Okay, so yes it’s my fault I haven’t yet gotten a Helmet with a Face Shield… but I don’t need to be punished my Mother Nature for it!
I woke up just in time to head to work today (Friday, but since I’ve not been to sleep it’s still “Today” to me. ;P ), and discovered it had snowed… okay, so that kinda stinks, I’ll have to take it slow, and I might be late. It could be worse right? So I pull out of my driveway, and at the corner of the street my Moped dies.. greeeaaattt… it’s doing that again. Whatever, I’ll be late but I’ll live. About a block or two from my house it starts to snow. Are you kidding me? Sure, lets add to the Mushy ground.. *grumble, grumble* and I soldier on… Another block and it starts hailing.
We’re not talking the cute, oh look it crushed ice kinda hail, but the HERE COMES THE PAIN BITCH!!! kinda hail, the, “How you liking you faceshieldless Helmet Now!?” kinda hail. The “Hell no you aint gonna get to work in time, In fact, you gonna stop to ransack your bike seat praying for something to cover yo face before I grind it like pie crust!” Kinda Hail… yeah, “that” kinda hail…
Well, I did ransack my Bike seat, and I found one of those “Reusable Shopping Bags” that are popping up all over the place now and sat on the side of the road trying to figure a way to wrap that thing around my face, and stuff it into my jacket so I could make it to work without looking like I’d survived some kind of Slasher Flick. I managed some semblance of cover for my face (Courtesy of Wal-Mart! Thanks Wally World! ;P), and started off. Then my glasses began to fog due to my breath now going up from the face cover…
Here I am now driving to work in the Hail, tugging my helmet as low as I can with one hand while still being able to see from under it, while pulling down the face mask every few seconds with my other hand to give the air time to De-Fog my glasses and the hail time to pizza my face, while driving my moped (When I wasn’t Restarting it) with… wait, I only have two hands… Eventually I made it to work (And to my credit, I was only ten minutes late, even after all that, so Phhbbbttt!!!) and that’s when the day Started to go downhill..
So on the way out the door one of my guys called me up and let me know that he wouldn’t be in today because he’d “Sprained his knee slipping in the snow, and didn’t want to be on his feet all night”… Yeah… not that I don’t believe him (Not that I do either) but that is kinda a lame excuse to call off work for, he’s a good worker with no history of this though so whatever, I’ll be short one guy, hey that’s cool we’ll survive. I get to work after a lovely ride (“Hey, would you look at that, it’s snowing outside. Must have sucked riding here on that…”) and after fending a few people’s comments about the weather I got my guys started, at which time I noticed that my Senior worker was doing the Frankenstein Shuffle.
See… he’s got these back problems, and he went home the previous night due to problems with his back, but he was going to the Chiropractor today, so he’d be A-Ok… and he was doing the Frankenstein Shuffle. This did not allude to good things for the evening. He’d be slower than usual and we’d have to struggle to make our two projects for the night, but hey it’s Friday we’ll do what we have to do, go home, and enjoy our weekends… Except him. His back was too bad, and he had to start his weekend “Go home so he’d not Over-Exert himself, allowing him to be fresh on Monday.”
Now contrary to popular belief, I don’t run some huge crew of fifteen people (Yet. ;P), I run a crew of eight people… counting myself. Two of them have been pulled from my shift for a special project, and while their new “Temporary” schedule overlaps ours a mite, they might as well not be there. Two more of them work in the Metal Shop. A mostly separate (And soon to be literally separate) operation that while I’m learning about slowly, I really don’t know all that much about, so they’re practically not there. That leaves four of us and being down one guy really sucks. Being down two means that over 50% of my current workforce is now gone. Taking into consideration the fact that I’ve not only got to keep the current project moving but also load the warehouse(Did I mention it was snowing), and train the new guy to do the work I need him to do today this wasn’t looking good… oh wait, that’s right, you don’t know that yet. The one guy I have left is the newest (Hasn’t even been there a month) member of my crew, and he’s never done the work he needed to be doing today. No I’m not kidding.
