Sunday, June 1, 2014

The "Grindstone"

I typically do not write about my work in this Blog but for the past 3 months, work has been an overwhelming factor, allowing little time for anything else. I've been faced with 65 - 100 hour work weeks.  Been required to be on work sites 9 - 12 + hours a day, often 7 days a week, and then accomplish massive amounts of documentation (for the Federal Govt.) in the evening hours. This typically makes each work day a 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM affair. Weekends, if I'm not working in the field, are used to catch up on what paperwork is behind. At one point I was so overwhelmed that I had to develop a 3 page spreadsheet just to list the documentation items that were delinquent and the status of each item. I am working with a young Federal Govt. Engineer. All contract specifics are intimately scrutinized and expected to be carried out to the letter. In the "old days" we called many of the contract items "boiler plate" as they were in the contract but never really enforced or addressed. Not the case anymore. Plus the Govt. now requires contractor pay submittals / daily reports  via a secured Govt. web site. The focus is to eventually arrive at a "paperless" system. This goal is not realistic as all Govt. site entries must be "backed up" with documentation to accompany all specifics. At one point I was required to enter 6 - 7 different Daily Reports per day for different Project Sites while I was only physically present at one of the sites. Needless to say, I was at the mercy of other QC employees on their sites to keep the flow of information coming to me. The majority of the documentation "funneled" to me eventually. Add that the Govt. requires / expects all documentation be submitted within 24 hours, and the task is impossible. Luckily enough common sense occasionally prevails and a little more time was allowed.
The Project has been in 14 different National Parks / Monuments across all of New Mexico so not only are the work hours long, but some weeks we've had to drive 1000+ miles. Dragging all my office equipment from motel to motel and setting up every time we move, usually 2 - 3 times a week, is a task in itself.

Thankfully the Project is winding down and the 50 + work force is now down to 10 or so workers in one location at a time. Another 3 weeks and the madness will end....then we're off to a similar Federal Project in South Dakota. The "fun" never ends.....
You would think that working in the National Parks would allow some site seeing time, but after 6+ different visits to Carlsbad Caverns over the past year, we did not once have the time to tour the caverns. Chaco Canyon at sun rise was awesome though......
[click on photos to enlarge]

 These Vultures would roost each night in these trees. The same morning my Wife was at a "flagging" station right where this photo was taken. The morning was dead still and not a breath of breeze....Suddenly, the bushes in front of her started violently shaking and a tiny area of  "wind(?)" came up from the creek bottom and right into her where she was standing....the "wind" then instantly vanished after accosting her. She said it felt like an "entity" had passed over her. She was actually a little shaken by the experience....strange....

My wife recently had a medical emergency, ending up in a New Mexico hospital for a few days. Thankfully she is now doing OK, but while in the hospital we found that her insurance was not yet if effect. We'd received new insurance cards 6 weeks earlier (with no explanation) so were under the impression her insurance was in effect. Crap....

Enough is good and we are very fortunate to be in decent health and working as so many folks are without work / health. My Wife always reminds me of the "off time" we have in the Winter to keep me going during my "low" personal  moments. Seems that work is getting tougher as we approach 60 years of age. Just don't have the physical / mental stamina we used to. But...I've "made my bed" and no one is forcing me to sleep in

We did get a 50 mile sidecar ride in a few Sundays ago. Went across the Rio Grande a few times on our route...The river was running pretty full compared to last Fall, when it was just a trickle. I try to at least start a couple of the bikes every weekend, especially the Honda Gold does not like sitting for very long and the engine likes to be "run up / warmed" up every 10 days or so. I've drained the carbs on my old /5 as it did not want to readily start a few weeks back. I'll get it running when I am able to get in some riding time later this Summer.

 We have a nice view from our currant RV site. Since we have to travel back and forth across the state, we have left our rig in a central location and commute "home" on weekends when we can.


redlegsrides said...

Sorry to hear re your wife's medical insurance snafu, I hope it wasn't too costly. As to the government, the paperwork you mentioned just brought back evil memories of my time in the Army and its love of have my condolences.

Unknown said...

Thought you might have been working a lot. Sure have missed your postings, but I know how it is.
Hope you wife is doing good now.

Take care,

Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.