Letters to the Power Plant #96 — Springtime 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 ninety 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.

3/15/04 – Springtime at Dell

Hello Sooner Plant Heros!!!

I just realized that another 3 weeks have gone by since I have written to you guys.  Boy time flys.  —  Well.  I’m completely done with that “big” project, and today I have started working on some smaller projects.  So, since I’m just beginning something new, I thought this would be a good time to stop and take some time to write to you guys.

Three weeks ago, you had just started an overhaul.  Since this was probably a 12 week major overhaul that you were doing, you should be done by now.  After all, it has been THREE weeks!  So, I suppose the unit is back online, and the Dumper has been put back together after the coal explosion, and you guys probably had an appreciation lunch for all your hard work.

I just got back from an Appreciation Lunch for the Kronos project that I have been working on (so I’m all stuffed with Mexican food).  I think that was about the 6th appreciation lunch I have been to for this project.  We had one 2 1/2 weeks ago, where we went to lunch, and then went to a movie.  We went and saw “Welcome to Mooseport”.  Which was an easy going funny show.

Then a few days later, we had to go to that place where you eat pizza in the theater while you’re watching the show, and we watched a movie called “Big Fish”.  That was quite a whopper of a story.  Our Vice President had us go do that one.

Then a Project Manager that bailed out on the project just when it was beginning to look really hopeless, took me out to lunch because I pulled the whole project through even though it didn’t look like it had a prayer of getting done on time.  —  I guess he felt guilty, so he took me out to a real nice restaurant.

So, in a way, we sort of have our own Men’s Club down here.  Though it isn’t nearly as exciting as the Men’s Clubs at Sooner Plant, where you get a ticket when you come in the door, so that you have a chance to win a prize from Wal-Mart when they call your ticket number.  —  Oh, wait, we did do that when we went to that theater where we ate all that pizza.  If they drew your seat number you would win a $50 gift certificate at some Mall.

I hope all is going well with you guys.  No accidents or anything like that.

I keep having these really weird dreams about Sooner Plant.  The other night I had a dream that I went to visit the plant, and instead of using a pickup truck to go up to the coal yard, you guys had a helicopter, and it would land right on top of one of the Fly Ash silos, so you didn’t have to go up the elevator or climb the stairs.

There was a whole lot of construction going on, like they were building a new part of the plant out in the field just out from the Maintenance Shop by #1 Boiler.  It was really strange.  I remember I was in the helicopter and Diana Brien and Scott Hubbard were there and Ben Davis was flying it around and he was dodging the new conveyor belts that were being installed, and we had tool buckets like we were going to fix something on top of the Fly Ash silo (though I was only there to visit).

It all seemed like a weird Sci-fi movie like Total Recall or something like that where the sky is all dark for no apparent reason.  When we got to the top of the Fly Ash Silo, Charles Foster was there with Andy Tubbs, and they came over to the helicopter, and started talking about what needed to be repaired, and I just stood there grinnin’ because I was so glad to see them, but they were so wrapped up in telling Ben and Diana what was going on that they didn’t have time to stop and say hello, so I felt all out of place.

Oh well.  —  I’m not an electrician anymore, so I don’t get to do all those fun things….  I was talking to a guy today at lunch about how I used to crawl around on the top of the Smoke stack to fix the grounding cables, and how you can see so far when the weather is clear, and there isn’t anything as far as you can see that is higher than you.  And when you lean over and look straight down the brick stack that is inside the concrete stack, it looks just like a big brick tunnel that is perfectly round, and goes so far that you can’t see the other end……  You sure can’t do that sitting here in this cubicle.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about climbing around on the top of the smoke stack, see the post Power Plant Blackbirds and Smokestack Jumpers.

There is no opportunity for the great thrill of drop testing the Stack Elevator around here.  Or (my favorite), climbing up to the middle beam inside the precipitator so that you can straighten out a set of plates and having to squeeze through those plates and beams to get down, and skiing down the steel support rod back down to the lower level when you are done without getting a rip in your fly ash suit or having your respirator knocked off of your face by a falling clinker.  Gee.  The best I can do for a thrill around here is spill my cup of ice water on my lap.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about climbing around inside a precipitator see the post Moon Walk in a Power Plant Precipitator.

Ok.  So I was ramblin’ again.  You know I learned from the best.  For those of you who don’t know.  I learned how to ramble from a girl in College in the early 80s named “Ramblin’ Ann”.  I used to be real quiet when I was a kid.  —  No really, I did…..  Maybe sometime I will tell you guys about Ramblin’ Ann, in case some of you don’t remember.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about Ramblin’ Ann see the post Ed Shiever Trapped in a Confined Space with a Disciple of Ramblin’ Ann.

Well.  I said in the subject line that it was “Springtime at Dell”.  I know because my daughter and son are off for spring break this week.  I couldn’t really tell by the weather.

We had snow 1 day this winter, and it was all gone by noon.  I think the temperature dipped down into the 20s two or three days this winter.  Now we’re back up in the 70s.  —  Well……  What good is ramblin’ if I don’t ramble about the Weather!!!!????!!!!  Ok.  I’m done.

I hope all of you have a good week.  Be safe.  Think of the Yellow Flag BEFORE the accident happens.  Lift with your legs and not with your back.  Where there’s a dusty dumper, there’s an explosion.  Change out the Boiler Feed Pump Turbine Coupling BEFORE it breaks during an overspeed test.  Sonny has REALLY retired…..Third time’s a Charm!!!

Talk to you later,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile


Kevin J. Breazile

Programmer/Analyst III

Dell Inc.

(512) 728-1527

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