Sunday, December 21, 2008


I have not yet blogged to complain about the severe cold and I don't think I will; one puts on another layer or two and perseveres, perverse as that may seem to the colder-blooded.

Extreme cold does more than chill the flesh -- the lights at Roseholme have flickered a couple of times already and my work called awhile ago to get guidance on resetting this'n'that after a bigger glitch at one end or the other (or both) of The Workings. It would be no fun at all if the power went out, especially as I have (foolishly) still not got a little genset. I don't so much care about the fridge -- there's cold free for the taking! -- but the furnace has electronic ignition in addition to the blower motor wantin' power.

Luckily, IP&L's stalwart corps of linemen* takes this sort of thing personally. There are fewer now than there used to be but they are no less dedicated. Wish them a quiet evening!
* I'd like to be grrl-power-y about it but the fact is that the job of runnin' a solo P&L trouble-truck seems to mostly self-select for large, bearded, taciturn and extremely compentent male-type people. There are women that do such work, and do it well (or out they go; it's all about results) but they're even rarer than I am in my trade.


Justin Buist said...

I don't so much care about the fridge -- there's cold free for the taking!

I still remember the local news running one of those touchy-feely pieces on a family that was doing their best to keep the garage warm with a space heater run by their generator and still keep their freezer full of game meat cold, alternating power between the two.

Has to be about 10 years ago now.

How in the hell that story got to air without somebody pointing out that they could stick the magic ice falling from the sky into their magic ice box I'll never understand.

Or, you know, just wheel the darned thing outside.

And maybe it's a bad idea to be heating the same garage that you keep the magic ice box in.

Carteach said...

Da.... cold has interesting effects on power transmission rigging. Add in some ferocious wind... and a linemans life can get TOO interesting.

We have occasional flickers here as well, but fewer than we could have. I might give PPL deserved crap fairly often, but their line techs are the best.

Anonymous said...

A lineman is along the same vein as a volunteer fireman. Both will get up out of a warm bed to go into the miserable cold to do a potentially lethal job in the worst of conditions. Those are the entropy warriors on the front lines, and they do a thankless job, despite some decent pay. I send a note to the line department at NIPSCO every year thanking them.

Anonymous said...

"I'd like to be grrl-power-y about it but the fact is that the job of runnin' a solo P&L trouble-truck seems to mostly self-select for large, bearded, taciturn and extremely compentent male-type people."

My baby sister did that for years. And her nails were always immaculate. It's still a mystery to me.

(It was five degrees in Daisy Hollow this morning.)

Roberta X said...

As I wrote, there are some that do -- a rare breed, but hardly unknown.

To not even damage a fingernail, though... Me, I can fold clean white sheets and end up with dirty hands a broken nail; it's a talent.

Anonymous said...

I have the skill of being able to eat sloppy spareribs with my face, and never get a drop on me, if I'm wearing a pair of ragged jeans and a teeshirt wiht a hole under the armpit. Put on a suit, though, and I can suck dirt toward me from a half mile away. S'why I always wear black, to stave off the inevitable stains or make them less noticeable.

Drang said...

The other danger of a gas furnace, in addition to electric ignition, is that it might have an electric blower for the ventilation, which, of course, will not operate in a power failure. Without ventilation, the furnace will not furn.

My power and light guys tell me that if I purchase a standard UPS, they can install it to run the furnace for me (for a while). I haven't gotten that desperate--yet.

WV: "holized". The potentials are endless...

Crucis said...

Power lineman in an Ice Storm is one job Mike Rowe would never do. It's freezing cold and dangerous to boot from falling limbs and hot wires. The casualty rate for linemen is also high---as one would expect.

I have a 5KW generator on my patio with an old doghouse over it to keep out the wet. I've only had to use it once, but I think it's still a good investment.

The Farmer said...

After 11 days without power in New Hampshire and killing a generator, I'm glad for the loan of your IP&L crews to get the magic joos back into the lights

Roberta X said...

Glad they helped -- but please send them right back, we've got an ice storm headed in even as I type!

John B said...

yeah, gotta love the cold months. Just did a function test on our generator. Had to replace exhaust tubing with actual exhaust pipe, when foot traffic actually crushed flat the inferior grade of slightly upgraded dryer vent hose serving as venting for the exhaust. The only thing ours does that is key and necessary, is to run the electrics associated with our gas furnace. Seven years ago I did that with a big Mercedes car battery, on a skateboard, with an 800 watt inverter taken from an ancient 1964 trailer.

No fridges, no computers, only 1 TV, and the Furnace is priority.

Anonymous said...

"...distilled essence of cold ...."


Anon, Don