Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Exhaustion

Yesterday was my last day at the Power Plant. I signed out on the confined space form, turned in my orange confined space tag and my gate pass. I am done!

This is the last of a 4-year contract, so I don't know if I will work another outage. The big bosses asked me to call them in November and remind them of the sticky gooey mess this is, and how much they HATE it. They didn't coat all the sections of pipe in the four years they worked here, but don't think it will fail. It could, and that will be discovered with tests through out the year.

Basically they have to pull all their help off every other project, hire all sorts of extras, and buy TONS of other safety gear and other stuff in order to staff this job. The Vice President, Operations Manager, Safety Boy, and all their foremen drop every other project and come down for a month in order to do this outage in April. They rent rooms at a motel or haul their travel trailers and rent a space in the trailer park. They told me that there are many other projects they could have, because it is good weather in April, that they have to turn down or delay because of this contract. The contract is now done. Besides they hated working with the engineering firm who headed this. They were hired by our plant to head this whole mess up in the first place, but they really didn't know any more about what we were doing than anyone else. Everyone has lost respect for this engineering firm.

But this job was great for our family. The first year, S3 paid for his mission clothes (about $1000), and put away a sizable CD that matured when he got home, which he used to help him get back into school.

The next two years, it paid the way for Sailor and me to travel to Austria and sing in a choir for Mozart's 250th Birthday, and pick up S3 in Taiwan from his mission. This year, no major trips are planned. I will put the money away into a savings account.

I slept in this morning until 9. Ah, the luxury. But I have found when I sleep in, I have all sorts of weird dreams, too confusing to even recall all the details. This morning I got up with Sailor and packed some goodies into his lunch box, but somehow found myself back in bed 3 hours later, not even remembering heading back. I am NOT a morning person, but somehow I managed to do it for 2 weeks. It doesn't sound like a big deal unless you are doing the 12-hour days.

Mind you I am not whining or complaining, just describing.

I know other people go through MUCH worse, like my sweet D2 who works full-time, 12-hour nights at the Children's hospital. Her job carries their only insurance, so she says she has no choice. Besides the ungodly hours, she sees death and all sorts of sickness and has to leave her sleeping husband and son while she goes to work. She is pregnant and due in May. I cannot imagine enduring what she does. She is a hero in my eyes. D1 gets up every day with her husband at 3 am fixes breakfast and lunch, says a family prayer and sends him off to work. Then she works full time as an assistant manager at a hair salon. She is amazing. D3 works as well. She worked her way through school, and then got a job at a doctor's clinic while her husband worked and finished school. DIL 2 and DIL 1 also worked while finishing school and after they graduated to support their husbands through school. All five girls are amazing to me, and I love and admire them for doing this. Thank you sweet daughters. I met two girls on this job who are single and support their children. They are both Mom & Dad in their families. All these people are amazing to me.

I am a spoiled Brat. I have always had the privilege of staying at home.

But here is what we did during the outage: Basically Sailor arises at 5:30 (how does he do that every day of his life?) turns on the television and the heat and proceeds to make breakfast and pack the lunch we prepared the night before. I dragged out at 6 with his gentle persuasion, that being the heater, television and a jug of Mt. Dew propped up by the pillow beside me. He is so patient. Then I would pack the veggies, dip, cheese sticks, and some sort of treat. Mostly the treat was a snack bag of cashews and M&M's or a granola bar. I would put in my contac lenses, mascara, curl hair (even though it was squashed by a hard hat), blush and some sort of lip gloss. Then the clothes (at first it included long johns, but after a week it got warm enough to eliminate them), socks and the much hated work boots. Drag out to the car and ride with Sailor the 13 miles to the Plant.

Work was varied enough not to get bored, and everyone who visited the two tents said I had many more responsibilities than the other hole-watch did. I guess that is why my Boss loved me. Then finally at 7 pm (Sailor was kind enough to just wait in his office, even though he was usually done by 6) Sailor would come pick me up and we would go home. Mostly we made supper and tomorrow's lunch, eat, shower and go to bed.

