close encounter with gutter downspout
Tuesday, May 16 2023
At noon today I drove out to Home Depot to get two things: a large 12 volt lead-acid marine battery and flexible plastic pipe compatible with the taps on the circulator system in the cabin basement (up in the Adirondacks). The plan for the battery was to use it to provide backup power here in Hurley for the cable modem, a router, and a network switch. All of those devices run on 12 VDC and in fact share a single wall-wart to which I'd added multiple DC barrel jacks. So to provide backup power, all I need to do is add a large rechargeable battery as another device in parallel with the ones I just mentioned. I thought a marine battery would be ideal for this purpose, since they are more tolerant of deep discharge and I've had great results using a marine battery to power the WiFi hotspot (and watchdog circuitry) up at the cabin. As for the plastic pipe, that's for a potential solar water-heating loop, though the pieces for sale at Home Depot were at most 25 feet long, and I need lengths of about 50 feet to reach where I'd want to put a collector on the roof.
This afternoon in the remote workplace we had our usual group QA, though it was interrupted by a company-wide meeting. By company-wide, I mean for the whole private-equity-funded corporation, a disparate collection of small companies that aren't especially well integrated. One of the big announcements was the hiring of a new executive (I forget his title, but he was a generic-looking white guy). His introduction had to be one of the most cringe-inducingly bro-ish such things I've seen done non-ironically. He kept referring to the sports team(s) he is a fan of and his dog turned out to be a Labrador retriever. What made all this amusing was that Joe and I are definitely of the same mind about such things, so we could snark about it in real time. We did so in our web team chat. The three others in that team may not have felt as strongly as we did, but they're not broish either, so it fostered a nice us-vs-the-out-of-touch-C-suite dynamic. Among the things I said in my commentary was this:
when former-name-of-corporate-entity took over Red-Hook-based-small-company-that-hired-me their first decree was that on fridays we could come to work in the jerseys of our favorite _____ teams. they had no idea what kind of nerds they'd just added to their team
After work, I drove the Forester down into Old Hurley to visit Ray & Nancy's place. Ray has been trying to get me to drive back behind his house to salvage some fallen trees back there (most of it silver maple) that have been in the way of Ray's lawn mowing, and it's something I've been procrastinatisng. Ray and Nancy were gone when I arrived and one of their cars was parked in a way that made it difficult for me to drive through the narrow space between the south side of the garage and a row of dense shrubbery separating Ray and Nancy's yard from the big one to the south. I ended up having to enter that space at an angle that sent me into an arborvitæ. I got out and pushed the limbs out from around the snout of my vehicle, but still managed to press on the main stem of the arborvitæ to partially uproot it. Horrified, I righted the poor thing and packed soil around its roots so that it looked like nothing happened. Meanwhile, the front door handle on the other side of the Forester was rubbing against the garage's downspout. Somehow I squeezed through without doing much further damage to the landscape or the Forester.
As always when salvaging firewood at Ray & Nancy's place, there was more than expected. I'd also been expecting everything to be covered with poison ivy, but none of it was. Most of the wood needed to be cut up, so I'd brought my big 18 inch Kobalt battery-powered chainsaw. I managed to cut up the smaller limbs mostly into firewood-length pieces, though there was a big limb there with a diameter of about fifteen inches that I eventually exhausted my battery cutting through. All of this made for a pretty good load in the back of the Forester and, for Ray's purposes, it left things considerably tidier in that part of the backyard.
As I was driving out through that narrow space south of the garage, I mostly avoided the arborvitæ but drove a little too close to the downspout, and this time I smeared a bunch of its soft white paint against the passenger side of the Forester. I also kind of crumpled the downspout in two places, though it was easy to smush it back into an almost-normal shape.
Back at the house, I was able to remove all of the downspout paint from the Forester using a paper towel soaked in paint thinner. The only damage to its paint job was on the driver's side door handle itself, where the car's paint was on plastic instead of steel. But that damage was trivial and well within the kind I am willing to inflict when using a vehicle as the tool it is.
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