Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fallen Wires

Thanks to a comment left by a lovely reader on a previous post complaining of the fallen wires in my yard/deck I went ahead and called Comcast to see if they could fix it. It was Saturday afternoon and when the delightful woman on the phone said "How's Monday?" I was pleased as punch.

On Monday, when the technician showed up 15 minutes earlier than the window of time he was suppose to, I was even happier. After that, things took an ugly turn.

Thick layers of ice blocked us from getting to where we needed to go. So, it was safety-goggles and hammers for a while. Have you ever had a piece of ice fly into your eye. Let me tell you . . . it's unpleasant. When will I learn to where the goggles BEFORE I get hurt? Someday, I hope. After getting out some frustration, the cable guy informs us the wires are phone and cable. He'll fix the cable, but we'll have to call Verizon. This is when the puppy-dog-eyes came out, and the stumbling of phrases began:

"But, we don't have an account with V-V-V-Verizon, we get our phone through you now."

"Can't you just do it for us p-p-p-p-please?"


He finally did it. I really think he just felt bad for us. I also think he might have felt a little threatened by our dismay. It took him about 4 seconds. The amount of time it takes for you to climb a ladder five rungs - that's how long it took.

The wires, however, are still droopy. But, that'll have to wait until Spring to be fixed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snomageddon Continues

Last night, as the snow fell steady and winds began to pick-up, our power surged. I actually felt my heart stop. It was around 8:55pm, five minutes before LOST was to begin. Oh the horror!

This morning, as I opened my eyes, I heard silence. No howling winds. No ice pelting the house.

But the view out the windows provided a different story. The visibility was limited, and the panes were coated with snow and ice.

Apparently, this guy finds this weather a good day for a jog! In a long-sleeve t-shirt I might add! T-shirt! Good grief.

By the afternoon, I had still not seen a plow come by our street. With 10 inches (at least!) being reported of fresh snow, the streets are terrible. Apparently, DC pulled the plows off the road at 9:30am this morning. So, without plows out all day it's going to take a while to clean this mess!

The pile on our deck is the height of a paper grocery bag (you can see my very scientific measuring tool below) at it's lowest level and as high as the back of a chair at the high end.

The windows are not completely covered in snow, so in order to take more photos of the snow destruction I'd have to go outside.

But, since I have this. . .

and these. . .

I'll be staying in for a while longer.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

No calm before this storm.

With the threat of more snow, I longed to get out of the house. Seeing my neighbors sedan had made it to the grocery store and back I grabbed my shovel and headed to the car. Dreams of browsing Target's aisle and filling my cart with things to entertain me danced in my head.

I started the car. Step one complete.

Pulling out of the parking spot seemed easy. Then, the slipping and sliding started, but it was still OK. I was about to shout with joy until I was about the round the corner to head out into the alleyway to the street. Stopped. A huge pick-up was pulling in. So, I threw it in reverse and backed the car into the parking spot. I waited. Why weren't they pulling in? Oh, they were stuck. So, I grabbed my shovel and asked if they needed help. They were grateful.

An hour later. . . we got the pick-up out. An HOUR.

Tired and frustrated, I went back inside. Well, maybe I'll get to drive to a store by next week.

By 4:3pm, the snow had started.

*Hard to see, but the flurries just started flying in the picture above.

The 5pm reported on roofs collapsing in my neighborhood. Super. I watched a neighbor shovel his roof today and thought about doing the same. But, climbing up to a slanted roof covered in ice isn't my cup-o-tea.

I watched two snowplows come by today, about 30 minutes apart. Unfortunately, the street is so packed with ice they did little damage to it.

At 6:30pm we (I should mention Dan had been stuck in California until late Tuesday night - so I'm happy to have someone to share the days - and shoveling - with) walked to the store to stock up on a few things. In the fifteen minutes we were out we accumulated about 1/2 inch on the ground. This is not looking good people.

With two snow days already this week, it looks likely I'm in for a third.

Installing a 3-way Dimmer Switch

I'd had this dimmer switch laying around for quite some time. Mainly, because I wasn't sure how to install it. I opened the box, and saw this:

Two red wires, one green and one black. OK. Fine. I just had to look up which connected to the existing wires in the box.

So, this is how you do it.

Cut the power at the circuit box!!!

Take your cover plate of the existing switch:

Next, remove the screws on the top and bottom to loosen it so you can get to the wires in the back. Pull the unit out a little bit to help you see.

Remove the existing switch by removing the screws and taking the wires out.

Attach the new dimmer wires to the existing wires by twisting on those red caps that came with the new dimmer.

Black wire connects to black wire. Red to red. Other red to white, and the green wire is your grounder so that connects to the copper wire. It will end up looking like this:

Next, jam all the wires back into the outlet box and screw the new plate in. Yes, "jam" is a very technical term. It might take a little fidgeting to do this - take your time.

Add the top cover plate. Step back and look at your work. Pat yourself on the back.

Turn the electric back on and test the switch (make sure the "dimmer bar is all the way up at first so the light turns on). Oooh and Aaah over your talents.

