My Job, My Hell...

Share a survival experience with us and explain what you learned from it. You might help someone.

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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by Meat N' Taters » Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:08 am

EPIC! Man, I love your stories.

MOAR!

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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by EODTech256 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:35 am

This is quickly becoming my favorite thread on this board. Keep the stories coming.
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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by TheLastRifleMan » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:34 am

Patience all!

I could not get on line last night. Had a bunch of friends show up out of the blue, which was cool, because I had not seen them in a while.

I will be back on this afternoon and finish my tale. :)
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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by TheLastRifleMan » Sat Dec 19, 2009 6:22 pm

Part II of "The Rooster Crowed at Midnight"...

Ok, not that.

Part II of the nastiest place I had ever been in, at least so far, while in the course of my duties.

Where did I leave off? The weed infested yard? The ruins of an ancient wheel chair ramp? Or had I made it to the door yet? Oh yeah, the thing in the wheel chair that answered the door. And I do mean "thing"...

It was humanoid, at least it appeared so. A head atop a torso, two arms below the head, covered what appeared to be a sleeveless print summer shirt. The legs were not yet visible, blocked by the bottom section of a bent and broken screen door. Straight, dark greasy hair hung long over "it's" shoulders and into it's face, which was looking up at me. They eyes were lifeless, like those of a frozen herring and had patches of stiff, gray whiskers growing from the chin and under the flat, bulldog shaped nose. I then noticed what the sex of this creature was due to the fact it had breasts, at least I think they were. They could have been two dead Moray eels surgically implanted onto the chest of this creature for some some hideous and mind altering reason for all I knew. Or they could have been two old stretched out tube socks with in orange placed in the bottom, hanging like old clock pendulums to the waist. Either way, no bra on earth could have helped, this being obvious since this female troll was not wearing one.

Then the sensation of my eyes burning. Slightly at first, then increasing. At first I thought it was just my subconscious tying to come to the fore of my mind and shut my eyes off after gazing at this nauseating creature before me. She/it muttered something in a low voice that I could not make out and a felt my feet pushing away of their own free will. This was impossible, of course, since one's feet should not have the power to move on their own. Then I realized what was the cause of this.

My burning eyes were not due to the fact that before me was the inspiration for Tolkien's underworld bad guys, I am afraid to say. It was the scent that started to make it's way out the door. Sharp, biting and just plain rank and suffocating all at once. It was like someone had tried to put out a whole carton of burning cigarettes with a gallon of 2 week old urine and used baby diapers. How I held my breakfast down I don't know, being young and strong (at least until I got some rare infection from this place and died a long, horrible, malingering death) helped. Also, there was a slight background odor I recognized: Flea Bomb. I had smelled this in the delivery van (the one that had to be fumigated because of this place) one day when helping to load supplies for one of the drivers. So at least, perhaps, the fleas were dispersed. I repeated what I had said to the troll the first time and she unlocked the screen door and rolled back. No choice for me now. I had to go into this malodorous, reeking shack.

I am quite sure that the sight that greeted me would have sent most people running for the safety of home and hearth, for the sake of their wits or just out of general principle. First of all, I was now able to see the troll's legs. Open, running and weeping sores covered skin that was stretched past it's elastic limits on two swollen trunks the color of uncooked salmon. This did not bother me too much as I had seen it before. I am not sure the condition's name but it causes the extremities to swell to gross proportions. It's nasty if not taken care of properly, such things as daily cleansing and diet relieving the swelling. Not in this case. Then I looked into the house and, if I had not been forewarned by my co workers, I am quite sure I would be receiving governments benefits for PTSD.

Second, it was dark in this place. All the windows had venetian blinds covering them and all were closed. They may have been white but now had that dead gray color of dryer lint. The only light came from the TV sitting on a rickety contraption of plastic milk crates and crumbling cinder blocks. A general gray-blue haze filled the room and seemed to be worse toward the kitchen area. A quick glance around the room let me observe at least five ash trays filled to the brim with ash and brown-white filter butts falling in near perfect rings around the ash trays to the floor. And the floor! No carpet remained, probably having rotted away into greasy, fuzzy balls that were then tossed outside. The surface of the woods underneath was now stained a greasy black from the years of acumilated nastiness that two rotting human bodies produce and then said filth ground into the woods by the combined eight wheels of two manual wheelchairs. It was sticky to walk on, every step feeling like I was on a giant piece of duct tape, adhesive side turned up toward the sky.

In the same glance I also could see at least three half to three quarters full upright plastic urinals sitting in various easy-to-reach spots around the living room. These are the same little device they give your in order to relieve yourself when you can't get out of bed in the hospital. There was also a home hospital style bed and an oxygen concentrator off to my left next to the TV, the white sheet covering the mattress having a large brown stain the diameter of a car tire near the center. Underneath the bed were two plastic gallon milk jugs containing some yellow brown liquid, the caps long gone. I did not want to know what was in them, but I had a good guess. Plates full of fried chicken bones, hamburger remains and bowels of half eaten cereal from three days ago were strewn about. Everything in this place was sticky to the touch and sheer stench was overwhelming, getting into your pours like a quite smoking nicotine patch delivers it's drug.

I asked the Troll what was wrong with her chair. She said it did not roll right, one side was stuck and the wheel locks, which some people refer to as "brakes", didn't hold. This I could hardly make out over the ovations of "JERRY! JERRY! JERRY!" coming out of the TV speaker. I said I would have to have to have her/it get out of the chair so I could look at it. She slowly rolled over to the bed and pulled herself/it from the chair onto the bed, sliding about two feet along the mattress, a series of streams appearing in the brown stain from where she had slid.

