February 2016

The good news to kick off this month is that my new temp to hire job is progressing well and I have been invited back for another week. Steve, who has been the Regional Sales Manager for ages, has had enough of lifting heavy things, and is moving to his home office to pursue his own business and consult back to the company. Which will leave me sort of “in charge” after next week. Yikes!

Daffodils. Already?

I liked this poster in the bathroom at the office so much, I took a picture.

I should have taken a before picture of the storage unit at work. This was the result of a whole day’s work.

Love those mountains.

Mike’s new truck, after their car was demolished in an accident that wasn’t his fault.

Woo hoo. I have a real, full time, probably permanent, job! I’m currently going from less temp to more hire with Rose City Rebar and Post Tensioning. They are based in Portland OR and my job is to handle the Seattle part of the business, covering a territory from the Canadian border to Olympia. I might even fix their website too!

Getting down and just a little bit dirty. The cable had slipped after it was tensioned, so we went out there with a special tool for the hydraulic ram to enable the extraction and replacement of the wedges. I was holding the torch (yeah, that’s a flashlight) while the other guy was fishing around for them.

Steve was standing back, watching, amazed and amused that I was so eager to pitch in. He explained later that it’s not actually part of my job.

Wow. I’ve now been at this new job for a month. I have complete autonomy to “just get the job done”. Every day of the week, I am driving the truck somewhere. Sometimes with a small packet of parts, sometime with 2 steel job boxes, each with 3 sets of hydraulics, together weighing about half a ton. Whatever went on there, I have either put it on, or had to take it off!

I’ve built a work bench out of spare timber in the storage unit, to fit with my father’s description of, “built like a brick shithouse”. All the weight is on the posts, with the beams taking the weight in the middle, and all done with a small hand saw, a hammer and some 3″ nails. I’ve already used it numerous times doing workshop stuff.

Took a break on a trip to Bellingham, almost to the Canadian border. Even the Public Access portion of the Recreation Area is pay for use. Really?

I was interested to see how they manage dump points here.

Julie and I managed to negotiate Seattle traffic to get her to an appointment at the main VA (Vets Affairs) hospital, where we learned that she would need surgery to lock her L4 and L5 vertebrae together, as the L5 is protruding to the rear and impacting on her spinal cord. No wonder she has constantly tingling feet!

She has also lost a LOT of weight.

And she also scored a new job! This one is in the northern end of Kirkland, so it’s a bit of a drive, but it could be a whole lot worse. On her first day, she was coming home on the very busy I-405 when a truck lost a pallet jack off the back, right in front of her. I must admit, I am impressed with her logic, which saw her stop the car, squeeze out of the door with traffic flying past, shift the thing across another lane of traffic (which fortunately did eventually stop), then squeeze back in and drive home. She fell apart later, on the weekend!

The kids, playing.

Some of the stuff I work with. Still don’t know what they do, though!

Shh, don’t tell anyone. This is where the spare key is on the truck. You’d still have to know where the actual truck key is though.

The work bench now has a vice installed.

Then less than a week later, I was exiting the freeway in Everett alongside a truck pulling a ute loaded with scrap corrugated iron. Suddenly I noticed that something didn’t seem right, then the ute apparently jumped off the towing dolly and headed off on its own across the freeway traffic lanes! The car in the very left lane just stopped in time before getting wedged into the concrete barrier! No video, unfortunately.

The job involves a lot of driving and often being directed around heavy traffic by Google Maps on my phone. I found this little gem by mistake, an unexpected “hole in the wall” freeway entrance.

One of the background tasks I have is to convert all of the hydraulic couplers to a common format, so that any gauge can be fitted to the hand pump to field check it against the master gauge, and any nose piece can be fitted to any jack. Some of the fittings I work with:

Thanks for the birthday present, Paul. I wear them to bed, so that in the morning, I can look down and say, “It’s gonna be a good day!”