Tues. July 21, 2020 – another day…

Hot, but maybe a bit less.

Yesterday never got as hot as the weekend.  The overcast and rain kept it a bit cooler.  Miserable humidity, but cooler.

After running around all day, getting and fixing a flat, picking up and dropping off, just when I was really getting started in the garage the rain shut me down.

So the plan for today is start back in with that.  Meet the guy from ebay for his pickup, then do some errands.  Easy peasy.

Much easier than helping my 9yo deal with not seeing her friends for months at a time.  She was really upset last night.  It’s not just us, the other kids’ parents don’t want to get together for a virus swapfest either.  Things aren’t ever going back to “normal”.  We’ll adapt to the way things are.  I better figure out how to get the kids started on that.

And myself too.

Keep stacking,  and drop Barbara a note…. AT HOME!  She’s headed home today.   HOOORRRAAAY.

email me if you need the address.

nick

Author: Nick Flandrey

Mid 50s, stay at home dad, with two elementary school age girls. Love my family and my life.

51 thoughts on “Tues. July 21, 2020 – another day…”

  1. Regarding unions from yesterday, when I worked at the TV station there were several unions, but all got along quite well. There was a history of good negotiations, no strikes, and cooperation. As a broadcast engineer, I had to join the IBEW, and one of my bosses told me it was a shame that summer hires had to, especially the dues. Since I was a temp (summer hire,) the dues were cheap. I don’t remember how the amount was determined, but probably based on base pay. I was paid very well, and was able to do all sorts of overtime and odd schedules. This really increased my pay, but it also relieved the older employees from schedules and work they didn’t want to do. A real win-win. I have never worked at a more enjoyable place.

    I also grew up around the auto industry, Detroit. Even though my father was salaried, he had to join the UAW, and he hated what they did. He watched as the union transitioned from a good organization to one that pitted the Big Three against each other. The contract expirations were staggered, and the union levered each new contract to increase pay and perks. Eventually, as is now well known, they priced themselves out of the market. That is part of the reason offshore brands got a foothold. Notice how they are almost always located in right to work states. Golden goose and all that.

  2. Ugg. Steady rain. Gonna be much cooler in the garage, but also very limiting on what I can do in the driveway.

    n

  3. I had to join the IBEW,

    he had to join the UAW

    One of my biggest problems with unions are the states where they’re allowed to make membership compulsory. That’s horseshit.

    This little skit is genuinely hilarious. Proof, if you will, that being “woke” makes you a racist. I gotta go look at more of this guy’s stuff…

    +1000

    I lol’d.

  4. Hey all, just got off the phone with Frances, and Barbara is in the car and headed HOME.

    She’s still got a long way to go back to normal but this is a great first step. I’ll let her share any details on her page, but HOORAY!

    Al and Frances will continue to be there and support her and Colin, who I’m sure is going to be a nut…

    Email me at my last name at aol.com for the address if you’d like to send a card or something to help her keep her mind and hands busy while she continues to recover.

    nick

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  5. Hey all, just got off the phone with Frances, and Barbara is in the car and headed HOME.

    GREAT news!

  6. Unions… They once were really, really necessary. However, once they developed their power, things took the usual course: power corrupts.

    I’m sure I’ve told the story of my first experience with unions: I was a contractor intern, helping install the automation for the Minneapolis sewage plant. A subcontractor had installed all the wiring from the computers to the sensors and valves. We wanted to verify the wiring, so we needed to visit each location of a sensor or valve, with someone on the computer end. Send a bit of voltage down the wire (from the computer end) and look at a multimeter on the sensor/valve end.

    Now, I didn’t know my way around the sewage plant, so I needed a guide. That’s made two people (me and the guide). But I wasn’t allowed to open the cabinets – that was a union job. Three people. The guy who opened the cabinets wasn’t qualified to attach multimeter leads to wires, that was a different union job. Four people. None of these guys were allowed to read the multimeter, that was yet a different union job. Five people. Union rules required someone along with the group, to ensure that no union rules were violated. So there were six of us trooping around the sewage plant, going through an absolutely ridiculous dance at each wiring point.