Suddenly, I had a brilliant idea! I asked if it was okay to take the chair outside to work on it, since I would have more room. Sure, no problem she/it muttered. I grabbed a hold of the handgrips and began to push it toward the door. Sure as hell, the right wheel did not want to hardly roll. I pushed harder toward the door and the chair stopped dead. I took a look down and was shokced to say the least.

There was a clear plastic tube running from the wheel of the chair, under the TV and back the the O2 concentrator. This machine actually filters regular air and then concentrates only the oxygen in a resevoir, which the patient can then breath by means of a plastic tube the goes to the nose, called a canula. This tube is was what caught in the wheel of the chair, wound up like a fishing line on steroids.

I take one look and realize I can't untangle it. It is just too far gone. I tell her/it so and she says ok, she has an extra some where and has been without the thing for a week any way. Go ahead and cut it. I do and yank the machine outside.

More to come, all. But it is late and I must eat dinner. Yes, I can still eat after this tale.
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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by Meat N' Taters » Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:41 pm

Oh God...now I'm glad I didn't log on to ZS last night like I had planned. Checking on this thread would've ruined my enjoyment of last night's shrimp dinner.

That said, MOAR MOAR!

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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by JCgoose » Sun Dec 20, 2009 6:02 pm

Meat N' Taters wrote:Oh God...now I'm glad I didn't log on to ZS last night like I had planned. Checking on this thread would've ruined my enjoyment of last night's shrimp dinner.

That said, MOAR MOAR!
a big +1 to MOAR
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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by Mr. E. Monkey » Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:09 pm

JCgoose wrote:
Meat N' Taters wrote:Oh God...now I'm glad I didn't log on to ZS last night like I had planned. Checking on this thread would've ruined my enjoyment of last night's shrimp dinner.

That said, MOAR MOAR!
a big +1 to MOAR
And another.
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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by TheLastRifleMan » Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:40 pm

Sorry for all of the delays in finishing this morbid tale. Getting ready for the H-days has gotten up to a fever pitch around here. Had to do the last of my shopping early this morning (took the day off work for just this reason) but at least that is done. I also helped in the preparing of our Christmas Eve feast, peeling and cutting up apples for home made apple sauce and thawing out some sausage patties for small finger sandwiches.

Just finished watching the local news and something kind of strange occurred today. The next tale I was going to tell was about one of the scariest places or areas I had ever been. According to my local news affiliate, a shooting took place ON THE SAME BLOCK AND STREET. A woman and a three year old girl seem to have been shot in a drive by about 11 am EST and ran out the back door of their house to the next street over and called for help. Then they ran back to the house, jumped in a van and drove to the hospital, police following.

I can't remember the address exactly but it was most definately in the same stretch of houses. I mention this to give you folks an idea of what the area is like. The tale that I am relating above took place about a mile from today's shooting. So it is a rough area of town.

Okay, where was I? Oh yes, the Troll of the House of the Filthy's wheel chair. How could I forget? The memory of this place haunts my nights sometimes (not really!) but is a part of my life experience. I can honestly say that for the record, I have not been in a worse residence as of yet. But I am sure it is coming.

So the thing/she/troll's right wheel had been jammed up with the hose from her life giving O2 machine and she never noticed. I was thinking to myself that if I was not getting any oxygen into my lungs, I would surely notice. And the inside of the house! If Martha Stewart was challenged to give this place a make over, she would have thrown down a bamboo matte, knelt down and disemboweled herself with a 12 inch chef's knife. I was thinking about doing the same thing but had no bamboo matte and only a Gerber EZ out folder in ATS 34.

But now, at least, I am outside. Thanks the gods of early summer for fine days such as this! The Gerber had sliced through the tubing easily and I gave myself an "attaboy" for honing the edge the night before, enabling me to escape outside before the she/it/troll could brain me with the femur of a missing census taker and save me from having to suffer having to work on the chair in the outhouse these people called a home. I now could also give the chair a better look to see what else might be wrong with it, since I was now in daylight and as everyone knows, monsters can't stand the sunshine.

A further inspection of this chair revealed some horrific problems. First of all, the parts of the frame that held the two side of the chair together was bent beyond tensile limits. This frame is actually two parts, one part that crosses from the left to right and one that goes behind it, forming an "x" shape, a hardened 1/4" dia. steel bolt going through the center of the "x", allowing the chair to be folded. The bolt was in two pieces, the nylon spacers that act as lubrication non existent. The broken bolt had also gouged out the hole in the frames to three times their normal size. The nylon seat was tron and ripped and covered by substances and stains man was not meant to have knowledge of, the back upholstery having committed suicide a month before. The padded arm rests looked as though they had been frozen to minus 100 C and then hit with a hammer, all cracked and held on by only one bent machine bolt. The bearings for the front caster forks had been ground into a greasy black mass, dirt and miscellaneous nastiness having found their way into said bearing and had sponsored a party for corrosion and breakdown. The wheel locks, lever like devices that stop the 26" rear wheels from moving were beyond repair, the steel rivets that allowed the mechanism to function stripped out or MIA. There was also no tread left at all on the rear wheels and these were SOLID, not air filled, tires. The arm rest frames were bowed out at 30 degree angles from the chair and had been rubbing into the rear wheels, a sign that the user has grown too large for the conveyance.

If this chair had been a horse and I had been a cowboy, I would have drawn my Colt SAA in .44-40 Winchester and shot it on the spot.

