Well, I am once again in South America. I like it here. I had an interesting week in Delaware. Interesting is usually no fun.
My Week at Work.
Click on the above photo to see what it looked like on Monday morning. Sunday night, the refinery suffered a power failure that caused a loss of the air that we use to run our instruments. This is really bad, folks. We use air to control everything and without it. the refinery shuts itself down, without any help from us. We also had a leaking product cooler somewhere that was overwhelming our water treatment plant and threatening to put oil into the Delaware River. Oh, and just to keep things interesting, the outside temperature was about 15 F.
Our guys were able to get the air system back up, but in the meantime the refinery was a mess. Monday morning, we struggled to get the important operating units back in service. Monday afternoon, we were able to stop that nasty black smoke that you see from the left side in the picture above. The people that did this work in these nasty conditions deserve our thanks. They brought our refinery back from the dead, avoiding what could have been a one or two month start-up. Except to attend meetings, I spent most of the week in my office, working the phones and helping to prioritize the repair operations. We were able to find our leaking cooler and take it out of service. We had vacuum trucks working shoulder-to-shoulder sucking up the stuff in freezing rain to keep it out of the river. It’s a shame that they couldn’t get every drop… Well, by Thursday we had a plan to restart the area of the refinery that treats the products and makes them clean enough to sell. I just checked my work e-mail. It looks like it worked. This was an awesome job by everyone involved, from the engineers that offerred technical help to the lab guys that ran extra samples to the guys outside in the freezing rain turning valves that haven’t been turned in years. Although our local paper hates us and will only talk about the pollution that we released, the real story is that we brought the place back as cleanly and as safely as possible. I’m so proud of the people that I work with.
Friday was travel day again. It started on Thursday night, when Andrew called and said that the headlights on his truck had stopped working. My plans to sleep late went by the wayside – I now had something important to do before I left. Since the headlight switch had failed before with the very same symptoms, I decided to replace it without a lot of testing and fooling around. I took the dash apart, removed the switch and drove to the closest NAPA store for a replacement – they told me on the phone that they had one. Exact fit, no problem. I pulled on the lights with the switch out of the dash – they worked, so I put the dash back together and finished the job. All in all, it took about about an hour. Drew drove me to the airport – we left home at about 1pm.
American’s flight left PHL late, of course, and the flight was further delayed by headwinds. I arrived in Dallas, walked to the next gate and got right on the next plane. If the plane had been delayed another 30 mnutes, I would have missed it. I was upgraded to first class on the trip to Dallas, so I had a nice meal and enjoyed the first class service “Would you like another drink sir?” “Don’t mind if I do, ma’am”…..
Have you ever seen the Sky Mall magazine? If you’ve ever flown, it’s the catalog that’s in the pocket in front of your knees. I like to look in it because you sometimes see new and unusual products that one might not see for sale locally. I’m enclosing a picture of a new product that I saw.
It’s called PoopFreeze. You carry it with you and you spray your dog’s poop with it. It freezes the poop so you can pick it up easier (I’m not kidding!). Is this awesome or what?? This is why there will always be an America. Innovation and original ideas are what drive our economy and make us a great people….
Oh, my flight from Dallas went to Sao Paulo – I had to take one more flight to get to Rio. It was uneventful. Since I didn’t check any bags, I saved an hour and met Monica just a few minutes after we landed. We took a bus to Volta Redonda, where we picked up the Tipo and drove home to a greeting from the big happy dog that lives in front of our house…
After a much-needed shower and a nap, we went out for dinner to a new place. We had a great time, but at about midnight I was ready to go home. Our very cool waiter took this picture of us. That beautiful woman on my left is Monica.
That’s all for now.