The Generator works

even when I try to turn it off!

Just after midnight, it’s cold and a little windy but nothing different than the rest of our weather for the last dozen winters, and then: power outage for more than 30 seconds, then the standby generator comes on, and the house electricity is back.

15 minutes go by, still riding the generator, probably, and looking out the windows gives me second thoughts: everyone around us has electricity. Everyone. But the generator runs on.

Doubt is my constant companion, add mechanical systems and electricity and my doubt is exponential. I reason that the transfer switch (automatically shunts power from the mains to the generator and back again) has malfunctioned. Only real answer given that all others have power.

So, off comes the front panel of the transfer switch (it’s cold and windy), I get the wrench to manually switch off gen power back to mains, and: the switch fights back. Doesn’t matter how hard I push, no go, no switching off the generator. Fortunately I eschewed killing the generator manually, and I got on line and submitted a power outage entry to Oncor.

Less than 30 minutes later I got a call from a lineman with Oncor outside my house asking what the problem was. (I don’t blame him, the house looked normal with the gen on). I explained, and he went to investigate. After a few minutes: “Your meter is blank, and all your neighbors have power, so one of the legs of your electrical service is bad”. Much rejoicing on my part, because the generator/switch isn’t malfunctioning, it’s running like it should, and there’s a lineman here who has a diagnosis that fits, and a plan to fix it!

James the Oncor lineman spent 20 minutes in a bucket surrounded by high power lines fixing the wiring to my home in bad weather (‘the feed wires were small and one burned off, I added much bigger ones’), and the moment he re-engaged the transformer the generator slowed then stopped, like it should.

To recap: my home was the only one affected, the gen worked, even when I tried to shut it down, and life is back to normal.

Life is good, and Oncor linemen are terrific. (My wife gave him coffee and warm cookies, hope that doesn’t get him in trouble). Thanks, James!

Happy Anniversary honey!

Thanks for the 24 terrific years. I love you.

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A rare Disney screwup

The family (minus a couple) went on a Disney Cruise lines cruise for Christmas. It was the Happiest Boat on Earth while we were there, and a good time was had by all*.

Astonishingly, I accidentally walked into a bar on the ship, which had just come out of a refitting period which had redone this particular lounge. It had the most jarringly-bad decor, a very non-disneylike screwup:
A few too many
(Hint: there’s no lone black key on a keyboard)

Chatting with the lounge staff, they said they were aware, and had been told it’d get fixed ‘sometime’. Heh. For the record, the decor bizarreness didn’t affect the quality of the service or the drinks.

*Head bonk by a thrown menu. By a a Disney cast member. May tell that story someday.

By my brother’ book: Think Fast Enchilada Edition

Until today, Think Fast – The Racer’s Why-To Guide to Winning was available exclusively in paperback form. Here is the link to the Kindle Edition of Think Fast. Everything in the print edition is in there – it’s the whole enchilada, but one that you can carry in your pocket. The dedicated web site for Think Fast has numerous excerpts to give you a sense of what it’s like. The unanimous positive feedback that I have received means that it must be one of the better racing books in print, and the Kindle Edition is yours for a lower price.

via Think Fast Enchilada Edition – Think Fast Engineering.

I recommend it for the racer, or the would-be racer, in your life.

Birth Day for brother and niece!

For my little brother (who’s taller and smarter than me, thank goodness I’m better looking):

He’s a touch older than in this picture (he was the lead mechanical engineer making this thing fly, in one year):

The Aerospace Genius and one of his creations.

The Aerospace Genius and one of his creations.

 

And, to my niece Annie! I have no pics of her with an airplane, but when I get one, I’ll keep it for her next birthday.

Happy Birthday to our youngest

Enjoy your birthday, sweetie!

 
Moriah and Scott (120 of 803)

I turned 50 today

Some reflections on the first third of my life.

I’ve been blessed with people in all stages of my life who supported me, and even when situations didn’t warrant it, they kept believing. My parents are alive and healthy, three terrific kids, two grand kids, a most excellent and accomplished son-in-law (and another in the wings).

Professionally I’m on plane, and keep finding new things to be curious about, and sometimes fix, the lifelong learning continues.

