Fire

Wednesday night around 6:30pm, a fire started on the East Spanish Peak. Life went from this:

huajatolla-3.jpgto this:EastpeakfireAnd by the evening it looked like this:Fire from Lathrop State park

The fire started on the Boy Scout Ranch were there were about 178 boy scouts from Kansas and Texas staying. They were evacuated with short notice and were taken to John Mall High School where the Red Cross had set up a shelter.

We saw the fire when we sat down for supper on Wednesday night. Friday morning, I went to the high school and checked how things were going. I ran the rest of my errands after making sure that the scouts had what the district could provide for them.

Dan set up the weather station on the roof so that the local incident control group could use it’s stats. We’ve watched the fire ebb and race with the wind. Yesterday, we thought it was going to die down, only to have the wind pick up and energize the fire. The smoke was really bad, as the East Peak Fire smoke joined with that of the West Fork Complex fire smoke. Not only was the sun orange, but so was the moon last night. Last time I saw the sun look like that was in the 1970’s when we climbed Mt. Whitney and California was burning.

Whitney sunrise

It is now Sunday and the fire has burned 12,442 acres and is about 10% contained. Fire investigators have found the source of the fire, a tree struck by lightning. People have been evacuated from just east of La Veta all the way to I-25 and from south of Walsenburg and HWY 160 to the county line. Walsenburg, La Veta, Aguilar and Trinidad are all on what is called Pre-Evacuation notice. In other words, pack your belongings that you wouldn’t want to lose and be ready to leave.

So, my life is in boxes yet again.

We have National Guard, the Army, A bunch of wildfire fighting teams and lots and lots of locals working the fire. We hear planes flying overhead to drop slurry and helicopters dropping water. We have watched the small planes check out the fire and guide the bigger planes in to do drops. Check out the Huerfano World Journal’s Facebook page for further information and lots of photographs.

And for a bit of dark humor… Everyone around here knows that the Spanish Peaks are also called the Wahatoyas… Breasts of the Mother Earth. Well, in a moment to try and relieve tension, I had one thought. Mother Nature picked one hell of a time to Burn her Bra.

We Are LIVE!!!!

On Tuesday RBT went live in Aguilar!

Dan and Karen finally got all the bugs worked out of the MicroTik and the rest of the system. Karen then tested the logins and they flipped the switches. boom! Aguilar was live with wireless Internet communications.

I no sooner got the call that we were live than we had the first few customers log on. Wheeeee!!!! This was really good as we had less than 24 hours at that point to pay on the T-1 bill. Luckily we made enough. Now to just keep that cash flow going.

Sadly, we had to take the MicroTik out of the Budget Host because it and the Engenius radios are not talking nicely. The Engenius products don’t like heat or cold in extremes. This means that we have had 4 of them fry in less than 3 months. Not a happy thing. So, BH is up and running free wireless at the moment. :< Not great for the pocketbook. However, we hope to have that fixed in the next month.

Meanwhile, we are working on paperwork. Forms, letters, billing and all sorts of other bits. Wheee….. NOT. My office is a mess. I also need to make up a new ad for the Huerfano Journal as well as a “letterhead” or logo for the business. Our business cards are rather generic, and I want to do something with lightning bolts or radio waves and mimic the local scenery with it. Dan wanted a skull with crossed lightning bolts under it and antennas for ears. Karen said no. Bad enough that our favourite song at the moment is The Last Saskatchewan Pirates by the Arrogant Worms.

Dan wants it to play when people bring up our website or for our hold music on the phone. Karen just twitches as she gets the song stuck in her head. teeheehee….

Yesterday was busy in that between taking all sorts of calls, I made posole and then Dan, Morgan and I headed to Gardner School for Poetry Night by the 5th & 6th graders. They do this sort of Beatnik coffee house thing. It’s always fun. Last night in the middle of one of the girls reciting her poem, a spider descended from the ceiling. The table of girls to the left saw it and started to squirm. Dan went to the rescue and removed a wolf spider about the size of a nickel. Dan was acclaimed a hero. I’m not sure who flinched more, the girls, or Julia, the principal. Afterwards, we drove home and after checking to see if Aguilar was still up, we went to bed early. Wheeeee!

Today started out with me taking the kids to school and Dan checking to see if Aguilar was still running. Gads! You’d think it was a newborn baby he had to check to see if it was still breathing. OK, well it is sort of a new baby. :> We had our first customer who forgot how to log on and another inquiry about equipment. We are going to have to keep and inventory of routers and cables as well as switches and the rest of the computer bits. Thank goodness for lots of shelves.

