Sunday, February 14, 2010

Top 10 reasons why Oscoda is a cool place:

1. Amazing views of Lake Huron.
2. Bald Eagles fly by your window with stunning regularity.
3. Sugar sand beach.
4. Tait's Bill of Fare.
5. Northern Accents.
6. $1 draft pints of Killians at the VFW.
7. Sunrises.
8. Winky.
9. Wiltse's Brew Pub.
10. How everybody wants to be your friend.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Furnace Troubles

Friday afternoon started like any other. Deirdre got home first and started to tend to Samson's needs. She then noticed that it was a little chilly in the house. I got home as she was noticing the chill and she saw that thermostat was not working correctly as the batteries that powered it were exhausted. We replaced the batteries and the thermostat appeared to be working correctly again. However, there was no warm air coming out of the registers. I went downstairs to check on the furnace (it is powered by natural gas) and I heard the vent fan turning on, but it was apparent that the burners were not operating. I called Kevin (a good friend who is a plumber/HVAC technician) and he talked me through the process of resetting the furnace. Despite his directions, the furnace still did not work. Kevin said that he would come by in a few minutes and take a look at the furnace.

Kevin arrived a few minutes later and after checking a couple of things, he discovered the cause of the problem: the ignitor. The ignitor is critical to the operation of the furnace as it ignites the natural gas that is sent through the furnace. There was a small white spot on the bottom of the ignitor, so the internal safety interlocks in the furnace worked as designed. What that meant is that we would not have forced air heat until Saturday at the earliest. Kevin said that he would get an ignitor in the morning and install it.

We have two electric space heaters, which we quickly brought on line. We put one of the heaters in our bedroom, and the other was put in our living room. We also closed off all the doors that we could to focus the heat in the bedroom and living room. We also turned on our gas fireplace in the living room, which helped keep the temperature in the living room at 68F.
We went to bed around 11PM and we stayed quite warm in the bedroom as the space was more than up to the task to heat the room. When we got up a little before 7AM, the rest of house was chilly. The living room was 64F. We turned on the fireplace again, and that helped make the living room a little warmer. The back room in our house was a different story. During the night, the temperature in the back room of our house fell to 44F. It was warmer outside than it was inside our back room as the image above shows.

Kevin arrived a few minutes after this image was taken and in about 15 minutes he installed a new ignitor and the furnace was operating again.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

All I wanted was a mission...

... and for my sins they gave me one. As some readers of my blog have pointed out to me, my posts have been a little lacking the past few weeks. Well, there is a reason. My employer, GE Aviation Systems, has been keeping me busy the past few weeks as we have been chosen as the avionics lead for a new aircraft that is being built in Shanghai, China. The Chinese company is called COMAC, which stand for the Commercial Aircraft Company of China. This company is trying to do what Airbus did in the early 1970s, to build a commercial airliner to rival Boeing. As I have learned since I started working for GE, building an aircraft is a complicated business and you do not have any margin for error. COMAC is trying to build, fly and certify a commercial passenger aircraft in a little more than 6 years. COMAC is located in Shanghai, China, and in a few weeks, it appears that I will be living the in a 3 weeks there, 9 weeks in Michigan, 3 weeks there, rotation for a while.

After being deployed and away from home for so many years in the Navy, I was in no hurry to travel in my civilian career. However, when the General asks you to do something, it is really not a request. I will know for certain in a few days, but there is a 95% chance that I will be racking up a bunch of frequent flyer miles in the near term.