Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Old Office

Well, it's been quite a week so far.  Friday evening, I came home and sat down in my easy chair and indulged myself with a cool glass of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.  Got up after that, started the charcoal and the Mrs and I enjoyed a nice steak with an artichoke on the side.  Dinner finished, it seemed to me that the house was a little warmer.  I shrugged it off as the after effects of a little after dinner Rum.  Helps me to sleep, you see.  Woke up the next morning and the house was definitely warm, a very unpleasant, muggy 85.  

So, we called the AC guy whom we pay an annual fee for him to come quickly when needed as well as provide periodic scheduled maintenance.  Works for an airplane, why not an air conditioner?  A bearing had seized and the fan motor burned out.  "We'll order the part on Monday, install it on Tuesday and you'll be good as new."

Yeah right!

Saturday the temperature rose to 93 inside the house.  It was cooler outside.  Sunday, the guests left the guest house, so we moved in.  5 dogs, 2 adults, 720 sq ft.  We survived.  

Monday morning, we wake up to no water.  As I'd commented on a great blog, the only two reasons there's no water in a well in the hill country is fire ants or no water.  No reason to expect the latter, so fire ants!  Bastiges!

Water restored and I'm at work.  It's the first day that the staff is back at work after summer break.  We've just moved to Windows 10.

Phone never stopped ringing!  "How do I?"  "My documents are gone!"   Blah, blah, blah.

Finally the day ends.  I drive home.  The house is cool, blood pressure drops to above normal (from "Doc, you don't wanna know").  A nice night's sleep in my own bed and wake up this morning to 85 degrees. 

Call the nice AC guy and ask him politely if it would be convenient for him to return to our abode and fix the AC again! (Not really those exact words)

The wife calls around lunch and says the house is cooling again.  I ask what had happened.  She replied, "The compressor burned out."  

"How'd that happen?"

Fire Ants!

What is it about electricity that those minuscule forms of pestilence find so entertaining?


So, as I said, it's been quite a week so far.  Made me nostalgic for my old office.
Chairman of the Board's Desk for the F-15
Best view in the world, all the power one could ever want, AC worked well, and nobody to intrude on your solitude.  Ahh, to be there again!

Or even here.

  
That was my view looking out the front of an F-4.  Not the best visibility, but still quite a bit of power.  The AC worked well, if you were above 20K, not so well down low.  You did have the ability to have a conversation with someone sharing your experience though.

  
Sarge, undoubtedly would prefer this view of the office, being the information seeking gentleman he is.  Every bit of critical information in your life is displayed right there.  Lights coming on?  Generally bad.  Green?  Good, Red? Bad!  Yellow switches, leave alone.  Red switches?  No kidding leave alone.  Safety wired Red switches.  I think the wings fall off if those are used!

And of course, as readers are pretty aware, (I'm not reticent in telling them) I had one other office that I used rather frequently in that particular point in time.  While the above offices were nostalgic, they were just reminiscent of my office.

  
I actually spent time in THIS office!.  It was assigned to the 435TFTS, To which I was assigned.

A very dark blue stripe  denoted our jets


The 435TFTS patch
And the squadron patch on the intake confirmed its lineage.




Those two indicators remove any doubt that yours truly has looked through that gunsight and smited strafe rags with 7.62 minigun rounds, slaughtered cactus with 25 lb practice bombs and embarrassed my fellow fighter pilots by taking movies of them in compromising positions whilst they were ensconced in their office. 

It was good to see the old girl again.  Glad she's being cared for in her retirement..

And not a verdammt Fire Ant in sight!








32 comments:

  1. Damn fire ants.

    They're all over the place in Loo-zee-anna as well.

    Nice offices you've had there, I recognize one of 'em. :)

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  2. And Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Shaun says they're not in Nebraska. I'd be worried that the old slogan, "Coming Soon to a theater near you", might be true. Hadn't been a problem much this year, although we did have a bit of rain. That may have brought them out. Between the Well, the Fan and the Compressor, it's been an expensive week.

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    1. I tried to do some quick interweb learnin' regarding ants this morning but I'm hopelessly lost. The red ants we've got build mounds and have a pretty potent bite/sting. I've always been told they're harvester ants, but some of the pics of fire ants look rather similar. They're not a problem unless you stir them up and they don't seem to be drawn to electricity.