Karen and Dan are also out looking at a tower site. It might be for sale cheap enough to snatch up. If so, it would be a real feather in our cap. Tonight we also have to work on documenting all of the fun stuff…. like how we did it. sigh… Oh, and I get to start a new book. Deploying License-Free Wireless Wide-Area Networks.

I’d much rather read Widdershins By De Lint, but that will just have to wait a bit. Professional reading comes first. I’ll take it with me when I go to pick up the kids at Badito. After we come home, I’m going to warm up the posole from last night. John and Beth are due home really late from their Library conference in Pueblo. Good thing the kids don’t mind eating in a half finished kitchen.

Well, I’m off! Yeah, and more than just my rocker!

Monday Morning you sure look…. warm!

Huzzah! I have the doors and windows open, and warm air is streaming in! Hung up the winter coat again and stashed the long johns in the dirty clothes. I even have a skirt on today! Ok, it is flannel and velvet, but it is a skirt!

It has been a slow morning. Hauled myself out of bed to take Matt and Nadia to school and then woke up Daniel. He was suppose to be ready, but had fallen back asleep. Wouldn’t have had anything to do with Oscar the dog snuggling up to him… No…  teeheehee… Finally got him to school and then went over to the office.

Dan didn’t get home until nearly 3:20am. He stayed with Morgan and Beth until they were nearly ready to get on the plane. Then there was the drive home from Denver. Wheee…..  So, I tip-toed around the office, tried to answer the phones before they made too much noise, etc. I also opened up the doors and windows to let in the warm air. It is about 65 outside right now! I even managed my “morning commute”. While others drive for 45 minutes or so, I cruise the internet. I read the news, my web comics, email, etc. I even had time to change the header on my site from the geological dikes to the Spanish Peaks as they look right now. It gives me time to “wake up” and get my brain in gear. I can answer the phone on automatic, but writing text for work is not possible until my thoughts look like something other than tapioca.

Radial Dikes Near LaVeta, Colorado

Erin and Karen both came over about noon. Dan got up and I made lunch. Quesadillas. Yummm!

Now Karen and Dan are plotting to add another antenna to the tower in Aguilar. Most of the calls to the office today have been about connectivity or the lack thereof. It is a lot more difficult to tilt and point antennas than I originally thought. Being the jr. G33k here has it’s disadvantages, as I feel so far behind in knowledge some days.

Granted, it depends on the company I’m in. I have a District Strategic Planning Committee meeting this evening. There, I am a G33K, not just a jr. g33k. We were discussing technology in the schools, and I brought up the descriptions of Digital Native, Digital Immigrant and Digital Naturalized Citizen. None of them knew what I was talking about. I literally had to describe it, and we had two “tech” people there. Aieee-Ya! I realize that I am a Digital Naturalized Citizen, or really close to having that title when compared to a great many people. One area I differ in from some though is that I choose not to let the cell phone or computer run my life like some do. I do take my electronic leash/cell phone and turn it off on occassion. Fun bit though, I can move from pen to typewriter to keyboard and not miss a beat. :> Mwahahahah!!

Sunday, Busy Sunday!

Finally, a quiet moment, a cup of tea and a few gingersnaps. It has been a long 36 hours. I no sooner got the last entry posted than Dan called from Aguilar. I had to pull on my steel toed boots, grab Erin and head to Aguilar so that we could adjust the antennas on the tower. It was real fun when we hit the tower road. The snow from the last few days had turned the local clay into a morass. We had to put Blue into 4wheel drive and nearly went through the gate sideways.

When we got there, Karen and Erin went off in the trucks with computers turned on searching for the signal from the tower.  We had to adjust the antennas and let Karen or Erin tell us what the signal strength was. Then re-adjust them. Sort of tedious for me down on the ground listening to the radio chatter and watching Dan . I was safety.  Not exactly sure what I could have done had he fallen, but… that is what my job was. Dan of course was up on the tower holding on with a safety belt and his arms while he worked with the antennas. The wind gusted at one point, and he slipped. Luckily, he grabbed the tower and held on tight enough to bruise his arms. Ouch! I was really glad when he decided that the antennas were as good as they were going to get for the moment. We will do more adjustments later in the week. For now, all we have to do is turn on the billing system on Monday and pass out fliers to various businesses. Wheeee!

