Posts Tagged ‘work’

Almost a whole year.
When the hell will I get to
leave fracking Bahrain?


I’ve been in Bahrain since September 2012 (well, aside from the 2.5 months that I was home recuperating from two herniated disks in my back). That means as of yesterday, I have been in (hot and humid) Bahrain for 10.5 out of the last 13 months. Completely and utterly ridiculous.

Luckily, it appears I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re gearing up to our performance tests and once we pass those, it’s just a matter of closing out any outstanding punch-list items (hopefully from the comfort of my home office in North Carolina) with a few small trips back over here to take care of things that must be done in person. At least, that’s the plan. Over here, plans change daily, and almost never for the better, but I can always hope…

Oh, and regardless of the extent of the punch-list items, I get to travel home in 9 days (218 more hours!) to go attend my wife’s half-brother’s wedding. I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to STAY at home, but any time spent back in the US with my oh-so-patient wife and kids seems like heaven at this point in time. Don’t get me wrong, Bahrain is a decent place (besides the unbelievable heat and humidity from April to November) but it’s been 3.5 months since I’ve seen my family, and that’s about 14 weeks too long. I’m ready to go, and pretty soon I’ll be counting in minutes rather than hours & days. Aw, heck, only 13,080 minutes to go!


This has been an OctoBloMoooo post.

This has been an OctoBloMoooo post.

MLK Junior:
Schools honor you with time off.
My work? Not so much.

I hope all of you people who don’t have to work or attend school today enjoy your time off! As for me, it’s business as usual (literally)…

Life is what happens
while you’re busy making plans.
(Or, watching TV.)


As you may have gathered from the subject matter of today’s haiku, life here at Casa de Bedlam has been interesting and not-quite-as-expected, recently.  It seems I’m a glutton for punishment, or at least for booking my time 100% full.  For example, here’s some of the things I’m currently involved in:

  • I’m taking the Fundamentals of Engineering exam this fall (October 29th, to be exact) and a quick review of the exam topics proved without a doubt that I was in no way, shape, or form ready to take such an exam without serious prep-work.  Since it covers topics that I only briefly learned about (if at all) in school such as Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Biology, Engineering Economics, Probability and Statistics, etc., I decided that I definitely needed to have some sort of “refresher” course.  I signed up for an online review course through UNCC, which provides videos of narrated PowerPoint slides as well as forums and an instructor for questions, while you follow along at home with reference materials, handbooks, and sample tests.  So far so good, but I’m basically devoting 2-3 hours a night to reviewing this material, and plan to continue to do so until just before the exam in October.  Definitely puts a crimp on my free time, as I’m helping put the girls to bed around 8pm and then retiring upstairs to a desk to cram material that I didn’t learn 10-15 years ago and haven’t needed to know as a professional engineer since then.My "monastic" study setup
  • As if that wasn’t enough, I’m also in the process of training to participate in the Thunder Road (Amica Insurance) Half Marathon here in Charlotte in November (I did say I was a glutton for punishment, right?)  This will be my first half-marathon, ever, and I’m trying to train correctly for it, which means I’ve invested in an “official” training plan from Runner’s World, and although I’m not quite always following it to the letter, I’m doing my best to make sure I’m in shape and have the necessary base mileage training to finish the race, if not meet a time goal.  During the summer, this has meant getting up extra-early to get the runs in before work – I hope as the weather cools off, though, I can move my workouts back more towards lunch-hour, as I tend to enjoy those a little more, and have the chance to run some of these workouts with coworkers when I can join them at lunchtime.
  • Work’s also taking a toll, as I’m transitioning back from a support role on other peoples’ projects to doing lead-type work on some prospective future projects that I might head up on the electrical side.
  • I’m still the website admin for our neighborhood HOA, which hasn’t taken much time recently, other than the fact that the Board (of which I’m now the 5th and tiebreak member) has decided to allow the website to include advertising from 3rd parties, so I’ve had to put on my “lawyer hat” and put together a quasi-legal contract for people to fill out and sign prior to purchasing ad space on the website.  (I put my foot down at actually managing the ad contracts, but I’m at least getting the framework in place for someone else to do it.)
  • There’s also some other things on the horizon – we signed both of the girls up for soccer this fall, so my Saturday mornings are going to be tied up for the foreseeable future, and of course the CP starts Sunday School (religious school) as of mid-September, so that’s another 4-hour block of my weekend blown away right there.
  • Between work, my “extracurricular activities”, and spending at least a little time with the family, I barely have time to eat, let alone blog on a regular basis.  I am hoping this eases up after the end of October, when the biggest non-work commitment on my time is completed, but I have a feeling I need to just start trying to get by on a little less sleep, and invoke the 80% rule on my efforts more often, or else I’m going to be seriously overwhelmed in the upcoming months.