      On a slightly related topic, here's an interesting video (2 of 2) regarding development and testing of the Northrop RF-5 TigerEye. This California old folks channel has some great vids! https://youtu.be/-ooty67P94c?list=PLfuy6jW-23cUtB9CoxVm6y-0Gn-LxQJOw

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    2. The red ants, are they about 1/4" long? Growing up, those were all over the place around here. Fire ants are tiny, about 1/16" long. The word on the street is the fire ants declared an existential war on the red ants and won. There are very few red ant mounts to be found. Same thing happened to Horny Toads (really working to get the hit count up today!). Haven't seen one of those in years.
      Looks like an interesting vid. I'll look at it this evening (whilst googling Sex Wax and Horny Toads);-)

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    3. Okay then, we just got red ants. Hope the fire ants stay away! I like my red ants and horny toads!

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    4. The colder winters up there may work in your favor. Here's hoping.

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    5. Juvat, FWIW, from my 26+ years domicile in San Antonio, the fire ants are attracted to some of the frequencies of the compressor motor. They get between the contact points of the microswitch that turns the compressor off/on and fry themselves until there are so many KIA that the contact points don't contact. Frequently (pun intended) a little compressed air (pun again, I crack myself up) from a can of keyboard cleaner (you do have that, right?) may keep a customer from buying a compressor when it's not necessary. I learned that from an honest HVAC guy and saw it with my very own eyes. No fire ants, another reason to live in Kentucky! regards, Alemaster

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    6. Yeah, that clears them out, but the problem is it doesn't keep them out and frequently the time between starting on the contact point and electrocuting the last one and frying the system is less than the time I'd like to sleep at night. Amdro works on the mound, but isn't very good on area defense, which is why we're trying the anti-moth crystals, those seemed to get them moving away from the parts. How long they work, to use a pun more appropriate to Sarge's latest post, the juries still out!

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  3. Replies
    1. Pistol analogy comes into play.

      "You don't need an AC Guy until you need an AC guy, then you need him bad."

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  4. The polycarbonate domes on the lightbars on police cars get scratched up from road dust, making light transmission worse through the domes, and dimming the perceived signal. The scratches get buffed out with products like Federal Signal Chrome and Dome, or best of all, a surfboard polish from California, that can take an almost opaque dome, and make it crystal clear, with enough rubbing, a product that goes by the purely California name, Mother's Sex Wax. Stupid name, but is sure polishes things up nice. Anyhow, the windshield of the F-15 in the photo looks like it could use a bucket of Sex Wash applied to it. Or is that an optical illusion, rom the angle, of the photo, and the lighting? The canopy looks quite clear.

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    1. No, that was the way it was. Believe me, the crew chiefs applied a lot of love to the canopies of operational jets. An enemy fighter in lethal range is just barely bigger than a spot of dust, so anything diffusing light can't be tolerated. I would go out to "my" jet and help the crew chief polish it every chance I could, just to reinforce the importance. We used some kind of liquid polish. Worked pretty well.
      Might have to try Sex Wax (I think the more terms like that are used, the higher Google ranks you.), anyhow, may have to use Sex Wax (see?)on the headlight covers on my truck. They're getting pretty cloudy (or the deer are getting better camouflage).

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    2. For plastic headlight covers I first mask them off then scrub with steel wool. After cleaning off the residue, spray (very lightly) with a clear cost spray (bought mine at Ace). Costs under $10.

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    3. Steel wool? For real? What does that do?

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    4. Fine steel wool removes the foreign material. I prefer it to sandpaper.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_wt9bJSj9Q

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    5. In the old days in the Navy, the liquid polish for the canopies had the rather indelicate moniker of "whale sperm."

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    6. 'Whale Sperm' was the term used by the AF also. Probably not anymore.

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  5. A bottle of Mother's last a long time. I see they have changed the name. http://www.mothers.com/02_products/06208.html#&slider1=19

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the link. Sex Wax, right? ;-)

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    2. Now it's called Mothers Plastic Polish.

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    3. How are we supposed to get egregious hits advertising Mothers plastic polish? Bore..ring!

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  6. Why is it that these sort ( broken ac, etc. ) of things mostly seem to happen on week-ends, so that repairs cannot be started until Monday?

    Paul L. Quandt

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    1. The Fates delight in screwing with us? Or the AC guy has a button in his office. "Sales are a little low this month. Let's fry 10 compressors to bring them up. Oh yeah, Mortie needs a little overtime, so Saturday it is." Got to be one or the other, maybe even both.

