Just Another Day At the Office


One helluva day at the power plant today.  I’m pretty accustomed to working in adverse work conditions, but this plant is sort of an anomaly, at least during the winter months.  It’s an outdoor boiler, which means for all intents and purposes I’m outside, and in January in Pennsylvania, that’s pretty chilly.  Now they have a couple of pretty impressive space heaters in the form of 2 – 900 megawatt (really big) boilers.  That leads to sort of an interesting environment in which to work.  I outlined the temperature swings in an earlier post, but today was something else.  Today I spent literally the entire day working within about 3 feet of the boiler.  So while it was a brisk 35 and humid outside, I spent the majority of the day within arm’s reach of a 2500 degree fire.

That meant shedding my layers almost immediately.  However every time I so much as walked around the corner of the boiler, I was exposed to the elements.  Which meant putting my layers back on.  I went from 110 to 35 back to 110 in about 2 seconds, and I did that more times than I could count today.  I’m sort of surprised I’m not sick as shit this evening.

Here’s what I was tasked with:

Taking all this crap...

and turning it into this crap....

and then taking that crap and installing it here (on the boiler wall)... 28 times.

It was tough.  Lots of nuts and bolts and air fittings and reducers and wrenches, all in the heat.  And then in the cold.  And then in the heat again.  These kinds of jobs are some of the worst we get.  Working with hardware that close to the boiler is a real pain in the ass, and with every slip of the wrench I got a new bloody knuckle.

You should see the other guy.

The job’s taking a whole lot longer than expected, so I sure as shit won’t be coming home tomorrow as was originally scheduled. But, all things considered, the temperature swings beat the hell out of working in straight up 150 degree heat.  And, I spent most of the day listening to This American Life podcasts, and I heard this story about Chinese factory conditions, which made me feel a helluva lot better.  So here’s to the extra OT, and getting home in time to get some laundry done before my next extended visit to Germany.

-B. Littleton

2 Comments

Filed under The Work

2 responses to “Just Another Day At the Office

  1. B.Nord

    Somebody has to do it. And it looks as if u do it well. Stay safe,take care and hope to see you soon.
    B.Nord

    • Thanks Brad. Actually they’re saying we might have some more work for Louisville Gas & Electric in the coming months, so hopefully I’ll be taking an all expenses paid trip back to KY before too long. It’d be good to see you and Leslie again….

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