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Showing posts from May, 2010

There is no place like home

My few days at home were highly anticipated. I had things planned, including some r and r after putting in 90 hours a week for a few weeks. But believe it or not, this is my first chance and relaxing since I have been here. And I have to leave early for Akron to pick up my super auditor, then head back to Tennessee. So lets just hit the highlights.

Thursdays court went as well as I could have expected. I came out with the understanding that I am going to have to cut expenses anyway I can as child support, healthcare, and day to day expenses are gonna leave me in sad shape. I will be moving out of my house, probably on August 1. Cheap apartment living here I come. I also was disappointed to find my house in a state of disrepair when I got home, so much so that I called my room mate to make sure she was still alive. So I spent a good part of the weekend just trying to recover my home. Friday night saw a party, where a complete stranger confiscated my bottle of Jack and drained it. Then I…

Sometimes its the little things...........

A lot of you know that I am a firm believer that little things make life worth living. I use that belief everyday in a lot of different aspects of life. At work it is patting someone on the back for a job well done. With the boys its hugs and prayers before bed. When I am involved with someone, its making dinner together or a simple night by the fire. I am a little things kind of guy. Today, I must say, little things were not my friends.

A lot of issues at the jobsite today. nothing major, but a whole lot of small fires to put out. Between issues with the caterer to portable toilets not being serviced, everyone seemed to have a little gripe to hit me with today. And they were one right after another, from the time I got to the plant til the time I left. My work blackberry apparently got tired of ringing because it quit at the end of the day. So my evening was spent at the verizon store, where they could do nothing to help me, and checking into the new hotel, an adventure in and of itse…

On a more personal note

As I sit here tonite in the Econolodge grand suite (thats an oxymoron, trust me) in Clarksville Tennessee, I am somewhat detached from my real life in Ohio. But the past few days I have read about trials and tribulations on Facebook that a friend is going through. I have talked to another friend about the issues they are facing. And, in a bizarre, alternative world kind of way, I even advised my ex wife on dating and what to watch out for. It makes me grateful to have the life that I do, to be in the place I am at, and the best part, to not know what is going to happen next.

To my facebook friend who is facing a lot of adversity right now. I know you are reading this. I have been where you are, not too long ago. You, amongst others, grabbed my hand and pulled me out of it. This is my attempt to return the favor. When she walked away from me I really thought I was going to go insane. I hit the bottom, and had no desire to get back up. It tore me apart, and it was so strange that it did …

Jodi Smith

Sorry about my absence the last few days, took the trip home, enjoyed some quality time with those I love, and headed back. It was a quick visit, but this week I will be returning home for a few days.

I have been bragging so much about my team on here and the phenomenal job they are doing on this project. Things are still going very well for the most part, though we have had a few minor snags the last couple days. But in my bragging I failed to mention the auditor on the job, Jodi Smith. And she probably has the toughest job out of everyone here. She is responsible for taking all of the invoices, labor sheets, and any other paper work on the job, recording them, then building a bill for us to give to the client. She works more hours than I do and is a tremendous asset on the job. Most PM's would be lost without their auditors, and Jodi is one of the best. She takes care of me no matter if its here or back in Ohio, where she works in the Akron office but provides a lot of support fo…

Snakes and the 30 hour reprieve

This morning I was greeted by the night shift, who informed me that there were two large black snakes in the basement of the sludge conditioning building (yes that is actually the name). Unsure of whether they were standard black snakes or water mocassins, the team did not want to investigate further. I informed the plant manager, who said this was not an uncommom occurrence. He went down and, after a little searching, was able to identify the breed. I think he called them "Large Power Cables". Yeah, my guys were afraid of a couple of cords.

After my daily 8 am meeting, I knew I would be able to set a plan in motion I had been considering for a couple days. With the job running so well, I jumped in the rental car and headed home. I figure I can at least spend the morning with my boys before heading back to Tennessee. In Louisville, the clouds started to darken and I could see the storm coming in. Just North of Cincinnati, the skies opened up and I drove the next 100 miles in …

And the Lord told Noah to build an Ark

Rain was once again the topic of the day today. For the first couple of hours we knew that showers were likely. We outfitted everyone with there non permeable hazmat suits as usual, knowing that they would protect them from the rain. A quick check of the radar gave left an ominous feeling in the air. More red and yellow on the doppler than green, and all creeping very slowly towards the Clarksville Sewage Treatment Facility. We began to batten down the hatches. Boom lifts were parked. Gas powered light stands were lowered. All cleaning of the metal hand and guard rails were halted. Everything was buttoned up just in time, as the rain rolled in. For the better part of 5 hours the area was once again deluged with rain. What's worse, the road into the plant flooded over, barley being passable for trucks. The streets and parking areas began to pond. In the town of Clarksville, already ravaged by the floods, car hydroplaned as the storm sewers overflowed yet again. There were some tenu…