My wife deserves the majority of the credit for survival to this point. She kept me from dying of malnutrition in med school, and refrained from killing me when I gave her the opportunity, and she’s The Best.

So, here’s to more 50 year BDay celebrations!

The Favor

As a medical student in the GYN clinic in El Paso, one occasionally needed both language and female standby assistance, at the same time.

Occasionally like 80% of the time*.

I asked one of the clinic technicians to assist me with an exam; after we were done, trying to be med student charming I said “Thank you, senorita!”

She said, laughing, with the clinic staff chuckling at my discomfort, “It’s Senora, it’s only senorita until someone does you The Favor”.

Education takes many forms. Sometimes when you don’t expect it or even want it.

(This is however a family point of amusement, which we sincerely enjoy).

*Medical statistics are made up on the spot: 75% are BS and the other 33% don’t add up.

 

Punctuation?

From my lovely wife the other day…

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I posted this to Twitter earlier, but realized I wanted it on the blog, too.

22 years of Married Bliss

Out of 23, that’s not bad! (It’s our 23rd, that’s just our little joke).

I love you.  I always will.

Wedding

Thanks for marrying me, and taking me away from all that.

Wrapping wreck

We neglected to teach our eldest daughter the finer points of package wrapping.

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Happy Birthday, Brother

Yep. He’s a touch older than in this picture (he was the lead mechanical engineer making this thing fly, in one year):

The Aerospace Genius and one of his creations.

The Aerospace Genius and one of his creations.

 

May you have many more!

I have some OCD; also, my wife gets me.

Just went to the kitchen to get a drink. Went to the table to ask my lovely and patient wife how I could help with her sewing.

(This is a transparent thing all men do to make sure we get full credit for Caring; this is also transparent to our wives as a silly thing we do to keep from being Blamed).

Couldn’t help but notice the pad under her sewing machine was upside down, as the tag was up.

“I’d like to help you by getting the pad right-side up”, I said helpfully.
“It’s fine, it’s been like this for days” she said, thinking this would be mollifying. Silly girl.
“No, really, I’d like to help you with this”.
That’s when she grabbed her shears and cut off the tag.
“Cheating”, said I.
“Over”, said she.

I think she may really understand me. Still, I’ll turn the pad over soon.

Argo – a bad movie review

Tonight I took a beautiful woman to dinner and a movie, and I chose (with assent) Argo based on the recommendation of friends. I have good friends.

I won’t actually review the movie, that’s what Rotten Tomatoes is for.

I will tell you a funny story.

We were driving away from the theater (all of 6 in the hall on a Tuesday night) when I said: “Hey, a movie where the Americans are the good guys”,

to which my lovely wife said

“Well, it’s about actual Americans”.

There ya go. A movie review.

 

PS: I need to learn to write with fewer I’s.

Well, that’s at least new

Tonight we had house alarm false #3 in about 6 weeks. Geez. Gift baskets for my neighbors.

To the alarm panel I go, and it tells me it’s a glassbreak downstairs. This isn’t good, as were I looking to break into the house I’d do it though the basement (and thus the glassbreaks, motion sensors, punjii-pits and laser traps).

So, to the bottom of the stair I go, and for the first time in my house I’m getting really spooked: someone is breathing heavily on the other end of the long room! I sweep the room behind me, and go to have a look, with the Voice of Doom in my right hand and a suddenly tremulous flashlight in the left. I clear the entire area, and nobody there, but the sound remains.

Then I hear a sharp noise behind me. I looked up to hear sound coming out of a glassbreak detector. Freaky. As I was about to curse the alarm manufacturer, hot water dripped on me.

Glassbreaks will alarm and make audible noise when you run water through them, turns out. The leak is in the dishwasher discharge on the floor above. Water and breaker are off to the dishwasher, and Monday will be calls to the trades.

Yes, by the way, this is the same ceiling the dishwasher dropped during the kitchen remodel several months ago. I have high hopes it’ll stay together and dry out well, though the dishwasher needs a different kind of union to the discharge piping.

I’m going to have the flashlight examined, too.