Coverage Day 10: We found our game, part I

It was an A day simply by virtue of tomorrow being my day off.  Today was going to have to work hard to suck, and in the end, it was a really good day for me and the Rabbi. And now the morning report...

TZ Crossing was Martin Sexton's "Diner," which is one of the greatest little ditties ever written.

Picket crossing looked to be uneventful.  The Red Sea parted as usual and I began to drive through, when near the driver's side window loomed this female union worker with a hard look in her eye.  "Ugly bitch," she said as I rolled past.  Whoa.  Wait.  Ugly bitch?  Really?  OK, I give her credit for getting my attention.  Ugly bitch - that was really thinking outside the box.  I'll conceed to bitch, but ugly?  I never claimed to be able to stop traffic's fighting words!  And frankly she was no Miss America either...

So the morning festivities continued with the usual prayer meeting gathering in the break room to discuss updates, announcements, the day's teams, etc.  The Rabbi and I were teamed up once again, but this time we had a prepped truck, a cell phone full of numbers, and only 3 jobs to work.  2 of them were carried over from yesterday and we headed out with the full intention of climbing.  Well, actually, it was pretty understood that Mike was going to be climbing.  He was real quiet driving out and getting breakfast, seemed very focused and occupied with getting into climb mode, just getting to the house and getting up the damn pole, already, bring it, let's just do it.

So back out we went to Monsey.  We pulled the truck into place, set the cones, prepped his bucket of tools, he belted up, got the rungs on the pole, tested it.  And then, ladies and gentlemen, the Rabbi climbed the pole.  Piece of cake.  Textbook.  Beautiful.  There was one problem:  the pole was not stepped properly, and even on the top rung, Mike couldn't reach far enough off the strand to get to the terminal.

A crushing blow.  How anti-climactic.  He came back down and we stared at each other in defeat.  Now what?  Well, call for the cavalry, which in this case meant Sensei with the bucket truck.

(By the way everyone say happy birthday to Sensei)

Sensei was not answering his phone.  We left a message and went back to the house to look once again at our problem.  I'll attempt to explain it to you but I'm going to be showing off and using some technical lingo.  Because I can.

The trouble reported at the house was static on the line.  We'd been out yesterday and found there was dial tone at the house, at what's called the NID - the network interface device.  Tracing backwards, omitting the terminal on the pole, we found that there was no static at the cross-box, and damn well no static at the CO because we'd run that unnecessary jumper at the equipment frame (the CO people are not happy with us about that).  So that only left the terminal on the pole to check out:  if there was static there, it was one kind of problem; if there wasn't, it was another kind of problem.  We needed to climb.

Or did we?

We looked at the NID again and for lack of anything better to do, and for practice, we looked for dial tone.  None.  None?  It was there yesterday.  Now it was gone.  No dial tone.  Odd.  We looked even more closely at the mess of cables inside the NID and began to realize that a lot of them were closed off.  Just unnecessary wire not going anywhere.  We also realized that the drop wire was not going from the pole directly into the NID, but going into a piece of equipment I suddenly recognized - from a job I did with Sensei - as a DAML:  it's a switch that takes one line and splits it into two.  One split went out of the DAML, very weirdly spliced, and into the NID.  The other went nowhere.  We sorted out the route, pulled the drop wire out of the DAML, and put dial tone on it.  Bingo.  There it was.   And crystal clear.  No static.  We didn't have to climb after all.  But we still had no dial tone to the house.

"The drop is good," the Rabbi thought out loud for both of us.  "The drop wire is good, it has dial tone at the DAML, but then there's no dial tone at the NID.  Why?"

We tried wiring the drop wire straight into the NID, the way it was supposed to be done.  No dial tone.  "How can the drop wire have dial tone, but then the NID has no tone when it's wired?" I said.  We both knew the answer was going to be incredibly, stupidly simple but we just needed someone experienced to point it out to us.  But nobody was available.

Mike then got the brilliant idea to call his I & R instructor.  Why the hell not, all of them ended the week-long training with, "if you need help, call me!"  So he called.  And got Glenn on the phone.  And Glenn was thrilled to pieces, glad to be of help, tell me what you got, describe it, talk to me.  And we talked him through it and in the end he said, "NIDs never go bad....but you guys got a bad NID.  You got another one in the truck?"

We did.  The Rabbi ran and fetched it.  He held it in his hands, I connected the drop wire.  Dial tone.

If you were in Monsey today and saw two technicians dancing around a driveway yelling, "It's the NID!  It's the NID!"...yeah, that was us.

We hung up and got to work with a vengeance.  By golly we were going to fucking CLOSE this ticket!  We yanked that old NID right out of the siding.  We pulled everything out of the DAML because it was serving absolutely no purpose.  We got ready to drill the new NID onto the house...


"We don't have a drill," the Rabbi groaned.  We tried it with screwdrivers but forget it, impossible.  We needed a drill.  We called the garage, got our supervisor, and found out a very interesting fact:  if you want help, say the word "drill".  People get very nervous when you mention drilling in this field of work.  "I'm on my way," Jim said, and hung up.  He soon arrived with the drill and another office manager.  The cavalry indeed.  We got the NID on, wired, moment of truth with the butt set...drum roll...

Dial tone.

We did it.


To the tune of five and a half hours and three phone calls, but we did it.  The Rabbi and the Dancer officially have game.

They then went to lunch.

To be continued tomorrow with the afternoon's events...