two fiddley things

I was on site all day today, and we got two things done: the tubing
for the radiant floor is installed, and the north wall is parged.
Parging, in case you don't know, is the application of a thin sheet of
material to a surface.  The AAB foam blocks that we used for the walls
of the first floor have two companion products: parging cement, and a
waterproof membrane.  The parging cement gets put on in a 1/16th inch
layer, then you lay a fiberglass mesh into it, then trowel on another
1/16th inch layer.

The tubing was interesting.  It was kind of like heavy sisal rope;
dense, very flexible, and prone to kinking.  To help you avoid kinking
it, they have an unrolling fixture that you drop the tubing onto.  It
lets you pull the tubing off unkinked.  And, as long as you don't
twist either end, it stays unkinked.  It goes out in a loop from the
manifold.  We've got six loops, each 180 feet long: one for my office
(where the computers generate a significant amount of heat), and five
covering the rest of the downstairs.

The tubing gets tied to the reinforcing mesh every foot.  We used the
plastic wire-ties that go with the tubing.  Between about 8:30AM and
11:40AM we installed a thousand wire-ties.  We ran out and needed an
extra hundred.  We turned out to have put them just *about* every
foot: the loops add up to 1080 feet, plus we wasted about an
additional twenty of them.  Even Rebecca and Eric got into the swing
of things: they wired most of the last hundred down.

The NYNEX guy was out today.  Name of Ron Houston, he's a fairly
colorful dude.  Wearing a red beret with his Vietnam "War" service
medals pinned to it, he goes by the name of Rambo.  Seems that the
12-pair drop (it's not even a *cable*, it's just a drop) that runs
past the site doesn't have a single free pair.  Fortunately Ron (or
Rambo) managed to find a pair down at the corner 1/4 mile away.  He
installed the network terminator at the service entrance (which I
would have preferred to be inside, but which Rambo said goes outside
now, as standard practice) and ran the wire across the street to the
other pole, but the cable guys are going to have to run a cable from
the corner.

Rambo's quite depressed about the state of the outside plant in
Northern New York.  He says that it's a mess all over.  NYNEX is doing
as well as it is by deferring investment in its plant.  They're
running copper where they should be running fiber.  Sounds like they
need a better traffic engineer.  That's what my father used to do for
Bell Telephone in New York City.  He would track the building
patterns, then guess how much facilities would be needed.

Hmmm....  I just called the phone number and I don't get a "number not
in service" intercept.  That's probably meaningless; I'll bet that
they turned on service to the line that Rambo selected, but since I
don't *see* another drop coming from the corner, the phone probably
doesn't work yet.  But I'll check tomorrow morning.

Still no electric power.  Ni-Mo is probably sitting on the service
request.  Stan is itching for clean power -- he doesn't like the
generator.  He's afraid the generator's power is going to damage his