Author Topic: Dirty jobs  (Read 708 times)

ergophobe

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Dirty jobs
« on: August 05, 2022, 05:59:24 PM »
>> wastewater samples

I'm glad that's not what I do for a living!


[way-off-topic]
Somebody has to. And some of us do it for free, just for the sheer pleasure or it.

So about 3-4 weeks ago, I get a call from the head of utilities at Public Works. He tells me the guy in the neighborhood working on a sewer overflow is one person short and could I give a hand? Sure. I grab gloves and a mask and go up there. Turns out to be a total cluster. They hit the water main while searching for the sewer line (code is that they should be 10 feet apart; these are 10 inches apart). They have to repair the water main, then find the sewer line, then fix it. They didn't need help on all that so I went home.

Then Darryl emails me to say that after their turmoil, they forgot to put the manhole cover back on (it was back up in the woods about 70 feet from where the blockage was). Could I go replace it? Sure. So I head up there. I lean over to grab the manhole cover and my prescription  glasses drop out of my pocket into the manhole and land in 2" of sh## about 8 feet down the hole, just shy of landing in the stream of sewage (so they are in the spot where a person stands, not in the sewage flow itself, but that spot is covered in sh## because of the backup).

I had to go home, get a device you use for retrieving a bolt you've dropped behind something, attach it to a 2x2 with a hose clamp, get another board to use to actuate the button, and went fishing in the sh## for my glasses.

Success - https://photos.app.goo.gl/3wGyw7W2jjDWf2329

It's a dirty job, but nobody has to do it unless they're an idiot who keeps their glasses in their chest pocket.
[/way-off-topic]

rcjordan

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Re: Dirty jobs
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2022, 06:26:19 PM »
I've told you about using pressure washers on sewer lines. FANTASTIC invention! I haven't had to use anything else on sewer pipes in 20 years.  But before that, I had way too much experience with commercial sewer rods (not the dinky homeowner stuff, but big coils of steel rod like you see with city crews) and I keep a helluva motorized, screw-drive rod set in storage --just in case. Like so;
https://www.amazon.com/66492-Sectional-Machine-Cleaning-Separately/dp/B0015BBTJY

I hope it STAYS in storage.

Get your hepatitis shots.

ergophobe

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Re: Dirty jobs
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2022, 08:16:55 PM »
Oh, they had a massive pressure washer - you tow it on a trailer. Almost the size of a concrete pump. But sometimes you have to just dig up the pipe, cut a piece out and put a patch in.

>>Get your hepatitis shots

I never got within three feet of said sh##-covered glasses. I suppose the fumes could carry hepatitis. Not sure. Anyway, I kept the glasses at the end of that pole until I could hose them off and spray everything down with disinfectant
« Last Edit: August 05, 2022, 08:34:31 PM by ergophobe »

littleman

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Re: Dirty jobs
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2022, 06:55:09 AM »
This thread reminded me of a Ted Talk I enjoyed some time back.

Learning from dirty jobs | Mike Rowe

ergophobe

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Re: Dirty jobs
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2022, 06:17:38 PM »
Good presenter. Good talk.

We just hosted a friend's daughter for a week - 14yo, 91 pounds. We did amazing things - backpacking, scrambling summits, seeing sequoia trees. She loved it all, but when given a choice, she kept asking if we could go back to the construction site and work on our friend's house. She has grown up in a wealthy community and literally doesn't know anyone in the trades and doesn't seem to know anyone who even practices a trade around the house for fun or practical reasons.

She spent one whole afternoon non-stop hammering pegs out of concrete forms. We spent another few days hammering pegs, stripping concrete form panels that weighed 75% as much as she does, running a grinder, sparks flying, to cut a stuck peg and trim some ties sticking out of the concrete, blowing loose debris off the wall with a pressure washer to prep for waterproofing treatment and so on. She wielded a massive crowbar as big as she is, fired up a small chainsaw (16" bar) to cut a bunch of limbs (really wanted to fell a tree, but we didn't have one that needed felling).

I taught her to swing a machete, not because it was the easiest or most practical way to trim the bush in question, but because it was unquestionably more fun and impressive than the loppers. When I demoed taking a limb off in one quick swing, her eyes and mouth went big... then she spent the next half hour perfecting her swing. Her first branch took her a dozen swings, but she eventually got it down and was taking them off in a swing or two by the end. She hauled branches. Did all sorts of things including some pretty hard labor for three days. She has a lot of energy - after swinging a hammer in the hot sun for the afternoon, she insisted we go for a 6-mile run so she could get her miles in because she wants to be on the hihg school cross-country team this coming year.

Anyway, watching the pleasure she took in hard work, made me think back to the comments at the end of the video. In a world often filled with bullshit work, especially in eighth grade, I could see she felt really gratified to effect physical change in the world and she took great pleasure in the camaraderie and team spirit on the job site.

I counted that she learned to use six hand tools and four power tools she had never touched before.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2022, 06:22:09 PM by ergophobe »

BoL

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Re: Dirty jobs
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2022, 09:47:56 PM »
Everyone needs to do these kind of jobs at least once to remind them other people have to

My old man mentioned being trained up as an engineer who was a heavy drinker who had too many one night and managed to lose his teeth somehow suffering the next morning. He'd sent my dad down to the waste works to try find them. No idea if it's true or not.

>14yo

And probably now has more experience than half the population. Could be her calling, great that the motivation is there.


ergophobe

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Re: Dirty jobs
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2022, 02:10:31 AM »
>>her calling

Very unlikely. More likely to become a doctor. Right now her goal is to own a freight railroad, because she wants promote lower-carbon shipping. She says she might settle for working in a role that promotes railroads, without actually owning one.

In any case, regardless of what she does for money, just having some knowledge of the trades has both practical and social value. When we were at the airport (unaccompanied minor, so I had to wait with her at the gate until the plane left), we struck up a conversation with a guy who turned out to be an electrician traveling to a job in Texas. She was able to to discuss very briefly with a professional tradesman the merits of using a grinder with and without the safety shield, having done both herself because she needed to grind something in a tight spot that couldn't be access with the guard (who declared that, as a professional, he found that a grinder generally works better without the guard).

Just the ability to have that conversation broadens her world (I think).