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Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Posted on 2007.01.15 at 18:45
Current Location: 63102
Tags: ,

Lost Database
I lost the database on my server Friday. I don't know why. It's Solaris - not the best platform for detailing outages. I couldn't bring the daemon back up and didn't have any time for troubleshooting. I chose that opportunity instead to update the package using blastwave. Initially, I thought I'd lost everything - I couldn't log into the mysql database as the password was not working, nor would it let me change passwords by any means I found on any help pages. That's when I put out my cry for help. Over the next 36 hours however, I was able to finally bring up the database without losing a thing...I didn't even have to restore from my online SQL backups. I need to get an external dual-layer burner and burn these directories to DVD.

Diverted Flight
After work I headed to the airport to pick up photogoot who's plane was diverted on final approach to Little Rock, Arkansas. I was two hours late getting home sans Goot. The wife suggested I drive to Arkansas to pick him up. There was an ice storm threatening St. Louis, but I figured I could make it down there and back in time. Being the quick-thinker he is, he instead booked himself a private cabin on the Texas Star for a leisurely 12-hour train ride to Saint Louis.

Fscking BOOM!
At 0600 my neighbors ice-laden tree lost a large branch which not only once again fell on my son's room, but pierced the roof and came through his ceiling. As you can imagine, it was quite frightening for him. My adrenalin was pretty high as well. Once I ensured the kids were tucked away in my bed and asleep again, I de-iced my car for the trek downtown to meet the train. I drove straight to Union Station where after quite a bit of confusion realized trains don't go to Union Station. In an unprecedented move, the likes of which I've never seen in all my travels, train traffic takes place elsewhere. Union Station was simply a shopping mall. I've been more pissed off before, but I'm unsure I've ever been more damned confounded. Later that day, the largest branch of the tree which damaged my house, fell onto my neighbors house, demolishing most of his roof and crashing down on his bed - had it happened when ours fell, he would have been killed. There was so much ice, there was nothing which could be done that day. We moved our Friday Night planned activities forward a day and as a bonus, galinda822 brought 'Scene It' to include in the evening's activities. photogoot & I consumed half a bottle of Glenfiddich.

The trees were caked with ice and every few minutes somewhere throughout the neighborhood branches would crash to the earth. The day was cold, still, and hazy - very eerie with the crack & boom splitting the serene environment. Worried about structural integrity, we spent the next night, all of us, in the basement. Then we lost power. I moved photogoot and the family to the Embassy Suites downtown the next morning. This was bliss - heated pool, high-speed internet, and two full rooms. The kids enjoyed the pool, the wife stopped crying, and photogoot and I discovered a house scotch worth drinking: Grant's. From the distillers of Balvenie and Glenfiddich. Until I find a more peaty blended scotch, I think I've found my daily drinker. Galinda had graciously offered to watch the children while my wife, photogoot and I had dinner at the Morgan Street Brewery downtown. Unfortunately, the extenuating circumstances I've described above prevented this from occurring. All I wanted to do was walk around with photogoot in Laclede's Landing while he was here. That, my friends is why I was grinning from ear-to-ear; though it was raining, that's exactly what we did! He treated me to a fantastic dinner of medium-rare sirlion atop lobster ravioli. The beer was so good, I brought a gallon of it home and we finished the rest with my wife once the kids were down.

Water Damage
The next morning we had prepared omelettes at the hotel and photogoot watched the children while my wife and I drove to house to check on the cats and the cleanup. I'd called my insurance agent Saturday morning, then spoke to the owner of the offending tree. He agreed to handle all the clean-up of the branches which the company who was to tarp the roof required prior to patching. When we arrived back at the house we noticed that the branch which had fallen on our neighbors house had been removed, cleaned, and the roof tarped over. Nothing was done to our house whatsoever. I had told the owner of the property next to us that I would handle all clean-up on our end, but he'd told me he wanted to handle it on his end, and he didn't. Subsequently, the 5-gallon bucket we'd placed under the hole, had filled with water, overflowed, soaked my son's room, and seeped into my basement office. Lori was in tears again. I finally had the branches removed and a team will be at the house tomorrow to tarp the damage. It's snowing now and will be 19-degrees tomorrow. The good news is that the electricity was restored about 1600, but I'd already reserved the room another day, and at $200 a pop, we chose to stay another night. We have one hell of a week ahead of us.

I was apparently too harsh with my understanding of the clean-up situation. The guys had simply taken the MLK holiday off. Shortly after I arrived home the next day, a team of men were in my backyard clearing the debris. The adjuster will be here Saturday.


