Even Less Internet and Other Stuff

My wife and I are still relying on a cellular connection to provide telephone and internet service. It took almost 2 weeks for the various companies to mark the locations of their underground equipment. All but one, the electric utility, had nothing in the area.

The telephone company crew was out last week and installed the wires from the nearby junction box to our house. Another telephone company person will connect the wires…soon, I hope.

This work may have been put behind schedule a little bit by some jerk-idiot-ass who shot up a fiber optic cable and plunged about 1/5 of the state’s area (100,000 people) into a communications blackout for about 50 hours. All the area’s communications providers used this cable, so during the outage there was no cell telephone, almost no landline telephone, little 911 (emergency assistance), no internet, no credit/debit card terminals, and only a few working ATM machines that quickly “ran out” of cash. If the telephones worked, it would have been like the early 1980s except no one knew how to deal with personal checks. So, it was “cash only” if one had cash.

I keep cash in the house, and the vehicle gas tanks get filled when the gauge drops to 3/4 full, so I managed OK.

The LDS (Mormon) Church has a strong influence in this area and they encourage a “be prepared so you can help yourself, your family and your neighbor” mentality that the entire community has adopted…so the community managed okay as well.

Also of great use was ham radio. I checked on a neighbor and then contacted an out of area ham operator to telephone the neighbor’s relatives to tell them that all was well. The police and fire 2-way radio systems were, for the most part, working normally, but they wouldn’t have time for the “Is Bob at 123 Easy Street doing okay?” requests, so the ham operators nicely filled that community need. It wasn’t emergency stuff, but it was useful and very appreciated.

The cable was repaired and things are back to normal and everyone is hoping the jerk-idiot-ass is caught.

The New House

We have been moving stuff into the new house at a somewhat slow pace because the trailer has been hauling, mostly, antique vehicles. So what was brought was stuff to “keep house” at a minimal level.

The vehicles were a priority since they were parked at a friend’s house and I didn’t want to overstay their welcome.

Also slowing us down was both of us catching a cold (or COVID). It was the familiar set of cold symptoms and the symptoms lasted as long as those of a cold usually lasts, but since our reaction, stay at home and don’t give it to others, was the same, the name of the illness doesn’t matter.

We now have a clothes washer and clothes dryer, enough clothes to last most of a week, a recliner chair, a sofa, our bed, the kitchen table and chairs, all of the kitchen cookware and the tableware. Everything is in its proper place, so we aren’t having problems moving around the house.

Now that the vehicles are all here, we can move things more quickly and reduce the size of the bills associated with storing all our stuff.

There are not yet many decorative items, nor books, so the house has not yet been “personalized”. This will get fixed with the next load we will haul here.

What isn’t done is our telephone and internet service. The telephone company has to bury their lines, so they have to get the other utility companies (electric company, in this case) to mark (called blue staking) their already buried lines. Normally all of the marking is done within 2 business days…it’s been 12 days and the electric company not yet marked their underground lines. I called them and, “The person who does that is on vacation.” I reminded them of “the 2 days” and “just happened to mention’ the name of the public utilities commission person that oversees the blue stake work…..hopefully that will get things moving.

In the meantime, we are using cellular service, some special antennas and a booster to get the 0 to 1 bar of service. I did a speed test and 0.028Mbit/sec down and 0.020Mbit/sec up. Note the decimal point….good internet speeds are at least 1,000 times faster than these values. I did not do the cellular system design work for this area, so…it’s not my fault. 🙂

Quiet

I was sitting in the front yard this morning and heard a rooster crowing. I was curious, so I started walking along the dirt road to see if I could find the rooster. After walking 1-1/2 miles/2.5km, I found the rooster. Our dog didn’t care about the rooster other than “it should have been another mile or two farther away”…longer walks..

That illustrates the quiet here.

On the way back home, I noticed two cars and one pickup truck driving on the main road. Obviously it was rush hour as there has been only one other vehicle, the post office van, go by in the past 4 hours. In case you’re wondering, I’m defining main road as “paved and two lane”. I’m about 1/4 mile (1/2km) down a dirt road from the main road.

Other than these sounds, the only other sounds I heard were birds singing, my feet making crunching sounds in the sand as I walked and the jingling of the tags on the dog’s collar.

I did go into town to get the mail, get groceries, get potting soil for my huge plant pots, and also a few plants to make a herb garden. I hope the “critters” aren’t pleased with my efforts on their behalf. 🙂

May 26

Today is one of two days each year I spend some time remembering my fiancee. May 26, 1984 was when we were supposed to marry each other. Instead, I scattered her ashes in the ocean and got VERY drunk.

This year, it is a bit more special. My wife and I are living in a very rural area. This was my wife’s dream, my dream and my fiancee’s dream. So, this dream was achieved…30 years later than planned, and with a different person…but still achieved.

Even in hospice, my fiancee was more worried about me than herself and I know she would be pleased about me completing the dream.

Internet Delayed

I still don’t have internet because underground cable needs to be installed. I did find out the nearest DSLAM (DSL electronics) is 0.4 miles distant and is fed with a 1gbit fiber. I missed the nearer DSLAM because it is in what looks like a regular junction box. The updated date for service is “early next week” and since the nearby DSLAM serves 11 customers, I have confidence the service will be as promised. As for the date, we’ll see. I have noticed a steady “parade” of people stopping to mark the locations of the underground utilities. For all but the electrical line, they are marking “no” in their respective colors. So, the work is beginning.

