Thursday, July 29, 2010

It's a hard-knock life.

It's extremely difficult to work your ass off, only to watch it go down the drain. Literally.

Last night at work, I clock in and walk inside the lab. To find a note taped to the chemistry analyzer that says, "STOP. Do not run! Call LAR first!" (LAR being initials for the day shift supervisor . . . trying to keep some anonymity here). Before I can get my cell phone out to find her cell number, the lab phone rings. It's my boss, HBL, who is already inquiring if I've talked to LAR about the machine, which I haven't, because it's only been about 15 seconds since I've seen the note. Which, by the way, no night is ever a good night when signs that say "STOP" are involved. Trust me on this. She tries suggesting how we can run and move people around so it'll go smoothly. She's currently in our Tampa, FL lab helping out. And she doesn't realize that apparently MJJ has rearranged the schedule this week. (hehe) As soon as I get off the phone with HBL, the phone rings. It's LAR. I find out the reason for the sign - the deionized water system is down. Which means, we have to manually pump water into the chemistry analyzer. All night. Manually. She asks me to go across the hall into the supply room. There I find 600 gallons of Alhambra water. 600 GALLONS. FYI, that's a lot of water. (Just in case you were curious). Although I'm sure Alhambra was thrilled at the prospect of selling that much water to one company in one sitting. I'm totally picturing the happy, glazed over look on the face of the person who took that phone call. She wishes me luck and we hang up.
Now, to put things into perspective, our chemistry analyzer sucks up an enormous amount of water. Not exactly 600 gallons in a shift, but according to our maintenance guy, at least 200 to 300 gallons just for night shift. That's not including day shift, nor the swing shift that runs research samples between day and night crews. And more perspective. The water tank that we have to fill up, drains in about 1 minute if water is not pumped into it. Not joking. SSHAW was up first in pumping water. She timed it to 11 minutes per 5 gallon jug of water. By the time 4am rolled around, I was changing out the 5 gallon water jugs every 5-6 minutes. (For the first time ever in owning a cell phone, I used the stop watch thing on it. Very handy when timing how quickly you're having to change out jugs of water.) I pumped water from 3:15AM to 8:00AM. My arms hurt. What hurts more are the heels of my hands. And of course, the jokes that went on for 8 hours about pumping water never got old. Or just pumping in general. Seriously. Most immature adults ever. But we had fun. It's really the only way to get through a night like that. Laugh about it. Crack jokes about it. Even totally (technically) improper ones - because those are typically the best.

This was our basic setup for last night. We got so fast at changing water, that we would have rivaled the guys in the pit at Nascar. Seriously. (Well, without their fancy tools . . . those weren't required).
SSHAW was so nice and posed for us at the beginning of the night. Later we were a little busy to continue with photo shoot. Behind her you see the cart load of Alhambra jugs. The one guy on our crew was totally awesome and filled it up at least 4 times last night.

So literally, our hard work ended up down the drain. 200-300 gallons of our hard work. My arms are tired.

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