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Friday, October 19th, 2012
9:44 pm - Modified Lego Technic set 8043 Motorized Excavator

I recently bought and built Lego Technic set 8043, Motorized Excavator.  I have ran these in the real world and have ran a few with a "thumb" that extends over the bucket to help in picking things up and after some consideration, and seeing one as I was driving down the road today, I made a thumb for the model and thought I would make a list of the parts used, do a general write up of the process and I took some pictures of the finished product, I should have gotten pics of the modification in process but did not think of it.  I tried to send my ideal to Lego, but the reply email said they could not take ideals from people who did not work for them for modifying the products. So here it all is behind the cut.

cutCollapse )

This gives a good likeness and about the same functionality of the models real world basis.

current mood: accomplished

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Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
8:37 pm - posted here for use of cut feature......
So for all who followed the link, the pictures are behind the cut.......

Here is the story as well.

Tuesday morning i woke with what looked to be a spider bite on my left index finger.

Wednesday my finger was swollen a bit and very tender so I decided to go to the doctor and get it checked out, the PA said it was infected, gave me some antibiotics and said to soak it in betadine and if it was not starting to get better by friday to come back in.

Friday not only my index finger but my bird and ring finger and about 1/2 of the back of my hand were swollen and tender, so went back to the doctor.  Doc lanced and drained what he could of the original site, took a sample to have cultured and said it was most likely MRSA.

Saturday the swelling had progressed to include most of my hand, so I decided to have Katie bring me to Piedmont ER to have it check further, and the triage doc when he saw me said you CAN NOT  loose your hand, and since then things have been happening under a drug induced haze, but here are pre and post surgery pics.  The surgery took 2 hours, and happened on Sunday morning, the post surgery pics were taken on Tuesday morning.

gory picturesCollapse )

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Sunday, June 19th, 2011
9:18 am - Thinking of my Dad
When I think of my dad there are several images that come to mind easily.  The first is a picture from the late 70's (around the time I was born) of him leaning out of the door of the Wabco dump truck he drove in the coal mine, a Polaroid of him and his dog rebel from the early 80's, a picture of me and him on the Triumph riding through the yard from the mid 80's and a picture from the late 80's or early 90's of him sitting at the kitchen counter looking over his left shoulder toward the camera and me standing beside him with my chin on top of his head (mom wrote on the back of the picture 2 of a kind).  These are the images of my dad that come to mind the easiest, there are more that come up with a little thought, and even more with a lot of thought.

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Monday, January 31st, 2011
7:49 pm - Lucky Break
Today I had a doctor's appointment in midtown Atlanta.  I know very little about Atlanta and how to get around.  After the appointment was over and I was on my way home, I was following my GPS's directions.  The GPS had me getting on the interstate, and as soon as I had gone to far down the ramp to be able to safely change my mind I saw that the ramp was for the HOV lane (High occupancy vehicle) which I did not qualify for as I was in the truck by myself.  About 1/2 way down the ramp there were 2 motorcycle cops slowing people down and letting the cars with 2 or more go through and pulling over the cars with just 1 person in them, needless to say I got pulled over.  When the officer walked up to my window I handed him my license before he asked for them.  He glanced at it, and asked if I knew why I was getting pulled over. I replied that it was probably because I was in the HOV lane and did not have anybody with me.  I went on to explain that I was unfamiliar with the area and that I saw the HOV markings after I could not get turned around.  He started to say that the GPS could be told to avoid HOV lanes, but toward the end of the sentence he kinda trailed off.  After a slight pause he asked me if I was a fire fighter, to which I replied, yes I am.  he handed me my license back, said have a nice day and get out of the HOV lane as soon as I could, turned and recrossed the lane to his bike and the other officer.  I guess he saw my badge from my 1st department hanging from the rear view mirror, or my leather helmet in the front seat, and remembered the fire department tag on the front bumper.  I don't know for sure, but what ever the case I am glad he let me go because the fine for being in the HOV lane without a rider is expensive.  Needless to say I was very lucky!!!

