Home for Awhile

Well... I've been sweating bulletts over the weekend, 'cuz I got a call from the Big Boss on Friday. I left Memphis around noon (in hopes that I could arrive home early enough to have some semblance of a weekend) and I was making good time. When the phone rang, I was "miles away"... trying to plan out what would get done this week. The upshot of our conversation is that I'd messed up a hoistway door frame on the last new construction job I was on... And he was pissed about it. I was informed at that time that I would be working here in Knoxville this week, and "did I have my tools?".

The rest of the drive home was spent thinking about all the things that went wrong on that job, and the ultimate cause of the problem... and all I could come up with was "I was the Mechanic In Charge", so it was my responsibility to make it right". I called up the "Adjuster/Construction Supervisor" (Phil) who was out in Memphis last week with us and got three elevators running on auto while he was there, and told him of my plight. I basically told him that I'd Fucked Up, was prepared to make it right, and "Take my ass-chewin' like a man".

The weekend was spent chewin' on my fingernails, and trying to get caught up on my chores. Mostly it was not a lot of fun. I have a tendency to punish myself for making stupid mistakes. I'll sit around and dwell on it until I've driven myself to complete distraction, then I'll think about it some more. I examine everything... from every angle, and try to determine why I fucked up...Was it a physical thing? Too much fatigue, too many body-aches, incorrect/faulty tools, etc.? Was it a mental thing? Distracted with home-life, thinking about too many things at once, trying too hard to advance the job, etc.? Needless to say, the wheels were turning from the time the phone rang until I finally arrived at the job with the Boss.

When I got to the shop this morning, I fully expected to get "raked over the coals" a time or two (and even more later at the job), but the Chief restrained himself to heroic perportions. I think that it was due to the fact that he'd had a weekend to calm himself, but who knows? I rode all the way out to the job (35 minutes of drive) in his truck, and we discussed the finer points of everything but elevators on the way. When we were on site he calmly pointed out the errors I'd made, and we talked about how "The company had failed me?". I allowed that it was not them, but it was MY fault... I've gotten an awesome level of support on www.livejasmin.cc from everyone that can help me in this company, it certainly isn't thier charge to ensure that I did my job correctly... and there's An End On't.

I'm slated to correct my mistake over the course of a few days this week, and I welcome the experience. I look at it as a learning experience, and an opportunity to get better at what I do. It's taken me eighteen-years in the workforce to figure out what I want to be when I "Grow Up", and I'm not about to let "Stupid" fuck up this opportunity for me. I'm an Elevator Man Goddamnit! I Love my job, and I'll do what it takes to ensure that I keep on doing it... Including admitting I was wrong.

the benefit of this whole scenario is that I get to sleep in my own bed for a week... It's a lot to bear just for that simple benefit, but it's the cross I bear... Sometimes I hate being a fuckin' grownup!

18-Wheeled Vigilante!

So... I'm driving back from Memphis this afternoon. My Shop Van is in fine tune, and I'm in a hurry to get back to the crib. Average speed is around 80 to 85 mph, and I'm makin' tracks. It's a bright and sunny day, and the temperature isn't bad. A Good Day for Drivin'. Interstate 40 East, The Mississippi river about 95 miles in my rear-view, Just East of Jackson, TN...It happenned.

Now, anyone who's ever run any decent stretch of two lane blacktop has experienced a trial or two. everything from broken down vehicles, to "Road Rage", to being boxed in by a couple of Semi's having a "Drag Race" for twenty miles (at 62 miles an hour in a 70 zone.). It's this latter phenomena that I'd like to discuss for a minute...

I think that we can all agree that one of the most frustrating things that can happen to you on a long drive is to be stuck behind a couple of tractor-trailors that are running side-by-side at about the same speed. The penultimate "rolling roadblock". the truck in the "fast lane" is doing about a 1/4 of a mile-per-hour faster than the other truck, so he won't give up and get out of the way...The truck in the "slow lane" gets paid by the mile just like everybody else, so he isn't giving up any progress to alleviate the impasse, as it will hit him in the pocketbook. Stalemate. Here you are (an innocent four-wheeler) stuck behind this mass of rolling metal, with no option other than flashing your lights or blowing your horn (neither of which will do a damn bit of good in getting these trucks away from each other).

