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blizzard warnings - 13:52 , 03 October 2013

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15 July 2002 - 23:49

little red button

Today was numbers. Lots and lots of numbers. Or more specifically, data.

After getting the annual herd reports done, I shifted gears to get the data from my two Breeding Bird Survey routes in to Patuxent. The internet is a wonderful thing, especially with their new data entry scripts. Really nice to see government software do exactly what it is supposed to do, even on this antiquated browser.

But first I had to do a bunch of hand scribbling of data. The idea behind these routes is to repeat the exact same 50 stops each and every year. Which can be difficult, when vehicle odometers vary. So this year they asked for a "description" of each and every stop (like, "a half mile past the cattleguard, where the big white rock is on the south side of the road"... Hey, don't snicker... that is where stop #1 of the Bairoil route is.)

But why do all of this? Certainly can't take the time while running the route, so you'd have to do it on the return leg, or another day.

Or, you could just mark those points in your GPS memory while you run the routes. And then forget about general descriptions.

Of course, that means transcribing coordinates for 100 points. And since the batteries in the GPS are dead (it's plugged into the power plug in the truck), and this model erases all marked points when new batteries are put in, that means the 1,300 digits need to be transcribed while the thing is still plugged into the truck.

Masked heeler enjoyed the excuse to stay outside and harass squirrels.

Friend of one of the wardens who works just two blocks up wonders while I blocked half the street, sitting in the truck with the door open.

So does the town cop, since he went by twice. But he never asked.

Now, the wife brought her godson home last night, since both he and youngest son had today off from work. But she never mentioned he had a job to do here.

Not one mention of us having rented a power washer for the day, so he could blast all the old paint off the old garage. In preparation of a new coat.

But as I am sitting in the truck, punching buttons and scribbling digits, I hear a power motor that is failing to start. From our driveway. Curiosity naturally calls, so I go back to discover this rented power tool, and a frustrated wife's godson.

Check the clutch, throttle, and yes, the spark plug. And try again. And again, and again.

It no go.

Now, I am a little p.o.'d about this. Obviously a teenager should not be running this thing without some form of supervision (it'll take the boards off the walls, if you're not careful, or the nails off your fingers). And obviously, I am intended to be that supervision.

Without ever being consulted. Or told, for that matter. Wife just assumed I would have no place else to be.

Yes, that was true, and has been for weeks, but that is besides the point. I should have been asked.

So, now her whole plan is bust. We could run this thing back to the rental place (if the Dodge would start, and I'm sure it won't) to see if they can fix it, and still get the job done today. Or, more simply, call the rental folks to see if they know why it won't start (some magical 'kick it in the oilpan' sort of thing?).

But this ain't my project. So nothin' doin'. And godson doesn't want to make the call, either. Instead he calls the wife.

Fine. I got numbers to write down.

So, the wife got to give up her lunch hour to come home, haul the damn thing back to town, and see if she could get our money refunded. She was not a happy camper.

But next time they try to get this project done, I bet she at least tells me about it.

Oh, on the power sprayer? Despite Ron, the owner's, assertion that it runs "just like a lawn mower," when the wife accosted him for a refund, he asked "Did I forget to tell you about the little red button on the bottom?"

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