I made a quick call to the Slacker on the company cell and told him to get cracking. Get a hold of the delivery guys, I told him, and get a new 20" wide chair out here stat. They know where the place is and this chair is DOA, gone, dead, all done. No way am I going to let the Thing in the Dirt House back on this wreck. We're lucky it did not die on her all at once (I suddenly felt depressed, the chair having suffered for many painful months) or we would all be looking for new jobs and the Creature from the Black Cess Pool the new owner. Her/it's insurance was renting the chair for her anyway and I have the parts back at the shop to rebuild it. I'm busy right now, says he, so you call them if you want it done.

I knew THAT was coming. I was prepared for it, having learned quickly he did nothing that did not gain him something personally or required him to walk from his office to another. Oh, no, says I, only you can do that. Only you have the right paperwork and I figuratively get my rectum cored with a broken broom handle by the warehouse manager when I call there for stuff like that. The Big Boss told you so last week, I was standing right there when he said it. He wants me working on the broken shit, not making phone calls. Okay, okay, I"ll call them right now! says he in a huff and slams the phone down. Score one for the Lone Repair Tech.

I take a deep breath, harden my heart, gird my loins, do all the stuff that is supposed to get you ready to face the unknown or the dangerous. I have to go back in there and brake the news. I can handle it, I tell myself. Like a man being taken to the gallows, I go back in.

She/it actually takes it well. The thought of a new chair seems to cheer her up but it is hard to tell as she lights another unfiltered tumor maker. Then there is movement from the kitchen, like a bulldozer driving over rotten wood pallets, and it is coming toward me. What new horror is this? Then I remember: There are TWO of them living in this house!

To call this thing fat was like calling Megan Fox ugly. This creature looked like it had wheels growing from it's hips and the bottom of it's rotting, bloated feet. You could not see the chair from the heaps of flesh covered in stained clothes. Horn rimmed glasses are imbeded in a round, pale face, the lenses dirty and smeared with god-knows-what. It speaks, and the mouth is full of gray teeth. Gray! It want it's chair fixed as well. Did you get it from us, I ask? No, that other place near the hospital ,it grumbles. Call them, They will have to fix it. Why, you have the parts, it demands! If I do it, I will have to charge you. Insurance only covers it if the original company fixes it. I got no money, it says. If you call them, I tell it, they will come. Weather that is true or not, I don't know, but I want out of here and NOW! That seems to satisfy troll #2 and he backs off into the kitchen/cave area, lighting a Swisher Sweet as he does so. I pull out my clipboard and have troll #1 sign the paper work and tell her good day and nearly trip over my own feet getting out.

Now I am faced with another problem: The Wreck of the Chair. It reeks bad, even in the open street. The leaves on the trees downwind from this offal covered disaster are turning brown. And the procedures I have to follow say I have to disinfect it BEFORE it goes into the van. Okey dokey, I think, I've got an angle on this problem! In the van, I carry two types of industrial strength germ killing sprays. One is a foam that is powerful stuff that says it kills Herpes Simplex 94 and HIV under laboratory conditions. The other is an aerosol spray that is made specifically for bodily wastes and blood born pathogens. Plus, it has a nice orange smell. Well, not so nice, really. It's like putting your nose right into a jar of Tang and inhaling for 30 seconds. It's sickly sweet and cloying, but at this point, anything is better then the smell of the 1000 year old sewer I was just in.

Also in the van, I happen to have the large plastic bag for the mattresses of the home hospital beds. These are large, obviously, but are also about twice the thickness of a regular garbage bag, making them fairly tough. I was going to use it as a large trash bag but need dictates form in my profession: If you need it, you change it or build it to the form the fills that need. I laid out the huge clear plastic bag and rolled the chair into it, the slight breeze opening like a parachute. I gathered up the opening into a funnel and discharged the whole can of orange scented bacteria basher, turning the bag into a white cloud. I thing took a plastic wire tie/ zip strip and sealed the bag closed. Into the back of the van this went and so was I to my next mission.

I brought it back to the shop early that afternoon and took it to be cleaned before I even began to work on restoring it. The shop had two people that cleaning equipment to proper specs was all they did, the company having a lot of different items to be cleaned at times. They were slow and said they would run it through the chair washer next. This was a machine that was like a dishwasher for wheel chairs and sections of beds. It had sprayers and scrubbers that would blast an item with chemical disinfectant and 215 degree F water. If that did not kill any germ or virus clinging to said item, it could not be killed. I told them to let me know when it was done so I could schedule some time to work on it changed my uniform and went to lunch.

During my lunch hour, or half hour I should say, the manager of the cleaning crew and warehouse burst into my shop, screaming about "the stinking pile of bleepin' shit you brought in" and "It should go in the dumpster, not through my washer", etc, etc, etc. I let him rant and rave and told him I had to try to fix it before we dumped it and besides, HE would have to be the one to remove it from the inventory, a task he hated more then taking his high blood pressure meds. He calmed down and said that the chair stunk up the chair washer so bad, they were now in the process
of tearing it down and removing all the filters and scrubbers and cleaning them with bleach. They also ran the chair through three times and it still was reeking and he would not let it in the building. I told him sorry but go ahead and leave it outside in the sun to dry.

My Boss came buy and asked if that was the chair from the P&C house sitting outside. I told him it was and he shook his head, then asked me if there was anything salvageable on it. Maybe the side frames, front caster wheels, I told him. Forget it, he said. Get the serial number off it it and deep six the GD thing, he told me.

So into the dumpster it went. From Trash it came, to Trash it returned. Just in a different local.

