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Sunday, March 20, 2011

PD: aSS :) Chapter 4

PD: aSS Ch. 4: Eyeball Lockdown - the teacher becomes the student

ok - catchy title, or what?
I thought that was pretty clever.

Actually, I helped to fit a pipe. There is a difference.So, I stroll into work today with my newest pair of blue coveralls on-the-go and my orange hard hat and my two pairs of (dirty) gloves (because I worked hard yesterday with dirty stuff) and my safety glasses and my ear plugs and my bottle of water. And my boots. Which, by the way, are totally amazing and I recommend everyone buy a pair because they are so awesome. Cat black, steel-toed boots. It does not matter if you don't work at site - that is simply irrelevant. You need a good pair of boots, too.

So I get in the team room for the Heavy Trades (yeah, I am busting out the lingo now) and we are told that we are basically doing the same jobs as yesterday and if there are no safety concerns then we are on our merry ways.... so back I went to the shop to continue the clean-up we started yesterday. That went fairly well. I got all the stuff done that was supposed to get done. It was looking like it was going to be a long day of cleaning and then out of nowhere comes this angel named Jimmy who is getting ready to cut some pipe. I was waiting for my leader guy to tell me what he wanted chucked out when Angel Jimmy comes over with a piece of pipe and puts it in the vice. So I sidle on over (yeah, I didn't sidle - it is just a great word - it was so frigging warm that I actually just walked over) and said, "Hey, what you going at?" and he said, "Oh I got to cut some pipe." So I replied, "Mind if I watch?" "No problem," says he, and promptly starts explaining everything he is doing. Well, it did not take me long to glue myself to him so I could get in on the pipe-fitting racket. Soo....

During the process, I learned how to properly measure, plan, cut, grind, bevel, buff and level a pipe in order for welding. This is called fabrication (or, fabbing). So I was fabbing up some pipe today. HAHA it sounds like some kind of code but you got to understand the lingo. We don't want to get to Chapter 357 and you be wondering what I am talking about when I say, "Yeah, I fabbed up some pipe today." You'd be confused. I am looking out for your best interests, here.

SO, I was *EXCITED*. After watching him do it a few times, he was like, "So do you wanna try?" and before he got the word 'try' out of his mouth, I was like, "Hell, yeah!" It took a bit of getting used to for the grinding but once you get used to it and if you are paying attention, you can do it up really well for the welder. Which, I gotta say, I did. Awww yeah! So proud, I was!!!!
Well, over the course of the day, this guy was awesome. He even brought me into the field to check out where our finished product was going. I learned A LOT. And he was patient, thank God. One guy says to him, "Jimmy you must be a great teacher because you have had her attention all day! You should have been an instructor!" I was like, "Hell, yeah! Jimmy is the bomb-diggity of fitting!" I didn't say that aloud, now, c'mon people, stay with the tour :) I don't want to look like the 90s have to call and ask me to come back. What I said aloud was, "Yeah, that's right!" and not all gangsta, either - I was just normal and enthusiastic.

He also showed me how to operate the crane and to lift a huge pipe with the crane. Awesome. The crane in our shop can lift 5 tonnes. If the average car is 2000 pounds / 1 tonne, that is like 5 cars...

After the fabbing business, we brought our pieces of bevelled pipe over to our welder who was excited to be welding because he does so much other stuff that welding gets kind of pushed to the side. I am glad there is another person like me out there - excited by the whole thing. I don't look like the only nerd, like that, at least ;).

He welded all of our elbows and straight pieces together (which, by the way, I cannot wait to learn how to do, as well) and I felt kind of ripped off at this point because you can't watch welding or it will burn your eyeballs out of your head. So, while I could do eyeball lockdown on the fitting, I could not do that on the welding. I had to look away. I wanted to sneak a look but I was too afraid of my eyeballs just melting right out of my head. The rest of me was melting so I could just imagine my eyeballs popping and draining down my face. Gross or what?

So it rained like a son-of-a-gun (a good Newfie saying for ya) this morning and then got warmer as the day progressed. But you know what, who cares? I got to 'fab up' a pipe. Seriously, priorities, people. Who cares if you are melting when you are getting to fit a pipe? Not me, no sir (another good Newfie saying). I have made my peace with melting away a few pounds. What odds? I got enough to last a few rounds of melting, anyway. I am not seeing the downside of this operation.

OH! I almost forgot! I could have caught on fire today. During grinding, a lot of sparks happen. It's like your own little fireworks display there. If these sparks hit your bare skin, clothes, etc. (hence wearing fireproof coveralls), you could get burned or catch afire (duh). I just thought that was interesting. I was not even afraid, though. I had on so much PPE (more lingo for you - Personal Protective Equipment) that I am pretty sure I was nearly bulletproof. One more shirt would have made me like the Terminator. But anyway, I didn't catch afire but I did make a lot of sparks and it was HOT again. Plus I had on face mask, face shield, glasses, safety glasses, etc which got pretty steamy. But I don't even care. I LOVED it!

And another thing - if you think the wind blowing your hair out of place is aggravating, imagine having to wear a hard hat all day and sweating and hot. I sure do feel like the hot chick out there. Sexified. HOT is right, but not in the sexified way. More like in the heatstroke way. I thought I used to get thirsty before and used to lug around drinks all day - I almost wish I could attach drink-holders to my hard hat. Hmmm.... maybe when I get more into this business, I could fab up some holders and some kind of apparatus to do just that. Good plan. I'm on it.

AND! I never realized it before but this is really just like a really 'strong' way of creating something - I am serious! This could be an art form - you have to be GOOD in order to pull this shit off - you can't give your welder a pile of crap and hope for the best. Once I learn how to do all of this properly, I am going to start practicing stuff and when I am bored, I am going to start making crafts out of scrap material. Yes, I am! Watch, in about a year, Syncrude's shop will be filled with little metal inukshuks and moose and wreaths and stuff. You are laughing, now. Wait until I become the Artistic Director for Syncrude. Along with my regular fitting job with welding and plumbing on the weekends, I certainly won't get bored in life. I also have to squeeze in time for knitting, reading, writing, family and friends. Busy times. I need an Assistant. Anyone up for being an Apprentice's apprentice??

One week down... I am having a blast!
Eager Beaver Tangential Storyteller aka Miss Fabberoni

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