My Blog

You know it’s been cold when….

you walk outside into a 28 degree afternoon and because the sun is shining and the howling wind has subsided, you notice how warm it seems….

It’s been a really cold weekend.  We had sustained winds of 30-40 mph for days and the temperature never increased to the freezing mark.  For those of you in the Dakotas or Vermont, that’s probably not a big deal, but for us here in Delaware, it was darn cold.  I remember falling asleep at night listening to the wind howling and being surprised to hear the same sounds greet me in the morning.  I went out occasionally – it was not pleasant at all.  Bonnie, being a dog, had to make some necessary trips outside as well, but her business was always accomplished in record time and always within a few steps of the kitchen door.  By the way, except for a bluish-white scar on her cornea, her eye looks healed.  It doesn’t seem to bother her at all now.

Typically, this sort of weather is brutal at the refinery, but since everything’s shut down, there’s not much that can freeze solid or go wrong.  I’ll be there tonight – working another refinery death watch shift.  We’re likely in our last few weeks there.  Our official end date is January 22, but it looks as if that may be extended just a bit.  This nasty weather isn’t helping our shut down and decontamination efforts.

Those of you that know me well are aware that I seldom watch TV.  I don’t have cable.  We get our TV signal from an antenna on the roof (all digital-30 channels).  Our only TV is in the bedroom – My wife watches it when I work nights.  There’s just too much to get done most days, and I can spend that time on more productive stuff (like blog posts?).  This Sunday, I did clear some time to watch an NFL game.  Not just any football game, but the last-game-of-the-regular-season match between our home team Philadelphia Eagles (Yay!) and their despised rivals, the Dallas Cowboys (hissssssss).  A friend of mine came over to watch and cheer on the home team with me.

The game wasn’t even close.  Dallas had our team’s number.  Our team didn’t score.  The closest we got was a missed field goal from over 50 yards out.  The quarterback  couldn’t throw, and when he did, the receivers couldn’t catch.  Dallas never even punted until well into the second half.  Both of these teams will play each other again this coming weekend in the first wild-card playoff game.  (had Philly won, they would have been able to take this first playoff week off).  Hopefully, it’ll be more interesting than last week’s game.

I spent some time yesterday on the phone with Verizon due to internet problems.  We live in an ADSL fringe area, and it seems that the weather may have had an effect on our sometimes-not-so-good internet signal.  It was on and off all weekend, and when it did work, it was really slow.  After rebooting the ‘puter, cycling the modem’s power, clearing my cache and making sure that there were no cabling problems, I called Verizon Monday am.

One reason folks have to wait so long for tech service is that they seem to take all sorts of time on the phone with you.  The timer on my phone said one hour and 21 minutes when I finally got through with the on-line tech and received a promise of a site visit later that day.  Guess what we spent all of that time doing?  Cycling the power on my modem, clearing the cache and rebooting the computer.  Grrrrr…

After this, I had no internet at all until about 5:30 pm, when I walked past the computer and just happened to notice that the network icon had turned to it’s blue “connected” status.  I ran a quick speed test and found that I had stellar (for our location) internet performance.  It was great – better than it had been in weeks.  Exactly 8 minutes after that, the Verizon tech showed up.  He swore that he hadn’t done anything from outside the house.

While I was waiting for the tech to show up (and before the ‘net came back) I received a call from Verizon asking me if I wanted to upgrade to FIOS because it just became available in my neighborhood.  I’ll bet the tinfoil in the top of my baseball cap that they planned this whole thing…..

FIOS – prettier than cable

When all was said and done, they offered me internet and phone service, with free installation, wireless router and no activation fee.  The cost was $10 more a month, but they’re giving me a $150 rebate, so I’m good for a year or so.  So long, fringe area ADSL – hello internet speeds promised at exactly 8x what I measured yesterday afternoon.  Verizon’s new service uses fiber optic cabling, promising really nice internet speeds and a more stable signal.  Still, when you think about this, that weekend internet outage (during a school vacation period)  seemed awfully convenient for their FIOS marketing….

My beautiful Brasileira wife has been in Brasil for a week now.  Just 5 weeks to go before she returns.  Last night, I checked and found that I could fly there next week for my regular seven day work break for a pretty reasonable price.  OK, a great price, considering that I was purchasing the tickets only ten days or so before flying. I did this every month for a few years before we got married – I know the drill.  Late next week, I’ll be flying to Rio, picking up my Budget rental and driving to Volta Redonda again for a few days of sunshine and warm weather.  I’ll just be there a week, instead of the month that I had planned, but after this last week, it sounds pretty good.






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