Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Newfound stress... Part 3, The Epic Conclusion.

And now for the end of our epic series...

Today my neighbor contractor was able to finish he rebuild and repair of all of the gas lines in my house. The gas company sent a technician who inspected the work and then unlocked and turn our gas meter back on.

Yeah, I know... its kinda anti-climatic.

Well, at least I'll be able to take a real shower with actual hot water and enjoy the comfort of hot water heating throughout the house again.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Urban Survival Tip #1: Water Coolers

Greetings, and welcome to the first of what I hope won't be a long series of urban survival tips. Today's tip is about the multi-function use of water coolers.

Water coolers, those refrigerated water dispensers long delegated to the office are quite useful appliances. They are much more than a social gathering place for you and your fellow cow orkers to gather and discuss important topics (also known as bullshit or gossip).

Here is a brief list of uses for these machines...
  1. Source of chilled water for refreshment and re-hydration.
  2. Source of room temperature water for cooling down overly hot drinks.
  3. Source of hot water for making hot beverages.
  4. Source of hot water for making ramen and other non-beer survival foods.
  5. Source of hot water for bathing.
  6. Nearly endless source of little paper cups.
  7. Some models feature a little refrigerator which is useful for food storage (read: beer)
  8. Refrigerator coils (assume a proper water cooler, not a thermal electric cooler model) provide some heat to the cooler office area.
  9. Emptied water jug is useful for storage of some small items or liquids.
  10. Emptied water jug can be used in the production of some fermented beverages (read: mead, "hard" cider, wine)
  11. Emptied water jugs can be used as a simple defensive weapon.
  12. Emptied water jugs can be used for signaling or drumming.
  13. Emptied water jugs can be used as a source of entertainment (read: office chair bowling).
According to legend, MacGuiver could could turn a water cooler into an attack helicopter. Meanwhile, Chuck Norris could roundhouse kick one and turn it into a full color laser print center.

So, there we go.

Newfound stress... Part 2

For those of you just joining us, here is a brief overview... On Sunday, my gas detector went off and the gas company shut off my gas leaving me with no heat or hot water.

Monday came. We had a heating contractor come out and test the gas pipes. Now, in an ideal world it would be a minor leak in one fitting. This isn't an ideal world. Every effing fitting found some small place to leak. So we were offered some choices: 1. take apart everything and redo it, 2. replace everything and save $ BOATLOADS on labor charges. We did the logical thing and decided to ask the guy if we could duct tape it and call it even. After that sudden burst of logic, we decided to have our neighbor contractor put option #2 into action.

As of the end of Monday, the following work has been done:
  • replaced main feed line from the meter to the first tee in the mechanical room with flexible piping.
  • rebuilt and/or replaced the black iron piping to the furnace and hot water heater.
So, the system isn't quite done yet, but at least it is in a state where the gas company could, theoretically, turn on the gas and give us heat and hot water. Unfortunately that won't happen for at least another half day or so.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Newfound stress...

One of the things I've been proud of is my ability to stay cool under stress. For some odd reason, I seem to have a decent enough coping mechanism to be able to keep things together when the shit hits the fan. Unfortunately, this ability doesn't seem to be commonplace throughout my family.

Another thing I am proud of is my knowledge of safety and security. Yeah, Im a geek who likes to splurge on stuff every now and then, however there are a few things I absolutely insisted on getting, and what do ya know... they can and have saved lives.

Case in point: My house had a few small gas leaks today. Nothing serious, but somthing that couldn't go unchecked. The only reason why I found out about that was because of my CO2 + Explosive Gas chirping its little plastic ass end off. No big deal, just a little shocking when you are just sitting down and about to relax. Nothing says "alert! alert!..." better than "DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! " at what must be louder 200 dB.

Ok, so the alarm went off. Time to review protocol and what will really happen. Protocol: alert the parents then call the gas company. Reality: Tell the parents, deal with panic, then watch one of said parents struggle to call our neighbor who will say to call the gas company after he comes over, call gas company (non-emergency) and find out that they are closed and the automated system is down, then panic, find the correct emergency number, call them, wait an hour... Yeah, reality and the supposed emergency protocol is never the same.

So, after waiting an hour, the gas company guys come, and found three leaks. They promptly shut off the gas and lock the meter. So now I'm without heat and hot water, and before it can be turned on the entire gas supply pipe network needs to be pressurized and checked for leaks. This sucks.

Stay tuned for updates.