Letters to the Power Plant #8 — Overhaul 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 eighth 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.

10/5/01 – Overhaul at Dell

Dear Sooner friends,

I think I need to get more sleep.  Sometimes I think that I’m not quite aware of my surroundings.  This morning while I was eating breakfast and staring at the calendar, I realized that it was the first Friday in October.  Now, we all know what that means.  So I grabbed some plastic trash bags and duct tape and left for work.  I guess I got there a little early.  It was around 7:00, and no one stirs around here until around 8:00.  So I just started working.  By the time my Manager came in the door, I had covered all the lights and receptacles in my cubicle with plastic and I had my one of my monitors on the floor in pieces with a makeshift hold tag tied to the electric cord.

He immediately became interested in what I was doing.  I could tell by the increase in the volume of his voice that he was excited.  Which is to be expected at a time like this.  He asked me why I was doing what I was doing and I reassured him that I was only going through one computer — of course.  I figured I would do the next one sometime in April or May, or I might even postpone it until NEXT October if I had to.  I explained to him that I didn’t have a true RMS multimeter, because I gave it a coworker (Scott) when I left OG&E, but I could calculate it on my other computer because I had written a program to do that.

He had a strange puzzled look on his face so I said, “It IS overhaul, isn’t it?”  He shook his head in both horizontal directions and when I lifted up on my feet and looked around at the cubicles, I noticed that no one else had covered their cubicles with plastic to keep washdown water off of their computer accessories and fixtures. — When I looked up at the ceiling where the ceiling tiles have been removed to make room for the surveillance cameras, I could easily see spotlessly clean cable trays full of pretty yellow network cables. My manager grabbed me by the shoulders and started to shake me. — It was about that time that Kelly woke me up to go to work and I realized that I had just been dreaming the whole thing.

I still wasn’t sure it had all been a dream while I was on the way to work because I began to notice that everywhere I looked it appeared as if bottom ash had been scattered all over the ground.  I was puzzled when I arrived at work and I asked our Administrative Assistant, (that is ‘clerk’ in Soonerese, we recognize their importance by calling them “Administrative Assistants”, anyway, I asked her…), what that stuff was all over the ground.  She asked me to explain to her what I was talking about, so I went outside and got a handful of the bottom ash looking stuff and brought it in the building.  She looked at it.  Then looked at me.  Then she said in what I thought was a rather arrogant tone, “It’s dirt.”

What!!  I thought dirt was Red!!!  What kind of pallid pasty dirt is this?  It looks like dirt that has had all of it’s useful minerals squeezed out of it until all that is left is…. well…. bottom ash!!  I wonder how they get anything to grow here.  I guess they just fertilize the heck out of everything. — “Oh,” I said, “Dirt”.  — “I knew that.”  — “I’ll just go back to my cubicle now, and program something”  “Have a good day”.  Then the Administrative Assistant, I’ll call her Ginger from now on, since that is her name, said, “Remember.  At one o’clock today, we are all singing Happy Birthday to our Vice President in the Houston Conference Room.”  I told her I would be there.  And I was.  And we had cake and Ice cream, and sang Happy Birthday, and he acted surprised, and I just got back from there a little while ago and I’m still wondering what to do with my pointy party hat.

Anyway.  It may be that I’m not getting enough sleep, or maybe it’s that I’m getting too much.  I’m not used to getting up so late in the morning.  I guess it’s just something that I’ll have to get used to.  Also, my drive to work is so short (7 minutes), I feel like driving around the parking lot a few times when I get to work, just to give myself time to prepare for the day.  But then, it’s easier to get ready for these days, than the ones I am used to.

Well, I know that overhaul is starting for you guys, and I am really sorry I can’t be there…. no really…….  oh ok…. So I’m not.  Anyway.  Everyone work safe.  Don’t let anyone rush you into anything unsafe.  Watch out for the Yellow Flag.  Keep away from the 4 imps, (improvising, impunity, impatience, and imp….  uh, imp…..  Oh, I can’t remember it.  I guess I’ll just say it’s “impossible”  — maybe one of you guys could jog my memory.)

Note to Reader:  To learn more about the four Imps, see this post:  Power Plant Imps and Accident Apes.

Anyway. (I have found that starting a new paragraph with the word “Anyway” has become a habit).  I’ll talk to you later.

Your Friend,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

Programmer/Analyst II

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