Only had to go back to the place once. Rest of the time, the Troll took the bus and came for repairs. Just about as bad, since she stunk up the whole showroom and killed all of the decorative plants.

I went by that house recently, my present employer covering that area as well. The grass has been cut and the rotting ramp replaced by a set of cement steps. In the window, there was a FOR RENT sign.

You could not pay me enough to live there.
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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by Samurai Penguin » Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:24 am

Great, I just puked up my dinner. That's $3.96 worth of PBR you owe me!! :x
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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by Vicarious_Lee » Tue Dec 22, 2009 1:08 am

TheLastRifleMan wrote: I laid out the huge clear plastic bag and rolled the chair into it, the slight breeze opening like a parachute. I gathered up the opening into a funnel and discharged the whole can of orange scented bacteria basher, turning the bag into a white cloud. I thing took a plastic wire tie/ zip strip and sealed the bag closed. Into the back of the van this went and so was I to my next mission.
:lol: Fucking classic!

That's healthcare for ya. Just because a bunch of unscrupulous cheats got caught trashing perfectly good wheelchairs, the government passed a law demanding that you try to salvage something that was shit by an elephant.

This neighborhood isn't the same one that Jamal the Giant and Auntie Blessed lived in, is it?
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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by ThreeClicks » Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:15 pm

Your writing is awesome, love the stories! You could not pay me enough to do that job...!! :shock:

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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by TheLastRifleMan » Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:41 pm

Vicarious_Lee wrote:
TheLastRifleMan wrote: I laid out the huge clear plastic bag and rolled the chair into it, the slight breeze opening like a parachute. I gathered up the opening into a funnel and discharged the whole can of orange scented bacteria basher, turning the bag into a white cloud. I thing took a plastic wire tie/ zip strip and sealed the bag closed. Into the back of the van this went and so was I to my next mission.
:lol: Fucking classic!

That's healthcare for ya. Just because a bunch of unscrupulous cheats got caught trashing perfectly good wheelchairs, the government passed a law demanding that you try to salvage something that was shit by an elephant.

This neighborhood isn't the same one that Jamal the Giant and Auntie Blessed lived in, is it?
No, they lived about 3 miles away. But still in what I like to call "The War Zone."

Yeah, that chair was a mess. The warehouse manager was mad at me for three days.

Seems like everything they ran through that machine, even after tearing it down and cleaning all the filters, etc., smelled like that nasty chair.
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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by TheLastRifleMan » Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:44 pm

ThreeClicks wrote:Your writing is awesome, love the stories! You could not pay me enough to do that job...!! :shock:
Thanks for the encouragement! If you really want to be shocked, you should see my paycheck! :cry: :cry:
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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by Meat N' Taters » Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:18 pm

Epic!

I am a LastRifleMan MOAR zombie!

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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by TheLastRifleMan » Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:02 pm

Time for another tale of woe and despair.

Well, maybe not that bad.

I did have a machine today I just could not get to work at a customer's home. Took it into the shop as a last resort and my immediate supervisor found three problems going on at the same time! I should have taken more time with it, but, at least it is running and I know what to look for in the future. Live and learn. Shows you I am not perfect.

And c'mon, y'all, pipe up and put in some experiences of your own in here! I am going to run out of stories someday!

This story also takes place during my time of penance (as I like to call it) with the first company I worked for.

First, a bit of background: The night before, my boss had taken the van I usually use and delivered some equipment. Some of the items needed to be fitted to the user and he had burned up a lot of daylight, leaving him to work on the equipment in the dark with only the illumination of the dome light in the cargo compartment of the van. After finishing, he found that the van would not turn over. The dome light had completely discharged the battery and had to get it jumped started. He then drove it back to the shop, where it sat overnight and then to me to drive it the next morning with a weak battery and as I was to find out later, a faulty alternator.

The Slacker did it to me again. My first stop was in the War Zone (the rough, crime and poverty ridden sector of the city), my next one almost to the northern edge of the county and then back to the western edge of the county. He could never put them in any kind of order of location. Just schedule them as they came in. Oh well, at least it kept me busy so the boss could never say I did nothing while I was on the clock.

It was also very cold this particular morning, late January or February, if I remember well, as I loaded up my gear for the day. The kind of cold that goes right through you, grabs your kidneys and squeezes you bladder so tight you think you will never be able to relieve yourself proper ever again. Even with the four layers of clothing I was wearing ( plain black t shirt, white button down work shirt, hoodie and company purchased Gortex nylon fleece lined jacket. I was also wearing a pair of thermal long johns under my blue cotton/poly blend work pants that day, plus a cheap knit watch cap) my teeth were chattering as I turned over the engine of the van. The reason for some many layers was simple: I never knew what kind of situation I was going to encounter weather wise or abode wise. Some places were warm while others could be down right arctic. A lot of your retirement or assisted living facilities were like walking into a desert, very hot and dry, requiring the ability to strip off as many layers as possible but be able to put them back on when going back outdoors to work in someone's unheated garage.

I turn the key and the engine makes one turn, slowly and with a mechanical grunt. It reminded me of how I must look and sound when I roll over in the morning to shut of the screeching alarm clock. Another slow, moaning turn, so the first one was not it's declaration of "I'm not going to run today, asshole, deal with it." Then a hard WHUMP that shakes the entire van and BANG! the engine is running, albeit a bit on the "rich" side. I attributed this to the intense cold, even though my boss had told me what he had done the previous night as he handed my the keys. Off I go into a world that was so bitter in so many ways that day.

