Thursday, February 11, 2010

snow snow snow

Well, despite what the folks in Philly are saying, last night's snowstorm was no blizzard. Granted, it was bad, though. About 2 foot of bad, and the weather was downright old-fashioned for much of the time. No blizzard conditions, though, that I could see. No white-out, anyhow.
I came back to work a day early to avoid driving down the Northeast corridor during a heavy snow. This worked out in my favor, as I was able to drive up to the dock where we were moored to unload my grub and sundries for the next few weeks, and, hey, that shit's heavy. Anyhow, not long after we got underway for our first job of the new tour.
What followed has been a 48-hour blur of snow and shoveling, with some cargo operations in between. Today is the first post-storm morning, and it is a beauty- crystal clear blue sky, light breezes, and temps above freezing.
My hands are wrung out today. I have weak hands as it is, courtesy of a propensity to get them squished and slashed when I was younger. Shoveling snow requires a lot of gripping of a shovel, which requires some exertion with the hands... you get the picture. I spent last night with my hands curled up into claws, somewhat achy, as you can imagine... you see, my barge is a trunk-deck barge, and the narrow walkways along the outboard sides require some attention to keep 'em safe. Lots of shoveling. Anyhow, it's over now, and my hands, though achy, aren't too bad, really.
The break in today's weather also brought out the birds. A pair of hawks were sailing above my barge at one point, and I heard one of 'em let out a shriek when a canadian goose honked in alarm nearby... it made me realize that I've never actually heard that sound before- you know, the lonely scream of a bird-of-prey that's always paired with a scenic view of a forested mountain on TV? Turns out, in real life, the sound is mildly alarming when you're not expecting it from a bird that's 30 feet above you. Pretty neat, anyhow.
So, although we don't have a coveted post-snowstorm draft-load black-oil job, (black oil is heated to make it flow better, and the waste heat heats up the tanks, including the tank tops, which is my deck) the next few days will see us working some piddling small mixed-oil jobs, and, by juggling which tanks we utilize for these jobs, we'll be able to melt the snow off of our decks. As things stand, we maintained a maze of pathways to get to where we need to go on deck- where there are no paths, there are 3-4 foot tall snowbanks. Hopefully we'll be back to a near-bare deck in a week or so.

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