Saturday, February 14, 2009

Shrimp Antennae Clog Portland's Sewers

I wanted to share some of the local news to give you an idea of what is different about New England living. This report from the Portland Press Herald: "The Portland Water District has had to clean out large clogs created by shrimp shells and antennas the past three weeks, said Michelle Clements, spokeswoman for the district."
"Last week it ended up closing one of our new pumping stations at India Street," she said. "We had to go in and manually clean it out."

In new news about my job: "University of Maine System employees will not take unpaid days off this spring after all, university and employee union officials announced Friday". This means we have a reprieve from layoffs until after the end of the fiscal year in June. After July 1, re-evaluations of the budget may bring layoffs or furlows back to the table. This is my first experience working under a union and I have to say that for all the good unions did for workers in the early days, I think they may have outlived their usefulness. They have a contentious relationship with the university and I don't see significant improvements in working conditions or compensation than we would have without them. I think they are just a "middleman" siphoning off dues to support their existence. Some would argue that I am naive and might have been layed off by now if it weren't for the union fighting for my job. Poppycock, I say. I see no evidence they've fought for anything except my dues.

Another article in the newspaper informs us that the city of Portland (population 65,000) spends $30,000 on snow cleanup after each significant storm and employs 8o pieces of snow removal equipment. I would guess we have about 10 "significant" storms a year and $300,000 is no small sum to be laying out for infrastructure of a town this size.

The last few days have been above freezing (or at least high 20's) and I can't tell you how warm that feels after being down to 0 and below. I never thought I'd be saying sunny and 27 degrees is a beautiful day! It even rained this week and the sidewalks have lost their slick, ice sheet coating. There's still plenty of snow on the ground and it is not yet approaching what you would call spring. I also have new information about warming up our cars.... I am wrong about having to warm up our car in freezing temps. They say nowadays that just starting out slowly for the first 3 miles is all that is needed to warm up a car. This warms the drive train, wheel bearings, tires, and transmission along with the engine. If it is 20 degrees, let it idle for 30 seconds before starting out and for anything below freezing, let it idle for a full minute before starting out. This also saves fuel, emissions, and our precious money.

1 comment:

  1. Bust Dan,
    You need to warm your car a little to get the oil warm and over the pistons. Same for the trany and drive train, or you would had wished you did. The oil sets at the bottom of your oil pan and it thickens as it is colder. That is way their is different weights of oil. When I liked in LV it was a heaver weight of oil in the height of the summer months. You will get the hang of it. Yes, 20 is the new 4o when it comes to degrees when it is that cold.
    I went to Co. for a funeral last week and it was 9 when I got off the plain, with a wind chill of 0. I was not in Ca. any more. It did warm up, however to the upper 50's. Hot for Feb. in Co. Then we went to NE. for the interment. Nice weather, but a cold wind.
    Nice to be home. Rain here and snow on the Mt's. They look great. Just like on the orange labels.
    Happy Valentines
    Love, Sbei