Friday, February 06, 2009


Well, it's official. I'm an Operator II, instead of an Operator I, and my next paycheck will be considerably larger, which is nice, because I'm spending a lot of money on art supplies these days. Jeff said he was glad to have been able to do this for me, and when I said I'd try to deserve it, he remarked that he wouldn't have done it if he didn't already think I deserved it.

We bumbled about doing annual maintenance Thursday, changing the oil in the big Quincy air compressors that drive all the automatic valves and our hydraulic sludge vacuum, checking the air filters in our giant blowers, greasing the flocculator motors (the bearings in one are starting to growl) and other chores. These are my favorite days at the plant, the nuts and bolts and crescent wrenches, the reassurance that belts are taut and springy and solid, that motors are full of clean, amber oil, that air filters aren't clogged with dust and grit. These are days of camaraderie and orderliness and purpose.

I'm not getting any studying done; I was going to retake my Level IV Certification Exam in March but there really doesn't seem to be any reason to now. It's not necessary to my job. And no, the promotion didn't change my mind; it just made my mind up.

The guy upstairs moved out, not the older fellow directly above me but the one who wasn't here very often, who had a habit of leaving gifts and New Year's champagne on my porch because I helped him out of a snowbank one midnight. I finally made it to my favorite hot spring Wednesday only to be chatted up by a weirdo with evey possible health problem and to find that they're really letting the facility go, letting mildew encroach in the locker rooms and letting concrete crumble around the tubs. I'm hoping they've got a major remodel planned for this spring but you never know. I sat in a pool that was 104°F until my head started to spin and then I drove home.

And that's about the way things are going. I'm sketching and enjoying this incredibly mild winter, even hoping we get some promised snow this weekend because I've been trying to ski on the golf course and there's just not enough snow left. Today was one of those days when I went out to run errands; the building supply store can't cut birch panels to my specifications, I got stuck in the automatic car wash when the door wouldn't open after it was done, as soon as I arrived at Wal*Mart (I have no CHOICE, people) it became insanely busy with the worst type of downwardly mobile patrons.

I told the girl at the salon that I wanted my bangs at eye level so I could sweep them to the side, and she trimmed them so short that they just graze my eyebrows, but upon further experimentation I've decided it's OK. I can still sweep them to the side but they're sort of cute down over my forehead in a trendy and rather juvenile way, and besides, there's no point freaking out because you can't put them back and they grow out in two weeks anyway. We're all ordering new cell phones and we've settled on Blackberry Pearls, which are compact and busy and luckily have no hinges. I'm hard on hinges. I'm hard on lots of things, especially carpet, and I neglected to vacuum in January. That's the type of month it was.

But so far, February has been showing a lot of promise, and tonight is the belated Chinese New Year parade downtown. The defending champion of the rickshaw races apparently couldn't come back from North Dakota until this weekend. Imagine living in a town that schedules public events around one person! A person who doesn't even live here anymore! That's the kind of town I live in. Just imagine. It would drive you crazy, too.

Gung hay fat choy, indeed.


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