After 2 days of brutal yet exciting wind and rain (after all the violent weather is reason # 3 that we moved here) I must admit it was a great day to be out. Very brisk, yet sunny, clear and totally fall-like. We have noticed the change in the temperature lately. The daytime highs are definitely falling, and the nighttime lows are into the 30's. Winter is definitely tapping at our back door! Sad thing is the wind all but blew out all of the color. Still quite beautiful in its way though. Just awesome to finally be here. A dream of 17 years, come true.
I had a unique job today of which John helped me. We met with the client who lives above Anchorage, and owns a home in Nikiski through inheritance. It is a nice semi secluded property that can use some love, but is definitely a diamond in the rough that sits right on the edge of a lake. He is trying to sell it though and has to get some of the bugs out, like the leaking fuel tank. He was a good down to earth guy who was originally from Chicago...and it showed from the accent all the way to the body motion....'know what I'm sayin'! ;) Anyways he gave us a hand in replacing the 300 gallon heating fuel tank. Those things aren't lite, even when they are empty, so the extra hand was nice. He isn't sure who did it, as the only people who knew about the leak were myself, the Realtor, the tenant living there, and the fuel truck driver....but someone turned him in to the D.E.C. The D.E.C. is the Department Of Environmental Conservation, and they called him on the leak. In fact before we could re-install the new tank, they needed to come out to inspect the ground around the old tank, for fuel absorption into the soil. Fortunately, the agent man was coming out today and unknown to him, would arrive to find a series of very bad circumstances which in some ways would impact his outlook on the day! Now to protect his identity, from here in we will refer to him simply as....the environmental guy. When he arrived at the site, the...environmental guy... seemed pretty low keyed and friendly, which is already a plus, because the homeowner was afraid he would have some authority stricken specialist who would rake him up and down. Not the case, however you could tell right off that this guy took his job seriously. As he should. Anyways, he did a visual of the location of the leaky tank and automatically knew that we were dealing with a low level environmental atrocity. So he pulled out his digital 'sniffer' and began to pick up fuel levels in the soil. Now mind you, the homeowner wanted me to make the old tank disappear before the.... environmental guy.... came so that maybe the he wouldn't see the condition of the tank and further raise his alarm to the impending situation. But this guy didn't miss a beat, his ol'factory glands were honed. The environmental guy, as just from the smell, was able to figure out the make, model, and the year the tank was installed! True Alaskan predatory grit I tell you!! Where the tank was siting was on the side of a hill that led down to the lake, so he was very cautious to check the soil on the hillside to make sure the fuel hadn't traveled downhill with rain runoff, towards the lake. Good thing is, the hillside sniffed clean. But the area the old stand was on was saturated with high levels of fuel. About this time Doug, the homeowner, is sinking into his shorts as he is getting the feeling that the environmental guy is gonna nail him to the cross. And I felt bad for Doug, because he was a really nice guy, and sincerely wasn't fully aware of the extent of the leak, as it was never brought to his attention until the home was listed to sell. So I am watching this poor guys world roll over, as the ....environmental guy ....tells Doug that he is going to have to remove the contaminated soil. "How much?", was asked.....the environmental guys answer....start digging! This is where it got worse. Doug dug (pardon the pun) a foot down.....that digital sniffer device was beeping angrily. 2 feet down....still ringing. 3 feet....no mercy that damned sniffer had. Then came the opportunity for me to set the mood in Doug's favor. Much like the 'birdie finger' the other day, I sometimes have a unique way of throwing peoples' guard and lightening the load off their souls. So as the environmental guy is examining the area to find out how far out the contamination had spread, he couldn't help but raise the question to us, "where is the old tank?" What happened next would forever change the way the environmental guy would view his job...and more than likely make for a great conversation piece at dinners to come. Straight faced as a heart attack without missing a beat I said, "Doug wanted it gone so we rolled it into the lake....this way it would just fill with water and go to the bottom." This guy face lost all expression as his eyes got huge, and his mouth began to sag. I heard a murmur of "OOOF come from his parting lips as I watched his heart fall to his ass (who does that sound like). Talk about getting all choked up. Before I could say that I was just kidding, he literally sucked air so hard it took him darned near 20 seconds to catch his breath, coughing from the lack of salivary secretion! Mean time I look over at Doug and he looks as if he is trying hard to believe what he just heard, and doesn't know whether to cry, crap, or just hang his head in disbelief and sorrow over the sure jail time he's gonna do as the result of my foolery. I think things turned around for ol' Doug when I patted the environmental guys' shoulder and told him it was in the back of my truck around back. When he finally did catch his breath and could swallow once more he managed to crack a grin, before braking into a long clearing of the throat! From there on out I think the environmental guy and I bonded, as he seemed to open up to me a little better, and felt confident that I would see the job of removing the soil through to the end....with measured success! He did give me a huge 'ground diaper' for soaking up any spill that may occur as we were re-filling the new tank once it was up. I think he is looking forward to hearing from me Wednesday! I told him John would remove the soil Monday or Tuesday after school for a re inspection later in the week. As for the contaminated soil, we will put it in the 10 or so5 gallon buckets that we bought to use as holding devices for the emptied fuel, while we relocated the stand and moved the new tank in place. The environmental guy just grinned ear to ear when I told him not to worry, that we would just spread it along the lakes bank to help dilute the contaminated soil.....!! =) When it was all done, Doug just thanked me profusely, as he sincerely felt that I swayed the way this guy was going to handle it. Whether or not that's true, and I don't know for sure and don't want to push my luck by asking....I sure had some fun yankin' the D.E.C. though! When Doug and I shook hands at days end, he just chuckled and and said he would never forget the priceless look on that guys face. I don't think any of us, the environmental guy included, will soon forget the priceless look on the guys face.
Tonight after showering I decided to go into town and treat myself to dinner at La Casa since Maryann was working and John was out late for the night with a couple buddies from school. I still have the fabled fuel tank strapped in the back of my truck as I can't dispose of it until Monday, but figure I would look like about every other Alaskan driving about so...who cares! I did get a little stir briefly as I was driving down the road out to the highway. You see, the speed limit is strictly 35MPH and usually enforced by State Troopers. I am usually good about watching my speed but tonight coming around a slight downhill bend, I think the weight in the back of the truck got the best of me as I realized I was doing 40 about the same time I noticed in my side view mirror the State Trooper behind me. But not to worry, no. My son distracted the State Troopers' attention, flying towards us in the opposite lane doing 45 MPH or better!!!! Holy crap! I would sure hate to be John right about now knowing what he may find lodged in his Heine come daylight! I'll give you a hint....I where a size 10!! Good thing I will be asleep before he gets home! God truly must have been with him, as the Trooper was more focused on me and the mystery tank in the back of my rig. Oye!
In other news my hand is going to make it....I think. The swelling is about gone, and the bite is shrinking in size and back to a pinkish tone instead of the dark purple it was. Now that the swelling is gone and the color fading, you can see two little fang marks...I mean very distinctly. Little son of a bit#^! Unfortunately I have taken a 'don't ask don't tell' stance to all spiders that I see. I don't ask and the will never tell again! Until I figure out who is naughty and who is nice, that is the way it has to be!! Anyways, have a great rest of the weekend, and remember, a little humor can change someones day.......hee, hee, hee!