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Sunday, January 23rd, 2011
9:42 am - not sure what to call this
A few days ago I was scanning in some of my old pictures from high school, mostly band pictures, and came across the photo from my senior prom (might have been my date's junior prom as they were a week apart).  While I did not scan it in, it got me to thinking about what might have been.  I am glad that I am where I am now, with my wife and our beautiful daughter, I would not swap what I have with what might have been.  Anyway, we dated from Oct of '95 to some time late in '96.  When we started dating I had known her pretty much our whole lives as we went to the same church.  I admit that we had a few rocky times in our relationship as I was less than honest with her about a wreck that I had while we were dating (but then again I was less than honest with everyone that i had to tell about the wreck).  Anyway, before we broke up I was to the point of considering asking her to marry me.  All of her friends were getting married, and she was wanting to as well.  I was in college and not ready to get married because I was wanting to finish school and get a job so that I could support a family, and she was unwilling to wait about getting married so she broke up with me.  She went through several relationships looking for the next Mr right for her, and wound up getting married to a friend of mine from high school.  Oh, well, that is enough reminiscing for now.

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Friday, January 14th, 2011
10:44 pm - My birthday present from my daughter
Since my wreck I have been telling my wife that I would like a leather helmet to replace the carins ten-ten I was issued when promoted to lieutant of my department that was damaged in my wreck and no longer meets NFPA or OSHA standards.  She told me to go ahead and order one (one of the guys who used to be in my department runs a supply company) for my birthday, so I did and am saying that it came from my daughter.

So here is what I got.Collapse )

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Thursday, April 15th, 2010
6:08 pm - my car wreck and the aftermath
So from what I have been told (from several sorces) at midnight on 3-19 while responding to a chimney fire I lost control of the 88 Bronco II I was driving. I went off the road on my side then overcorrected and rolled in the ditch on the other side.  I was ejected from the bronco and was found 25 feet away, an oncoming driver saw me wreck and called 911.  The cheif of my station diverted all personell to the wreck and had the next closest stationed paged for the fire.  I was transported a few miles by local ambulance and then airlifted to Alanta Medical Center.  I crushed my T6 vertabra, and have some minor damage to my spinal cord.  I am currently paralized from about mid chest on down.

Here is my version of "Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst, and everything will be OK"

In hopeing for the best I am wanting to walk again, but according to everyone here at Shepard Spinal Center (where I was transfered to 6 days after my wreck and the surgery to repair my back) I need to plan on being in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, so I have commited myself to learning the skills I need to function on a daily basis from a wheelchair.  In doing that, when I think about my comittment to the Fire Station (Where I am currently a liuentant) I hit a big brick wall.  When I first joined the Department in my home town it was because I was unemployed and bored.  But that reason quickly changed to being able to help my community (in the form of being able to go into a fire and saveing someones stuff or grabing the jaws of life and cuting someone out of a wrecked car).  Now with the wheelchair in my future I know I will never be able to do the most inportant things to me again.  I can stay a member of the department and help the guys train, help with the paperwork for truck checks, help with general station paperwork, but I can't go in and help save someone's stuff and I cant help save someone from a car wreck.  I have expressed my intrest in staying on with the department to help in the ways I can in training and my chief has said that that would be great because he does not want to loose the knodlege that I have locked away in my head.  WHile I still hold to the hope and beliefe that I will walk again, looking at the futur wtih the wheelchair it just about crushes my spirit because I know I will not be able to do the 2 things that make being a volunteer fire fighter inportant to me.

Sorry about the pitty party yall, but I just needed to get this all written down while I was thinking about it.

Be Safe

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Friday, March 26th, 2010
2:39 pm - Carepage for Kevin
For updated info on Kevin, visit https://www.carepages.com/carepages/kevinstephenson

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Monday, March 22nd, 2010
10:13 am

This is Kevin's wife, Katie.  I think I know most of his friends on here, but maybe not all.  For those of you who do not know, Kevin was injured in a single vehicle accident while responding to a fire call.  He is currently in Atlanta Medical Center, but we are not having visitors yet.

Kevin was severely injured.  He has fractured his spine, T5-6.  He spinal cord is severely damaged.  He is currently paralyzed from about the bottom of his sternum down.  The damage is most likely permanent.  He is in surgery now to stabilize his back, but after he is stable enough to move will most likely be transferred to the Shepherd Center, a rehab facility for brain and spinal injury.  It is one of the best rehab facilities in the country, so this is wonderful news.

