Friday, April 29, 2005

It's been forever since I last posted anything and the longer you go without posting the harder it gets to start again. At first I was dealing with a lot of wrist and arm pain from overdoing things and since I couldn't stop using the computer at work, I stopped using it at home. At work, things have been too busy for posting. I love my job but I sometimes wonder if I'll ever get caught up.

This is the last of a series of long work days. We've packed up most of our offices and should be ready for the movers on Monday. I'm stuck here waiting for what appears will be a seven hour long full back-up of our server to end. One of our supporters made a very generous donation of an old mansion a block south of Franklin on Pillsbury for our offices. The move is really needed since we're overcrowded here but I'm feeling a little sad. I've been here for eleven years now and the building feels like home. (I'm also a little sad because we were planning on attending the Nebulas this weekend until I realized it coincided with the move. It would have been nice to be able to cheer Chris on in person. We'll be there tomorrow in spirit.) We didn't always occupy this part of the building. When I first started this part was Southside Family School, one of the first charter schools in Minneapolis. They eventually had to move and ended up at the old St. Stephens Church school. As we expanded, we slowly took over more and more until we had most of the second floor. There are only two of us left on staff that even remember being in any other space. The shelter will stay in the basement so I'll be back here on a regular basis.

Tomorrow a couple of volunteers and I will sort through our computer parts and donations to try to put together three more workstations we need and to see if any of the rest can be given to the families in our transitional housing program. Yesterday afternoon, I finally had a chance to try to fix on old HP LaserJet 4si printer that stopped working two months ago. Right now, we all have access to our wonderful networked copier for printing but in the new place we'll be spread out over three floors. I'd like to have a laser printer on each floor and don't want to spend any money we don't have to. After getting it running nicely on the network and printing without smudges, I noticed I was getting some weird irregularly spaced dents in the paper. I narrowed the problem down to the area around the fuser assembly and decided to try to remove to see if I could tell what was causing the dents. It was surprisingly easy to remove. When I tipped it sideways I could see a lot of brown stuff stuck to the rollers. Replacing it is doable - there seem to be spare parts for the old LaserJets all over the place - but it would be a chunk of change. I didn't know if cleaning it would cause any damage but I figured we didn't have anything to lose. The brown stuff was baked on but it started to come off on the Q-tips I was using with a little anti-static cleaner. Water wasn't cutting it. I had a shop light clipped next to me and when it started getting hot I noticed a sweet smell rising from the fuser. The brown stuff was chocolate. The fuser is pretty inaccessible, buried deep under the closed cover. The chocolate must have been solid when it passed the first sets of rollers and toner, etc. and only melted when it hit the fuser. I was able to remove almost all of it and the printing and paper is now pristine. I would give quite a bit to know how the chocolate got into the printer in the first place. It took a long time to fix. My admiration for the designers of those early LaserJets only continues to grow.

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