You may need to touch up the paint around the new cover plate.

Tada! I heart dimmer switches.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mother-nature decided to upgrade us

This is one situation you don't want an upgrade. Snow amount for tomorrow/Wednesday has been increased to 10-20". Really? Really!!! Was I bad?

Today I ventured out, walking a mile to the grocery store. It was nice to see all the people working to clean up the snow, but disheartening to see so many streets had not been touched by plows.

Oh, and I'm assuming the electric wires dipping in my yard and strewn across the deck railings will remain that way until. . . April.

Prepping for Round Two

We are setting up for round 2 on Tuesday into Wednesday with 5-10 inches coming back to DC. I have no idea where we can put this snow! I ran out of room digging out the car yesterday, I can't imagine how I would handle 10 additional inches. . .even 5.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snow-pocalypse 2010 Day 3

Still no word from Pepco about when they will come and fix the hanging wires. Since some people are still without power, I'm pretty sure I'm low on the list.

My big accomplishment today? Spending two hours digging out the car. That ergonomic shovel has certainly earned its keep.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snow-pocalypse 2010 Day 2: Part 2

12:00pm: Still snowing.

1:30pm: Yep, still snowing. Cars begin to disappear on the street (one you can gauge by the windshield wipers they left up that are sticking out):

: Decide to head out and shovel again while it's still daylight. Watch some workers in a pick-up truck struggle to get up the street (which hasn't been plowed in quite sometime and must have 4-6 inches on it, and that's on the other drivers tracks). Running out of places to put the snow.

5:30pm: I do believe the snow has stopped.

Snow-pocalypse 2010 Day 2 Part 1

12:30am: Notice the power wires have fallen more.

1:00am: Off to bed. Worry the wires will snap and deck will catch fire. Fall asleep in 10 minutes anyway.

7am: Woke-up, thankful the power is still on. Make coffee! Notice wires in the back make it impossible to go out the back door.

9am: Head out to shovel the front. There was about another 12 to 18 inches on the front steps. Since I had already shoveled 6 inches last night - it was surprising. The steps had become slides and the snow was still very heavy.

10:30am: Back to watching the news. Still no word from Pepco about the wires. Figure they won't come out for days.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Snow-pocalypse 2010

7am: Drove to four stores looking for self-starting fire logs because we ran out of wood. All sold out. Skies are gray and looming.

8am: Went to local grocery store, mainly because I sensed I had to, though I didn't need anything. Bought two yogurts and eggs. Felt accomplished.

8:15am: Treated myself to a latte at Peregrine.

8:45am: Started working at home. Dylan & Nina helped.

10:30am: Snow started.

11:30am: National Weather Service increases snow prediction from 18-24 inches to 20-28 inches. (December 19th storm was 16.4", and on a Friday night as well. My office was still closed on Monday).

11:31am: For a reference point, I measure how high 28 inches is. It's past my mid-thigh. My heart beat a little faster.

Noon: Went to corner store. Bought 5 self-starting firelogs. Owner told me they have 9 more cases in the basement. Felt relief I would not freeze to death if power went out. He also mentions not being able to get milk this morning, all distributors are sold out.

12:15am: Turned on the news. Weather guy reports 20" minimum, and says there is potential for 33". It's reported the most the District ever received is 26.5". I measure 33". . .it's about 4 inches below my hip. Sweet baby Jesus.

12:45am: News guy reports DC will not pick up recycling this week, and only trash from the front of the house. Reporters from grocery stores show empty shelves and shoppers waiting in line for hours to either pay or even get into the store. Blizzard + Superbowl weekend = grocery store mayhem.

2pm: Snow started sticking. It's being reports the Metro system will close above-ground stops when the accumulation reached 8 inches.

3pm: Scared to lose power overnight. Start dishwasher and toss a load of laundry in.

5pm: Cleaned out the fridge and took all trash out. Don't want to be stuck in a stinky home. Thankful I bought so much beer earlier in the week. So far, about an inch has accumulated.

7pm: About 2-3 inches

8:30pm: 5-6 inches

8:45pm: Head outside and shovel. Snow is incredibly dense. I work up a sweat. Hear branches crackling. Not a good sign.

9:10pm: Notice the electric wires are down in the back of the house. Call Pepco emergency line. On hold for 20 minutes. They tell me they'll send someone. . . but have no idea when. Now, I have to wait up for them. (the drooping wires in the picture usually are about 15 feet higher than that.)

9:30pm: Hang up with Pepco. Hear very loud crackle. Look out the front and see a 15 foot branch has fallen across the street. Sense losing power is imminent. The "fun" of the storm is gone.

Injuries Obtained

  • Sprained Toe/Foot: 1
  • Blood Blisters: 2
  • Splinters under fingernail: 1
  • Bird Shit on me: 1
  • Eye Injuries: 3
  • Burns: 0
  • Falls off ladder: 0 (this is because we don't have a ladder yet)
  • Headaches: too many to itemize
  • Broken Bones: 0
  • Bandages Needed: 5
  • Electric Shocks: 2
  • Stiches: 0
  • Bruises: way too many