Sunday, November 14, 2010

The end of a forced week off... or Thanks PG&E

Photo by "Radar"
The big blow at the refinery last week came with an unexpected bonus. I think it was Wednesday end of work and I looked over at the flare stacks lighting up and beginning to blow what was to be about 8 hours of black smoke. I told Jesse who was parking next to me to get his stuff and get to the gate before we were stuck in the plant in a "Shelter in Place" alarm. I called Mark, who was on his way over to our parking area to alert him and advise him the same. Luckily we got out before the alarm stopped sounding and spent the evening with all the other civilians watching the subsequent air quality damage on the television via news helicopters.

Funny thing about us native Marteezians, we don't do very well at the "Shelter in Place" orders, especially when you can look up in the sky and see the prevailing winds taking the smoke to Concord - a direction pretty much opposite from us. I was mowing my lawn and weed eating the corners as the siren went off down the street. My neighbors looked out from their front porch to the plume in the sky. Kind of like when we lived in Michigan and there were ribbons warning of tornadoes and immediate shelter on the TV. None of the houses in our hood were equipped with cellars so we went next door in a big rush to find out what to do. The neighbors said the church up the street had a cellar but mostly they just went outside to watch the funnel cruise across the landscape.

The problem started with a power outage. The back up power at the plant was out as well, so the only thing to do was dump the product in the lines and burn it off. Ergo, all flares were lit and burning full power. This is how the darn thing is designed. It worked great! Much better than leaving it in the lines and blowing the entire place. In my own simple way I think of it like a cold re-boot on your computer. The hard part is starting it back up. Evidently it takes about 5 days to do all the stuff that they need to do so it will come alive without too much damage. Kind of like when you start your computer after a blue screen and it does that interminable forever diagnostic to find out if anything was trashed. Then, when it actually starts, you cross your fingers and hope nothing was lost, stolen, or damaged beyond repair. That happens tomorrow at the refinery.

In the meantime, no outside contractors were allowed to pull work permits so, long story long, I had 4 days off! Oh yeah..... not good on the wallet, but it was a great four days!

Theater of Dreams, imagine.... photo by me...
I got some yard work done, reformatted my computer (I am running Windows 7 people...YAY) and got some photos and fun in as well as time with my grandkids. Wow, it seems like it was much longer because I did so much, but I really got to enjoy most all of it. The one wrench in the ringer was my poor little girl got a massive headache and has spent the last 3 days in bed. The doctor diagnosed it as a flu. The symptoms kind of started that way, but then just the headache. More like the symptoms of a 3 day migraine. She is just now coming out of it. Poor kid. She was lucky to have her husband around to take care of the kids. I took my grandson this afternoon but as they diagnosed it a flu, I have been trying to keep my distance. This afternoon I got her oldest to ride with me to the car wash, grocery and play time in my back yard. Fun!

So... I pruned, weeded, computed, photographed, post-produced the pictures, played, played biker, and slept till I woke up without an alarm clock. Tomorrow morning is going to suck. The guy that invented alarm clocks should be tarred and feathered! BUT.... Thanksgiving weekend is coming and more time to do the stuff I like! Thanks, Heather for the pumpkin cake recipe. I have all the stuff to make it for our dessert on Turkey Day!

Hope you all have a great week and the weekend comes soon. I am ready for another one already! Happy Trails, people.

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