Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rockaway Update: Heat, Glorious Heat After Two Different Electricians Show Up

Where do I turn in my absence note for missing yesterday's Delegate Assembly and MORE planning committee meeting?

Note: My boiler is ready to go but the wiring has to be done and Pat the plumber said his electrician will contact us. No word so far.

Wednesday, November 28 went like this:
wishful thinking

Early morning -- I move my new car out of the driveway onto the muddy street. One day and it's already filthy. Rockaway is one giant dust bowl. The cleansing rain didn't cleanse enough.

10AM: Mike the air condition/heating guy sends over a 3 man crew to finish the work of replacing damaged equipment which will give us heat on the main level of the house (we already have the 3 bedrooms working off the individual room heat exchangers. All we need is for Ken the electrician to come and run a new line to the compressor and we could stop hovering over the stove burners, which we are sure is giving us CO2 poisoning. (Excuse me while I take a nap). We also need Ken to start rewiring and reconnecting our power throughout the house so we can stop running extension cords from the garage throughout the house. But my last contact with Ken was not promising. If he ever finishes I would be close to back to normal.

1PM: I'm in the midst of demolishing more sheet rock between basement and den, along with a basement closet that was never taken apart -- and I'm finding some ugly mold. I should have taken care of this before. I figure I could leave for the DA around 2:30. But lo and behold Ken shows up to run the line to the compressor. I practically beg him to connect up some of the lines that didn't get wet. He says maybe if he has time. In the meantime he tells me some bad news. He won't rewire the wet stuff in the basement which powers our entire kitchen/dining room and who knows what else until I clean up the area near the ceiling and spray it for mold. My wife doesn't want these pros in who will toss all kinds of poison around --- they want to use a fogger and we would have to abandon the house for most of a day with the cats. She wants us to mix up a solution of vinegar and water and go at it. She orders a dehumidifier to help dry out the basement. Now we did have some anti mold spraying done when the crew we hired cleaned out the basement just 5 days after the storm. But there's a hell of a lot of remaining grit up near the rafters that has to be sprayed and we have to do that before the new wiring. I'm seeing Xmas with extension cords. Ken says I should cut all the BX cables myself and pull them out. But where do I cut them so he can follow the trail when he comes back? Jeez.

3PM: So as usual I ignore the issue and just keep demolishing -- the DA is slipping away but I am having more fun. I decide to hang around to try to catch Ken who is taking a very long time running and connecting this one cable to see if he would do some more work since he is already here. I go upstairs for a bite and to warn up. When I go back down Ken is gone. The AC crew is still working and since the line is hooked up we will have heat from the main level units by tonight. I have to wait until they finish so I can shut the garage door. If they are gone by 5 I can still leave and make the MORE meeting which will be in some bar where I can drink enough to forget the mold for a few hours.

5PM: The AC guys finish and proudly turn on the heating units on the main level. Glorious feel of warm air gushing out. We now have 5 individual units to heat the entire house other downstairs.

Just as the crew is finishing I get a call from Pat the plumber. "I was supposed to call you earlier in the day. The electrician is on the way and will be there soon." While we are talking Doug the boiler electrican's truck pulls up. Well, there goes the MORE meeting. I figure a half hour to an hour to hook up the 3 thermostats. I have a FIRST LEGO Robotics conf call at 6PM so at least I can do that. It is dark and cold and I have to leave the garage door and den door open so Doug can go back and forth. The new thermostat I bought for the room that was flooded and now without sheet rock or insulation reads 49 degrees. I'm going to try to stay in the basement with Doug to make sure he runs a new wire for that thermostat and also connects each zone to where it us supposed to go -- so that if I turn on the thermostat in the bedroom the heat doesn't come up in the kitchen. "I'm not leaving until this works and you have heat," Doug says. Did I fall into heaven? This morning I had heat in 2 rooms and by tonight I will have 2 separate heating systems working covering the entire house. Boy am I looking forward to Doug finishing so I can have a nice dinner and relax watching TV.

Doug doesn't finish until 11:30PM. Yes, I said 11:30 PM.

I was down in the basement with him almost every step of the way as it got colder and colder. I had no idea of the complexity of this wiring job. The new boilers have so many backup/safety features he has to connect all these weird little color coded wires, in addition to installing all kinds of doo-dads. And then test them. "You mean these are not ready to go?" I ask, naively. Doug spends a lot of time crawling around on the awful floor that 4 weeks ago had almost 8 feet of water. I wander around the basement looking at all the work I have to start doing to clean the grit up off the beams.

We hear all kinds of action on the street all evening -- front loaders and little wildcats racing up and down the street with loads of stuff from demolition on the block.  My wife urges me to get my car back into the driveway. Good idea. We even see a street cleaner come down pushing the dirty mud away from the curb and into the middle of the street -- nice. But he has to go around the car stuck in front of my house. If only my neighbor across the street who had a messed up car towed out of his driveway and in front of my house can get the lying people who are supposed to tow it away to actually come and get it the crap might have been cleaned. It's been there for weeks and they keep promising to take it away.

Doug, who is from Brooklyn but now lives in Jersey, is amazing. Careful and deliberate working through the evening not complaining. If I knew I tell him I would have gotten him pizza -- except there are no pizza places open in Rockaway -- or any food stores nearby. So in sympathy I try not to eat and be as cold as he is -- though I do sneak upstairs every so often to warm up a bit.

Well, I learn a lot from Doug -- at the very least I can hook up the thermostat wires. He tells me all of them had been wet and  have to be changed --- no light job given they are snaked through the walls. One has the insulation stripped off -- he tells me they were run along the heating pipe -- a no-no. That one is easy to replace so he runs a new line into the damaged den right up the stairs. And he does it right -- taking a lot of time -- I mean it is past 11PM. And then he installs the thermostat in the den where I will keep the temp at 50 degrees so nothing freezes. How long a drive home does he have? Two and a half hours -- commercial vehicle and he can't drive on the Belt. That means he won't get home until --- I can't even do the math. And until he walked out at 11:30 he never showed on iota of being in a rush. Wish I had that patience.

I know this has been one boring post but I had to get this long day out of my system. At least I found another reliable electrician in Doug who said he would come back if I needed him just in case I can't get Ken back soon. "Next time I promise to get pizza," I tell him.

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