I find the house, my map and automobile compass reading skills at their peak in those days, with little trouble. Almost too quick. As I pull up to the curb in front of the house, I get The Feeling, the one that tells you that perhaps today would have been worth it to use one of your paid sick days this morning. First of all, I can't park in the driveway, always a bad sign. The driveways are short in this part of town anyway, letting only the length of one car in before it would straddle the sidewalk. Also, they are only wide enough for one car with some room before intruding on your neighbor's yard. I had to park in the street as I noted earlier, because there were FOUR freakin' cars parked in an area designed to hold ONE. How they managed to even exit or enter the vehicles I don't have the faintest notion, let alone how they managed to park them all in that spot in the first place.

I hate leaving the van in the street for several reasons. First of all, I might as well put up a big sign on it in two foot letters stating "ROB ME!" in this part of town. Second of all, it means hauling all of my gear through snow and mud, never a fun proposition. Third, the shortest amount of time I spend in the cold, the better! I hate cold weather and don't like being out in it, especially when forced to do so.

The second observation that set off The Feeling was the fact that there were three house numbers missing from the plaque affixed to the house. Ghosts of them could still be seen, remnants of the glue that once held them on still clinging. The black iron post that acted as a light fixture for the tiny front yard was leaning 30 degrees to one side, pieces of it's milk white globe still laying about the yard. The exterior was gray, maybe blue, who knew? Layers of dirt and general rampant neglect had hidden the original color years ago. The concrete stairs leading to the front door looked as though a lunatic with a sledge hammer had knocked off every sharp corner of every step and then proceeded to haphazardly reshape the the whole affair. The screen door, which had no screens nor windows, was listing to port by 15 degrees. Icicles that were three to four feet long man killers hung from rain gutters that were now the home to small jungles of dead vegetation. Broken toys and sales fliers from the local newspaper littered the snow of the lawn. Great Gods above, if it was like this outside, no telling what the interior was going to be.

I walked up the M.C. Esher steps and knocked on the main door, which rattelled and shook rottenly. After hearing about five sets of locks and deadbolt turn, a man in a maroon colored satin robe invited me in. I entered by stepping through the remnants of the screen door, Mr. Bathrobe informing me it would no longer open. And the heat. I did mention the heat, did I not? No? The contrast between inside and outside was extreme in extremis. Dry waves nearly pushed me back off the porch, drying my boots and outside coat from the icy rain that had just started in an instant, steam rising and dissipating from my clothes. The TV, in the living room to my right ,as usual, had the volume turned up so the three towns 10 miles to the north could also enjoy the inane movie they were enjoying (a B movie from the 70's, about a group of dogs trained to commit bank robberies, to which they were laughing like the house was full of nitrous oxide). The kitchen was just to the left and ahead of me. The walls started a carmel brown from the bottom and faded to an off white closer to the ceiling. A 24" box fan was sitting between the kitchen an the living room, loudly bouncing up and down twice a second at regular intervals, the blade having become off balance some years before. Why in Heaven's name did they have a fan running? To cool the place down? Did they not know the location of the furnace controls?

Two women sat on a couch in front of me, a younger man sat on a beanbag chair to my right. One woman was holding a small infant that was screaming constantly, as though someone was sticking a hot poker to it's feet. It never once stopped the whole time I was there and was getting to me. The child was in pain and the woman just held it to her massive chest. A portable comode (non flushing toilet, like the ones used in portable outhouse) sat directly to my left, as well as a hospital bed. The bed, Bathrobe told me three time over the din of bouncing fan, bad TV and injured child, the third time so I could hear clearly, was the problem. It did not work at all.

I check three or four things, finally figuring out that the bed motors were not getting any power. I trace the power cord to an outlet in the wall, except the outlet was not in the wall at all. It was hanging out onto the floor, bare wires already having scorched small black ruts into the wood. I tell them to call an electrician or this whole place could go up. Bathrobe asks politely if I can fix it and I tell him that I am not an electrician and I don't want to take any chances. I am just not qualified to work on house wiring. In the meantime, use the outlet the TV is plugged into and that should run the bed just fine. OK he says, still polite and somewhat friendly. It was then I hear the sounds of silverware being dropped on a wood floor. But I was in a living room, not a kitchen!

I look down just in time to see my tool box now inverted on the floor, wrenches, sockets and screw drivers everywhere. MY wrenches, sockets and screwdrivers! A small diaper clad child has my favorite 7/16-3/8 box end wrench, a Craftsmen brand one my Dad gave me, in it's sticky little paws! The midget in disguise looks up at me and gives me a smile and an evil laugh, turns, and runs down the hallway in front of me. Bathrobe quickly jumps in front of me, telling me in quick, choppy words that I can't go in there! OK, says I, but the kid has one of my tools. The woman holding the still howling child yells something unintelegable to the young man in the bean bag chair. He leaps and in two bounds in down the hallway. All I can do is pick up the rest of my tools, take inventory to make sure nothing else has been filched by future inmate #300652417 and wait. In about 30 seconds, Bean Bag Chair returns and hands me my wrench with a smile and an apology. At least they were all polite, I tell myself as they sign the paper work and I go onto my next assignment.

I am outside and in one piece. My ears are still ringing from the variety of noise that make rush hour traffic in L.A. seem like a babbling brook. That is when I see it:

The Car. Menacing, brooding, driving by me at an idle. Four young men who should be in high school giving me that Look, the one a pack of coyotes give the deer they have surrounded and are about to take down. A small hatchback of now unknown make or model, so many modifications have long ago obscured any trace of original manufacture's markings. Every window is tinted and is now rolled down 3/4 of the way (the better to see you, M***** F******), gold trim around every conceivable opening. The tires and wheels are two times smaller and three times wider then factory specs should allow. Shiny black and not a speck of dirt on it's gleaming, polished surface, it slowly pulls past me as I load my tool box, goes down half a block and turns into a driveway. I hop in the van and strap myself in. I look down at the driver's side mirror behind me and can see The Car has backed out of the driveway and is once again slowly heading my way. I already have the key in the ignition as I watch The Car creep closer, ever so slowly, up the street. I turn the key.