Here's the live sex chat scenario: The truck in the "slow lane" is a really interesting rig. you've all seen a truck rolling down the road (sans trailer) that had another truck attatched to it backwards, right? One big bar holds the trailing trucks' rear-wheels off the pavement, and the other truck is driving normally. This contraption was much the same, but the "bar" that held the two tractors together was doing double-duty...as a car hauler. Between the "big truck" there was a full-sized Chevy Suburban! (Nifty contraption if I do say so myself.) In the "fast lane" there is a Semi hauling a flatbed. A flatbed filled with wooden pallets. Empty pallets. They're stacked up five or six high, right in the midle of the trailer. Heavy Cargo?...Not so much. Why the hell isn't he moving faster? I have no idea.

Behind this "Rolling Roadblock", I'm absolutely fuming. Five miles passed... No change. Ten miles passed... No change. Dear Lowered, something's gotta give... I began to hear a vaguely familiar sound of the "rumble strips" that lie outside of the stripes on every Interstate Motorway. We've all heard the particualr "BRRRRRRRRRRR" of those things. They're there to ensure that someone who is asleep behind the wheel, is awakenned before they collide with a guardrail. I've wandered into them a time or two, but this was different. "BrrrRRRUP!" is what I'm used to. What I heard was: "rrrrrrrrrrrrrRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR" I looked to my right... to find a full-sized "Semi Truck and Trialer" in the "Breakdown Lane"...Accelerating.

When he had passed the truck in the "slow lane", he crossed over into the "fast lane", and he did somethin unexpected... He hit his brakes. I nearly rear-ended the flatbed in front of me, but I'm marginally more obsevant than the average gnat, so I applied brakes myself. The back-to-front vehicle shot past me on the right, and the "flatbed" pulled into the right lane. I was now able to pass, and pass I did.

I gave the Freight Driver who'd "checked up" the "Slow Passer" a "Big Thumbs Up" (as I went around him after he'd politely moved into the right lane, so I could pass).

I don't care what you say... Not all truckers are BAD.

Disaster!

This week... I've been working on completing a job that's roughly 90% "Did", and it's about 5 minutes away from my crib (depending on the traffic lights.), which is really sweet. There is/was quite a few things that needed to get completed on this job, and I was completely ready to sink my teeth into them... however...

When I left Memphis the last time, I was under the impression that I'd be returning in a couple of day's, so I left my construction "pendant" aka: "Run-Button" on the job out there. If the previous installer had pushed the "Travelling Cable" up through the www.jasminlive.mobi platform into the 'COP" (Car Operating Panel) then I'd have been able to To wire up and get the car running from the cartop... It Wasn't. The cab was resting on the Buffer's, at about 8 inches below the lower floor level. Let's see... There's the "toe guard", there's the lower "fascia", not to mention that I've got to get the traveller up into the cab. Needless to say, I need a run button in the worst way. The nearest one is an hour and a half drive away.

The electrician's showed up to get me power for my controller and my car lights. We chased some wires down for a minute, and finally got power on the disconnects. Since I couldn't move the car, I went on with completing the things that I could do with it on the buffers. Wired up the cartop, got the selector wires down into the COP, and so forth.

The next day, I stopped by the shop and picked up my run button, and headed over to finally get something rolling on this elevator. I get my pendant wired up, and everything else ready to run... flip on the power, and Nothing. Shit! We took care of this yesterday. I get looking around, and I discover that the electricians hadn't put any fuses in the disconnects. Talk to the contractor and get "Sparky" back out there to finish his job. Meanwhile, I've still got to get the Door Operator up onto the cartop, and the only way to get it there is carry it up the steps... all seventy-five pounds of it. I forgot to mention that since there is a distinct lack of manpower in town right now, I've been doing all of this work with no helper. Yup. I hauled that thing up there by myself. After lunch, I returned to find that I had some juice for my pump, so I fired her up and ran the car up. I went ahead and got the Door Operator installed on the cartop and ran its wires down into the COP, and then went down and took a look in the Pit.

