FreeTVBlog HQ Under Siege

Satellite dish surrounded by chain-link fences“Distractions” is the word I’ve been using recently to describe what’s been going on at FreeTVBlog World Headquarters since early February. Last week, it became worse than that – they asked for my satellite dish. Let me explain.

The city of Denver is in the middle of a storm sewer improvement project along the busy street next to my office. It’s probably necessary; during heavy rains, the nearby manhole cover would often pop off for an impromptu fountain in the middle of the road. For some reason, the fix involves a large chunk of my easement. You homeowners will recognize the easement as the part of the yard that you mow and water, yet which any utility folks can tear up when they feel like it.

Last week, I got the news that the project would require the removal of a huge, 60-year-old silver maple tree. (I know of its approximate age because I saw its 1964 size at, a great site where any armchair historian or retronaut can spend hours browsing around. But I digress.) The next day, my water turned sputtery and brown. And on top of all that came an email that asked, “Is this satellite dish active? If not active, can it be removed by our contractor?” Arrgh!

The dish in question is pictured above. The pole is my original free-to-air satellite pole, inexpertly sunk in a concrete-filled five-gallon drum, and later (long story) carefully offset into the ground to make it plumb. In the old days, it pointed at a cornucopia of FTA channels. After those went away, I repointed it to the satellite with the national PBS feeds. That’s how I still use it today, supplementing the larger, motor-driven dish that points to most of the channels at Anyway, that dish is at least 20 feet from the street, so I was incredulous and unhappy that the construction folks might think it was in the way.

Thank goodness I got them to agree, and since then the threat level has diminished. The tree was taken down in half a day, and I’m getting used to its absence the way I felt a week after losing my wisdom teeth. Denver Water came out within hours of being notified, flushed my pipes clean, and offered to return if construction caused the problem to recur. (Although a contractor later rang my doorbell and guided me to the spot on the street where my water main lived, all just so he could insist there was no possible way his construction folks could have caused my dirty water. Sure.) And workers erected some temporary chain-link fence sections on three sides of the dish, presumably to deter overenthusiastic excavators. By the time I return from the NAB Show five weeks from now, they say they’ll have rebuilt my sprinkler system, resodded my yard, paved a wider sidewalk, and protected me from the next impromptu spring-rain fountain. Here’s hoping.