This stinks, but no worries it could (Will) be worse. I’m going to have to be realistic here so I strike one of the projects for the evening. At less than half a crew getting half the work done is reasonable. Especially when you take training into account, so yeah, this really stinks but we’ll make it.
While work was originally underway the shipping dude who brings the majority of things in checked to see how busy we were (How much he can leave for me to bring in) and I informed him that we were “Just Fine, and he should leave it all”… not that’s not right, I remember saying he needed to bring it all in because we’re missing someone, that’s it… anyway he was meh about it, but it’s “kinda” his job and he got back to it. We continued on, (Senior guy’s still here at the moment. He doesn’t Skip Gaily away leave until 1730 thankfully, thus work is getting done) and I had to get with a few people before they left for the day. Well… while I’m talking to the Plant Manager (Guy’s gone now), the shipping dude shows up and informs me that, “It’s all done have a great night”… and then I stop daydreaming because I know he’s here to say, “Have fun” as he leaves for the day (He’s getting stuck in the ice and since it’s far past the time he’d normally leave, the rest was left to me). Thankfully there’s not that much and I head out to do it… before getting stuck in the area assisting my guy plotting. (To be fair, you really can’t effectively plot alone) I’ll put that stuff off a bit and get to it once I have this guy going on the next stage of the project, which while he’ll need trained in(Again, he’s never done it before, and it’s not “Exactly” Plug and Play) he’ll be able to work alone from there.
I’ve got him trained, he’s ready to roll, and it’s Lunchtime. That works out; I’ll head out to McDonalds, grab a bite to eat (While testing my Moped in the Snow because it hasn’t stopped since we got to work), and come back to load the Warehouse while he rolls along on his project. Let’s put something out there real quick. It’s April. I don’t know about your grade school, but at mine they had this cute little phrase about “April Showers” bringing “May Flowers”, and this is Seattle so “Showers” happen every so often (Heck, I bathe once a month at least! ;P). But this wasn’t a shower. This was a Fricking Blizzard. And if having a solid wall of snow wasn’t enough, it was the “Fluffy”, “Beautiful” kind that STICKS TO FRICKING EVERYTHING!!! So we already had three inches of snow and it was still coming down hard. Needless to say it was “fun” getting to Mickey Dee’s and I learned that no, Mopeds do not like thick snow. Not that I was expecting it to, but I did have to go home at some point, and I wanted some “Practice”. Really, a little slipping and sliding both ways aside (And it’s still dying if I let it idle too long) it was a rather uneventful lunch. Heck, I’d even go so far as to say I had a “good” lunch. Then I went back to work.
On my return (I’ve still got some time left over believe it or not. ;P) I’m quickly pulled aside. The Machines are having problems. It’s nothing serious, but he’s new so he was severely crippled work-wise until I got back. I show him what to do to get things running again, and I finish off my lunch (I’ve spelled that wrong every time I’ve typed it. Can anyone tell me what a Luch is? -.-). Now it’s time to bring things in right? Well yes… there’s a catch though. I may have mentioned before that it was snowing. I might have also stated that it was building up rather well. What I failed to mention was that I had to bring everything in up an inclined surface… in the snow… on a Forklift. Let me defend my train of thought here for a second. It started snowing while I was headed in to work. It had snowed prior, but it wasn’t snowing when I left the house so obviously if I waited it out, the snow would stop. That’s where my mind was going when I initially didn’t “Rush Out” to bring things in. That was five inches of snow earlier. Live and Learn eh? Still, it’s a heavy piece of machinery, surely a couple inches of snow isn’t going to stop it. Besides, the remaining crates were quite literally right outside. I could have lain from the bay door to the crates stretched out and touched both. There were more a mite further out, but only a mite, and like I said, it was a big piece of machinery. So I plowed it out into the snow.
