Baltimore, General Chaos

School’s a real gas

At 1:30 today, my #1 son calls me on his cell phone.

“I’m at the library,” he said, meaning the Roland Park branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, which is across from his school.

“What are you doing there?” I asked, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

“They closed school. One of the boilers broke and there was a gas leak or something.”

Just when I thought I was going to have an uninterrupted workday for once…

I drove up Roland, and as I approached the school, the air was heavy with the smell of combustible fumes. It smelled more like fuel oil than natural gas; but still, I figured that it had to be absolutely explosive inside the school. I called Kevin on his cell to tell him I was turning in front of the library, and he ran over to meet me.

As we drove, he explained that he had only had a half a class that day–that there had been a problem since that morning, and they were only getting around to dismissing students at 1:00. They had all of the students in the general purpose room while the fire department and health department inspected the broken boiler that was the source of the problem.

“So, the building was filled with fumes, and they had you go to the multipurpose room?” I asked in disbelief.

“Well, they had to wait for the fire department and health department to figure out if it was safe…”

Having dealt with some fuel oil leaks while I was in the Navy, it would seem that ANY fuel oil leak where I could smell the fumes from several blocks away would be unsafe. But, hey, that’s just me.

As it turned out, it was 2,000 gallons of fuel oil that had spilled out of a ruptured fuel line. WBAL reported on it at 10:30 am. But WTF with having everybody stay in the building until 12:30?

Hats off to the teachers who ran herd over the kids and got them over to the library. The BCSS should give them combat pay for today.

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Baltimore, General Chaos

School's a real gas

At 1:30 today, my #1 son calls me on his cell phone.

“I’m at the library,” he said, meaning the Roland Park branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, which is across from his school.

“What are you doing there?” I asked, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

“They closed school. One of the boilers broke and there was a gas leak or something.”

Just when I thought I was going to have an uninterrupted workday for once…

I drove up Roland, and as I approached the school, the air was heavy with the smell of combustible fumes. It smelled more like fuel oil than natural gas; but still, I figured that it had to be absolutely explosive inside the school. I called Kevin on his cell to tell him I was turning in front of the library, and he ran over to meet me.

As we drove, he explained that he had only had a half a class that day–that there had been a problem since that morning, and they were only getting around to dismissing students at 1:00. They had all of the students in the general purpose room while the fire department and health department inspected the broken boiler that was the source of the problem.

“So, the building was filled with fumes, and they had you go to the multipurpose room?” I asked in disbelief.

“Well, they had to wait for the fire department and health department to figure out if it was safe…”

Having dealt with some fuel oil leaks while I was in the Navy, it would seem that ANY fuel oil leak where I could smell the fumes from several blocks away would be unsafe. But, hey, that’s just me.

As it turned out, it was 2,000 gallons of fuel oil that had spilled out of a ruptured fuel line. WBAL reported on it at 10:30 am. But WTF with having everybody stay in the building until 12:30?

Hats off to the teachers who ran herd over the kids and got them over to the library. The BCSS should give them combat pay for today.

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Administrivia

They Make Lovely Jewelry

At 11:00 pm last night, Paula is in a panic. She can’t find her school keys–the ones she was just told that she would have to pay $500 to replace (since it would mean changing all the keys and locks in the school for security reasons. “The only thing I can think is that Zoë picked them up off my desk and dropped them somewhere.”

Zoë, being asleep, was not available to provide any clues. We turned the area around Paula’s desk upside-down looking for them, and then surrendered.

This morning, after Paula had departed keyless, I woke up Zoë, and asked her, “Did you take Mommy’s keys off her desk?”

She nodded sleepily.

“Where did you put them?”

“In my jewelry box,” she replied. She then got out of bed and pulled a tupperware box out from under her bed; and there, among the pony tail bands and beaded necklaces, were Paula’s keys, with a yellow spiral bracelet keyfob.

After another night of interrupted sleep, I didn’t have the wherewithal to ask why she had taken the keys. I guess she liked them as an accessory.

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General Chaos, work

The Basement Tapes

I really have to do something about my work lighting. Fast.

OK, it’s not like I’m going blind or anything. But since I moved my office to the basement, I’ve been getting hit by a lot fewer photons, and my mood has suffered.

Or maybe it’s the lack of sleep, due to a daughter crying out for guidance to the bathroom at 2:45 am and a new cat dancing across my face at 3:30. Maybe it’s that my wife is rising at zero-dark-thiry to get to her new teaching job after said sleep interruptions. Whatever.

On the bright side, so to speak, my new iMac arrived yesterday. Its flat LCD display makes the one on my old PowerBook and IBM Thinkpad look muddy. And I now (with the dual monitor rig on the powerbook) have FOUR monitors and three keyboards on my desk.

And, coincidentally, Apple tells me they’re sending me iLife ’05, iWork ’05 and the latest GarageBand plugins for review. I only really needed to look at iWork, but I’ll find some way to work the other two into my battery of software tests, I’m sure.

Maybe I can get one of those guitar-to-Mac cables at the Apple store this weekend and cut an album in my basement–to fund some additional lighting.

But all those monitors are not helping my body create vitamin D. I need some full-spectrum something in this dungeon, pronto.

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Family

Teach on, MacDuff

Things are looking up here at Casa de Chaos. My beautiful wife has begun work as a high school English teacher in Baltimore County.

She’s inherited 9th and 12th grade classes mid-term; the 12th graders are in the middle of Macbeth, while the 9th graders have, well, done mostly nothing. They’ve had a substitute for the past four months, who relied largely on vocabulary worksheets to pass the time.

Paula still has to complete her masters coursework, but she doesn’t have to student teach now (obviously)–an observer will come in to evaluate her in her own classroom. That’s a relief in many ways (including matters financial).

Plus, her benefits rock. As soon as hers kick in, I’m dropping mine like a rotting, blighted potato.

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Baltimore, Family

Feline Home Invasion

For those of you not in the Baltimore area, it’s worth mentioning that it’s rather unpleasantly cold and snowy here right now. We got about 5 inches of snow on Saturday, and it’s 10 degrees outside right now (an even 0 when you take into account that mythical wind chill).

The weather brought us an unexpected (well, not wholly unexpected) houseguest. The Mooch showed up at our back door, whining and holding up altenating paws to get minor relief from the icy ground. Naturally, Paula let him come in the door.

He ensconced himself in the back half of our basement for a while, seeking shelter under an obsolesced foosball table near our water heater for a while. And then he started making himself at home.

Our two resident cats were none too pleased. Lucy, our 25-pound alpha female, made noises I hadn’t heard from her before. Desi, her submissive cohabitant, seemed spooked at first, then indignant.

Seeking to avoid conflict, I shut Mooch in the back of the basement for the night with food and water (after establishing he knew what a litter box was for and installing a backup box for our cats in the other half of the basement). And then we went to sleep.

At 6 this morning, I heard Lucy growling from under the bed. I tried to coax her out, as Paula went into the bathroom. Mooch came in to wish her a good morning.

Apparently, Mooch is really Houdini. He must have squeezed through a small gap in the framing of our finished basement that allows the sewage drain to pass under our basement bath and out through the back of a closet. Like an early riser at a bed and breakfast, he was wandering the halls and poking around for his morning meal.

I’m going to call the vet today to make an appointment for our feline houseguest. I suspect he may be with us for a while.

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