Tuesday, September 26, 2006

time moves slowly

Still in Connecticut, still working at a snails pace. Or more appropriately, a unionized pace. Here for at least another 2 weeks. No work today, though I'm onsite. Some high rad water needs to be pumped out of a nearby excavation and we're on hold since 7AM waiting for unionized laborers to do the work. 2:15PM and here we sit. Our test is a minimum 3 hour test, and we can't work past 4:30PM, never mind the mid-afternoon break, so no chance of even starting work now. Sweet!

The photo is from a couple weeks ago. They've been using an engineered (well-graded) fill onsite that has a high clay content. Unfortunately, it doesn't drain very well and our drill site was the low spot onsite. The day we were to get the drill rig onsite, a 4WD fork lift on steroids got stuck right next to our proposed drill site (note that the fork lift is carrying nearly a semi-trailer sized cargo box that probably weighs 80,000lbs). And they were wanting us to drive the drill rig through that pond!! There hasn't been too much rain lately, but over the past few days we've pumped many many thousands of gallons as part of the testing were doing, so the puddle/lake is staying about the same. The neat thing about this site is the size of everything. The rebar in the foreground is 2" diameter (compared to 0.5" rebar you see on all other constuctions sites). This rebar is from the reactor dome that was demolished a handful of months back.

This past weekend Mel & I did a road trip to the New Hampshire / Massachusetts coast (Salisbury and Hampton) and then spent Sunday afternoon in Boston. Though drizzly all weeked, was still very nice. The way it's looking now, I'll have Friday off and Mel & I (and maybe a few of her friends) are going to New York to catch a Broadway show - any suggestions?

I've been getting the trickle of emails from Burning Man folk. Makes me sad that I didn't go, but so is life. And I've been getting good money here and having great weekends, so no complaints. Toni & Ari (to whom I gave the Chariot) sent me a picture of my... ummm... their Chariot. They said they had a great time and loved the chariot, so this is very good. They put up some nice curtains and hung Thai lamps on the LEDs, and it all looks quite good. I barely got the thing built last year and decorations were at a minimum. I was really looking forward to doing the decorations and not focussing on the basics this year, but it's also really neat to see what other people's ideas/implementations were.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

New England

I've never really been to New England before. I drove through once on the way from Montreal to New York (I think I was 19), but this is the first time I've spent time here. I've been working just south of Hartford, Connecticut at a nuclear power facility (the facility is nearly completely decomissioned). Working 12 hour days, but hardly working. The project is a bit of a cluster fuck, the site is heavily unionized (read: breaks & lunches are religiously observed), the drillers have the worst attitude I've ever dealt with, the other people I work with have negative attitudes, and we've been shut down for multiple days for such things as a site-wide celebration attended by biggies such as the Senator & Governor, a power outage, and general lack of planning. Though work has been long and frustrating, there is one very positive note... I've been working (and getting paid) for long hours (I bill regardless of whether we do work or not) and, even better, I've had 3 or 4 day long weekends in Montreal for the the past 2 weekends (this coming weekend will be no exception). Did I mention I bill my travel time to and from Montreal... life could be worse.

So speaking of the weekends... so far all have been spent with Mel in Montreal. My brother Jeff was also in Montreal last weekend and we caught up which was great (seems Jeff & I only meet in other cities now a days). We all got to eat, drink, walk about, saw the World Press Photo exhibit, and had a merry old time. The previous weeked Mel & I went up to her parents country cabin and I got to brutalize the french language. Though it is improving a bit, I need more practice (I bought some CDs, but after waking up at 5ish each morning, my evenings in the hotel are slow times where learning a language seems impossible). Mel's parents thought I was nice, quiet & shy (i.e., unexciting). Well, it's tough to have a personality when you can't speak worth crap, you don't understand what they're saying, and you're on a 5AM - 9PM schedule. Even worse when you hear your name in the first part of the sentence and then strap-on dildo in the latter part of the sentence. Ummm... pardon moi?

Here I sit onsite. Currently 10:50 AM and I've been here since just after 6. So far have checked and wrote emails many times, organized my expenses, read the newspaper, and ummm... yup, that's it. Another busy day at the site. Did I mention how much of a cluster fuck this project is?

But I've talked and exchanged a few emails with someone from the Waterloo office who is running a project in Quebec City and things are looking promising for some work there. And I sent him an email this morning detailing my upcoming schedule (and the slow pace) and just got an email in return asking how soon I can leave. My answer to this was... say 5 minutes? Seriously, there are two of us (two geologists) supervising one drill rig that works occasionally. I'm getting paid for 8 hours and then time and a half for anything over, so I sit or watch happily for 12 hours each day, but I'm also miserable all at the same time. Does that make sense? So much so that I'm wanting to and have jumped at some other work. The guy I'm working with can easily handle the work for the next week (there hasn't been enough work for two people yet), but at the same time, he wants me to stay just in case? All very confusing. Well, we'll have to wait and see how this all unfolds. So I may keep sitting here, maybe we'll do some work this afternoon, or maybe I'll be driving to Quebec City this afternoon. Sorry, I'm sure this is all very boring, but I needed to vent.

Plans for this weekend may be A. meeting Mel in the Adirondaks for a weekend of camping or bed & breakfasts since work will be paying (this is the most likely) B. going to Montreal, or C. (this is a new one) meeting Mel in Quebec City. Or maybe a D. that I don't know of yet? One just never knows.