Sitting on my hospital bed it was easy to see the mistakes I had made that led to my 911 phone call and to my ambulance ride to the hospital.
Hindsight is definitely twenty-twenty. But at the time, each of those decisions seemed to be perfectly logical and rational to me.
That’s the way it is when you’re seriously ill, and operating with only half a deck, and don’t realize it yet. That’s the way it is when you think that you are healthy, but you’re not.
It all came to a head four weekends ago. My client, Dayakar, and I had been working 100 hour weeks to get a new product ready for the Xerox FIT Test. That’s the crucial test that every piece of OEM (Other Equipment Manufacturer) equipment has to pass before it is purchased by Xerox, and added to a Xerox Printing line (such as the printing line for the Nuvera EA Production System or the Xerox iGen4™ Press.
Dayakar had given me the final changes on Friday June 6th, so all I had to do was input the changes into Microsoft Word, save a pdf file for each section of the service manual, post the pdf files to the ftp site, and get a copy of the pdf files to Maurice Soucy at Xerox so he could print them first thing Monday morning.
That was doable, no doubt about it. So since it was the 2014 Rochester Brew Fest Weekend, I decided to relax by walking up to the Stoneyard on Main Street to enjoy a nice meal and try their new 531 IPA, which was one of three beers they were launching that weekend.
The 531 isn’t a hop count or anything, it’s just a play on words, since route 531 is the expressway that ends in the middle of no place just east of Brockport.
I got there late, because I’d worked so late, but the place was so crowded that Brit, the head waiter had to take my name and ask me to wait in the bar downstairs.
That’s a sign that business is good. So I smiled and went down into the bar, hoping to find a place to stand where I wouldn’t have to hold my glass all night.
I found a place in the right corner of the bar next to a biker wearing a Harley T-shirt. A few minutes later, two young women and a young man walked in and asked if they could belly up to the bar next to us.
So five people, who had almost nothing in common, except enjoying the taste of a good IPA found themselves talking to each other on a Friday night. That’s the way it is during a Brew Fest. You can expand your horizons because you can find common ground.
When Brit told me my table was ready, I went upstairs and tried to order a Back Bean Burgher, but it wasn’t on the special menu for the Brew Fest, so I ordered a “Create You Own” burgher with fries instead of chips.
I told the waitress I wanted onions and peppers on top, and she asked if I also wanted the chili. The “Create You Own” burgher comes with chili, but I’d never ordered chili with the burgher before, so I decided to try it.
The burgher tasted good, and the chili on the burgher tasted good too, but at about 2:30 in the morning I woke up with wicked stomach cramps and diarrhea.
All I could think of was food poisoning (but I couldn’t have been more wrong).
I slept basically all of Saturday, but on Sunday I was able to function well enough to input the changes into Microsoft Word, save a pdf file for each section of the service manual, post the pdf files to the ftp site, and email a copy of the pdf files to Maurice at Xerox so he could print them first thing Monday morning.
On Day One the Xerox employee running the FIT Test spends a full day going over the eight sections of the service manual:
- Section 1 – Service Call
- Section 2 - Repair Analysis Procedures (RAPs)
- Section 3 – Punch Quality
- Section 4 – Repairs & Adjustments (REPs)
- Section 5 - Parts
- Section 6 - General Procedures (GPs)
- Section 7 - Wiring
- Section 8 - Installation
The punch was a simple machine, made by Acco in suburban Chicago. Acco already had the product on the market and had modified it to work in the Xerox Nuvera line of high speed printers.
One of the things that made unique and interesting was that I had never met Dayakar. We had talked by phone more than a hundred times and had exchanged hundreds of emails, but we had never met eyeball to eyeball and shaken hands.
But even so, we had established a good working relationship. We had accomplished an amazing amount of stuff so far. Text and emails gave us the means to exchange information and the cell phone calls helped us fill in the do this - do that procedure steps all the way to zooming in on the digital photos which showed the action at hand.
Except for travelling, I seemed to be back on track, so things were looking up. We agreed that it would be best if I didn’t travel, so they reviewed the documentation in Webster, scanned in the pages with changes and emailed them to me, so I was making updates in real time.
Day Two was set aside for customer training, so while Dayakar trained Maurice and the other Xerox employees, I updated the RAPs, Punch Quality, the REPs, the Installation Instructions, and Service Procedures.
Wednesday, Day Three, was the actual FIT Test in which Dan inserted 10 faults into the machine, and the service documentation correctly diagnosed nine of the ten. The one fault that didn’t pass, failed because the machine itself was wired backwards so the interlock switch didn’t work properly.
