Wednesday, October 24, 2012

ta dah!

Back at work again for another 4 weeks. My vacation consisted of 5 1/2 days at home, which was nowhere near enough. I made it back to my job, and that was good. Asking me to do so with enthusiasm might have been a bi much. I've bitten off more than I could chew with the schedule I set up for myself. I figure that now that I'm back at work I'll take a few days to get into the rhythm in terms of the sleep cycle, then I'll be 100%. In the meanwhile I'm here and working, and doing my job, and that's a good thing.

          My first cargo discharge this time has come with some complications. A brand new diesel engine, so new that it hasn't even had it's first oil change, has been soggy and hard to light since it was handed down to us by the powers that be. Today the cooling system got airbound, and after I worked up the courage to poke around and find the issue, I rectified the problem after a bit of a to-do mostly consisting of me questioning if I dare to touch a new engine and then about 5 minutes to actually fix the problem.
         Am I mechanically inclined? Meh. 50/50 I guess. I'm not a natural, but once I'm oriented I do OK. It's the orientation that is the issue. It's need-based for me. I'm not going to tinker unless there's no one to tinker for me.
          As an example, when I was a new nugget of a biologist, I tore around the sleepy Cape Cod community of Woods Hole, MA on a motorcycle. Being in my early 20's, and therefore 8-foot 12 and bulletproof, I drove my bike, often as not, in man-sandals and shorts, long hair flying. The bike was what it was, something that a 20-something guy with $100,000 in student loan debt and a $18,000 a year job would afford. A P.O.S. (Piece of Shit, if you were wondering), in other words. The starter was worn out, so unless it was above 80 degrees outside (a rarity in Woods Hole), starting a cold engine required a running start to pop the clutch and turn the engine over. In the two years between buying the bike and investing in the next vehicle, the best pickup that $500 could buy, I became a pro at tearing down that bike. After, with the truck, I became conversant with the Chevy 305 block, as well, though, to be fair, it was the things you bolted to the block that were always dying on me.
      Nowadays, with engineers here than there in my job, it's a rarity for me to dive into an engine and hope that I can put it back together in the same shape I found it. As a habit from those days of being poor and driving shitty vehicles, I always buy new, and when there are two shop visits in the same year for the same vehicle, trade it in. With my free time so scarce, I'm not going to lose a half a day sitting waiting for AAA if I can help it... and in that vein, I couldn't justify sitting and shutting down a job with a recalcitrant cooling system that was sitting on a factory floor 3 months ago. Amazingly, it worked. I'm pretty sure I know what I did and everything. 

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