How about you all – have you ever taken on more than you can handle?  What did you do to manage it all? Did something finally give, or did you overcome all the obstacles and triumph like a superhero?

Too much work to do:
Good for job security –
Bad for sanity!

Between having Friday off last week and the seminar I’m attending tomorrow, I’m trying to shoehorn two weeks worth of work into less than two weeks worth of time. Just the thought of trying to getting all of this done is stressing me out.  Therefore I’m taking a few minutes out of my busy day to write this post, and I’ll take half-hour at lunch to get in a run.

Of course, Dee’s in the same boat this week, as it’s Spring Break and both of the little ones are home all week, so she’s trying to work out how to take care of teaching her classes, prevent the kids from spending their entire week with eyeballs glued to the television, and still retain her sanity.  If we can both manage to finish out the week without becoming twitching, gibbering apes that need a pair of comfy straitjackets and padded cells, it’ll be a miracle.

Anyone else got too much on your plate right now?  How are you dealing with it all? (Response in the form of a haiku is optional here!)

I don't normally share work info on here, but this is all positive stuff, so I figure it won't hurt.  This article/video is about one of the projects that is currently keeping me and others at my company employed. 

However, I should point out that I have never called someone (or been called) a "Nuggeteer". 

(Watch the video for more information than is in the article).

From WDIO:

Despite a major slowdown in the world economy, the need to finish a giant project on the Iron Range continues.

Work at the Mesabi Nugget site in Hoyt Lakes is still full steam ahead.

300-400 local contractors are working right now, and more are expected to be hired when the days get longer.

In fact, management is meeting with more vendors all of this week, to finalize more work.

About 30 people are on staff, and call themselves "Nuggeteers." 30 more will need to be hired for operations, in particular millwrights and electricians.

The iron nugget project is expected to be online, during the third quarter.

"It's a strategic move for Steel Dynamics. They want to control the raw material they use to make steel," said Operations Manager Steve Rutherford.

The project is costing at least $235 million dollars.

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Just heard "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely" (muzak version) playing over the speakers in the men's restroom.  What's sad is that I recognized it.  What's even more sad is that it sounded 10x better than the original.  That sax player can wail, man.

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Last week I came home from work relatively early one day because my mother-in-law was going to watch the kids while Dee and I went out for a belated Valentine's Day meal. 

We were walking out the door to the restaurant when my wife said, "Did you see the pants with the hole in the back?  They look sort of like the ones you've got on, and I wanted to make sure you weren't going to wear them before we sewed them up."

To which I replied, "No, I didn't see any pants with holes in them.  Where was it?"  I craned my head around to see if I could identify whether I was wearing said pants, when we both suddenly realized that indeed, I was wearing said pants.


Yep, somehow I had missed the fact that the pants were ripped, and wore them all that day at work, including TWO trips out to a vendor's facility for inspections.  Luckily, I was wearing my jacket most of the time that I was not sitting down at my desk, but still I'm amazed that I managed to get by the whole workday 1) without anyone pointing this out to me and 2) without feeling a draft.

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