Letters to the Power Plant #106 — Shivering at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the one hundred and sixth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

10/14/04 – Shivering At Dell

Hello once again Friends at Sooner Plant and the vast beyond,

Boy.  It is fffreeezzziinnggg down here.  It made it all the way down in the 60s today.  And with that wind, it was quite nippy.  I almost thought about putting on a long sleeve shirt, but before I could think about it, I thought about breakfast, and quickly forgot to put on a long sleeve shirt.  —  That’s ok, ’cause it’s just the perfect temperature for a short sleeve shirt in my cubicle.

I had two projects go into production last night, which was fun.  I installed one from one of my computers while I was installing the other with my other computer.  I was doing the “using both mice at the same time” thing, (which I’ve gotten pretty good at doing since I’ve been working at Dell).

This morning both of my project managers were happy because everything turned out all right.  —  About a month ago when our new Oklahoma City site opened up, I was able to “rollout” Kronos to that site without doing anything.  It just went right on in there without any problem.

This afternoon we have a “All-Hands” meeting with our Director.  Since it’s my birthday this month, we get to have cake and everyone is going to sing “Happy Birthday”.  They asked me last week what kind of cake I wanted, and they gave me this big long list of options.

I chose the following cake:  French Vanilla cake with Bavarian Cream filling and Chocolate Butter cream icing.  —  Gee.  That sounded too good to pass up.

It’s ok though.  I worked off the extra “fat” by walking up and down the stairway one extra time today — when I ran out to McDonald’s to get my lunch (2 double cheeseburgers —  You know.  Double Cheeseburgers at McDonald’s are only one dollar a piece!!).  —  See.  I’m trying to be “healthy” and frugal, and have my cake and eat it too!!!!

Tomorrow we are going to have an All-Hands meeting with our Vice President.  We are going to a place called Carlos and Charlies.  I don’t know what kind of place it is, but it’s over at Lake Travis and they said there was going to be a surprise, so I’m curious.  It’s one of those all day things, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

Well.  I’m turning 44 on Monday.  Yep.  Some of you might remember when I first showed up at Sooner Plant the first time in the summer of 1979 when I was 18 years old.

It seems like Ray Eberle was working for Brown and Root that summer.  —  I’m not sure if he was there that summer or came the following summer….I remember that because I remember Bill Gibson having this very interesting drawl that he would go into where when he would tell stories, he would start to drag out his sentences in a funny way, and after marveling at that for a few weeks, I heard him talking to this Brown and Root guy (Ray), that was talking the same exact way!!

I thought that was kind of neat that these guys had their own special way of talking when they were telling stories.  And everyone knows that Bill Gibson can tell stories.  I couldn’t believe how many jokes Bill Gibson could tell.  I thought after a couple of months that he would run out and start repeating them, but he just kept on coming up with new ones for 20 years.

Anyway.  I remember working with Jerry Mitchell, Sonny Karcher and Larry Riley a lot that summer.  They didn’t have a yard crew yet, so I was able to work in the Maintenance shop as a helper.  I remember the last couple of weeks of that summer working with Aubrey Cargill (what ever happened to Aubrey?)and Ben Hutchinson gathering up driftwood and boards that had washed up on those long dikes out in the lake and throwing them into the new dump truck.  We were kind of “breaking it in”.

It was the truck that Dee Ball wrecked when he went to Oklahoma City to pick it up and brought it back with a dent right down the front because he had run off the road and hit one of those reflectors when his cigarette fell down between his legs while he was driving down the Interstate.

I also remember working with Dee Ball.  Every time he would get in a vehicle he would end up tearing it up some way or other, or at least getting it stuck somewhere.  Marlin McDaniel was the A foreman and Orville Ferguson was the Supervisor.  Since I worked for Marlin McDaniel, he would assign me to whatever crew needed help (after I had finished sweeping (or shoveling) out the maintenance shop each morning), or where I would get in the least amount of trouble.

I still have a list somewhere at home that I made when Larry Riley and Sonny Kendrick told me to go to the Tool room and get some tools.  They told me that I needed to get a 3/4 come-along.  As soon as they said that, I thought I’d better write this down, because this is going to be a really funny joke, and I’ll want to remember it.

So I wrote down 3/4 come-along, and a 3/4 box end, and a large bastard file (uh huh.  I knew they were pulling my leg right off).  Then they said they needed a 4 foot soft choker and a 1/2 inch shackle.  —  That was the first thing I had heard of before, after all, a shackle IS something that you put on someone’s ankle when you throw them in a dungeon.

So I went up to Bud Schoonover (meeting him for the first time), and I leaned on the window and said with a grin, “I need a 3/4 come-along”.  —  I was surprised when he turned around, took a few steps and grabbed some contraption that had chains and hooks and a handle hanging in every direction and he handed it to me (Yeah.  That was in the days when there was plenty of tools in the tool room and Bud would actually give them to you).

So I went down my list and he gave me all those things.  Boy.  So I thought, this wasn’t a joke after all.  —  I began to think that it was  joke a little while later as we carried all these things down to the bottom of Belt 2.  I was thinking about those shackles and the choker and how this was looking more and more like a dungeon as we descended down into the darkness.

I remember working with Dale Hull.  He was interesting.  He had aligned the tires on his car himself and got over 100,000 miles on one set of tires, so I thought he must know what he’s doing.

I also remember that someone was selling 100 pound bags of potatoes that summer, so I split a bag with Ray Butler.  I took those 50 pounds of Potatoes home and we ate potatoes until they were growing out of our ears (oh.  Wait, that’s what happens when you don’t clean your ears. —  Never mind).

Anyway.  It was that summer that I learned how to eat raw potatoes.  It’s like eating a turnip. (Did you ever wonder why they call them “turn ups?” — Oh.  Neither did I.  I was just wondering if you did).

Oh My Gosh!!!  (That’s OMG if you are chatting with someone online).  Look what I’ve done!  I certainly didn’t plan on writing an aimlessly rambling letter to you guys when I first started.  I was just going to tell you about the cold weather that we’re having.

Yeah.  That’s all I had to talk about.  —  The weather.  —  Go figure.  Anyway.  I think all that cold air whistling through my ears must have done something to my brain.  —  Yeah.  I think it did.

I’m bobbing my head back and forth now and I can hear something rolling around in there (and the guy in the cubicle across the aisle snickering).  If I get the motion down just right I can hear something bouncing off both sides of my skull like a ping pong ball.  Hey!  That’s kinda neat.  —  Did I mention that it was Ramblin’ Ann’s Birthday today?  —  Well if it isn’t, it should be, ’cause I’m celebrating it!!!!!

Your friendliest Dell Programmer and Support person,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Global Financial Services I/T

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

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