We are trying to get a Facebook page set up for Kevin, I will share that information as it comes available.  There have also been some news articles about it on Atlanta's station 2 and firehouse.com.

I'll try to give more info soon.

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Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
7:41 am - Fire Fighter job protection bill in the senate

Last night I sent a letter to my senator, who is on the committee that this bill happens to in right now. This bill would offer Volunteer FF/EMS personnel job protection when they were late for or absent from work when dispatched on emergency calls. The volunteer would not get paid for the time missed, but the employer could not use the missed time against you in any negative way, as long as you have a letter from  your commanding officer saying that you were on a call.  I think we all need to write to our senators and ask them to support this bill.

here is the letter that I wrote:

Senator Isakson,

I am a volunteer Fire Fighter for Morgan County, Station 2. I was dismissed from my job in the summer of 2009 for "moonlighting with the fire department".  I was a volunteer in Alabama before I moved to Georgia, and joined with Morgan County shortly after moving here. My employer knew I was joining the department and did not say anything at the time. After I elected not to work on several "voluntary overtime weekends" so that I could fulfill training requirements for the fire department and calling in to work one day when I had been on a fire scene from 10 pm to 4 am (I called my supervisor and left a message asking for a vacation day that was granted), my employer terminated my job. I was appalled to find out that Georgia does not have a law to protect Volunteer Fire Fighter's jobs when dispatched in response to emergency situations.  When I was on the Department in Alabama I knew that the Alabama House passed Bill 437 which protected the jobs of Fire Fighters.


I see that Senate Bill s1025 is currently in the subcommittee that you are a member of. I think it would be beneficial to all volunteer fire departments if this bill were to get passed into law.  I hope that you will do all that you can to see that this Bill is passed.




Kevin Stephenson

MCFD, Station 2 Lieutentant

The bill is S1025 and is currently in the
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. If enough senators get mail about this, it may actually get passed, and we can respond to calls without fear of loosing our our jobs or getting in trouble for being late.

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Thursday, January 7th, 2010
2:49 pm - Cooking the Cookbook
alasais is a good cook.  Today she was making this recipe which she has done before and is quite tasty.  She was useing the P.W. cookbook that we stood in line for 4 hours to have autographed. She put the cookbook on the front burner of the stove and the pot of chicken on the back burner, and turned the stove on high. We were both in the office and heard something buzz real loud and the lights dimmed and then came back on.  We both took off for the kitchen. Katie was a few steps ahead of me. As I went through the living room I smelled smoke. when I got to the kitchen I saw fire in the window over the sink. Katie went on into the bedroom, thinking the fire was in there. I realized that the fire was in the kitchen and turned to look at the stove.  The front of the cook book was on fire. I grabbed it and tossed it in the sink and doused the flames with the sprayer.

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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009
10:02 pm - rearrangeong the house
Katie has decided that we need to move the furniture from the den to the living room, the living room to the bed room, the bed room into the former den, and a few things from the baby's room and office into the former bed room as well.. We had talked about doing this a while back but decided to wait until we could afford to buy some new furniture. I think Katie just got impatient. It has been a slow process. We started on Monday afternoon, and got it mostly finished this evening. I still need to get my armor box moved from the new bedroom intot he office and get my armor cleaned up and on the stand, and also possibably move my saddle box into the office as well. Katie has not said anything about moving that as of yet.

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Monday, October 12th, 2009
10:38 pm - A cursed streatch of interstate
So Last night at about 10:30 my Station gets toned out for a rolled over truck. It was a box truck that had been overloaded. Both of the back passengar side tires blew causing the truck to turn over. We Disconnected the battery, and then stood around while the wrecker crew cleaned up the mess, and turned the truck back up on it's wheels.  We were released from the scene around midnight.  I got home and in the bed by around 1 but didn't get to sleep until about 2.  Got toned out an 4:27 for a bus fire 1/2 mile further down the road from where the truck turned over.  The only person on the bus was the driver (who had some burns) After the fire was out, the local fire investigators called for a state investigator because it looked to be a mobile meth lab. We had the interstate shut down for almost 4 hours, and had an 18 miles  of traffic backed up. It was a little after 8 when we were released from scene.