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  7. I've been waging war up here on those little @$%*#@... At least your 'office' had A/C, ours was a meat locker... They vented ALL the cooling air a 50 deg into the tube, to THEN be sucked into the equipment bays... Flight jackets in the desert was no joke! Of course as soon as you got below 1000 feet, the A/C dumped and you were sweating... Good times!!!

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    1. For such tiny little things, their stings sure itch.

      Yeah, first ride in the Eagle (which was solo BTW), I was a little unsure about the whole "canopy down right after the second engine started" thing. It was Luke AFB, Phoenix AZ in July at 3PM after all. All my previous jets left the canopy up as long as possible. But, the checklist was right, I was wrong. Down it came and it got cooler a heckuva lot faster than my car did going home that afternoon.

      "The A/C dumped and you were sweating", until the mission segment was over, then you climbed back to altitude to RTB and the A/C kicked back in and now you were cold AND wet. Sounds like the F-4. I remember times coming home I'd actually be shivering rather severely and couldn't wait to get the canopy open once I got on the ground, just to warm back up.

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    2. Oh, and BTW, our current tactic in keeping fire ants out of the AC is to sprinkle anti-Moth crystals around the external box of it. They departed at a rather high rate of speed at that point. Course they also left a few marks on my legs to express their displeasure.

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  8. Years ago on vacay to visit relatives I was lying on the front lawn of my in-laws house in Opelousas playing with my wifes youngest brother after a short rain. Little did I know the water had washed some fire-ants from an adj property onto the lawn and suddenly I was stung my massive numbers on my chest, arms and legs. Not only did I immediately swell up with giant welts but on our drive back to Louisville that night the very texture of my hair had changed from the effects of their venom. Fire ants are NOTHING to mess around with. (and I initially thought that that experience would make me more immune to future bites, but it turns out that that it's actually the reverse; the next experience is worse due to the chemicals they leave in ones system)

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    1. I've heard tales of large animals being killed by them. Whether true or not, I don't know. It wouldn't surprise me though.

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  9. Speaking of temp changes I can't count the number of times newbies on the range at Wheelus would forget to put their canopy heat to "defrost" before rolling in from altitude--do laughing matter when one loses vision when the canopy fogs up at lower alt w. the desert heat.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I'd commented earlier about coming home lower on gas than I liked, an idle power descent from high altitude into warm moist air is guaranteed to restrict visibility at a critical time. 1000 degree bleed air works both for rain removal and condensation on the canopy.

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  10. I once was enrolled in a program with our utility to allow them to put a device on my compressor and shut it off if the demand was about to outstrip the grid. They assured me that it would be off no longer than 30 minutes. Until I came home one day and the inside was 108.

    On fighter cockpits - I am somewhat bemused by the difference in perception between flying a P51 - boring holes in the sky and looking for Messerschmidts - and the pre-flight and startup procedure. With alkl the prelim you wonder how they took off with an hour ;-)

    How long did it take to do a pre flight in that F-15?


    BTW in this AAF training film, Mines Field is where LAX is today - and North American built Mustangs here...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caJtGXMdxGM

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    1. We stepped to the jet 60 minutes before takeoff. Took 5 or so to get to the jet. Start time was usually 30 prior. The walk around might have taken 10-15, there really wasn't much to check, tires are good, no drips, everything looks hooked up. I checked, but it was somewhat prefunctory, we had great crew chiefs. Took maybe 5 minutes to get the engines up and running, and another 5 to get the Radar on and INS programmed. Flight controls took a minute or two. When I first started flying the Eagle, it had a conventional INS (inertial Nav system) that took 5-10 minutes to spin up the gyro. That was replaced mid tour by the Ring Laser Gyro INS, which spun up in less than 15 seconds (and on landing if it showed you more than 15 feet from where you started, you wrote it up.) Once the Radar was warm, you ran a series of tests and by then it was time to go. Typically about 15 minutes before takeoff. (a lot of those steps were performed simultaneously, not sequentially, but your hands were busy in the cockpit. Took about 5 to get to the runway and another 5 to get armed. Passed the thumbs up up the stream to the flight lead and off you went.
      Basically the flow started at your left hip and went clockwise around to your right hip and all Russian Switches (the ON/OFF switches) went to the on position. Once you've done it a few times, you can get it done pretty quickly.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)