    I think it’s great that there are right-to-work states and union-dominated states. Industries can decide where they want to build their plants, workers can decide where they want to live. States compete on regulations, the companies compete, the workers compete. Probably keeps everyone a bit more honest, at least, on longer time scales.

    FWIW, there are unions in Switzerland, but there is a typically polite Swiss understanding that they will not actually strike. Unlike Germany or – god forbid – France, where the unions regularly bring the entire country to a standstill. Which benefits no one – if companies aren’t making money, it’s hard to argue for better pay.

  7. UPS has a nice option when tracking packages on the day of delivery. You can see on a map your location and the location of the truck. The routes seem strange though.

  8. France’s strikes always amused me. Horribly selfish in all ways. It doesn’t matter how much the French economy has gone to shit. Try and cut anything in a budget in even the slightest way and one or more groups has a very obnoxious and very disruptive strike. They’re not even aware of how much of a joke they are to the rest of the world. Their youth unemployment, pre-COVID-19 when the world economies were mostly booming, ranged from 20-25%.

  9. My Godfather (Uncle George) was one of the founders of the original Machinists Union (IAW and later IAMAW). This is back in the day when the Union Bosses were actual good experienced workers. He rose to be Union President shortly after they merged with the Aerospace Workers (AW) Union. He ended up basically being a Lobbyist for the Union in Washington D.C. He was greatly dismayed at how the focus of all Unions had gone from excellent work to how much pay and time off they could get for doing as little as possible. He fought for workers’ rights but he held that the Union must demand that the Members be excellent and conscientious workers. He was happiest when he traveled and me with the members, not afraid to get his hands dirty.

    There is much more to this story, including how Uncle George introduced me to every President from Eisenhower to Kennedy, they came to his office.

    Uncle George stayed an active Machinist until the day he died. Even though he lived in a condo, he bought 2 more condos next to his “living condo” that he converted into a complete deluxe machine shop. He had enough pull and influence with the Condo Association that he could do whatever he wanted. After all, he was a “Godfather”.

  10. Reminds me, a major problem with insufficient temperature on N2 to cool a spacecraft’s batteries prior to launch on one of our rockets. I was selected as the launch team’s thermodynamics expert and sent down to the Cape. As a non union employee, I could not touch the thermometer or hose clamp, I had to ask a union member technician to do it. Problem solved and I was a big hero, solving a problem that a dozen others, engineers and union technicians couldn’t. Actually, I didn’t mind going down there and seeing the site.

  11. My favorite story about unions goes back to 1968 when I was 17 and went to work for the county as a seasonal firefighter. Station I was at was in the hills about 40 miles east. Small mountain town and our area covered a large amount of wildland. Three regular firemen on each shift. One guy in his mid thirties and still a fireman soon struck me as rather lazy. He did like to cook but he said that was because he didn’t like doing dishes. Normally the rule was you did work 8 to 5 and the rest of the times was yours except for calls. One day he said he always waited until after 8 to go to the bathroom. HA HA! Well actually he did. Cigarette and a magazine and a good thirty minutes wasted.
    He was of course the union steward for the battalion.

  12. He was greatly dismayed at how the focus of all Unions had gone from excellent work to how much pay and time off they could get for doing as little as possible. He fought for workers’ rights but he held that the Union must demand that the Members be excellent and conscientious workers. He was happiest when he traveled and me with the members, not afraid to get his hands dirty.

    Unlike a lot of the Labs employees at the Death Star, I thought the union had some relevant points in the runup to the strike in 2009, especially regarding job categories and new employees. And healthcare was lousy considering the conditions some of those guys worked under in places like Legacy SNET in CT.

    As I’ve noted here before, however, what broke the union that year was ABC PrimeTime live profiling one narcissistic union member’s sex change drama, timed to air at the height of contract negotiations. It was hard for the union to argue that they were underpaid or the health benefits inadequate when one of the rank-and-file was on national TV showing off $80,000 worth of plastic surgery in the kitchen of his/her 3000 sq ft (guessing) house on an acre of land (again, guessing, but these are qualified guesses), and driving around town in a Mercedes SUV (logo clearly visible on steering wheel).