Tomas Gallucci
schpydurx at 2007-01-16 02:11 (UTC) (Link)
holy shit! I am stunned to silence.
ehowton at 2007-01-16 03:09 (UTC) (Link)
Its why I haven't been available much this weekend.
This Is Me, Ten Sticks
lehah at 2007-01-16 02:18 (UTC) (Link)
ehowton at 2007-01-16 03:39 (UTC) (Link)
Yessir, that about sums it up.
prog_guy69 at 2007-01-16 02:48 (UTC) (Link)
Wow! I'm just glad nobody was hurt. I can probably get you a few nights for free at a Red Roof In or Motel 6 if you need. Just say the word, and I'll make the necessary preparations.

ehowton at 2007-01-16 03:42 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, and that's a very generous offer. The first place I checked was the Red Roof Inn near our house, but I wasn't the only one with that idea - they didn't have a single vacancy.
galinda822 at 2007-01-16 04:19 (UTC) (Link)
Sorry about the damage to your home, glad however that no one was physically hurt!
Sorry your weekend with photogoot didn't go as planned, glad however that you both still had a good visit (one that won't soon be forgotten I bet)!
Sorry my home wasn't big enough to acommodate everyone, glad however that you were able to find shelter in the storm!
Please do not hesitate to contact me for anything you may need while getting the house repaired and back in order.
It was, indeed, very eerie being outdoors with all the ice noises and not knowing where anything was going to fall.
ehowton at 2007-01-16 04:39 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for your thoughts. I had some scooby-snack. Two full months without, and I had some. I'm going to try to go all day tomorrow without - it tasted like shit. BTW, I won't be at work tomorrow. You'll have to hold down the fort.
Melancthe the Woe, So-Called
melancthe at 2007-01-16 05:04 (UTC) (Link)
... bloody hell! That's pretty scary. I hope you don't have problems with the insurance or anything like that: is there likely to be any difficulty with it?

And ♥ for the image size tags; thank you. :)
ehowton at 2007-01-16 17:57 (UTC) (Link)
No ma'am, thank you! I resize all my pics to the same width regardless (for uniformity's sake, you understand) so it's a piece of cake. As far as the insurance, I'm not anticipating any issues, but I've never had to submit a claim before either. I use one of the largest names, and have for the last 10-years so I think it will go very smoothly.
CeltManX, Devlin O' Coileáin
celtmanx at 2007-01-16 05:31 (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad everyone is safe and you did not loose your database.

Sorry the visit with Paul did not go as planned.

You know the Winters in Texas are much milder than in St. Louis!!!
ehowton at 2007-01-16 17:58 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. And your logic is, as always, flawless sir.
dreamkatch at 2007-01-16 12:19 (UTC) (Link)
Man, that's crazy, I can't imagine how scary that must have been for your son! And what's the deal with Union Station? There's a union station in Toronto, and, surprisingly enough, that IS where the trains go :)
galinda822 at 2007-01-16 14:50 (UTC) (Link)

Hope this explains to everyone's satisfaction!!!

It was at this site that in the 1950s, over 380 trains a day arrived at or departed from St. Louis. The station area deteriorated during the 1960s and 1970s as air travel became the main mode of long-distance travel between cities. At one point, Union Station was so dilapidated that the inside of the building was used for a scene following a bomb attack in the movie "Escape From New York."

However, the 1980s brought a great revival for Union Station as developers saw the advantages to placing a major retail center and a luxury hotel so close to downtown. While the AmTrak station was moved several blocks to the east, the new MetroLink station brings back some of the flavor of the old trains.
Elizabeth Krumbach
princessleia2 at 2007-01-16 14:36 (UTC) (Link)
Eeek, that sucks! Glad everyone was OK though, good luck with the repairs.
ehowton at 2007-01-16 18:09 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you ma'am, and you're right, it could have been worse. It can always be worse.
Tomas Gallucci
schpydurx at 2007-01-16 16:49 (UTC) (Link)
I had a suspicion upon my first reading and now I am seeking confirmation: you used the words trains don't go to Union Station. Is this, in fact, a subtle reference to the movie Inside Man (Amazon, IMDB)?
ehowton at 2007-01-16 17:51 (UTC) (Link)
You are right, it was a subtle reference - but to my subject's namesake, Planes, Trains & Automobiles:
"Train don't run out of Wichita...unlessin' you're a hog or a cattle."
snapper521 at 2007-01-17 00:05 (UTC) (Link)

As you know, we also had a tree fall onto our house, however, it did almost nothing compaired to the damages your house sustained.

I hope your family, and your house, can recover fully, and perhaps even grow from this expeariance.

I've heard it said that God never gives us anything more then he knows we can handle. So... in that regard, I suppose I would be thankful that God thinks you can handle this type of stress. :-)

ehowton at 2007-01-17 00:56 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. Yes, I saw your post - I don't' mind the work, but I hate the damage. We're moving the kids into the basement until the work on the roof and the ceiling is complete.
irulan_amy at 2007-01-18 06:35 (UTC) (Link)
Wow, craziness. And what timing.

I do not miss ice storms. At all. :/
ehowton at 2007-01-18 07:05 (UTC) (Link)
I heard you guys had some unexpected freezing weather out there yourselves. Stay warm, ya hear?
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