Since this was a manufacturing problem rather than a documentation problem, once the switch was re-wired, we passed the FIT test with a score of ten out of ten.
One of the concerns that the Xerox service people had was that the connectors were not numbered (C1, C2, C3, etc.). This is not something ACCO usually does, and they didn’t want to change the wiring diagram just to add connector numbers.
So I spent Thursday, June 12th, creating a table with a row for each electrical component (sensor, motor solenoid, etc.) and column for each connection from the component to the Master Control Board.
This eliminated the need to label each connector, since each connector was already identified in the table. When Dan from Xerox service accepted this solution; my job was done.
So it was time for me to make plans for the weekend. It was Father’s Day Weekend, but my wife and I had separated last summer, and my kids seemed to blame the break-up on me.
We have a family tradition of giving a hug and a kiss and a homemade card on Father’s Day, but it looked like that long-standing tradition was going to fall through the cracks this year.
None of my three children had contacted me about getting together on Father’s Day, and I didn’t want to sit around the house and mope. So I decided to turn a negative into a positive and go to the Adirondack Mountains for the weekend.
I sent the kids an email to tell them what my plans were, but none of them responded.
I planned to drive to Lake George on Friday, June 13th, climb Cascade Mountain on Saturday, the 14th, and then climb one of the High Peaks on Sunday, the 15th, as a Father’s Day treat to myself. Then, I drive back on Monday, the 16th.
Cascade is one of my favorite peaks because the top is so open, and I figured I’d decide on the High Peak to climb after I’d tested myself on Cascade.
But when I checked into the Quality Inn, the desk clerk convinced me that Cascade was outside the Lake George area and that I really ought to consider climbing one of the mountains near Lake George that I’d never climber before.
She recommended Sleeping Beauty Mountain, and after I read the blurb in the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) brochure she gave me, I told her that I thought she had a great idea. Why repeat a climb I’d already done, when I could do a comparable climb that I’d never done before.
Besides, Sleeping Beauty is off Route 149, the road I used to take when I drove my daughter, Sarah, to and from the University of Vermont in Burlington, so there was even a family connection.
According to the DEC brochure, the Sleeping Beauty Mountain Trail is a 7.8 mile loop and a moderate climb. “Switchbacks ease the ascent up to the summit where you’ll enjoy open ledges. Swing by Bumps Pond on the return and possibly take a detour to explore Fishbrook Pond.”
She also gave me a typewritten sheet with excerpts from an Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) publication, which stated that Sleeping Beauty Mountain is 2,347 feet high, and that to reach Sleeping Beauty Mountain, you take Route 149 to Buttermilk Falls Road.
She asked a man who worked at the hotel if he knew the intersection and he said yes, and that there is a wood stove store on the corner of Buttermilk Falls Road and Route 149.
According to the ADK, “Take Buttermilk Falls Road from Rt. 149 north to the Hogtown Trailhead. This 3.2-mile trail has many switchbacks to keep the steepness moderate. Good views of Lake George and the southeastern Adirondacks.”
I don’t know why the DEC and the ADK differed in the length of the trail by 4.6 miles, but on the DEC map it looked like there were two trails up the mountain; one going straight up the mountain and the other going all the way out to Fishbrook Pond . All I could figure was that the DEC gave the total length of the trail system while the ADK gave the shortest route to the top.
Either way, it seemed to be a relatively easy climb. So I didn’t worry about it, even when I couldn’t find a copy of the guidebook “Discover the Southeastern Adirondacks”.
I usually like to read the write-up in the Discover series guidebooks because they give precise descriptions of the trails, but it seemed pretty straight forward so I wasn’t concerned about having to rely on another source.
Route 149 was easy enough to find. I just took Route 9 south out of Lake George until it intersected Route 149. And Buttermilk Falls Road was easy to find because it’s just east of the Warren/Washington County line and the wood stove store was impossible to miss on the corner of Buttermilk Falls Road.
And it was an easy drive, even after it turned into Sly Pond Road a couple of miles north of Route 149.
The DEC signs indicated that I was going in the right direction, so I kept on going until I reached the Hog Town Trailhead Parking Lot, where everybody else on the road was parking and heading out for one of the eight trails that branch off from the parking lot.
I asked some young women if this was the way to Sleeping Beauty Mountain, and the y said yes, just follow the trail straight ahead.
That turned out to be the Dacy Clearing Trail, which leads only to the two trails to Sleeping Beauty Mountain. But I didn’t know that at the time. Everything I had seen so far seemed to indicate that there was only one trail up Sleeping Beauty Mountain.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
To Be Continued in One Mistake Led to Another (Part II).