Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day is Done

Wednesday night. Daily Dose - teaching English as a 2nd language - is done until Sunday. Annie is trying to sew but having a little trouble with her serger. While I have fair mechanical skills, sewing machines totally baffle me. I hope she gets it solved.

We had a ''Fun Run' today at work. We have a gym at work with a lot of weight and exercise machines and are encouraged to use them. We have a occupational therapist..... I guess you could call him. Brian is very good at helping keep an aging workforce patched up and headed back to work. He also has a lot of programs like the 'Fun Run' that get people out and help to keep them fit.

The 'Fun Run' is an annual program where we go and take a 2-1/2 mile walk around the lake that stores the river water we use for cooling tower makeup. I got a t-shirt (navy), some chap stick, some sun block, a new pedometer, and had a good time on a warm spring day. All in all, it was a nice interlude. Craig and I mostly walked, but also got in a few MBI's.

Maximum Bursts of Intensity (MBI) is our name for interval training. We used to walk and jog a few miles each day, but felt that we really weren't getting the benefit out of the exercise that we needed. One day , to our horror, we found that we literally couldn't run. Our hearts and lungs could hold up OK, but our legs just wouldn't move faster than a jog. YIKES!!!! What a discovery!!! Not a happy day. We tried to run 25 yards, but couldn't manage more than a shuffle. How extremely embarrassing, So we started doing 25-50 yard MBI's each day in our walk/run. We also started climbing the stairs at work. 'Doing the Unit' is a climb of about 300 vertical feet which works out to be the equivalent of 30 ten foot floors. We only have 20 floors, so we have some long stair ways.

So we are getting better, but we know we'll never be 30 again... or 40, or even 50. But that is OK. "Time hurries on, and the leaves that were green turn to brown". You don't train today to be ten years younger tomorrow, as that just won't happen. You train so that in ten years you have good strength to have an active healthy life.

Craig has been studying lately a lot about fitness and nutrition. One of the things that he has brought up that I think is true is that you tend to lose about 1/2 to 1 lb of muscle mass per year after you are about 40. I think the age is somewhat variable, but the concept is true. Sometime along in the 40's and 50's the muscle starts going away. As it does, your body looses part of the 'furnace' that burns up the food that still tastes so good.... and so, you don't end up as an emaciated skeleton- the lost muscle is replaced by fat.

As you lose muscle and gain fat percentage, it becomes harder and harder to exercise. Knees, hips and feet have lost supporting muscle and now bear a heavier load, so naturally it is easier not to exercise. Let's face it - it is ALWAYS easier not to exercise. But we don't put on our weight like a coat - all at once, and so it doesn't go away all at once either. Just one 'Fun Run' at a time.

It is also getting towards the end of the budget year at work. My scrubber project is going along fairly well, and while we might not be spending money as fast as the Government, we are spending it plenty fast for me. So I have been counting beans and seeing how many are left in the pile.

After counting a little over a million beans that had been spent and figuring that we still have about 3/4 million left in the pile, I got a page to call the scrubber control room. NOW.

So I called, and Max the Superintendent of the Contractor Company was on the phone and told me that he would come and pick me up, and that I should bring my ball bat.

This didn't bode well, but there were no ambulances or Fire Brigade guys scrambling, so I hoped things wouldn't be too bad. The last time I got a summons like that, one of the scaffolding contractor guys had not tied off and had fallen and was hurt..... that was about 5 years ago, but that was enough.

This time it was a tagging violation. We have a system of tags that are placed on valves, switches, breakers, and even computer screens that function as locks. If there is a Do Not Operate (DNO) tag on something, you had darn well better keep your hot hands off of it, or you will have time off without pay to reconsider your actions. Sometimes quite a bit of time off. We take this really seriously because people's lives depend on it.

We (Max's guys) are working in 'C' module and the plant guys were working in 'B' module, and they are side by side. The plant guys got done with the work in 'B' module and were putting it back into service when an operator pulled a wrong tag and opened a valve sending about 20,000 gallons of water into 'C' module. Fortunately, the contractors were on break and were just coming back when the cascade started. But it still caused quite a stir. I was happy that I would not be part of the disciplinary proceedings, and glad that no one had even gotten wet and no equipment was damaged. Still, it is kind of stressful as the everybody know that while this time it was just a lot of water, the next time it could be a lot more serious - live steam, high voltage, rotating equipment starting ....

I just gathered some facts and tried not to get anything more stirred up than it was. I don't know what happened to the operator. At the very least I imagine that he got a letter in his file, but often they give them from one to five days off. He is a good operator, and the mistake that he made would be easy to make as the valves for 'B' and 'C' modules are on adjacent pipes.

That is about it. It is time for bed. Tomorrow Annie and I will travel to Provo to see a cute granddaughter graduate from kindergarten. I am looking forward to it. Sleep well, and wake.