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Monday, April 24, 2006

A rough day

Worked again today (and after tomorrow off, I'll work the next 14 days straight. These are 12 hour shifts. In two weeks, I'll have worked more hours (168) than most people do in a month. Uncle Sam's gonna love this!

I wish I was in Bill Gate's tax bracket. Come to think of it, the tax penalty would be a lot less if all that money was coming in from capital gains, instead of my having to actually work and *earn* it. Why is the tax system set up to penalize people who *produce* more than those who enjoy passive income?

Mind you, I'm not complaining - just curious... Is it because retirees need to keep more of their fixed income, or is it something more sinister? Is it because congress decided the Sam Walton heirs deserve a lower tax bracket? Do they deserve it because they empoy so many people in a higher tax bracket?

Whatever the story, I shoulda been more selective about picking my parents. Life would be so much easier if I'd been born into a family that set me up a big trust fund! :)

We crawled all over the steam turbine, and both gas turbines, and both boilers, checking valve positions and ensuring all the instruments were connected and in service following calibration. It's a big job, as there are about 5000 valves and breakers to contend with. Not that all of them were touched, but there is still a lot to stay on top of.

I completed filling the steam turbine generator with hydrogen which the night crew started, filled the #1 boiler in preparation for firing, removed a couple of equipment clearances, and then... damaged the cooling tower.

We started a circulating water pump (big sucker - it moves about 60,000 gpm) without having properly filled the system first. I thought we had it filled... So we started the pump, and when the first slug of water hit the cooling tower, an 18" fiberglass pipe came loose, and poked out the side of the tower, tearing a hole in the corrugated panel. About 10 feet of pipe was sticking out. Ugly.

The good news is that we have five cells remaining in the cooling tower, and it isn't so warm yeat that we will need the sixth. The other good news is that the vendor wasn't busy. He rounded up a crew and they came right up from the LA area. They were on site within a couple of hours.

We left the night shift crew with some significant work that I would rather have had finished - mainly bringing gas into the plant and preparing the fuel systems for operation. But GE was still signed onto the equipment clearances, so there was really nothing we could do to but wait for them to finish up.

I'd kinda like to be there for the start-up in an hour... but I also would like a day off before going 14 straight. I think I'll take my little one to the park and feed the ducks today instead - and then... off to the pizza place and fun zone! :)

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