March 31, 2006

Arrghhh! Naked Blog!

Ummm...Sorry about that? Yeah, I figured that an apology wouldn't be good enough, so here's the scoop:

I got the call last Friday that I was to go to Memphis and get a "modernization" rolling. It seems that one of the (only four) guy's out there had found a better offer, and quit on us. He was a really sharp cat and had a lot of potential, but we just couldn't hold onto him. Ed and I were sent to get things started and take care of a couple of other jobs that they were working on. Ed was to pick me up at my house at 3:30 Monday morning.

I needed to go to my Sister's Birthday Soiree on Saturday, but I needed to be there early to help put a new refridgerator on Mom and Dad's boat. When I arrived, the 'Fridge was already aboard, so I hung out for awhile. It was getting on toward 11:00AM when I decided that I really needed to go shopping for my Sister's requested gifts, so I struck out to do that. Earlier in the morning I'd gotten a call from a friend of mine that I hadn't seen (and barley heard from) for a couple of months, and I decided that I would meet her for lunch and a few beers. The lunch went long, and the beer's ran cold, and we got a lot of catching up done. Unfortunately, I was a little too buzzed to carry my ass back down to the boat for the party, so I carried it home instead. Sunday was spent on laundry, and packing for the Memphis trip. No "bloggy-posty" was forthcoming, as I had to shoehorn a few minutes to relax in between everything else I had going on. If you've ever stayed at a Motel 6, then you know why I didn't post during the week.

But that's not the news... While I was there, the Big Boss was s,cheduled for a visit with the Memphis crew, and he decided to come out and take a look at the job I was on. While we were scoping out some issues, he got me aside and "felt me out" for my opinion on helping out the Memphis team for 6 or 8 months until they could get some new folks in and trained up. I allowed that I would be willing to help...with the caveat that I was to return to the Knoxville area then the job is done.

Later in the day, he was pulling each of us aside for a little one on one. It seems that it's "Raise Time" in the company, so we all got to hear what it would be "right from the horses mouth". My turn came, and the "cheese" and I had a good talk. Contingent upon my assisting the West Tennesse crew, I am to receive a company vehicle, and a "substantial raise" in pay. The Shop Van had been in the rumor mill for a while now, but it was nice to hear it right from the Boss's lips Not only can I finally outfit myself with all the tools I need to do my job effectively, I can stock the van with supplies that are needed for most every job (making me much more efficient),and that's not to mention the gas card. The raise starts taking effect Monday, and it's quite adequate thankyouverymuch.

Outside of the non-blogging, non-blog-reading, long hours, hard work, nearly 1,000 miles of travel, and the plywood bed to sleep on... It's been a good fucking week.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 10:19 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 20, 2006

"E"-Sense is Tingling!

A few weeks ago, I was riding with another technician, so I left my mini-van parked at the shop. At the end of the day, I was deposited there, in order to pick up my ride, and whenever I am there (and the doors are open) I have to stop in and visit with my Blogless Sister. She's the "Service Dispatcher" along with various and sundry other duties. Us construction guys usually work a 7:00 to 3:30 shift (half-hour lunch) but all the office/service folks usually work an 8:00 to 5:00 (hour lunch). I think we got back to the shop around 4:30 or so, so I had to make my obligatory stop to say "Hi" and generally harass the office staff. At around ten-'til I decided that I'd had enough for the day, and announced that I was hitting the bricks.

I had not even gotten to the bottom of the drive before my phone rang. It was my Sister, and she had a problem... [Bogart Voice-Over] It was a Friday afternoon, and I was lookin' for some hard-earned booze after the week I'd had. The jangling of the phone stomped my last nerve like it was the floor under Michael Flately, but in my unending ignorance... I picked it up. It was a Dame...It's always a Dame. All I had to hear was "they're trapped", and I was hooked like a lousy Vaudevillian on "Open Mike" night. The Silly Skirt actually asked me if I had the tools to get them out... I informed her that I'm always packing. She gave me the address, and assured me that my fee would be "taken care of". I guess this week will get a little bit longer...[/Bogart Voice-Over]

There was an "entrapment" of a couple of folks in an elevator that's (sorta) on the way home for me. The "on call" service guy was at least an hour away, so she asked if I could go by there and get them out. Under these circumstances, you can't say "no", so I pointed my trusty steed in the proper direction. Thirty-five minutes later (after navigating through the traffic due to construction on I-40 (sidenote: SmartFix 40??? My Aching Ass!)) I arrived "On Scene".

