Sunday, July 17, 2011

the rest of the story

A longer version of the Bell story is that last fall, MNR informed me very politely that they were going to tear down the old forest fire watchtower in Upsala. Normally I don't care a fig about MNR's watchtowers, except that this one housed our paging equipment, and provided a nice perch to mount the antenna . . . and no one else on tower hill was willing to share their towers. MNR asked me to consider what other options we might have, and said they'd get back to me in the spring.

To shorten the long story yet again, I spent the winter procrastinating in hopes that they might change their mind. They didn't though, and when they came back in the spring, they said the tower was definitely going to be torn down in June or July or August, which gave me a nebulous deadline (kind of like someone telling you it's your call when you are scatterbrained and need them to order you to do thus and so).

Fortunately, the situation had developed to the point by now that it could be considered an emergency, which helped motivate me to find a solution. After a few false starts, we met a nice local fellow who happened to own a tower in a different location that was slated to be torn down, and who offered to donate it to the cause instead (how many guys do you know that have spare towers kicking around?). There was hydro at the location, and all I had to do was hire a couple reckless guys to climb the tower and hang our antenna . . . and then I had to get the Bell guy to come move the line before the nebulous deadline. Which brings us to last Thursday, which was one of "those" days.

The story has a happy ending, because the Bell guy did come out on Friday (fourth attempt) and made the switch. Our new tower/antenna combo performs even better than the old one. Our truck radios can now receive pages along the whole 100 km stretch of highway that we cover, increasing our range by about 25 km in either direction, and decreasing our reliance on smoke signals and carrier pigeons.

The other part of the happy ending is that Sasha is feeling better, even though she's hopped up on prednisone and Robaxin . . . or rather because she's hopped up on those drugs.

I'm headed to Missouri for a week next Saturday. I hope to post again before then, so stay tuned . . .

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