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Saturday, September 12th, 2009
10:32 pm - the trip home with donor truck
the back storyCollapse )

The Trip Home:

We left for Alabama on Friday morning and got to Mentone Where the truck was at around 1:30 est.  When we got there I took these pictures:
truck picturesCollapse )

I had brought the transmission dip stick from Fred with me because the guy I bought the truck from said that he kept the dipstick in the cab because it kept coming out because it was broken.  While we were waiting on him to show up I also checked the oil ( needs and oil change), break fluid ( it was almost empty), coolant (full), power steering fluid ( full as well), and transmission fluid ( not even enough in it to get the dipstick wet).  After handing over the money, and getting a bill of sale I went to the nearest gas station ( about a mile away) and put about a 1/5 tank of gas in, bought 4 quarts of transmission fluid, and a pint of break fluid.  Filled the break resivoir, and put in 2 quarts of transmission fluid and drove down the mountain to where we met my mom for lunch.  I checked the transmission fluid level again and I was still not even on the dip stick, so I put in 2 more quarts of fluid.  Drove on to my mom's house after lunch ( after stopping at the shop where I worked a few years ago, I was supposed to be able to get in to swap the tires around, but the shop was closed up and I could not get in, and while there I checked the transmission fluid again, and was still low, so I put in another quart and a half to ge to the full mark).  I started working on getting the tires swapped around. Getting the truck jacked up in the first place was a chore. All I had was a very small 4 ton bottle jack, and 2 jack stands ( and the jack was just barley long enough to get the tries clear of the ground).  Once it was jacked up on one side (front and back) I took off the back tire and rolled it to the front, took the front tire off, rolled it to the back and put it on and tightened down the lug nuts, and went back to the front to put that tire on and the opening in the center of the rim was to small to go over the hub lock, so I had to take the big tire back off move it back to the front and put the small tire back on the back ( which it does not really fit the back either, but it was close enough to work.  After doing all of that I went back to the house We used to live in and got the first engine from Fred into the bed of the donor truck ( I am glad that I have a 3 ton chain hoist), and picked up some other assorted scrap metal, and then got a few things from in the house that we needed to pick up. 

This morning We left my mom's house, stopped for gas ( I filled one tank up) and hit the road.  It is about 180 miles from my mom's house to our house, and 3rd gear does not work.  Going down the mountain, and then across lookout top speed was about 45 mph.  When we hit the interstate I was actually able to push it to about 60 mph.  Had to make a pit stop in decature to pick up our IKEA doors from a friends house, also had to put in another 1/2 tank of gas.  Had to make another gas stop in Social Circle ( put in about 3.5 more gallons of gas).  By the time we got off the interstate at our exit the transmission was very hot, but the engine had not missed a lick the entire trip.  

I am glad that I decided to keep Fred and use this truck as a donor truck before selling off what is left of it.

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Wednesday, September 9th, 2009
3:30 pm - My new used truck
I am buying a 1981 Chevy K10 Silverado long bed 4x4 with either a 3 or 6 inch lift kit.  The truck has transmission problems, and has 2 33" Buckshot tires, and 2 16" street tires. The rims for the street tires and mud tires do not match, the guy I am buying the truck from had a new set of 33" Buckshot tires and new rims, but they got stolen while the truck was sitting on the side of the road with a for sale sign on it, so he just got what tires he could from some people he knew and put them on the truck to move it. All that said I am getting the truck for $500.

Here is what I have planned:

Friday Alasais and I will go to Alabama and pick up the truck. From there we will go to my mom's house and spend the night ( it is almost a 4 hour drive to get from our house to her house).  Saturday morning I am going to go to our old house in Alabama and get the block that was in Fred when I first got him, the we are going to drive home ( with a stop at Jadi and Alec's house to pick up our doors from IKEA).