    The wife stated that she didn’t work, the implication being that the spouse was paid well enough to support their lifestyle on one income.

    The union settled within 24 hours. The Death Star has pwned them ever since.

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  13. Thanks to @JimB

    FWIW, I have been a “Union Man”. United Food and Commercial Workers for my grocery “career” with Jewel Companies (I went on to manage a SuperValu) and Musicians Union when I was in High School because we had a Jazz Band that played for events outside of the school. Because we were “students” we did not have to pay dues but we did have to be paid at least $1.00 for each gig (I played trumpet). Since we were Musician Union Members some of us formed a little 5-piece band, “The Hungry 5, Starving German Ompah Band”. We played mainly at old-folks homes and festivals and got $5.00 each.

    I was also a “Union Negotiator” for the Unions at Hanford during my time there. I started out “advising” management, but the Unions hired me as an advisor because I had a knack for putting Union Demands in terms that management could understand. The DOE and the contractors wondered how I knew so much about negotiating. I listened to my Uncle George.

  14. I’m beginning the hunt for a new primary care physician. Is there a substantial difference between an MD and a DO? I’ve been doing my reading, but I know there is a lot of good knowledge here to tap into…

  15. “They’re Serving Tuna In Valhalla Tonight” by Sarah Hoyt
    https://accordingtohoyt.com/2020/07/20/theyre-serving-tuna-in-valhalla-tonight/

    “If we went to Denver for a weekend vacation, we had to be careful on coming back, because Greebo would build a pyramid of mouse skulls to our glory on the backdoor rug. (Actually a semi-circle, three levels carefully stacked up. No. We don’t know why. But it worked. We always came back.)”

    Conan Kitty !

  16. I’m beginning the hunt for a new primary care physician. Is there a substantial difference between an MD and a DO? I’ve been doing my reading, but I know there is a lot of good knowledge here to tap into…

    No. The current White House physician is a DO.

    Some of the DO schools and residencies used to be trainwrecks, but most have cleaned up their acts over the last 20 years.

  17. From Lisa Bedford at https://thesurvivalmom.com/ . I cannot find the email on her website but thought it interesting. Here is the top half of the email.

    “This past spring while America was busy shopping for toilet paper and hand sanitizer, and panicking at their shortages, TEOTWAWKI happened.”

    “The End Of The World As We Know It arrived. It slipped right past us while we were all distracted, but make no mistake. We are unlikely as a country and a world to ever go back to “normal”. We aren’t going to turn a corner at some point and magically, it will be as though the pandemic never happened.”

    “There has been an upheaval in virtually every aspect of our lives. New divisions now exist between people that didn’t exist in the “before time”. Authorities, both elected and unelected, have expanded their powers. Data has been skewed, misrepresented, and at times, falsified in order to maintain an official narrative, and in the meantime, a near-panic-level fear has drilled its way deep into the hearts and minds of millions.”

    “We went from “slow the spread,” “wash your hands for at least 20 seconds,” to now, altering everything about our lifestyles as we wait for a vaccine, which may or may not ever come.”

    “However, it turns out that TEOTWAWKI isn’t wholly negative and full of doom as many of us once believed.”
    https://thesurvivalmom.com/teotwawki/

    “Some commentators, James Altucher for one, have called the virus, “The great reset”, meaning that society has a chance to re-imagine and re-create something better than what existed before. Mike Cernovich described it as an “accelerator” – The pandemic has accelerated events that would have eventually happened but are now occurring within weeks rather than months or years.”

    “Just a few things that are being reset and accelerated are changes in the public school system, medicine, family relationships, and business.”

    “Public education will never be the same. As we speak, thousands, maybe millions of parents across the country are taking control of their children’s education and are seeking to hire teachers and tutors directly.”

    Like everyone else, she is selling stuff from her website.

