Wednesday, August 21, 2013

F-ing Rocket Scientists

There was a bit of a back story to that whole rat tale.  It was before the whole rat incident.  It was actually a huge part of why I was too tired to deal with the mouse traps that night.  It was one of those events I alluded to.  I didn't tell it at the time because I was not sure I wanted to tell it at all.  I am still not sure I want it out there but well there is that whole blank blog thing... 

I work with a whole lot of hugely talented people.  I mean you can not be any moron off the street and get in here and even if you do, you would be kicked out pretty quickly.  That said, I also work with some people that sometimes are seriously lacking in the brains department. 

I was working at one of our other sites when my boss radioed me.  "Can you come back here pretty quick and work on this spot welder?  It is a critical path item and they need it right away.  It seems to be some kind of electrical control thing".  That puts it right in my core group so I told him I would be back directly.  He forwarded me the ticket and I headed off.

I chased down the equipment and found myself staring at quite possibly the world's largest spot welder....  or at least the biggest one I had ever seen.  I had the operator show me the problem and sure enough the thing barely even whimpered much less welded any spots. I worked my way through the controls while listening to his back story.  He kept mentioning another group in Florida rewiring it and mentioned several times that our number two electrician (they are a different group than us) had rewired it.  So finally I called Number Two and asked him about it.  He said he had indeed fixed the wiring and that they were going to test it and get back to him but had not.  I explained the situation and he said he would be right over. 

Number Two checked out all his wiring and confirmed that everything was good on his side of the control.  He had brought another electrician and with a nod to my status as little sister to THEIR group they stood there and kibitzed a bit while I worked through the control. They finally got called off to work on something else and so wandered off again. 

I worked my way through the system one piece at a time before deciding that the thing was in fact just DOA.  I called my boss and explained the issue to him and told him that the repair would be more time and money than a replacement.  He pondered that for a minute and then said he would send someone to give me a second look before we called it. 

I had been working on the cabinet live in order to chase the issue and at 480V and 300 Amps I, of course, had my gloves on.  So when my coworker appeared sans, gloves I pulled mine off and offered them to him with one hand while pulling the door away from him with the other.  He stepped in front of me a bit and promptly shoved both bare hands into the cabinet.  Now due to how he had stepped in front of me, his elbow made contact with my chest right in the corner below my left shoulder.  He also promptly made contact with the biggest power source in the cabinet.  My hand on the door made an excellent ground and so he managed to shock us both.  Fortunately the shock made me fall back a step almost immediately which broke the circuit and so stopped the shock.  Well the electric one anyway. 

I was so angry that one of my coworkers was so stupidly careless that I proceeded to rip him a new one right then and there.  The operator had seen and heard the whole thing and when I paused for breath, he whipped his welding gloves so hard at my coworker that he actually flinched and then he yelled at more coworker for a few minutes.  After determining that I was OK and my coworker only blistered a bit and suitably chastened I decided to let it drop.   

Now before you all jump up and down, this coworker has been there a long time and I have never heard of him ever doing anything so boneheaded before.  Something like this is more than enough to get him fired outright.  As crazy as we have been I was willing to put it down to a terribly stupid mistake and not risk his career over it.  No harm no foul so to speak.  We barked at him a bit more and then he put on a pair of gloves and finished cross checking me.

Finally the thing was declared dead and we all went on with our day.  I was working on something else when I became aware that I was being closely watched.  I turned around and saw Number one, Number Two, and Number Four Electricians staring at me with hard angry eyes.  Puzzled, I asked what was up and Number Four asks me gruffly  if I am ok.  I stare at him blankly for a second before Four says, "dumbass told us.  He thinks it is funny".  It is then I realize that their anger is not directed at me but at the person who has hurt their little sis.  I assure them that I am fine other than feeling like I had a bit of heart burn and then quickly run through what happened.  I promised them that I would never ever be so close nor ungloved near the dumbass and live electric again. 

After they all patted me awkwardly, they disappeared back to where they snuck up on me from.  The scene would be repeated several more times over the course of the day (and honestly the rest of the week) by the rest of the electricians.  Everyone who stopped me told me that they had heard it from my coworker who seemed to think it was funny.  Everyone told me that they had all told him how not funny it was and threatened him with gross injury if he hurt me.  I swore them all to silence not wanting the story to get out of hand. 

I finally finished my day and came home emotionally and physically drained.  I am sure that this had a lot to do with my panic and subsequent asthma attack over the rat. 

The story, of course, did not stop with the electricians, nor even the rest of their group.  Anyway, the story has now made the rounds of several groups though fortunately not our own group but it has led to so many people I am working with finding out from the dumbass that I finally had to tell TIM about it this morning after we met over coffee before/after work as we do from time to time.  As I ended my summary with how angry the electricians are he looked at me and snapped "More people are angry than just them."

I do not think I have ever seen him that mad.  I confess to having just stood there with my mouth hanging open stupidly as he got into his truck and drove away.  I was glad that he heard it from me.  I shudder to think how angry he would have been to hear it elsewhere. 
And that right there is why I decided I needed to commit it to blog before anyone heard it somewhere else.

So there.

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