Either Sunday or Monday I am going to pull the engine out of the new truck and put it in Fred.  As soon as the engine is out, I am calling a guy that I have lined up to come buy the body for $200.  I am going to take the 2 busted engines to a scrap yard that is buying scrap iron for $7.50 a hundred ( both blocks together will weigh about 1200 Lbs.) so that will give me another $100 roughly.  I am Supposed to get my stuff from American Cylinder Head back on Friday as well, and Advance sent me a letter saying that they will wither replace or refund the part, so I am hopeing that they will refund me the $200 for the head and the $85 core charge, which will give me enough to cover buying the truck and gas to go get it and bring it back.

I am also going to swap out the back bumpers, the drivers side gas tank, take the tank selecting valve, and the drop hitch off the K10 and put on Fred.  I may also put the grill from the K10 on Fred as well, don't know yet.

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Sunday, July 19th, 2009
3:44 pm - horse fall
So last summer I came into possession of a 4 year old untrained quarter horse.  I have been  working with him off and on over the last year and have him mostly halter broke.  Last summer I had a saddle on him a few times and tried to get on once and he spooked and took off bucking and kicking.  After that I kept working with leading and catching.  Today I caught him, led him around a bit, then put a saddle on him and led him around some more.  When I saw he was ok with the saddle, I had Katie hold him and put a foot in the stirrup, when I saw he was ok with that, I put some weight in the stirrup, then stood in the stirrup, then put a leg across his back and sat down.  Had Katie lead him around a little. He was doing ok, not great because he was pushing into Katie's personal space, until the neighbor's radio changed songs to one with a lot of bass.  With the heavy hitting bass Dex spooked and took off, Katie let go of the lead rope, and I was off balance because I had just shifted to get off, I saw the car comming up, and decided to use it as a landing pad and ditched.  Dex ran straight to pasture fence, Katie grabbed the baby out of the swing and ran inside, and I took off after the horse. I caught him, and brought him back to the house and unsaddled him, and then put him back in the pasture. Katie said I was not allowed to get back on Dex until I have a job and health insurance, and an enclosed traning space.

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Sunday, June 21st, 2009
12:39 am - Memories of my dad
Today is Fathers day, my first as a father, and the 8th since my dad passed away.   For a long time my dad and I had a very strained relationship.  He left when I was 3 and did not come back until I was 8, there were a lot of reasons that I still do not know all the details of.

My earliest memories of my dad are looking at his pictures ( the photos I remember looking at the most were the one of him and my mom taken when she was pregnant with me, one of the 3 of us, and one of my dad standing in the door of a Wabco dump truck) in the photo albums and crying because I missed him so much.  

The next memory of my dad is, around the time I must have been 5 or 6, when he brought me my first 2 wheel bike. It was a yellow and red "Flying-O" with training wheels. It was in December, because the Christmas tree was up but I am not sure if the bike was for my birthday or Christmas.  It was dark out when he got there, so I got to ride the bike in the house that night. I also remember that Grandma and Grandpa Stephenson came as well ( this is my first memory of them) but stayed outside and smoked. 

I remember that he brought my mom a "Strawberry Shortcake" cake for her birthday on year, and showed up at church a few times.
Then one day in 2nd grade (when I was 8) he was in the car when my mom came to pick me up from school.  up to this point when I had to ride in the back seat I would always sit in the middle and use crisscross the seat belts so that I would have a seat belt in the middle, so when I got in I went to get in the middle and he made me move to one side and use just one seat belt, and when I started getting car sick he had his window down a little bit and told me to stick my fingers out so that I could feel the wind and I would not get car sick. It worked then, and still does to this day.

I remember me, mom and dad going to the Smokey mountains  either that summer or the next.

The only camping trip that I can remember me and my dad going on together was the summer between 3rd and 4th grade, we went on a weekend camping trip through the Cub Scouts at Camp Comer, the local Boy Scout camp.

Listening to stories of all the things he had done in his life ( working for a traveling carnival, hitch hiking to Ca and back, and a whole lot of things that I can not remember)

When I was probably 10 or 11 years old the started on my mom's Mustang went out, so we made a trip to the parts store, got a new starter, and when we got home he got out his tool box, opened the hood pointed out the starter, and said there it is, change it out and went inside ( I will add he done that because I was always taking things apart to see how they worked and then putting them back together). 