We came home, cooked dinner and watched Hogsfather. It was a riot! Almost didn’t make it all the way through it though as we were so tired.

Today started out slow and built up a head of steam like a boiler on a steam train. I actually got to lay in bed for a bit this morning. I think it was nearly 10:30am before I even pulled back the covers. However, once we got up and moving, life just ran away with us. Dan had to work on the kids computers, finish getting some stuff for Morgan’s trip to D.C. and then get ready to drive her and Beth to the airport. I had laundry to do and needed to run to the store. Divot was doing multiple trips between 203 and 520. Morgan came over to 520, and we helped her get the last of her stuff done. That included editing an assignment she had to take with her for the trip. (People to People)

Erin and Big Morgan along with Logan came over and helped finish things up. Erin and Big Morgan bought Morgan a trac phone so that she’d have a way to contact us here if there was an emergency of if she just got lonely. I wrote her a note to put in her bag, and gave her my Kwan Yin to take with her. Dan gave her his big amethyst crystal- the one I gave him about a year ago. Morgan was just dancing in place with happiness and nerves. Finally, around 6pm, we headed over to 203 where we picked up Beth and said our goodbyes. While Morgan is in D.C., Beth is going to Florida to visit a friend. Dan was taking them up in LRT. Cramped ride that! Oh well. They left around 6:30pm, and I headed over to Karen’s for dinner.

Karen had invited Dan and I over for dinner, but with him off to Denver, I got to go. Not bad. She made spaghetti. We had dinner and chatted for an hour or so. Played with Brandy a bit and then headed out the door. Ran into two friends of Daniel’s who wanted Karen to train their puppies. She said she’d help, but that was it. I finally got over to 203 around 8:30pm. More laundry and then time to get ready for the morning.

Tomorrow is going to be busy. I have copies of the Micro Soft fix for Vista to print. Apparently, Vista doesn’t like some wireless connections. grrr…. Plus, I have a few bits of procedure to work out. I have to write scripts for phone work and a news release for the business. Wheeee…… Not looking forward to the scripts, but I have to have something to say when people ask me questions where I’m not sure of the answers. Plus, I have to have something for any new employee who might come along later. sigh…

Now to finish my tea and curl up with my book! I am determined to finish the Kim Harrison novel before I have to dive into the book on WWans. (wireless wide area networks)

So much to do!

    And so little gets done some days! The last few weeks have been busy. Every time I turn around the phone is ringing or there is stuff to do and I don’t get it all done. Or, there is a burst of energy and it is all done and I sit on my arse. I could really go for some nice consistant something! The other thing is that if I have stuff to do at the office, I’m at the house, and visa versa. Aieeee-ya!

The other thing that is going on is that we finally have the billing system up at the Budget Host hotel. Huzzah!!! Aguilar goes live with billing later today. Right now everyone has been enjoying free internet. 3 terabytes so far. I have to write some documents today so that we can give out instructions and such for people. Wheee!  off to the salt mines!

Three days!

    Without long underwear that is! Yesterday it was nearly 75 in my office! What a treat from months of cold nasty weather. Granted, it is suppose to snow tonight, but I don’t care!

Tuesday, Dan and I went to Pueblo to do the shopping. The car had issues about 5  miles outside of Pueblo. We got it working again, but there is still an issue. Dan thinks it is the coil pack.  It took us a bit longer to get things done, but it still was a nice day. However, we got home around midnight and after I got groceries put away, that meant I didn’t get to bed until nearly 1am. Yawn!  There are days I really dislike the early alarm clocks. I am looking forward to Spring Break and a whole week of no 5:45am alarms.

Wednesday was really scattered. Lots of one step forward, slide back three moments. things at the NOC in Aguilar went wonky. A bird hit the window and destroyed it. Karen and Dan had to go to Pueblo to pick up plywood and other parts for the business. Dan had to program a new router and we had the T-1 down in Aguilar fired up. Oh, and Jill arrived with the kids on their way to the Grand Canyon to visit Mom and Dad.

Today has been a slow start. I got the kids up and out the door so that Dan could drive them to school. Meanwhile, I got a shower and dressed so that I could leave at 8am with Jill. We headed out to Trinidad so that they could catch the train. I have her car for a week while they are gone. So, now I’m at work, and don’t have a damned bit of interest in actually working today. I want to curl up with my book, read and blow my nose because my allergies have kicked in. Oh, and nap to catch up on all the sleep I’ve missed this week. Yawn!!!