Three thousand dollar bucket

The last couple of days in the job have been pretty good. Everything is running smoothly, besides a few glitches here and there. For instance, last night the overnight crew was out in the compound cleaning the large vats that process the water for the facility. At some point, a plastic 3 gallon bucket fell into the murk below and disappeared. This morning I informed the city of the issue. Little did I know that this was the only functioning part of the plant. They had to shut it down, send in a scuba diver, and an hour later, retrieved the pale. In all that little oops cost the city $3000. They asked if I wanted it back, I declined, telling them they had a souvenir.

Yesterday had a comical moment as well. Let me preface this story by telling you that dont know that I used to date someone who had purple hair. Yes, I said purple, and thats a (very cool) story in and of itself. While we were seeing each other, I took a lot of photos, one of which was taken after a few drinks late at night…

Starting to get a reputation

Another adventurous day of dirty work started at 6 am, on the jobsite getting geared up. Supervisors in by 6:30, and crew supposed to be in by 7. But at 7:05, we began to be alarmed at the lack of workers on the job. Never had a whole labor force show up late before, so by the time they arrived at 7:30 my patience was already wearing thin. Quickly my supervisors got them ready and got them to work. By 8 am we were running like a machine. The rest of the morning seemed to buzz by. I was almost to the point of forgiving the tardiness (one of my biggest pet peeves) when the head of the company that provided these folks came to me and said no fewer than 10 wanted to leave because of the nature of the work. Having explained what the job was before they ever arrived, I had all I could take. So, for the second time on a week, I let an entire company of general laborers go. As my job accountants scrambled to get a new team in place, I met with the supervisors and told them we needed to get …

Here, taste this

As I wandered about the plant today, looking at all the different cycles and components that make sewage infected water potable again, it dawned on me that this idea, as most, probably started as a hair brained idea straight out of "Honey I Shrunk The Kids" Some guy, whose mind was always working, had to use the bathroom. As he sat and pondered on his throne, a light bulb went off in his head. I wonder what it would take to make this water drinkable again? And so he planned. And drew schematics. And got his material, set up his little science experiment, then infected the water. Through the process it went. And it came out the other side clear. Odorless. Just what he had predicted Wow. But wait a second, how did it taste? Would it hurt to drink it? Just as he is thinking that his buddy walks in. The scientist looks at him, then the glass of water, then back at him and says, here, taste this...........
Of course this is only speculation on my part. But a thought I had today…

If you don't finish college you'll wind up working at the poop factory

Today is what, Wednesday, Saturday, I can't keep track anymore. What I do know is this. Monday morning your alarm will go off. You will hit the snooze button and say no not yet. A few minutes later you will stumble down the stairs to your morning coffee and dread going to work. Dread going to a job where you feel underappreciated and overworked. They take the best of you and give little back. You are lining someone else's pockets. Pretty depressing huh? But alas, I say take heart. What you don't know is how lucky you are.
Today, I saw a man get into a wet suit and helmet straight out of the movie Men of Honor. He walked out onto a catwalk that spanned the diameter of a 250,000 gallon raw sewage holding tank. He climbed the railing onto a ladder and descended into the murky sludge. Only pocketed air bubbles could be seen on the surface as he wandered, trying to find the source of a clog that had caused the gigantic tank to stop draining into the treatment plant. This man is …

From the Penthouse to the Outhouse

I was all geared up. My team was ready. We were going to move to the State Park Resort and take care of that job while enjoying the park, the wildlife, the lake, and the quiet. Then word came down, a new project was signed and it is substantial in size. Me and my people are the best team to knock it out. I got the details of the new loss and boy, is it the opposite of the tranquility we were preparing for. Our new task is to clean and restore.............you ready for this?............the Sewage Treatment Facility in Clarksville. Thats right, the tanks overflowed during the storm and I now get the privilege of taking care of that for them. The area manager said they needed the right guy for the job. How do I take that? LOL. But I assembled the team and told them thats we have a job to do, lets get in and get it done. They are surprisingly gung ho on this. So thats where we will be.
The preparation for a job like this is quite extensive. Portable showers, hand wash stations, and a thous…

Next Stop, Jerry Springer Show

I took a 36 hour respite from the jobsite and ran home. Got to see my boys and check on things at the house. Definitely glad its only a five hour drive to the house instead of a 13 hour flight from South America!