Internet Tomorrow, Maybe

The telephone installer is scheduled to arrive tomorrow to install telephone and, hopefully, internet service.

We currently have *some* cellular phone and internet service but even with my knowing the “tricks”, it’s still not very good….it’s hard to make next to nothing “good”, especially when most of the equipment I could use to make it “almost good” is several hundred miles distant.

The service will be DSL and it is claimed I can expect 25 Mbit per second down (5 Mbit per second up) speeds, but I’ll believe it when I see it. I drove my “heap” along the telephone cable route and the nearest DSL access electronics I could find is 5.8 miles distant.

Along the way, I stopped at a (the only) convenience store to fill the heaps’s gas tank. While I was putting gas into the tank, two sheriff’s deputies (training officer and trainee) and a state police officer walked out from the store. They came over to look (gawk) at the truck and after talking with me a few moments, the older deputy remembered me from my days at the police academy.

I have a feeling anyone but me driving the truck will be closely scrutinized. 🙂

Update to “Shock”

ET (“Evil” twin) used “leukemia” as a generic term for a blood/bone marrow cancer. Leukemia is (I guess) a bone marrow cancer causing abnormal production of white blood cells. ET’s bone marrow is producing abnormal red blood cells. Since the repeated tests are not showing a worsening of the problem, her doctor is going to wait 3 months before doing more tests.

So, the waiting continues. Waiting is better than the test results getting worse.

It’s Really Done Part 2

We just received an email that the property deed, showing we are now the owners of the property, has been presented to the county recorder’s office and that the keys to the house are being brought to us by our real estate agent.

So, we are no longer homeless and we are now officially writing in the new chapter of “our life’s book”.

Tomorrow we will remove the camper from our truck and start bringing up our furnishings (and antique Jeeps) in a borrowed 25 foot (7.5 meter) trailer.

I am going to make sure I bring up the dozen *huge* pots in the first load as it is “about now” to be placing plants, like tomatoes and peppers, outside.

Next Chapter

I don’t know what chapter my life is starting. All I know is that it is a new one.

Today, we signed the papers to buy the house and land where we are “camping”.

It’s customary, here anyway, for the buyers to sign everything first and then have the seller sign everything. The seller was scheduled to sign everything about 30 minutes after we finished, so I hope everything it complete.

Again, the ownership change is not official until the papers are presented to the county government (tax collector) office. This is supposed to happen tomorrow. So, even though everyone has signed everything, we still do not yet own the place yet and we don’t feel it proper to “move in” until it’s really all done.

18-7/8 acres, a 1,600 square foot house, a water well, a septic tank and a whole lot of quiet.

Saturday we are going to remove the camper from the truck and drive back to the city. There we will borrow a 25 foot (7-1/2 meter) long enclosed trailer, load it up on Sunday, and begin moving things to the new home.

I can’t wait to get everything here.

Like I Remember

The home builder said we could stay on the property/home we will be purchasing in less than 2 weeks, so we are not having to pay for a campsite. This is nice because it saves us from paying campground fees and because we are not able to get what we need at the campground store.

Backing up a bit. The builder buys a piece of property, builds a home and then sells it, so it is not a custom home. Still, with just a little bit of work, it will be “just right” for us.

Anyway.

Because we do need to go into town, we are able to learn the rhythms and customs of the area.

We are 12 miles miles (20km) from the nearest grocery store and a round trip is, obviously, twice as far. This is also the closest town. There is a convenience store about 5 miles (8km) distant that sells snacks, soda, beer, gasoline, diesel and propane. I did notice flour, sugar and a few canned goods on the shelves so it is okay for unexpected needs for basic things. This reminds me of my childhood…a “sort of outpost” store not too far away and the larger but farther away stores for the “scheduled trips”.

Unlike the city, which has stores open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, most everything around here is open 8am to 7pm, Monday through Friday, 8am to 1pm on Saturday and most everything is closed on Sunday. This is how it was when I was young.

Obviously police, fire and medical emergencies are handled immediately. Also, electrical utility power, propane fuel deliveries, water well issues, and plumbing problems are considered important enough to be taken care of as quickly as possible, no matter the day or hour. But, I’m sure there would be some annoyance if, repeatedly, someone knew their propane tank was nearly empty and did not schedule a delivery during the week.

We do not have mail delivery to our street address, so we get a free post office box in town…12 miles away. Companies that do not ship via the postal service may be a problem that will need to be worked out. When I was young, if a package could not be delivered to a house (because the house couldn’t be found or the road was too poor to traverse), the package would be left at the local grocery store (and Greyhound bus stop). Everyone shopped there because it was the only grocery store and the employees would bring any delivered packages to customers. I will need to ask around if there is a similar arrangement here.

I remember my father pulling over to see if someone stopped along side the road might need help. A couple of days ago, we stopped along the road where cell telephone service was good so my wife could continue to talk with her cousin. Two people stopped to see if we needed help, so we met two neighbors.

The roads are graded dirt and there are a two places where a rain storm might flood the road and wash the roadbed away. Not far from these places is a huge pile of gravel and a privately owned front end loader. I found out the neighbors take care of these washouts even though the county maintains the road…”we can fix it faster than the county”. I’m sure the folks doing this wouldn’t mind some sort of compensation and if it’s like I remember, offering money would be insulting. So it’s likely the compensation will be offering help with a project or offering to buy the load of gravel that is along side the road. All of the people who stopped to see if we needed help had 2-way radios in their vehicles and I found out this is how they keep in contact with their neighbors. I am skilled with 2-way radio stuff, so maybe this will be my way of providing compensation.