paperwork in a pandemic
Thursday, April 16 2020
There was actually a light dusting of snow on the roofs and vehicles this morning, and the day would be unseasonably cold for this time of year, never even rising out of the 40s. By this evening it was also windy, which made conditions feel more like late February.
Later in the morning, my boss Alex tried to call but got a funny message from our phone. It turned out that Verizon had finally control of our land line number to Spectrum. To get this working, all I had to do was connect a phone cord between the phone jack in the cable modem and a phone jack on the wall of the laboratory (near where a dial-in modem used to be attached, back before we got DSL in February of 2014). This energized our household phone network, providing a dial tone on all six of our DECT 6.0 cordless phones.
We're liking our Spectrum cable internet, but actually dealing with the corporation that provides it (as well as Gretchen's cellphone since she transferred it) hasn't been especially pleasant. Despite the ongoing pandemic, today Gretchen had to go to the Spectrum office in Kingston to fill out some paperwork to successfully have her name added to our account (it had been mistakenly added as Gretchen Mueller, the assumption being that she had taken my last name like in some old episode of General Hospital, even though I'd specifically given her last name to the Spectrum guy on the phone). Gretchen reported that social distancing was being done correctly at the Spectrum office, with everyone wearing masks and keeping six feet apart.
This evening when I took a bath, a sulfury stench filled the air. I'd initially thought this was coming from the drain, but it continued even when a plug was in that drain. Gretchen returned from the bookstore in the middle of this and noted that I'd stunk up the whole house with the smell of rotten eggs. I suggested that she run some water from the tap to see if it was actually the water. It turned out that the cold water smelled fine but not the hot water. Some Googling led us to believe that the problem was a our brand new $1000 heat-pump-power hot water heater. Under certain conditions, trace sulfur in the water can be reduced by the sacrificial magnesium anode in a hot water heater, filling the water with hydrogen sulfide. The easiest solution that won't result in an early death for our hot water heater is to get an aluminum-zinc sacrificial anode to replace the magnesium one. Such an anode will supposedly not catalyze the reduction of sulfur.
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