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 eighty ninth 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.
11/24/03 – Freeeezing at Dell
Dear Soonerites, and friends,
It has happened again! Once again, as I drove to work this morning, I experienced the puzzled looks on the faces of my fellow Austinians, as they try to figure out why their muscles were twitching and their teeth were chattering.
Yes. The temperature has dropped to “almost” freezing down here, and since most people down here don’t own a real coat, they are running around outside with their thin sweater that they bought more for looks than for functionality.
Of course, I, being from the frozen tundra of Sooner Plant, where the wind comes whistling down the plain at 60 miles per hour, which brings the brisk 20 degree temperatures down to a -15 degree wind chill, know better. — Except that I no longer own a “real” coat myself.
I just have a jacket or two that survived the move down here a couple of years ago. — But at least I know how to shiver with dignity. You know. Stomp my feet. Rub my hands together and blow in them like I’m trying to make a dove call.
Say. That reminds me of the owl, and or dove calls that I used to hear over the gray phone years ago. — You guys know what I’m talking about. They always seemed to happen when a certain individual was taking a ride in the elevator. — They sounded real good too.
I don’t suppose you guys use the gray phone anymore. — They have installed a PA system here for emergencies, and guess who makes it —- Gai-tronics (Yes. The same that made the wonderful gray phone system at the plant). — When I first saw those here, I pointed at it and said, “I know what one of them are.”
Well. I know it has been a few weeks since I have written. That is because I have been so busy working on that project that they sent me to all those schools for. Last week I was working with a consultant named Kevin.
We were both sitting in the same cubicle doing our work, and it was getting confusing when someone would walk in the cubicle and say, “Hey Kevin!”, and we would both look up from our respective computers and say, “Yes?” So, we agreed that the other Kevin was going to be called “Kevin”, while I was going to be called “Kev”.
That way, when someone would come in the cubicle and say, “Hey Kev….”, we would both pause for a second to see if they added an “…in” on the end. Then if they didn’t, I would answer “Yes?”, and if they did, the consultant would answer “Yes?”, and so the whole thing worked out pretty good.
The best part about it was that we didn’t have to go through a whole lot of red tape to institute that “Business Process Improvement”. It just happened, and it worked out great. — As you can imagine.
Anyway. I have some time this morning, because I was supposed to be on vacation all this week, only they were offering some classes this morning that I wanted to take, so I decided to come in this morning instead of sleep in. — after all, I didn’t want to miss all this cold weather. This might be the last cold wave until January.
So I am now waiting until 9:00 to go to my first class. I have four classes that I am going to take this morning. They are: Project Planning, Project Estimation techniques, and …. And…… Oh, I forgot…. Hold on a second while I check…… Oh. There are two more…. Risk Management, and Project Tracking and Oversight. — Oh Oh. There’s that “Risk Management” one.
I wonder if it’s going to be like the Risk Management that they used at Sooner Plant when Jim Arnold was still around. You know. The one where you cross your fingers and make a Wish: “Please let this last until the next overhaul”. — (the Risk Management technique that I always referred to as “Wish Management”).
Oh. Wait a minute. I just had a frightening thought. Wouldn’t it be bizarre if that old coot was still around making decisions like that? Whoa. — Come to think of it. I think he still is. I hope he hasn’t burned down any more Turbine room floors lately.
I realized after I sent my last letter that I didn’t end it with my usual salutation. That was because just as I was finishing the letter, a guy came in my cubicle to work on something, and we sat there and worked on it for a while, when I looked over at my monitor and realized I hadn’t hit the “Send” button yet. So I just clicked the “Send”, and off it went, just when I realized I hadn’t said:
I hope all of you are being safe, and having a Happy Thanksgiving. By the way (I only thought I was ending the letter), I am going to be in Stillwater on Tuesday night, so if anyone would like to get together for a late supper out somewhere, give my dad or mom a call at 377-9478, and we may be able to go out somewhere.
I’ll also be in town on Saturday night if any of you would like to try to get together then. We are all going to spend Thanksgiving in Kansas City with my mom’s relatives, (and Jesse Cheng of the “Jesse, Come get your Chilli!!!” fame).
So. Be safe, Work Safe, cause Bill Gibson Loves You Man!!!! 🙂 Hey Bill. I just had to throw your name in there, because whenever I look up and see that sticker in my cubicle, I think about you saying that.
Note to Reader: To learn more about hardhat stickers see the post “What does a Hard Hat Sticker Tell You About a Power Plant Man.
Anyway. Toodles…… (I just had to throw that in there to, because that is how Kent Norris says goodbye).
Note to Reader: To learn more about Kent Norris and Toodles, see the post Corporate Executive Kent Norris Meets Power Plant Men.
Oh. As long as I’m on a roll. “Hubbard Here”, “Donuts?” (said using Danny Cain’s voice), and “Whoo Whoo”, (That’s supposed to be an owl call that we used to hear over the gray phones when “you know who, who was in the elevator — by the way, was that a dove call or an owl call? Andy? Do you know?).
Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone,
Your Friendly Dell Programmer,
Kevin James Anthony Breazile
Kevin J. Breazile