Sunday, July 16, 2006

Slow day at the office...

Things are really winding down on the relief operation here. We've closed all the remote sites, and are now just waiting for things to wrap up here at HQ. I've sent my whole staff home, except for Louise (of course) and two others, pretty much the minimum number we will need to break down, pack up, and ship everything when the operation closes. Even so, we've gone through our entire backlog of report-writing, inventory reconciliation, and other side work, and we've shipped out every piece of equipment not in use (except for one spare VSAT -- can't afford to be without a backup for that). Things are slow enough now at HQ that the director gave everyone this morning off, and we started our day here at noon.

So here we are, the four of us, with precious little to do. Whenever a trouble ticket comes in, all four of us jump for it -- maybe one per hour. I've got the two most junior folks working on cross-training exercises, and I've already read today's news and checked the weather -- twice. Since I can't get personal email in here (the Red Cross firewall blocks all external email sites, such as gmail), I thought I'd use some of the slack time to blog.

In theory, tomorrow should be our day off. However, with only four of us here in total, we can't afford to have two out at a time. Depending on how much longer things will go on here, I will probably start rotating everyone on half-day schedules, leaving three of us on shift at any given moment.

After conversing with my Dad on his birthday, and looking at what tasks are on our plate in our life after the operation closes, we've decided to take Odyssey to U.S. Coach Repair in Berlin, NJ when we are done here. We need an oil change, and probably a coolant change, and the tranny topped off, and the air dryer serviced. We'll also have them look at the tire shimmy issue that I have previously written about here. Owner Luke Bonagura is a respected presence in the bus conversion community, and the shop has a pit -- essential for the air dryer work on our 47,000-pound coach. Berlin is only 150 miles from here, about a three hour drive.

Once we're there, my folks will come out to meet us, and we will spend a few days together. After that, things get much more fuzzy. One fly in the ointment is that we discovered, a day or two ago, that we now have a crack in the upstairs windshield. Actually, a pair of cracks, each perhaps 10-15cm in length, forming a sort of "W" at the upper right corner of the glass. Since each crack starts and ends at the edge of the glass, there is no real concern of them spreading, and the are small enough and out of the way enough to be almost unnoticeable. That being said, it may get worse, and, furthermore, the windshield is still leaking -- one fix for which would be to remove it and replace it correctly. (I suspect, by the way, that the cause of the cracking is stress on the glass, due to the same improper installation that I blame for the leaks.) Being as close as we are to Honey Brook, we are thinking about swinging by for a replacement, if they even have one.

In any case, we still intend to mosey down to NC for the FMCA rally next month, unless a hurricane interrupts us. We'll probably make a stop in DC along the way, to do all the usual tourist things (Smithsonian, tram tour, etc.) and perhaps visit Red Cross headquarters.

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