Have you ever driven in the snow? Well you could have right? But you’re smarter than that. You know, a car is a tad heavier than a Forklift, and if you saw five plus inches of snow you probably wouldn’t “Plow” out into it right? Yeah… apparently I should think things through a bit further sometimes. On the plus side, I didn’t slide into or damage anything. On the negative side, my forklift wasn’t coming back up the hill without my digging it out. You see, when I started into the snow, I was all pleased with myself because I was having no problem moving forward into the snow, so ha! I was right, the forklift is A-Ok out here, and it even turned around, albeit with a mite of sliding but I was now facing back toward the door and the crates I needed to grab. Thing is I was only “Partially” correct. Sure… no problem moving DOWNHILL. So while I was happily facing the right direction, I was also “Happily” sliding the wrong one. Move out of the Warehouse, Slide Downhill. Turn Around, Slide Downhill. Give it Gas, Slide Downhill… it took me a few moments to see the pattern… Slide Downhill. Yeah…
Okay, so I flubbed. I can fix this. I’d a little earlier watched my Metal Shop guys bring their material in right before lunch and I’d seen them use a piece of Sheet Metal to “Plow” the snow with a path from the door to the material making the job simplicity itself. So I’m a smart guy, and I grab a piece of Plywood so I can do the same. Here’s the thing. My brilliant plan would have worked just fine… had it occurred before my other “Brilliant” plan. The Plywood moved the loose snow just fine, but for some reason there was a good bit of Hard Packed Snow which may as well have been Ice “Glued” to the pavement as far as my Plywood was concerned. It was almost like someone had come through with a “Big Piece of Machinery” and compacted the snow…
Well I moved all the loose snow out of a path big enough to drive the forklift to the first of the crates and then to the door. That accomplished I jumped on the Forklift and Slid Downhill… You see, the thing about “Packed Snow” is it kinda makes driving a bit difficult. So I went for a “For Real” snow shovel which for various reasons (Snow being lower on the list) we actually have, and I actually Dig the Bloody Machine out. That being done I “bring everything in and go home to warm cocoa and a hot shower and….” *Slap* grab the crate and slide downhill. *Slap* No seriously, *Slap* Dangit! Stop slapping me!
Here’s the thing. I remember that way back in my Youth Group people would joke that Snow was God’s Dandruff… well if that’s the case then God was giving his hair quite the Shakedown because no sooner had I cleared the path and hopped on the forklift to bring the crate in, than it’s covered itself back over. No, I don’t mean there was a light dusting of snow lightly blanketing the path. The snow was coming down so fricking hard that you COULDN’T SEE THE GROUND BENEATH THE SNOW moments after shoveling it up. By the time I made it to the end of the path I was shoveling, I was already snowed in. Clearly this wasn’t going to work like I could have hoped it would. I managed through Rapid Shoveling, Driving, Sliding, and Shoveling to get the first crate in, but the amount of time it took, and the sliding that resulted was ridiculous. It didn’t help that the Packed Snow from before was mainly still around. I’d made dents in it, but getting rid of it all would have taken far too long with a Snow Shovel, and was impossible with my Plywood. But wait, where’d I get the idea for the Plywood?
Had I started out just using the Sheet Metal like they had, I wouldn’t have had quite nearly as much “fun” so it’s a good thing I didn’t… Anyway, even with the sheet metal (Which worked exactly like a me powered plow, and took care of the Packed Snow without “too” much fuss.) the snow was still coming down hard enough that I had to “Plow” between every Crate I brought in. Also, lest you think I was allowed solid work time to get this worked out, I remind you that I had someone who had just learned to run the machines they were running inside whom “Occasionally” needed some quick troubleshooting. Don’t get me wrong. He was doing a great job, for someone who’d just learned their job that day. But still, added to a few missing people and some “Light” Outside work, it really killed time. Three hours later and I’m back inside taking an assessment of where we are. Three hours after Lunch, which happened halfway through the eight hour shift leaving us with a Whopping one hour left to “Really” work.