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  18. I’m beginning the hunt for a new primary care physician. Is there a substantial difference between an MD and a DO? I’ve been doing my reading, but I know there is a lot of good knowledge here to tap into…

    I had never even heard of DO’s until we moved to Oklahoma and it seemed most of their primary care physicians were DO’s. . The state I am from and live in now didn’t have them until recently (we were one of the last couple of states to recognize DO as being equivalent to MD). We still have very very few DO’s and instead rely heavily on APRN’s for routine stuff. I had a DO for a primary care physician in Oklahoma. Great doctor that had no problem taking the extra time to educate me on all sorts of things (I like to turn each visit into a mini med school class… lol).

    My doctor is an MD and female. I won’t have a male primary care physician. In my experience, male doctors are mostly shit at communication. My last couple of primary care doctors have both been female. They communicate. They make eye contact. They don’t re-ask everything the nurse did during screening. They know their shit without having to excuse themselves from the room for a minute (while they look it up). Sorry, men. You suck at being Family Practice and Internal Medicine MD’s. I realize not *all* male doctors are horrible and not *all* female doctors are great, but my experience has been that the best bet is on a female doctor. YMMV.

    Once I find a health system that is “in network” for my insurance and use their physician search I tend to filter by female and pick internal medicine over family practice.

  19. We still have very very few DO’s and instead rely heavily on APRN’s for routine stuff.

    That isn’t a good sign. The practice my wife left in WA State still hasn’t recruited an actual doctor replacement in six years so they make do with a rotation of ARNPs under the supervision of my wife’s former associate who is now a partner.


  20. I realize not *all* male doctors are horrible and not *all* female doctors are great

    My current doctor, MD, has been my primary care for 32 years. I see no reason to change. He listens, does a good job, gets excited when I show up for stiches as a good change of routine. While in the USAF got a female doctor when I had a bad bug of some kind. She brags about losing her license in the state of Texas so had to go to work for the military (federal jurisdiction). She starts looking in a big book for what to prescribe for my condition. Uh, no thanks. I will get better on my own and walked out the door.

    As you stated, it works both ways. Somewhere in the U.S. is the worst doctor, male or female, and several people had an appointment with that doctor today.

  21. Like everyone else, she is selling stuff from her website.

    That used to be my problem with OFD taking James Kunstler too seriously.

    Giving everyone a floor of the equivalent of a $50k annual income was probably not the best decision if the intent was to return to “normal” by the end of the summer. The aftermath of Labor Day will be almost as ugly as what we’ve seen over the last two weeks since the July 4th weekend. *Everyone* has time off and $100 bucks to drop on dinner with “craft cocktails”.

    The first step on the road back to “normal” would be to end the stimulus when the current round of checks run out, but that isn’t politically possible for either side right now. *Something* will get sent out, especially with 1/3 of the US not current on rent/mortgage for July — grouper sandwiches and mojitos at the beach are expensive — the only question is how much money the Fed prints.

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  22. Much easier than helping my 9yo deal with not seeing her friends for months at a time. She was really upset last night. It’s not just us, the other kids’ parents don’t want to get together for a virus swapfest either. Things aren’t ever going back to “normal”. We’ll adapt to the way things are. I better figure out how to get the kids started on that.

    Yup, that is why I posted that Lisa Bedford note, TEOTWAWKI has already happened. We are living in the aftermath of it now.

    ADD: Now comes the question, doesn’t TEOTWAWKI come in threes ???

  23. The first step on the road back to “normal” would be to end the stimulus when the current round of checks run out, but that isn’t politically possible for either side right now. *Something* will get sent out, especially with 1/3 of the US not current on rent/mortgage for July — grouper sandwiches and mojitos at the beach are expensive — the only question is how much money the Fed prints.

    I am so glad that I sold our old house, that really took a lot of stress off me.

  24. UPS has a nice option when tracking packages on the day of delivery. You can see on a map your location and the location of the truck. The routes seem strange though.

    No left turns at extreme costs. Left turns are expensive since they often take minutes to complete.

    Also see The Traveling Salesman algorithm. We use this in our software.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travelling_salesman_problem

  25. “UPS has a nice option when tracking packages on the day of delivery. You can see on a map your location and the location of the truck. The routes seem strange though.”

