Friday, August 15, 2014

Six weeks in the life of....

Its been quite a summer so far! We have already spent many weekends with family and friends.

We open our house at least every other weekend to anyone who wants to come play.

Those sweet times are almost enough to get me through the changes at mah day job. Day job has been very unpredictable due to strange forces. Some one must have heard my screams of boredom and placed me on a project merry go round. The ride has been bumpy but have finally settled out (I hope) on a long term project. For several months prior I have been flexible  bounced around by a very engaged micromanaging administrator. That's cool, though. It gave me chance to show off my skillz.
I took this opportunity to document the changing conditions of a construction inspector. Do not run so fast to get that cheese for my whine, I am more than aware that the ACTUAL construction crew performs the work, but I must be aware of their actions,  predict their next move and reason with them when I think they are wrong. All of them, across multiple projects, from day to day.
So I'm minding my own business on this little state route widening project, placing some pipe and moving right along. That means we are developing a relationship of trust and information exchange. Suddenly I am called away.
The first surprise was a nice little overlay project.

These are good to practice not getting run over.

Next I was sent to monitor some more  pipe shenanigans.

Then we next leveled things by hanging with a night crew on my original project. And we sharpened our not-getting-hit skills in the harsh shadows of light plants and nonstop traffic. This was an awesome crew that took anything thrown at them (fixed everthing that broke down quickly).

Next, I am rudely awakened one day and told to report to a bridge project. Finally. That was like an invitation to come home.
But kind of like childbirth, one forgets the pain involved and can only remember the delight and satisfaction of the process. I am a little put off that there is no field office provided and we are 10 miles on the other side of a cotton field that's 10 miles from a store, and even then bathrooms are sketch. I have been known to take my leave under the existing bridge. Laugh if you will.

Then there's this:

Ear protection is a must during this stage, which lasts about a week. Oh but the train still comes by every 20 - 30 minutes.

Even with all of that I am grateful to have a challenging job and hope I can do this for many years to come.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Humanist in a Hardhat

Well, not so much a hardhat anymore. My surroundings are different now. It's been summer of '12 since I've set foot on a bridge project. Projects such as my latest, interstates and state routes, only require reflectivity about the head. Hardhat wont stop a drunk careening towards you at 70 mph.
So with the title I am out of the closet. In the past years I have found myself using some version of the word human in conversations. For example, in discussions with a friend i found my exclaiming "I'm not racist, Im not sexist, I love all people and humans!! I'm not methodist or baptist or any -ist, but if i had to put a label I'd say Human-ist."
What a revelation!!
Well not right that moment, as i was just pleased at myself coining a word in my mind. But in future days I did look up the word and found my suspicions were correct: that there were others like me........Other people, too, wear hardhats.
Wait, no. We were talking about the other H.
No, not Hell, where some of you think I'm going, but the most important H word: Humans.
I use the word when stating my belief that mans law should not prevent humans from migrating to areas that provide more opportunity for survival, for whatever reason and especially the most extreme. That belief governs my political stance on immigration, which i dont discuss often, because I am in the deep south for goodness sake. I would not shout "Send them all back..." as the farmers would have my hide. Niether do i dare speak too loudly of their plight and exploitation because, again with the south thing.
Moooooving on....
I found myself in a sticky wicket one day on a project. The contractor needed to do something quickly and outside the scope of the contract that involved interfering with traffic. I could not tell him yes or no I did not have the authority, I knew he was moving ahead so I told him in terms of traffic control "Man, just be human and help people get where they're going without violating the contract."
It made sense at the time. I figured I could defend that in a court of law.
With this new found defintion, I felt as if I'd come home. And just in time to answer or point to answers for some hard questions from my offspring.
I am happier, better informed and more relaxed with my lifelong beliefs. I better understand my mother's subtle and father's not so subtle influence and how this wonderful ride of life is yours and yours alone. We must make the best of it here and now, because of here and now.