Long story well… longer, we weren’t anywhere near finishing the project for the night. Not only because he was learning his job as he went along, but also because of a few quality issues which left us short earlier. So I had to replace the earlier pieces and try and get him to finish a much as he could in as little as time as possible. Since I was down two guys, I offered him Overtime to get more done (Which thankfully he accepted) and that gave us two hours now. Tweaking his process a mite, I was able to get more done there, and I then busied myself on replacing the Bad Glass. I won’t go into specifics, but let’s just say that I had some trouble doing such and by the time 0100 rolled around (He normally gets off at 0000, so his extra hour was up) we were faaarr closer than we had been, but still not there. So since he’s ready to get out of there (I was ready to throw a party, why would I want to leave now? ;P) I offered some Overtime to my Metal Shop guys (They get off at 0100 this week) and one of them took it. Excellent, I could get “That” much closer to… Oh look, there’s a huge puddle growing from a machine I was filling “Real quick while I worked on something else…”
At this point I had to admit defeat. I wasn’t going to finish even the one project tonight, so I needed to get a count of what was left and wrap up. Thanking him for staying I handed him a Floor Squeegee and starting shutting down for the night. Thanks to my new guys inexperience he left the area “Disheveled” and it took a bit just to get organized. With everything locked up, shut down, and the numbers in check I was finally ready to go home at 0240! (My Metal Shop guy cleaned up the water, and I had him run a few mirrors but ultimately it only “Nudged” us closer to our goal. He did however get me out of there quite a bit earlier and for that I was very thankful. ;P)
Now I’d love to Regale you with some story about how I Carried my Moped home in 10 inches of Snow through Softball sized sleet while trying to avoid the creepy foreign guys who were parked in the middle of the road right around the corner from my work… but aside from the creepy foreign guys, it wouldn’t be true. ;P And they weren’t so bad. They seemed interested in my Vehicle (Mistaking it for some kind of Snowmobile O.o ) and one of them asked for a short ride on it. I let him know that two people would break it and after declining the cigarette he offered, I went on my way. A mite odd to be sure, but nothing worrisome.
The ride was mildy eventful towards the end however. As I turned onto the “Final” street before My Street I noticed that it was a mite “Less Travelled”. So I slowed it down and a little ways down the road I noticed a branch in the way. Now, I could have just gone around it (Like I initially did) but then I got to thinking about it, and I realized that while people “should” be careful while driving in the snow, it’s not assured that they “will”, and while it’s not My job to look after anyone ignorant enough to ram into a Branch in the road, I was on a Moped, and it was a simple matter for me to hop off and move it off the road. So I turned around, moved the branch, and then continued on. Round the next corner there was another branch (Now when I say branch, I mean big enough to damage/cause you to wreck your car sized branch. Twigs I would have ignored). Simple matter, I didn’t pass this one, moved it and continued… to the next branch.
This was getting just a little silly. Surely I’m not the only one who’s come down this road as was evidenced by the car tracks going around the branches, but here they were (Getting progressively bigger to my dismay. ;P ). So I continued moving branches/small trees all the way to my house. All said I moved about five or six counting the last one… which was special. See, anyone who knows me knows I’m “slightly” OCD, so once I start something, if possible, I want to finish it. Well this last branch was decidedly not “Small” and inconveniently had a whole tree growing out of it. I fought with it for a bit, but it wasn’t going to budge, so I decided that if I could find a saw I would come back and take care of it (I defend that by pointing out that it “was” only one street away from my house… not that it would have mattered. >.> ) . So I get home, look (I don’t own a saw, but apparently my Roomie does. ;P ), find a saw, and return to remove the branch from the road. Finished with my Community Service I finally head home and promptly write the Odyssey you see before you.
Wow, that was Cathartic. And if you’ve made it this far… Uhhh.. Congratulations? Win Get? I’m sorry but your Pineapple is in another Cupcake? ;P Anywho. I’ve been at this for Four and a Half Hours, and I have to be at work in Another hour, so I’ma wrap this up and head off to the shower. (Yes, after the Ride I just took, I’m going to get transition without sleep straight to work. Crazy? You Betcha. ;P)
*Crosses his fingers for “Today”*