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Off to work! – Week 3

August 23, 2013

Week 3 I started my new job! I’m a Senior Construction Inspector for the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). Here is my PPE.  For those of you who aren’t in the know, PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment.  You know, a few years ago someone told me that the reason safety vests changed from orange to yellow is because when people who hit workers were quizzed why they didn’t see the worker in their neon vest the answer was usually “I thought it was a cone.”  Seriously? A walking cone? A tall cone? And even if you thought it was a cone, why would you want to hit it?! It’s not like those are targets that you should be aiming for!!  Although, given the number of mornings we arrive at a job site to find the trim lines (skinny cones) have been mowed down, I might prefer to think that people are purposely aiming for them instead of not paying attention. Jake tells me that when he was driving over-the-road (that’s trucker speak for driving cross-country and never being home), he would play with the cones by driving over the flat base to make the cone itself hit the tire. He also said that during truck driving school, he figured out a way to pick up his knocked-over cones by running over it a certain way.  So the moral of the story is, if it’s walking around on a construction site, IT’S NOT A CONE.  And when you drive cross-country by yourself everyday for months on end, you get REALLY bored. I called him once he had some ridiculous number of gum in his mouth. He was trying to see how many he could chew.

What was I talking about?

Hard hat, reflective safety, vest, reflective leg covers and safety classes. Not pictured: steel toe boots

Also not pictured is my sense of sarcasm.  Why would I include sarcasm in my PPE? Well, there’s really only so much a person can take of contractors throwing hissy fits before you have to roll your eyes and say “Really?” Seriously, these contractors would beat any 3 year old in a hissy fit competition, and sarcasm is the only way to save your sanity.  Here’s a tip to anyone who wants to get into the paving business: When you’re told your traffic control is wrong and you need to fix it, just fix it. It will make life so much easier for everyone.  But that’s enough of that.

The week was pretty much as you’d expect first weeks to go, lots of meetings but fairly uneventful. But it was exciting at the farm! 13,000+ baby chickens arrived! They arrived at 1 day old and were so tiny!  And even though it was fairly warm outside,they had to have the stoves going to keep the temp at 90 or so inside the barn.

Seeing all those chickens reminded me of Chicken Run. “I don’t want to be a pie. I don’t like gravy!”

After a full week of work, Jake & I took a road trip on Saturday.  The fact that Jake & I jumped in the car to just go for a drive to wherever is shocking, I know.  Oops, there goes that sarcasm again.

Springfield, MO is in the midst of the Ozark Mountains, but I have to say that I have yet to see a mountain.  I want to load up all the people I’ve met here and truck them to CA and be like “THOSE are mountains.”  Although to be a fair, a quick search on Wikipedia will tell you that the “Ozark Mountains” are not mountains. It’s a high, deeply dissected plateau.  And another thing: for someone who has lived most of her life in the Central Valley of California, it is really disconcerting to not see the mountains.  I’ve never had a great sense of direction (understatement), but have been able to fake it using the Sierra Nevada mountains as a guide.  Here, the horizon looks the same in all directions which means that I have no point of reference and am constantly turned around. It is also really weird to be able to travel long distances in all directions.  My mind still thinks that after a couple hours of heading west, you’ll find ocean and can’t drive any further.  Well, I guess you could try but I doubt it’d be successful.  Jake & I talked about modifying a spinny wheel from a board game to have a compass on it. Then we can flick the spinner and pick the direction we’ll head for the day.  Having new places to explore is pretty exciting.

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