Yesterday went bad about 5:20 or 5:30 p.m. we took a power hit at the Skunk Workings. The generator started and some of the lights came back on--
But not all of them. Most of the older part of the building remained dark and a hasty examination of generator, transfer switches, the "new" main electrical room and the "old" electrical room a floor lower and the length of the building away that the new room feeds didn't reveal anything obvious -- no tripped breakers, warm spots, smoke or fire. The old room has a number of high-current switches with unreadable labels, some on and some off, the result of changes made when the building was expanded.
There was much mad rushing about, trying to maintain a semblance of normality. They were mostly successful. The main process was working okay and then, all of a sudden, an hour after the initial failure, it wasn't.
That was my department. I was tracking down the exact point of failure and had found it when the lights came back on. Those switches with unreadable labels? They are the visible portion of huge (possibly ground-fault) circuit breakers, with an oddball reset procedure. The Building Maintenance guy showed up. realized they were what was wrong, and (with help -- it's a two-man lift) reset 'em. A weird power-line transient had tripped them. My department is not allowed access to the electrical rooms, so we had no way of knowing what was normal.
And the smaller but still bad problem I tracked down? A single distribution amplifier on an unreliable stand-alone UPS instead of the big one. My old boss had insisted on it, over my objections. I moved the power for it over to the big UPS and that won't bite us in that way again.
But the big power problem? That's not my department and hasn't been any of my concern for years. The boys in suits decided to get clever and go for compartmentalization and that is their problem.
* * *
Got through all that, an hour after my usual quitting time, and still had to pick up a prescription for my Mom and deliver it to her. Easy, right? --She lives in a retirement complex in the next count to the North. I was downtown. Indy has no north-south freeway in that direction; the nearest approximations take you miles out of your way. So I fought up Meridian St. to the wiggly Westfield Boulevard, turned left at the intersection of Westfield and Westfield (don't ask, it just does that) and zoomed up to the county line, where it becomes Rangeline Rd. On up to the market by hazy directions, pharmacy was still open, I got her prescription and grabbed some stuff for dinner later. Across the little town (sorry, Carmel, compared to Indy, you're still little) to Pennsylvania, hoping the road connected (Carmel exists in a permanent state of Road Construction), and up to The Home.
The complex doors were locked. I knew they would be but Mom had given me the code.
The code did not work. Simple keypad. Tried the obvious permutations. Did not work. Mom came to the door from the inside: the crashbar does not override the lock. Can't have the old folks wandering off! (I can't speak for the others on her floor, but Mom doesn't wander in body or mind -- she's frail, but she's very much all there.) I tried calling: a phone tree, leading to no answer, just a machine. The place is staffed 24/7 but they have plenty to do. I tried tripping the alarm at the main doors. Nothing. I tried a good, healthy rap: nothing. I tried the "house phone." Nothing. Another couple of knuckle-raps and the main door popped open. I popped in, got Mom, rolled her chair back to her room, gave her the pills, we had a nice little conversation and on the way out, I managed to find two staffers chatting in a quiet corner off the main lobby. One of them let me out -- and gave me the correct code.
Seems the memo Mom got had the wrong one. Well, oopsie, but what if she'd needed medical assistance, an ambulance? Where had they been ten minutes ago? I can't speak for hypothetical EMTs, but I'd'a got in, and sorry about the door. --And on the other hand, how lousy is your system if an annoyed woman can pop the lock by rapping on the main door, trying to attract attention?
I finally got home and fed the cats about 9:30. A nice, restful evening, hey?