought the house, as I recall) about the influx of seasonal workers and how Amazon has arrangements with the RV parks to help them find spots for their RVs. Indeed, if we'd bought Fernley House later than we did, there would not have been room in any of the parks for us to spend a month with the travel trailer parked there while we got the house fixed up for minimal occupancy (i.e. wiring/plumbing the RV space so the trailer could be there "hot" and we could live out of the lifeboat during ongoing reconstruction, which to some extent we're still doing).

Fernley has positioned itself as an industrial city, with a largish industrial park (which is why there's so much local rail traffic: both BNSF and UP switch the businesses here five days a week). Sherwin-Williams has a large paint plant here, which is why we buy S-W brand paint: the type of paint we've been buying is made in Fernley, distributed from a warehouse in Sparks, and we buy it from a Reno retail store because there's no S-W dealership in Fernley.

Yes, I know the pictures I post seem to make it look like we're all alone in the desert, but that's mainly because the lots on both sides of our house are vacant and the house is in the "old downtown," whereas most of the housing and businesses are in other parts of the city. Fernley is more than a couple of tumbleweeds and a truck stop, which is how it might appear if you're passing through on I-80. You can have a look for yourself on Google Maps. Amazon's distribution center is one of the white squares with a large black square (its huge parking lot) below and to the right of the freeway interchange off I-80 near the center top of the view to which I've linked, assuming the link worked right.