    No left turns at extreme costs.

    When I first started at GTE 25+ years ago, the company poured a bunch of money into repair truck route optimization and made serious progress with estimating (NP Hard — you won’t get the exact optimal answer every time) solutions to the problem, but, ultimately, the company gave up in the late 90s because the “best” routes always tended to irritate the guys driving the trucks, especially when they didn’t end the day close to home.

  26. Back in the 90s my employer had a booth in a trade show in San Antonio. I helped set it up. We backed our van into a loading bay at the convention center and proceeded to unload. I saw a dolly sitting nearby and no obvious owner. As I wheeled it to our van, 2 large gentlemen appeared and yelled at me to “put the F-ing dolly down! That’s a union dolly!”. It was very clear that violence would happen if I didn’t comply. They further opined that we could employ the union to help us. We just carried everything. F you.

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  27. no clerk can be forced to do anything except his exact job: management can’t ask them to do some other task in order to speed things along; management can’t step in and work themselves to get things moving without some clerk slapping him with a grievance over “doing the employee out of his rightful Overtime pay”

    That attitude destroyed the British car industry in the 70s. Bad management and poor products helped, but if you’re always on strike, you don’t make any product and don’t make any money.


  28. Left turns are expensive since they often take minutes to complete.

    In Oliver Springs? A long wait may be 5 seconds, during rush hour. Which in itself lasts 163 seconds.

  29. Back in the 90s my employer had a booth in a trade show in San Antonio. I helped set it up. We backed our van into a loading bay at the convention center and proceeded to unload. I saw a dolly sitting nearby and no obvious owner. As I wheeled it to our van, 2 large gentlemen appeared and yelled at me to “put the F-ing dolly down! That’s a union dolly!”. It was very clear that violence would happen if I didn’t comply. They further opined that we could employ the union to help us. We just carried everything.

    I always drive to the trade shows and bring my own dolly because of that. And plug in my own equipment to the plugs that I have to pay for. Most trade shows just supply extension cords for the booths at $100/day each.

  30. Left turns are expensive since they often take minutes to complete.

    In Oliver Springs? A long wait may be 5 seconds, during rush hour. Which in itself lasts 163 seconds.

    I forget what my brother-in-law told me about no left turns. It either saves UPS an average of 5 minutes per driver per day or 30 minutes per driver per day. You add up a few savings like that and that goes straight to the bottom line.

    Have you seen the UPS hand terminals ? They have step by step driving instructions for the drivers for their next location.

    Of course, they do have to make left turns occasionally, into home driveways, etc. They just try to avoid all left turns as a matter of principle.

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  31. no clerk can be forced to do anything except his exact job: management can’t ask them to do some other task in order to speed things along; management can’t step in and work themselves to get things moving without some clerk slapping him with a grievance over “doing the employee out of his rightful Overtime pay”

    That attitude destroyed the British car industry in the 70s. Bad management and poor products helped, but if you’re always on strike, you don’t make any product and don’t make any money.

    And Lucas Electronics. Bad starters, bad coils, bad windshield wiper motors (if your card had them !), bad alternators, etc, etc, etc. Always undersized too for the job at hand.

  32. I replaced the home HVAC system last February. New heat pump for heating and AC. All-electric; latest Trane high-efficiency unit.

    Yesterday was the first day that it was warm enough to require the AC to kick on for the greater part of daytime. Got up to the mid-70’s yesterday and today. Humidity around 65%. Light winds (under 5 mph, gusts to 10 mph). Clear blue skies, although a bit of surface fog on the water here opposite Mutiny Bay WA; but the fog was gone by 11 am.

    Stayed inside mostly to escape the heat and humidity.

    (This entire weather report is just so that Nick doesn’t feel like he is the only one affected by the weather. I probably should have surrounded the entire comment with the ‘^’ ‘sarcasm’ tag.)

  33. I replaced the home HVAC system last February. New heat pump for heating and AC. All-electric; latest Trane high-efficiency unit.