Luckily, there was a phonebooth right outside of the building. I was able to quickly enter it...doff my "horn rims" and split my over shirt to reveal...


[Startled Observer] Look! Up In the sky! He rises and falls at 500 Feet Per Minute, yet he doesn't move laterally! It must be [Dramatic Music!] Elevator Man!"

"What seems to be the trouble Citizen?" ... "Oh Elevator Man! We've been trapped in this thing for almost an hour!" ... "Not to worry good people! I'll have you out in a trifle!" With that, Elevator Man proceeded to use his "Hoistway Door Key" equipped finger, and his "Six foot step-ladder" legs, to climb onto the car top and release the bedraggled person's who were locked into the "Elevator of Doom" in the very nick of time. As the last man leaped from the confines of the cab, the car careened the last ten inches into the buffers and exploded into a ball of flame!

"Our Hero" was able to get back into his disguise before anyone was the wiser...but he took great satisfaction in hearing the words "Thank You, "Elevator Man!" as he rode off into the sunset.

(Certain aspects of this tale have been "embellished" for artistic flavor.)

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 09:24 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

March 19, 2006

Love and Hate

There's a certain dichotomy associated with my profession (ie: Elevator Installer/Mechanic/Service Technician) that make it such a joy, and at the same time... a pain in the ass. As an installer, I never know where I'll be working. It could be a mile and a half from the house, or it could be in another state. I don't know from job to job where I'll be. This makes it impossible to plan out anything in advance. You wanna meet me at "insert location" in two weeks?... I'm certainly "game" for it, but I can't say that I'll be there. It's more likely that I'll be two hundred miles away from "there" (Pick a direction) when the time rolls around. The part of this that "sucks" is that I can never establish a routine...One week, I'm up at 5:00, and the next I'm awake at 6:20. A "normal" sleep-cycle is not to be had.

Then, I never know whther I'm to be an "Installer" or a "Mechanic". The variance is that a Mechanic will arrive on the job, secure everything that he needs to get the job going, and take it until all the "mechanical" aspects of the job are "Did". It's an a "Rails is up, Cab is builded" kinda existence. you'll pull the wires where they need to be, but you'll never tie the first one in. No need to read the "prints", just get it Mechanically sound.

An "Installer" will bring the machine into full functionality. He'll be the guy who land's up all the wires, Applies Power to the controller, and gets the elevator "hitting floors". The Doors will also be close... In regards to speed, torque, and so forth. All that's left is for the "adjuster" to come out and fine tune the ride, perform the weight and safety tests, go over things with the state inspector, and correct anything that the state man isn't happy with. Much more satisfying to hand it over to the adjuster, than to hand it over to another Installer for completion.

The "Service/Repair" guy's almost universally get a bum rap. "They don't DO anything" is the standard line, but it's patently false. I've had occasion to ride with some of our service technician's between construction jobs, and these fella's certainly earn their living. It's a strange day, all you'll do is go around cleaning pits and car tops, getting tickets signed along the way. Then you'll be involved in a "problem child" that leaves you scratching your head for weeks on end. Repairs can be a real bitch sometimes... so much so that you'll create new problems by trying to diagnose old one's. Short periods of mundanity are surrounded by longer periods of absolute stress and dumbfoundedness. Dealing with differing systems every day, stuff from the 1950's all the way to equipment that is the most modern. An expert you must be. Not work? Fuck You!

I Love to learn new things...And I hate to experience change. I love the diversity of each job that I'm sent on, and I hate that I have to reequip myself to suit each task.

It's obvious that the circumstances that I enjoy, go hand in hand with the things that piss me off. It's a wash, and I'd have it no other way. Pure, clean, and balanced. It's how I roll nowaday's. Get with it.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 11:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 13, 2006

The Tether.

