Bay Area Trip Part I: Work

I’m back home from a very long, busy seven days—I flew out to the Bay Area last Monday for work, slammed Tuesday through Friday, and then spent the weekend seeing a bunch of the Bay Area folks.

Some great things about this trip:

This is the part of the job that I really enjoy—getting out into the field, strapping on a tool vest, and doing all sorts of real physical work, from shimmying around the crawl space to climbing up on the roof, installing sensors, finding creative solutions to data acquisition problems, and figuring out ways to make a real house work.

Damn, a really big rat is eating the wires or something!

Being right near Fruitvale BART, 2.5 miles away from Bradley and Janie, and when I stood on the roof, I could see U-Boat and Christy’s place. And knowing that I would get to hang out with those folks on the weekend.

Trying out cool taco stands around Fruitvale BART… they felt pretty authentic, and were damn tasty.

They had the thermostat temporarily wired to a thermostat located in the crawl space, so we could do our tests. I thought that it ended up looking like an exceptionally blocky video game controller.

Man, this game is teh lame.

Some lousy things about this trip:

Several 10-12 hour days in a row—which is expected when you do field work, followed by catching up on email at the hotel. All in all, it was pretty exhausting, and I managed to catch a cold by the end of it...I’m still coughing and feeling fuzzy-headed now.

Time after time, my mantra became, “Why can’t it just be f’ing easy this time?” So many tasks took far longer than they had any right to. Instead of connecting my sensors to the HVAC system, I had to spend 45 minutes deciphering the wiring pattern that the installers used. A measurement that normally takes two minutes to set up became a full-hour affair involving two people lifting the air handler box with a pipe, hammering off a recalcitrant piece of metal, and taking a hacksaw to some errant screws. Grr. We ended up spending one evening doing testing with headlamps and flashlights.

I had originally intended to work Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday morning, and then possibly take part of Friday off. No such luck. I dropped my two colleagues off at BART at lunch, and then continued on with more measurements, and then packed up our gear. Had to sneak into the factory ninja-style to pack up my gear, because everybody had left for the weekend by 4:30.

Man… it felt really good to get done with that week.


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