Nothing happens.

I mean NOTHING! No groan or moan, not even an attempt to start. I thought I had felt panic before this and now I found myself being proven wrong once again! Damn vehicles! How I loathe anything with four wheels and a gasoline engine! This only proves that to me that machines hate me. Or in a past life I must have been, oh, I don't know, Jack the Ripper and karma was once again rearing it's head to tell me once more "No, not this time, you naughty, naughty boy!". Here I was just trying to make a meager living and was going to have a bunch of low life's "bust a cap" into poor worthless me. The Car is now within "assault rifle" range (at least for the level of marksmanship that is typical in this area) and closing. I can only think of one thing to say, one prayer into which I place I my hopes:

"Blessed Mother of Acceleration, don't fail me now!"

Yes, I know it is from a movie but it was all I could think of. But appearantly, it worked. I hit the key once again. A faint rumble, then a heavy, van vibrating WHUMP! I hold down the key and the first one is followed by an even more encouraging sounding second WHUMP. A third, a fourth and the overwrought V6 fires into life. At last, a prayer answered from above! Thank you and thank you, blessed work van! Nothing but premium fuel for you, damn what the boss says! And a wash once a week! But oh, no! I had momentarily forgot about The Car! I expected to hear the harsh, wasp-caught-in-a-vacuum-cleaner-hose sound of 123 gr. .311" dia. bullets flying by, the sound of violently shattered auto glass or the awful sound of thin sheet metal perforated by high speed projectiles any second! I have my foot on the brake just enough to allow me to shift into drive from park and hit the vertical pedal on the right hard, kicking the wheel hard left.

The van lurches and is spinning it's wheel to gain traction, the sound of the tires humming on slick pavement probably waking up the rest of the street, but I don't care and I don't let up on the gas. Suddenly she yanks to the left and onto the street and I counter and quickly find myself going straight toward one of the busiest roads in the city. If I am quick and lucky (HAH!) and can make a right turn and loose these jackals on my tail in the heavy traffic. Then I notice The Car has started to accelerate, obviously having noted that I have pulled out and am fleeing at a higher speed. Before I know it, The Car has pulled up so close behind me I can hardly see it in my mirrors. An old tactic comes to mind and I tap the break pedal with the toe of my boot, not enough to slow me down but hard enough and long enough to light up the brake lights and in order to avoid crushing up that $5000 paint job, they are going to have to hit their brakes and on the icy conditions of the street, it is going to be tough! I do this and am back on the gas, pulling forward as The Car comes to a complete stop and looses 20yards.

I come to the busy street but don't engage my turn signal. I want to keep The Car guessing. A quick glance shows I have a small gap to get into so I wrestle the wheel to the right and hit the gas, pulling out to the chorus of many horns and obscene gestures. But I am away and The Car has not a chance, not at least for another minute. By that time, I could be anywhere, as far as they figured.

I went straight back to the office, having called ahead and told them I needed to use the spare van. No way was I going to be stranded! The next day (after another jump start) we took it over to the repair garage and it was then determined the alternator was bad, as well as the battery. The mechanic said it was a wonder it had started at all when The Car was in persuit.

That is about as close as I ever came. I am not sure what those guys wanted, but I am sure they were watching me and the van. I am just glad I was able to slip away in a van that really should not have been able to run away at all!
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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by shrapnel » Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:26 am

Screw The Car, I want to know what was down The Hallway.
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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by WhoShotJR » Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:42 am

To the OP, great writing style. Definitely very engaging. You would be a perfect fit writing professionally. Lots of magazines would be greatly improved by work like yours.

One of the best posts I've read on ZS.

If I could write anywhere near as well as you, I would tell some truly frightening stories of how I started my career. Imagine working on these people's sewer systems. :shock:

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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by Samurai Penguin » Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:54 am

TheLastRifleMan wrote:Third, the shortest amount of time I spend in the cold, the better! I hate cold weather and don't like being out in it, especially when forced to do so.
You live in MICHIGAN. There's a simple fix for that; the same one I performed after 25 years in Minnesota.

I moved. 8)

TheLastRifleMan wrote:Damn vehicles! How I loathe anything with four wheels and a gasoline engine! This only proves that to me that machines hate me....I can only think of one thing to say, one prayer into which I place I my hopes:

"Blessed Mother of Acceleration, don't fail me now!"

Yes, I know it is from a movie but it was all I could think of. But appearantly, it worked. I hit the key once again. A faint rumble, then a heavy, van vibrating WHUMP! I hold down the key and the first one is followed by an even more encouraging sounding second WHUMP. A third, a fourth and the overwrought V6 fires into life. At last, a prayer answered from above! Thank you and thank you, blessed work van!

I am just glad I was able to slip away in a van that really should not have been able to run away at all!
You can't hate vehicles...above and beyond any law of physics or common sense, that van saved your ass. Kinda creepy and cool all at once.
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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by Cnidaria » Thu Dec 24, 2009 2:33 am

Thank you for taking the time to write these out,they make my day.
TheLastRifleMan wrote:And c'mon, y'all, pipe up and put in some experiences of your own in here! I am going to run out of stories someday!
I worked at 4 pet shops over a 7 year period, so I have some interesting stories. My stories are rather short, and don't begin to do yours justice, but have some anyway.