    The new used house came with a three year old pair of Carrier 15 SEER air conditioners with natural gas furnaces. We have been working them hard, keeping the house at 72 F. We have a 3 ton for the common areas of the house and a 4 ton for four bedrooms with the three bathrooms. I am thinking about splitting the 4 ton up into two systems in the fall since the major air return and thermostat are in the den where it does not feed to !

    I would move the 4 ton thermostat and air return into the daughter’s three bedroom area. And I would add a new 3 ton into the master suite. I have yet to talk with my a/c guy to see what his thoughts are, I suspect that this would cost me around $10K. He and his cohort are working 12 hours per day right now so I can wait until October or November.

    BTW, at 9 cents/kwh, our electric bill for July will be around $275.

  34. Left turns are expensive because you cross oncoming traffic…. which leads to accidents.

    That’s what I remember from my class on it…

    n

  35. Home from my errands. Spent some time at my storage digging out an item someone is finally interested in buying. had to move a ton of stuff to get to it.

    Haven’t gotten much done on the garage/freezer today, which purely sucks.

    n

  36. You know, Nick, if you load up on the caffeine at, say, 22:00, you’ll be able to get a lot done when temperature is lower. #NectarOfTheGods #ComeToMeForMoreGoodAdvice

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  37. I need to get back to my 6am wake up, get all my online done before 9am and then I’d have some time during the day.

    Just bought another reefer, this one is a Kenmore Elite and you can set the top and bottom so that either or both are fridge or freezer as you need it. I don’t know if I’ll find more room in my garage, or take it to my secondary and use it as a freezer there, or flip it locally.

    Picking it up will kill my afternoon. But I can take a load to the auction at the same time, so that will actually help somewhat.

    n


  38. Left turns are expensive

    Because your taxes increase and your freedom decreases?

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  39. @nick

    I need to get back to my 6am wake up, get all my online done before 9am and then I’d have some time during the day.

    Wouldn’t it be better to work outside at 6am, then go inside and do computer stuff when it gets too hot? You could still write the day’s post the night before, as you usually do.

    Work inside when it’s too hot to be outside.

  40. In a sensible world, sure, but I can’t make noise until 8am in my neighborhood and a lot of what I’m trying to do involves saws or screwguns or me cursing loudly as I move heavy things…

    It does make sense but it’s often 93F at 930 anyway… and I’m a bit physically slow first thing in the morning these days.

    And that’s a whole bunch of excuses.

    n

  41. Nick, if there were more gunshots in your neighborhood, the neighbors would be less likely to complain about early-morning tool noises and profanity. #ComeToMeForMoreGoodAdvice

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  42. and I’m a bit physically slow first thing in the morning these days

    I’m a bit physically slow all the time these days.

  43. Anyone got a guess how long it takes a 2000 gallon per hour pool pump to empty the top third of a 5000 gallon pool when the hose on the return line comes undone?

    If you said, “some time between dinner and putting the kids to bed” — winner winner chicken dinner!

    Back yard and patio are VERY soggy.

    Water bill is going to be insane this month.

    I hope the pump didn’t eat itself running without flow, but if it did, I’m glad I’ve got a backup.

    Yes it has been one of those days.

    n

  44. The trick to filling pools around here is to have the water company come hook a meter up to a fire hydrant and fill the pool that way. You only have to pay for the water. If you use your home plumbing you also have to pay sewage fees (which around here is a percentage of your water use).

  45. If you use your home plumbing you also have to pay sewage fees (which around here is a percentage of your water use).

    Our City water company will not fill pools. Have to use the hose. Our sewer is 200% of our water cost. A $30 water bill is actually $90 when including sewer. The city will adjust the sewer portion of the bill once a year to allow for pool filling.

    And on a side note when I was in the office getting my bill adjusted a lady was in there at the same time wanting to get her water reconnected. She was told it would be $2,000 for past due, late fees, and disconnect/connect fees. A welfare queen, smoker, drinker (she smelled of booze at 9:30 am), with lots of tattoos. Lot of money on non-essentials but no money for water.


  46. She was told it would be $2,000

    Don’t tell me, let me guess: she was profanely disbelieving that it was so much.

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