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 twenty third 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.
3/16/06 — Dell Me More
My dear friends at the Sooner Power Plant Palace,
I could tell by the response to my last letter that some of you would like to know how I’m getting along in my new job…… Well. Right now I have my headphones on and I’m listening to Louis Armstrong singing “What a Wonderful World”.
Alan told me that you guys are in the middle of the “Mother of all Overhauls”!!! Gee. I really miss those.
I miss dressing up in that fly ash suit and crawling around in the precipitator searching for plates out of the clips glaring through my full face respirator into the dark, or the bright reflection of my flashlight off of the pure white ash on the plates, blinding me to any hidden clip out of alignment.
Well. Anyway. I can still dream about it. I can romanticize it any way I want when I do that. I can pretend that the dust isn’t running down my back and filling up my rubber boots, and that I’m not even breaking a sweat that doesn’t fog up my face plate and run down my shirt causing it to become all caked with ash…… It just doesn’t happen when I dream about it.
I don’t even smell that strange odor that smells like…well. I don’t know what it smells “like” since it has a smell all of its own….
Note to Reader: To learn more about the strange odor at the Power Plant see the post “What’s that Strange Power Plant Smell?“
Anyway. I think back to those days with great happiness and while I do, I scritch-scritch the spot on my back where I used to have psoriasis that was “not caused” by the extremely dry conditions of being covered in Coal Ash or by the not-so-toxic gases that formed as the ash combined with the moisture from the “real world” causing it to fall gracefully from the plates in sheets.
I also miss working on the top of the precipitator where we had to clean and inspect and replace all those insulators. And how we would take those gaskets that were 98% asbestos (2% wire), and stuff them into the plastic bag so that we could have some semblance that we knew how to handle the stuff. I think I still have a few of those fibers lodged in my lungs there somewhere, just to remind me of the “good-ol-days”.
Hey. This morning, (to quickly change the subject), I read an article in Information Week that said the following: “Arizona Electric Power Cooperative Inc. (AEPCO) is turning to SAP AG’s “Safe Passage” program to support growth and consolidate legacy applications, the non-profit cooperative said Tuesday.”
What? Didn’t they know that OG&E did that over 9 years ago? Where have they been all that time? That’s why OG&E was “Best-In-Class”. — Of course it would be nice if the Corporation Commission would let OG&E keep some of their profits.
Well. I better start work now. I’m all done reminiscing about overhauls…..for now… Maybe I’ll do that again in a few hours when I’m eating lunch and I can remember biting into my peanut butter sandwich and having flakes of fly ash or coal dust falling from my hair onto my bread to add that extra-special flavor only found in the Power Plant Palace.
Have a safe day.
Your friend from Dell,
Kevin James Anthony Breazile