This is the ~ ~ Tale of the Imploding Goldfish ~ ~

For a period of at least two months, every Sunday after church, a lady and her husband and children would come into the shop with a large ice cooler and ask for 100 live goldfish to go in the cooler. I always assumed she had a pond with a bunch of turtles that ate goldfish, and never asked any questions. She was very talkative, and one day told me what the goldfish were for. She believed that animals should all be free and it was morally wrong to keep them in cages and fishtanks, so they would buy 100 goldfish every Sunday and set them free in the ocean. IN THE OCEAN. I took her aside where her kids couldn't overhear and calmly explained to her what happens to goldfish if they are put into saltwater. She became very angry, refused to believe me, and insisted on buying them anyway. I refused to sell to her and explained to the other employees who (stifling laughter) also refused to sell to her. Her anger escalated. She talked to the owner, who apologized and sold her the goldfish.


~ ~ Kitten Fight! ~ ~

Fact: kittens lower people's IQ by about 50 points.

As a store policy, we refused to sell kittens, since there are many kittens in the local animal shelter without homes, but this did not stop people from leaving newborn, sick, injured, or perfectly fine kittens in the dumpster behind the petshop. Why not bring them to the animal shelter a block away, or the vet's office right across the street, you may ask? Or why not leave them in front of the supermarket in a cardboard box marked "Free Kittens"? Why not at least leave them on top of the dumpster where they are less likely to get crushed to death if someone isn't paying attention and throws a bunch of trash in? I have no idea. We usually gave them to the animal shelter, but more often than not, the boss had the idea of bottle feeding them and adopting them out (for a fee, of course). I bred rats for the store, so on occasion I would bring a kitten home and supplement formula with rat milk. At one point two mom rats actually fought over who would nurse the kitten.

Two female Kindergarten teachers had both been eying the same kitten, and were waiting for him to be weaned so he could be adopted. The boss got a bit confused, and accidentally promised the kitten to both of them of different occasions. The day the kitten was available was marked on the cage, along with a "Sold" sign. Both ladies showed up right as we opened to get their kitten. There was screaming and a loud, painful sounding "MEEEOOOW!" One lady had a hold of the kitten's front legs, while the other had a hold of the back legs, and they were having a tug of war for possession. The kitten was stretched to its limit, wide-eyed and terrified. The manager yelled at them and snatched the kitten away. One of the ladies swung a fist at his face. He avoided the fist, but got his face, neck, and arms clawed up by the kitten.

I have more if anyone is interested: Akira Hamster, Maggots in the Face, Glue Traps, Can't Poop, 7 Girlfriends.

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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by Mr. E. Monkey » Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:26 pm

Cnidaria wrote:I have more if anyone is interested: Akira Hamster, Maggots in the Face, Glue Traps, Can't Poop, 7 Girlfriends.
:shock: Moar?


:D MOAR!!!
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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by Istvan56 » Thu Dec 24, 2009 3:04 pm

A True Tale of Your Government $ Going to Waste

I no longer work in that office. It was closed to save money. :P All the people involved (except me) no longer work for Uncle Sugar. This is a good thing. :lol:

Like all of you I am a preparedness nut. Well, at least that is what the unprepared think of us, as more than a little paranoid. Fortunately my talents were noticed by my boss and I was promoted to the job of coordinator of the Disaster Preparedness Committee in the mid 1990's. I was happy preparing our facility for the biggest potential disaster forecast for the area, a Great Quake. That's magnitude 10+ folks, the really big one that can level cities.

Realize that nobody in my office had taken emergency preparedness seriously since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1963. I'm not joking here. We had Civil Defense supplies from 1963. There was water, 675 gallons of it in steel tanks that had a fair amount of rust in the bottom. (Yeah, they never rotated it.) There were emergency rations consisting of hardtack and rock candy that tasted like some sort of nasty medicine. (All right, I'll try just about anything once. :oops: ) There were "portable toilets" that were large cardboard barrels (30 gallon?) that had a plastic bag liner and a toilet seat to put on top. I wasn't sure they were solid enough to hold the seat in place. Besides, they are so tall that most smaller people (especially kids but fortunately we didn't have kids at the office) could sit on it without touching the floor. We had geiger counters and radiological test badges to see if we were over exposed to radiation or not. (If they went off you were among the walking dead.)


We tossed all of that stuff except for the geiger counters which were sent back to the GSA for disposal. (I was surprised to see them later listed for up to $80 at various surplus stores.) Well, tossing the stuff sometimes meant taking it home since once it touched the inside of the dumpster we could then climb in and take it home. You'd be surprised at all the good stuff the government throws away. What, the government waste taxpayers money? You have to be kidding! Read on my friends and learn about it!

So as coordinator I purchased enough freeze dried meals to feed the entire staff for 72 hours. Then I had another 72 hours worth of MRE's purchased and stored in disaster cabinets on each floor. We had two floor wardens on every floor who had access to the cabinets in emergencies. Besides MRE's there were blankets, portable radios, flashlights, hard hats, a crowbar, notepad, pens, markers, first aid supplies (geared towards broken bones, glass cuts, etc.) and a two-way portable radio on a separate net from our police radios. Emergency water was stored in new fiberglass tanks built on special custom earthquake resistant mounts so we could rely on a gravity feed for the smaller bottles we would distribute it in. A schedule was set to rotate it every six months and adhered to. We bought portable toilets, camp style, and plenty of supplies for those. Every basic need was covered.