Usually we dragged to bed by 10:30, no matter how hard we tried to make it earlier. Last year we each had a task after work. We would chop up a huge salad, make delicious Martha Stewart meat balls or bread. We used this for our dinner and our lunch. This year, a woman approached me just before the outage started and begged me to make her and her daughter each an outfit for a wedding coming up in May.

Back in January when the Project Manager calls, he reserves us for a month, so we never know how long this will last. It usually doesn't last that long, but you never know.
So almost every night this year I sewed for an hour while Sailor did all the kitchen work. On Friday's we got off early, and I would do the wash and sew. We still didn't get to bed until 10:30.

It was a blur of Ground Hog days (referring to the movie). I never knew what day it was, they all blended together. Sunday's never felt like Sundays. Last Sunday, Sailor was off, but that Angel got up with me, helped me pack my lunch, made breakfast, like always, then drove me to work.

I KNOW! I am a spoiled brat. He had his cell phone, so he texted me about Sacrament meeting. He told me who spoke, about the beautiful song the choir sang and the amazing talks. He attended a baptism at the Spanish Branch where 82 people showed up, and they ate a pot luck afterwards. It was the baptism of the Branch Presidency 1st counselor's son. Then he picked me up at the end of the day.

The first year, I had to go through a different gate for contractors called Badge Alley. This was such a hassle. It was a quarter of a mile from the tent, so you had to wait for a van to pick you up and haul all your stuff back and forth. I NEVER left anything in the tent because the Night workers and Hole Watch had no respect. Everything was eaten, used, thrown away and lost in the morning. The B Tent attendant left her tote there the whole two weeks this time and no one touched it. Not possible in my tent. I hauled a duffel bag, a lunch box, my hard hat and safety glasses and a Hart's jug every single day. She even threw away my bouquet of flowers I brought this year.

The second year, Sailor worked it out with the main gate so I could go with him through the front gate. This was better for us both because of my hassle, but also so Sailor wouldn't be late going through his gate. Names are taken at 7:01 and you get called into the HeadOfThePlant's office, or something equally as ridiculous. So to spare me of having to go through Badge Alley, my sweetheart took me to work on his day off.

If you click on the title, you can look at all the pictures on my Picasa Album, if you are interested.

have a wonderful day.
~a
PS Just got a call from B tent Hole Watch. The wind is blowing, the door of the tent has blown off. The dust is horrific, she is wearing a dust mask and is freezing. The two extra girls, Safety Girl and Office Girl are watching Hole A and Hole C. Hole C is outside, doesn't have a tent, so I hope they provided a truck for her to sit in. Nobody gets a break to use the bathroom, because the idiot Safety Boy went home today. He should have stayed as long as they needed him. He is so full of himself. I liked the Safety Guy they had the last two years. He treated us as if we were important to him. Anyway I am glad I am gone, but I feel sorry for the ones who came and faithfully gave me a break every day, now are freezing and eating dust and nobody is giving them bathroom breaks or bringing them hot chocolate.
But they are earning another day's wages. . .This one is well earned, I guess. Actually I should say the company is getting their labor for cheap today.

4 comments:

Sailor said...

Hi Dear Friend,
Well, it was a busy time, but it was good to have you driving to and from work with. Fun to hear what all went on in your world. Somehow, my world is a lot more boring and when I well you how it went it is about technical things mostly. I never have any elephant jokes to tell you. :)

AnnieOfBlueGables said...

8{
OhMyGosh!
I never want to hear an elephant joke again!
That was so embarrassing! And the whole tent heard the joke and saw me blush 40 shades of red!
Shame on you for reminding me of it again! I should have never told you.
sheesh!
~a

AnnieOfBlueGables said...

btw
Stubby apologized about 10 times. There were many people, including both bosses who came and told him he had to apologize, and you encourage him!

you are a pill, Sailor, but I still love you.
~a

RisibleGirl said...

Darnit! I had this nice comment and my browser closed. Grrrrr..

ANYWAY, as I was writing earlier, your comments about being spoiled by your dear husband make me smile. I'll bet that he felt you were doing all the work when you were in labor with your babies! Just consider yourself paid in full (and then some, hopefully!)

xo

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