Sunday, August 15, 2010

Movin' on Up

The past few days have been CRAZY busy as we moved our offices at work from the current location to our new facilities.  We began moving technology on Thursday afternoon.  At 4pm, I shut down the servers and the router and dismantled the wiring that connected it all together.  My original plan was to pull each of the servers out of the rack and move them independently of the rack itself.  A couple of guys, who move vending machines etc, said they could move the rack in tact.  So, at 5pm, they loaded the rack on to their very cool, motorized dolly.  It was a test in skill and patience.  The rack is VERY heavy.  In addition to that, it barely fit through the door when it was first brought in.  The cool thing about the dolly is that the movers could get the rack as low as they needed, and sure enough, they cleared the door and overhangs outside.  The trip to the new location went smoothly.  And then the fun started.

The floor cleaners were in the middle of stripping and waxing, so we could not walk on the floor.  We had to bring the server rack up the outside stairwell.  This was a slow, laborious, tedious process.  Since the servers were going to the second floor (yes, in retrospect, I would have fought to have the servers on the first floor even if that meant waiting another day to get them installed), the outside stairwell has a flight of steps, a landing, then another flight.

There were two guys (the movers) working the top of the rack (which is basically the size of a vending machine turned sideways) and Floyd and I working the bottom.  They pulled and adjusted the wheels and carriage while Floyd and I pushed and lifted.  The first flight was tough.  Our main problem was getting our rhythm down.  About halfway up, we figured it out and we moving along nicely.  At the landing, there was something of a communication breakdown (as in none), and the Floyd and I suddenly saw the rack tilting straight for us!  The whole thing landed upright, but VERY hard!  It sounded like someone taking  a stack of computers and dropping them from about waist high.  I truly feared the worst.

The second flight of stairs went quickly and soon, we had the servers in the server room! I did not hook up the servers. I wanted to sleep on things, and prepare for the worst should the "drop" have crashed a server or six.

On Friday, my son Tyler joined the workforce, and he and I grabbed what we needed and headed off to the servers.  Unfortunately, yet another breakdown in communication means I have to wait until Monday to completely connect power to the servers.  Turns out the UPS we use has a special 30-amp plug. I discussed that with our architect way back when, but evidently it was lost in the shuffle.

Tyler and I moved enough power cords around to get the servers ready for power.  One by one, I fired up the servers.  They each came back online!  I had an issue with our mailer server, but I believe that was due to the order of booting things up.  The mail server came up faster than the SQL server, and since the mail server could not 'see' the database, it decided we weren't going to have email.  I "showed" it where things were (and *HOW* things were) and within minutes, we were hopping.

I worked Tyler to the bone on Friday.  We had a lot of technology to dismantle at the old building, and I took full advantage of having a younger person with me.  At one point, I said, "I know when you and your sister come to work with me, I am usually doing things at my desk.  But THIS is the kind of thing I help schools do.  Now, I am getting to do it for the co-op.  My job is not just about sitting at the computer all day, it's about keeping things running.  When things are running smoothly, I mostly work from my desk.  But when things go wrong, I have to kick it into gear."  He nodded with wide, knowing eyes, having just put in a day of "working with Dad."  (Aside: When the kids come to work with me, I usually make it a day where I have a good idea that I won't be out at a school, etc. I'd rather not have to worry about them while I'm working on something else, even though they are great kids. My worry is more about something happening *to* them than *because* of them.)

We started at 8am and finished at 5pm on Friday.  Several folks stayed MUCH later than that then had to be there at 7am on Saturday!

Tyler decided he wanted to go to the water park in Dallas with the church youth rather than spend another hit day moving stuff with me. Who could blame him? When I told folks where he went, they would say, "I'm going with him!"  We wished we could!

Saturday found a lot of people working at both sites, moving, packing, storing, you name it.  While Terry and I took apart the equipment in the conference room, Trish worked in the new building to set up the distance learning lab.  It was great not having to mess with that part of things so I could concentrate on the dismantling/moving side of things. 

Terry, Leslie and I crawled up and down ladders in the old conference room chasing wiring in the ceiling grid.  It was a nasty, tangled mess, and I could not have done it alone.  I'm glad I work with folks that are not afraid to get in there, get dirty, and get the job done!  We also took apart what was left of the computer lab and distance learning lab.  The early childhood women came en force and packed up several cabinets in the technology center.  It was amazing how quickly they could get things packed! WOW!

At one point, a bunch of guys were loading bookcases from the technology area.  I was working with Phoebe's mom to stack and move the shelves that go in the bookcases.  We had a hydraulic lift dolly and we loaded the shelving onto it.  Not until we had loaded every single shelf (maybe 20 shelves or so) did we realize that they were loaded SIDEWAYS.  They wouldn't fit through the door.  Yeah, neither one of us saw this coming.  All we could do was laugh, unload the shelves and shake our heads at ourselves.  Good times.  Good times.  We moved the shelves by hand.

At 3pm, everyone met in the lobby of the new building. We had prayer and dismissed.  I stayed (as well as Phoebe and a couple others) behind.  I worked with our phone system installer (whose name I forgot, but will be sure to find out!) as he did some troubleshooting and set up.  Our upgraded phone system has a cool web-based user interface to programming the phones, so that should help make things easier to manage.  Not that it was a chose to manage before, but I will feel much more comfortable "playing" with different settings, features, etc.  I installed one of the security cameras, moved wiring etc to where I would need it on Sunday and at 7pm, I called it quits. My brain wasn't thinking straight and I was spending more time THINKING about problems/solutions than actually solving them.  Yeah, it was time to go.

That reminds me, I need to create a new venue in FourSquare... :-)

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