Advice From Mr. Natural

I don’t know why this week went well. By past comparisons, it should have gone poorly. There is enough disruption in a municipal information technology department in any week, but this week there was even more.

For us, Monday (President’s Day) was a holiday. On that day, a pipe two floors above our basement offices burst. A window had been left open in a teachers’ lounge; it was disguised as closed. Fortunately for us — Information Technology Department — the pipe burst on the third floor across the hall from us. Unfortunately for our colleagues across the hall, they got flooded.

Recovery and cleanup started immediately. A box of old “greenbar” line printer paper proved useful as water crept slowly towards the printer/duplicator (70 ppm/35 ppm duplex) that prints all our town’s bills. The greenbar paper was unloaded on the small pond moving towards the printer. The paper absorbed the water, thereby saving the printer.

Our colleagues moved into our lab, office area, and telephone room using whatever recovered furniture and makeshift desks could be assembled. Emergency phone lines were installed in our lab, and extensions across the hall re-routed.

For some reason, this week was like gliding in a canoe on a calm lake. It isn’t that everything went well; it’s more like nothing went badly, and there was a lot of completed work at the end, including the time to do some serious programming. A bitterly cold rainy day and the prospect of more snow did not diminish the feeling.

My normal tendency would be to find out why this happened and try to recreate the events. But this week, I’m taking Mr. Natural’s advice, “If you don’t know, don’t mess with it.”


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