I can remember him riding me around the yard on the Triumph Trident that he had chopped out, and getting to go on a few rides to the end of the road and back where we lived.  I can remember having to go to work with him in the summers as a young teenager , installing central heating and air units (the first 2 summers I got $10 a day just to help clean up, and fetch and tote things, and then getting paid by the hour the summers after that and was actually having to help install).

The next major memory I have of my dad is from when I was around 16 or so and him getting so bad off that he was on disability and unable to work. Then him getting worse over the years, having to go on breathing treatments, then on oxygen all the time, getting to the point that he could not walk and having to have a powered wheelchair to get around the house.

The first time my mom called and said that she was following the ambulance to the hospital because she had come home and found my dad passed out across the snack bar because his oxygen machine had stopped working. After this I started calling every day to check on him.

the 2nd and 3rd ER trips and then living in the ICU waiting room for about a month as the end was drawing near.  then on September the 9th 2001 at about 6:30 he finally slipped away. 

Even though we got off to a rocky start, and for a long time I carried a lot of resentment for the years that he was not around, as I got older I learned to live with the fact that we could never get that time back, and I tried to make the best of the time we had left together.

I wish my dad would have been well enough that he could have lived to have seen and hold his granddaughter, and watch her grow up.

I miss my dad more than I know how to express. I think about him almost every day.

Happy Fathers day

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Friday, May 29th, 2009
10:22 pm - truck has died yet again!
this post is behind the cut for those who do not want to read about more truck problems and also for the 2 pics contained in the post.Collapse )

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Wednesday, May 13th, 2009
4:18 am - General, mostly non truck related, update
Fire department related:
I have been taking a MOD-1 class through the fire department, this is the Georgia volunteer certification class, last night was the last night of class and we test on Thursday.  The class has been a good review for me because the 160 class, Alabama volunteer certification class, was the same class as fire fighter 1 that paid departments have to have.  Last night's class was review night and the instructors were throwing out some stuff that was not gone over in class and I was the only person able to answer. 

Truck related:
I got the new head on, and everything is working good, I have a transmission leak, and still have an oil leak somewhere, need to find that soon, as I am going through a quart of oil with every tank of gas (of course with a 37 year old engine that is not to terribly bad).

While on my way home form work yesterday I caught a fresh 'gator with the grill of the truck.  Transfer a few cars in front of me had a blow-out and a piece of the tread came up from underneath the car in front of me and hit the grill of the truck.  Busted the plastic grill, that was on it's last leg anyway, but did not do any other damage.

I have a very bad case of posion oak.  After 2 days of bendryl doing nothing but spreading it around I started bleaching it.  So far I have done 4 doses of bleach, and it dries it out during the day but it comes back at night.  It is covering the back of my neck, my right arm from the shoulder to wrist and on the inside of my left arm around my elbow.

Munchkin related:
She is still cute, and gets cuter by the day.

Work Related:
Work Sucks!  We are working 50 hours a week right now. We have been on overtime since early last fall, it was spotty until around Christmas, but since it has been W.A.O.. We have been working any where from 44 hours a week to 55 hours (some people have been working 4-10's, an 8 and 5 on Saturday).  I am all about helping the company out, but unlike some people I work with, I have a life away form work, and money is not the most important thing to me.

I was put on a group of 5 machines ( this machine takes about 2 1/2 days to wire each machine) after lunch yesterday and they have to be finished by the 22nd of this month.  It is going to be a rough 2 weeks. I wish they would hire a few more electricians. Right now we are out numbered almost 5-1.

Well, it's almost time to leave for another 10 hour torture session, I mean work.

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Saturday, April 25th, 2009
6:49 pm - yet more truck work
Tuesday, 4-21-09, while on my way to work one of the head gaskets blew out on the truck. This morning I tore down the top end of the motor to see how much damage had been done. The good news is that the block is still ok, and so is one of the heads. The bad news is I cracked a heed. The crack runs all the way from the #3 intake valve to the water port just above it.

katie do not read thisCollapse )

On the bright side I have a really cute kid and Katie got some good pictures of her today:

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