Friday, April 8 2022
location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY
My boss the CTO called me bright and early this morning wanting to talk about two features he needed for the AppStream login system. So I created two Jira tickets, had my morning scrum, and then, well, it was hard to find much motivation on such a beautiful spring day. At some point I half-heartedly looked at some code in VisualStudio, realized something minor, and made a note in a Jira ticket. That was pretty much the extent of things.
At noon, I drove the Chevy Bolt up the Farm Road and back to pick up some flat pieces of bluestone I'd staged in various places. The road was a little damaged in a few spots from last night's flooding, but it was still passable.
At a little after 5:00pm, Gretchen and I loaded up the dogs and set off for the Adirondacks, stopping first at our accountant's new office on Albany to deal with our taxes (it's always last-minute with those, it seems). On the way into the office, I remarked to Gretchen that when we started out with this accountant, we were making maybe $30,000 between the two of us, and it probably seemed odd that we were paying for the services of an accountant at all.
Things are different now.
We stopped for a bathroom break at the Pattersonville Travel Plaza and all of us took advantage of the situation. Ramona had an enormous reservoir of piss she had to unload, making us feel bad we hadn't given her an opportunity to pee before we left. Then when she went to poop, she had great difficulty pinching off her turd so it would detach from her butthole. It was full of fibre; evidently Ramona had been eating a lot of grass. Just as we were putting together a pair of sticks to use as chopsticks to provide her some assistance, the turd came free. And then she pissed a second time.
The gate at the entrance to Woodworth Lake was closed, so Gretchen got out to open it and said she would walk with the dogs to the cabin from there (about a mile away).
The first thing I did after getting into the cabin was check the temperatures. It was 45 degrees upstairs and 39 degrees downstairs. I'd left the extreme-recording thermometer in the first floor bathroom, and it had recorded a record low temperature of 34 degrees since I'd winterized the cabin two weeks ago. This meant it had never frozen indoors during that time.
Next I went to check the propane tank, which Ferrellgas had supposedly put 200 gallons into on March 31st. As I
approached the tank, I smelled the distinct smell of whatever it is that is added to natural gas to make it
non-odorless. Then, when I went to check the gauge (which really should've been fixed by now), I heard an unrlenting
hissing coming from somewhere. There was a motherfucking propane leak underway, and the chuckleheads at Ferrellgas had left it that way! Feeling my way around the various valves and knobs, I eventually located the source of the leak, a small plug that someone had left open. How much gas had escaped through that in the last week? It was horrifying. If a propane company can't safely deliver propane, they shouldn't do anything at all.
The gauge on the 1000 gallon tank was still reading zero, by the way. But there was now some propane, because I was now able to light the burners on the kitchen stove.
I then turned my attention to unloading the car. We'd brought a heavy load of bluestone along with a considerable amount of cardboard, the latter to facilitate rapidly heating the cabin interior.
After I reported the propane leak to Gretchen, she decided it would be good to document this by calling Farrellgas immediately. They don't answer phones except during business hours, though they also gave an emergency hotline to report things like gas leaks. So she called that number and explained the situation to the woman who answered. She said she'd be dispatching an emergency responder to our address, though it would probably take "hours," as there was apparently only one person with this job.
I'd been referring to the incompetence of Farrellgas as "chuckleheadedness," though Gretchen was pretty sure at this point that this was a condition even worse than can be conveyed with that term. Perhaps a better word would be "transchuckleheadedness." In a cloud of anxious disappointment, she quickly made us a meal of green beans and vegan ravioli. Meanwhile, I de-winterized the heating system to accelerate the warming of the cabin interior, which was still in the low-50s.
The emergency responder from Farrellgas arrived at arounnd 11:00pm. He seemed reasonably sharp, perhaps because the conventional chuckleheads don't get assigned to a detail tasked with cleaning up after, well, chuckleheads. I showed him the situation with our tank, including the plug where the leak had been hissing from. He sighed and said, yep, it sure looks like the guys who had last put propane in our tank had forgot to close that plug. He then went to see if he could make our gauge start working again. After some tinkering, he said it was fixed. He also said it was showing our tank only %15 percent full, suggesting 50 gallons of propane had managed to escape in the last week. Gretchen wanted to be sure the emergency responder guy noted all this in the notes for his visit so we could rub Farrellgas' nose in it when she calls first thing Monday morning.
The only chuckleheaded thing about the emergency reponder guy appeared when he went to drive away. He couldn't manage to turn around his big emergency response truck in our driveway, saying the ground was too soft. Ultimately he decided to back his way out to Woodworth Lake Road, a process that seemed to take a long time, as it was accompanied by that beeping sound trucks make when they're backing up.
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