Looks like there's a little water leak. Not a bad one, just enough to fill up the Sump Hole and put a skim over the pit floor. I go ahead and mount up the lower Fascia and the Toe Guard. The ladder was a little slick from getting water on my boots, so I had to really be careful. I guessed that there was a little oil in it, but didn't get too concerned as we usually get some oil on the pit when we bleed the air out of the jacks. I get all my parts together to assemble the fascia between the floors, and get it all onto the cartop. As I ran the car up to get this stuff in place, I noticed a small problem. My pump is sucking air instead of hydraulic fluid. Ah Fuck. that ain't water down there, it's hydro. I jump down in the pit, and discover that one of the pipe fittings is leaking.

(Insert a day here for me to get all the supplies I'll need, get the fitting replaced, and clean up the fucking mess.)

Thursday, Kev came out to help me for the day. It was kinda nice to have someone to talk to while I was working, not to mention someone that I like. We were able to successfully land up the travelling cable on both ends, and get the car running off the Inspection Station. We even got a chance to do some adjusting on some things that weren't quite right. A good day.

Friday came and I stopped over there to clean up a little, and to collect the parts that we won't be using and get them back to the shop. I drop them off and get sent up to Pigeon Forge to help out our Residential Installer on one in a rental cabin that's being built. I'd been there just long enough to get one door lock installed before a call came in that we were to drop our tools and get our behinds back to the shop ASAFP. We get back in, only to discover that there is a major problem with a four stop residential elevator in another rental cabin in Pigeon Forge. The problem? It's Not Been Installed Yet, and the place is rented to a group of Thirty souls that are to arrive on Thursday.

I deliverred that elevator on Friday afternoon, and have been installing it since then. With the Holiday Weekend, we were scraping the bottom of the barrel for some help. There's myself, one of the Service guy's, a helper from Johnson City (three hours East of Knoxville), and the Owner of the Company. Over the past 2 1/2 days we've gotten this elevator to the point of: sticking the magnets to the selector tape, mount the cartop box, install the car gate, install the top and bottom limit switches, hang the traveller, put the lights in, install the telephone jack, land everything up, and scan the hoistway. If things go well, we can finish that in a half a day tomorrow.

Three to Three and a half Day's to install a four-stop elevator. Not bad. Especially once you consider the fact that None of Us have ever even seen this particular elevator before. (Our company has only installed two of these, and none of the people who installed those is on this job.)

I started writing this post on the 23rd of this month, and am finally finishing it now. I hope that gets everyone up to speed. I'm gonna go to bed. Up at Five AM, to be on the job by seven. I'll be remembering our Veterans, by building a conveyance that I hope that one will use. Hope your weekend went as well... Mine's been a Disaster.

So...What?

Well...things have been interesting here lately. Over the last month, I've worked a minimum of sixty hours a week, and here recently I've discovered that I'm tired. Luckily, I can choose my own hours, so I've scaled it back a little (only thirty-two hours so far this week...positively slovenly I tells ya). "But Johnny, How the hell are you posting right now? You're in frickin' Memphis!" Well, there's a couple of poeple to thank for that:

Firstly, the Company I Work For hooked me up with an apartment to stay in while I spend some time helping out the West Tennessee crew. Sure, It's adjacent to the 'Hood, but it's still better than livin' in a Motel 6. It's a gated, two-bedroom unit that's about 8 blocks from downtown. The location would be groovy... If I didn't have to drive twenty miles to get to the nearest retail store, but them's the breaks.

Last week, I called up the local Time Warner representative to get some cable TV in my new crib. I spoke to "Bobbi" at around 10 AM, and by 1:15 PM that day, I had digital cable. In and out, 15 minutes. I didn't get my fast Internet until this week though. I contacted Bobbi yesterday, and she geve me the same treatment that I got the first time. Fifteen minutes after her arrival, I was surfing the web. Outstanding service!.

I went to my roommate's Lady-Friend with my hat in my hand. She had gotten a laptop more than a year ago, and had discontinued using it for its original intent. When I requested to use it, she allowed that I could... For a modest fee. 10 dollars a day for the laptop, five a day for the power cord, and anther five a day for the audio speakers. It's expensive, but I'll pay the freight, 'cuz I deserve the opportunity to keep blogging.

That's my story... So far.