It finally happenned. It's been a year and a half... paying my dues, and rolling with the punches. Friday, I picked up my Company Cell-Phone. The "word around the campfire" is that I'll be getting a company van within the month as well. Nice!

I heard through the goddamned grapevine that the Boss was concerned that I'd jump ship at the earliest opportunity. I'd given him my credentials in the interview process, and I can't say that I blame him. I'm certainly qualified for positions taht far exceed even his...but he disregarded the fact that I'd employed myself at a retail outlet before encrouching him for employment. I'm not afraid to be humble...But I'll still take pride in my priofession.

He heard that I've an IQ of 165, and he heard taht I'd been a "Global Operations Analyst" for a major corporation. He assumed that I'd be looking for more of the same, but I'm SHUT of that! I like being able to take two steps back from what I've done In a day And see the results,,, The practical difference between number crunching, and actual "work".

Still and all, I wear a golf-shirt that bears the logo of my company...And I'm proud to be associated with them. "Thether Be Damned !". It's a good thing!

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 10:05 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

March 06, 2006


That's the word. Nuetral would be another one. It seems that, over the last little while, that's all that's been going on. Something good happens, and then something bad transpires to cancel it out. Friday is a great example... Thursday evening, I got a call from the Straight White One advising me that John Prine was to be in town, and he wondered if I'd like to catch the show. My response was something on the order of "Hell Yes!" so we made arrangements to get together for the show.

Friday started at around 5:30 AM, and I didn't arrive back at home until around 5:00 PM. The interim was filled with a lot of hauling of a 350 lb gearbox/drive motor for a dumbwaiter that we were installing. I had a beer at the house wjhile I was getting cleaned up, and three before the show as Eric and I got caught up. We didn't get a chance to eat any supper before the show started, but that normally wouldn't be a big deal, as I drink every day. Eric had gotten us tickets way late, so we were unable to sit adjacent to each other. No big deal though, we still got to see a great show. Unfortunately for me, around 10:15 PM I realized that I was tired. By 10:30 I've determined that I'm actually exhausted. I tried to stick it out 'cuz the music was really good, but I just couldn't hang. At 10:45 I got up and left the show.

Eric called at 11:15 to ask where I was, and I had to inform him that I had just got back to the house. When I left, I didn't even think to let him know that I was splitting. Exceedingly rude thing to do on my part, and for that I apologize. I crashed and slept for 9.5 hours. After I put my contacts in on Saturday morning, I took an extra second staring in the mirror, and realized that I looked like shit. The bags under my eye's were big enough for Paul Bunyun to vacation with. My skin was pale, and my eyes were duller than home movie's. I took the weekend and did absolutely nothing with it, and was ready to attack the day today.

High... Low... and back to Even. Vanilla ain't no good for blog-fodder.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 11:28 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 01, 2006

Two Grown Men

Since it's the off-season, a local Theme Park is updating their buildings. DollyWood is remodelling an edifice and turning it into a "Sweet Shop". Kev and I have been tapped to install a DumbWaiter in this building. We get lined out this morning, grab a few supplies, and head on out there. As we are driving up to the job, we both notice a squirrel that has met his demise and wound up on the access road in the park. He was lying on his back... little forepaws angled skyward, and was perendicular to our direction of travel. (For all I could tell, he'ed been taxidermied, to look that way.)

Kev noted the carcass and spoke about it... He referred to him as "Sammy". When we left the job for lunch, he spoke about him again. I think that I said "Sammy! Walk towards the light!" but I've been drinkin', so it's not cast in stone...When we returned, we passed the corpse again, and I thought that he should be declared as "Skippy". "Skippy! Speak to me!" I hollerred like an idiot when we rolled past him.

Kev is 50, and I'm 34. We should have been past our infantile preconceptions, but neither of us could deny who we are. When we passed the carcass in question (on the way to the house) for the last time today... We both yelled "Skippy" at the top our lungs. We extolled the virtues of what a good squirrell he'd been, and the life that he'd lost.

Two growed men, should'na be acting like this, but we both laughed and laughed. That tells me that we were right,

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 11:08 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack