Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sore Feet and Late-Night Posting

Second day of work. Twelve hours that started at 6:30 a.m. and ended at 6:15 p.m. All in all a fairly short day. But very packed.

We got in 50,000 lbs of salmon which is just a little drop in the bucket but a great way to work out kinks in all the steps of receiving, processing, packaging, and sending out of salmon. Since I'm in shipping, I'm at the tail end of all this. My kinks today?

--training one new tally girl--she's the one at the end of the case-up line (boxing up of frozen fish into 1000 lb. boxes) who is responsible for creating the bar code labels that represent finished product;

--two export containers (40 foot freezers) when I needed one export and one domestic; one of the export containers stopped working, had to have the refrigeration guys, then the reefer techs from City Dock look at it, got it working again but still one export two many;

--tried to get the boss to let me swap out one export for a domestic but it's early in the season and he's not interested in spending the swap-out fee (note: I didn't order the two containers, just saying);

--driver who runs the truck company that picks up and delivers containers decided to give me a freebie and did the swap-out anyway; this is good for me because then I could put finished boxes of fish in the right container, but it also means I owe him (this is a world of scratching other people's backs to get your own scratched down the line);

--the domestic container from above proved to be faulty (i.e. not cooling down at all), which was discovered after loading 8 finished boxes into it (a big no-no, always important to test out the containers before putting in product--another learning curve at the beginning of the season for the forklift drivers); reefer techs back again from City Dock determine it's a bad container, needs to be swapped (this time free of charge) because it's raining and they are all heading out to Dillingham (a short airplane ride away); I don't care what the reasons, just happy to get in a good container;

--I unload the above container while my second-in-command-in-training Mike and my one veteren forklift driver Alex watch countless prospective shipping people "show off" their forklifting skills--we get three out of four positions filled and I get a new container delivered;

--it rains all day, hard--I work outside mostly;

--oh, and because I started my day at 6:30, and breakfast is from 7-8, I missed the meal and had to wait until 12:50 to cram in lunch before the galley closed at 1:00; ate left-over pizza, the first of many horrid meals to come;

--looked all over camp trying to find a second chair for my office, the one left over from last year being the one nobody wants since it is missing a wheel; finally found one buried in a "secret" office that in the past 7 years of working here I never even knew existed; now two people can sit in the office at once, what a concept since there are two shipping supervisors.

Now it is about midnight here. I managed to stay awake until 8:45 after having showered, eaten Mexican food (Monday is "Mexican" night--an interesting concept since all the cooks are indeed Mexican but the food is "El Paso" canned beans and fajita-type meat, frozen bean burritos, lightly colored reddish rice), knitted a little on my sock, read a little of my book (East of Eden), and slowly drank one beer while nibbling on Marionberry-flavored Australian licorice (yes, weird, it's what is though). Woke up to the sounds of my bathroom-mate showering at 11:30. Discovered my feet ache from running around on cement for 12 hours straight. Can't get back to sleep, so I'm writing this.

I don't know how many posts I'll get written on this before we move to 24-hour processing and I'll be too damned tired to do much more than shower and fall into bed for a whopping 4-5 hours of sleep. It's fun to try, though. The contrast between this life here and life at home is so great, it helps to write about it a little. The funny thing is that I have slipped into life here again so easily, having known many of the supervisors for 7 or more years. Our time is concentrated every summer into 5-6 weeks of salmon processing and over that time we get to really know each other. Even though we only see each other for this short period of time, we are close. It's like a second family. This helps when we all become sleep-deprived, sick, and permanently cold, because we are still responsible for processing and shipping out millions of pounds of salmon while running crews of disgruntled, equally cold, sick and tired employees.


emilyedaves said...

Oh! I am so happy you are able to post, if even here and there!
I wish I could send you some foot rub and something yummy for your tummy :)

dwarren004 said...

Hang in there "KM"---you are feeding thousands of people---another one of our unsung heroes!! Ellen W.(Emily's mom)

Gitana said...

I finally got a chance to sit down and read your entire blog - like an epistolary novel - what a treat. Thank you for blogging and helping us stay abreast of your adventures both in Washington and up north. Take good care of you! ~G2