Upon my return to the project, I was really impressed by all that was accomplished while I was gone. As of noon today, we are done with the emergency services. A couple minor punchlist things, and a day off Sunday, then starting a state park resort Monday morning! I am excited. This place is nestled in the woods 40 miles west of Nashville. And it is a hotel, where my team and I can stay during the process. The hotel overlooks a lake. I cannot wait to post pics.

I am grateful to have the team I do here in Nashville. There is no quit in them, no thought of giving anything but 100%. In a meeting today with the General Manager and Adjuster, the GM said we have been their backbone during this project and that they were blown away by what we got done. The head of Belfor's Nashvil…

When it rains it pours

Woke up this morning to rain. Just what this town needed, I thought to myself as I walked to the truck. Arrived at the jobsite early, got the days tasks prepared, and got off to a great start. Had a great morning. After lunch, though, the day took a sharp turn when the client informed me they had a laptop missing. It had disappeared from an office during lunch. After enduring a verbal tyrade from the person to whom the laptop belonged, I gathered the team. I told them the situation and asked the guilty party to please own up. No response from the 62 people in front of me. I told them the police would be called, and that their cars searched. Still nothing. I told them everyone would be terminated immediately if someone did not come forward. That prompted a confession from one gentleman. he told me he took the laptop. I asked where it was, it didnt match where the stolen item had been. I asked when he did it, he said 3 day ago. And he had indeed done just that. But it wasn't the la…

Oddities, reflection, and just a lil bragging

This morning, while leaving the place I get my morning coffee, I had someone approach my truck. As I drove past he threw what appeared to be a rock at my truck. I got out and asked why and he started screaming at me, incoherently. it was clear he was homeless, and probably drunk as well. i called the police, who took him away. An hour later as I was conducting my morning meeting another homeless person stumbled onto my jobsite, screaming that he had no shoes and that he couldn't cross the bridge and that he wanted to go to jail. So, I had the police pick him up as well. It was a very odd start to a very good day.
A decade ago I made the decision to change careers. Burnt out by a restaurant industry that had owned me since I was 16, I made a job change just to save my sanity. When I started at Servicemaster it was a job change that was supposed to hold me over while I figured out what to do with my life. 10 years and 3 companies later and after many try and fail moments, my career i…

Start of something big

Sorry I did not blog last night, I had a late night. It was an evening of much needed relaxation. Not sure when I will get another one of those.
I spent the day yesterday looking at new losses. These jobs are located just outside of downtown, in area that was completely submerged until Wednesday. This is a heavy industrial zone that housed trucking terminal, a wire company, a post office, a scrap metal company, and Nashville's Transit Authority Service Terminal just to name a few. The water in this area was better than 6 feet deep. I went to the wire company first. It was a very large job, one that would require a substantial effort to complete. With my parks jobs coming, I declined being the project manager on it and handed it to someone else. I then went to the scrap metal job. And it made the wire place look small. Encompassing 4 city blocks with 8 buildings, scales, lots of heavy equipment, and 5 days to be operational, it is a monster project. I called the guys running the sho…

Ranger Mike

This morning I drove out to Montgomery Bell State Park to look at the resort hotel we are going to restore. I went there yesterday for an initial assessment as well. As I drove out there today, things looked a lot different than they did 24 hours ago. First, the road was open. It had been closed in 4 places due to high water. There was a lot of dirt, dust, tree limbs, and even debris all over the place. Even saw 2 areas where the water had washed the asphalt away, piling it up like leaves in nearby fields and yards. I also saw an area that had been covered by water yesterday that has now receded. To my shock, where the creek had been almost to bridge level Tuesday, it was back in its banks today - at least 15 feet under the bridge. And just a few hundred feet away, the foundation of a home that had been washed away in the flood. Again I cannot stress enough how ravaged this area is and how it seems to be being ignored by the national media.
Lots of Belfor personnel flew in today. More …

New Month, New Adventure

Woke up this morning, got the boys ready for school, packed the truck and headed to Nashville, Tennessee. This past weekends storms did quite a bit of damage here, so this is the site of my latest adventure.
I was very excited coming down here. Just the thought of going to music city intrigued me more than you can imagine. Anyone who is anyone in country music lives here. Wonder if i will have to go assess a flooded basement at Toby Keith's? Or Dierks Bentley's? Or Miranda Lambert's?:) Maybe I can go to Opryland? But when I got to within 30 miles of the city, I realized this trip was not going to be about any of that. I picked up a radio station from Nashville. They were having a radiothon for the city. They spoke of devastation similar to Katrina. Lost lives and homes and neighborhoods swept away or left in shambles. The Grand Ole Opry under 8 feet of water. As I came into downtown, I saw it firsthand. Downtown areas looked like lakes, with guys in boats and canoes circlin…