Down in the basement level (we were four stories above ground and two stories below ground) I stocked a special cabinet for our Emergency Response Team (ERT) for which I was a FEMA certified instructor. (Ha, got my boss to pay for my hobby. :twisted: ) Inside the ERT cabinet we had enough gear to equip two teams of four including radios, safety equipment, tools, rescue gear (non-powered version of the jaws of life), documentation for damage assessments, more first aid supplies, whatever we thought we needed was there.

There was more, ahem, supplies such as extra guns and ammo to be cached in a safe outside in case we had help respond and they needed extra weapons. (Most of us would just bring our personal weapons from home but not everyone had back ups.) Well it was supposed to be in the small detached building but some blockhead lost the combination and neglected to admit to it for a few weeks. Then after we found out another oh-so-brilliant employee saw the empty safe open and one day just decided to lock it up for us, before the lock smith could get there to change the combo. Typical snafu.

Then Y2k loomed up before us and all the top bosses went into panic mode. What if the computers were unable to tell the new year? Would the government collapse? Are we prepared for rioting in the streets? For panic and civil unrest? The answer was, yes we were prepared. But trust a bureaucrat not to take your word for anything. We had to do more or he couldn't tell his boss that he had done something. So the first thing that took place was said bureaucrat put himself in charge and I became the committee secretary. Next he renamed the committee, we were not Disaster Preparedness but the Business Continuity Committee. Y2k became our sole problem, all other more likely disasters (such as a building fire, which we had already faced twice and survived) were shoved aside.

Since we were prepared for most everything already there had to be something we had overlooked. Why of course, it was reliable communications in case the phone systems in the country all failed at once. Never mind that we had two-way FM radios and even a couple of HAM operators on staff who we bought handheld radios for so they wouldn't have an excuse not to have one on hand in case of a disaster. What should we do? Let's invest in satellite phones! So we contacted various companies and found our options were limited to two, Magellan and Iridium. Magellan was a well established company that primarily provided services for yachtsmen and scientific expeditions in remote locations. They had two satellites we could tap into, both very low on the horizon. Only if we climbed on the roof of the building could we get high enough to tap into the network. So that was enough to dump Magellan.

The Iridium network was much more promising. Motorola, in partnership with some very rich Saudi royalty (are there any other kind?) were launching over 90 satellites to blanket the earth in coverage for their simple hand-held phones. The Department of Defense had already bought into the system ($3 mil worth) and so we thought that was the way to go. Just as I was getting the funds set aside for us to buy one word came that someone else would be paying for them. You see my bureaucrat wasn't the only guy who thought that all senior people of the agency should be able to talk each other on Y2k. Some guy in Washington, D.C. talked his boss into getting the whole agency Iridium phones. So we got a satellite phone free, along with several thousand dollars in accessories such as a small satellite antenna for the roof, a base station to plug the handset in (that alone was worth $2k), extra lithium batteries (worth $150 each) and so forth. It cost my agency over $1 million bucks to get the equipment. I heard that the guy who suggested the system be purchased was given a hefty bonus that year. That kinda bummed me out since all I got for working on the emergency preps was a very, very small bonus.

Then Y2k came and went without a ghost of a problem. I was sitting in our control room monitoring CNN, CCTV, radio nets, etc. while we had our officers protecting the place in 12 hour shifts carrying automatic weapons in case of rioting. Management was on the top floor having a catered New Years event and hoping that nothing was going wrong. When midnight came and went the champagne corks were popped and they got bubbly while we stayed heavily armed and sober with sparkling cider. Needless to say the satellite phone system worked but it was completely unneeded. Soon it would be completely unwanted.

You see that year Iridium went bust. The Saudis saw all their money going to China to send these satellites into space but except for a few government agencies nobody was buying their phones. Y2k kinda proved that they weren't needed. Cellular phones were much smaller, cheaper and now that the panic was over, reliable. So the Saudis decided to cut their losses and pull out. Motorola couldn't fund the program alone so Iridium went bankrupt and all those satellite phones suddenly quit working.

It was the last straw for the already discredited Business Continuity program. When they spent all that money for Y2k and nothing went wrong they had to blame someone for causing the panic and spending the money. So the committee was "reorganized." My boss was demoted. I was transferred to the Safety Committee and another lieutenant took my place as the coordinator. All the supplies languished, that is batteries were not rotated, MRE's began to spoil, etc. Then the downsizing began after 9/11/01 took money away from FEMA type preps and put it towards Homeland Security type preps.

So a couple of years go by and at a surplus property auction guess what was a listed item? Yep, the Iridium satellite phone with all of its accessories conveniently put back into their original boxes. What was the base price? Well, all of $5 bucks. I went for it and nobody else did. Over $3k of satellite phone equipment for $5 cash. From what I heard this was going on across the country. A million dollars worth of satellite equipment being sold for pennies on the dollar.

Not believing my good fortune I took things home and showed my wife. She asked me what I was going to do with the system since Iridium went broke? I dunno, but it was a very funny trick since I heard that the guy who suggested the agency buy these things got demoted. Not my boss, he got demoted but the guy in Washington, D.C. My wife reminded me that could've been me since I had recommended the Iridium over the Magellan system.

Anyway, I went online and discovered that Iridium had been reorganized and was now operating again. The phone and its accessories were worth money after all, big money. Being the dutiful employee who didn't want to be accused later of somehow getting the phone into the auction and then cost my agency big bucks by depriving them of this system I took it back to work. I showed my boss (still my boss though demoted) the information about the phone company, value of the phones, etc. For my due diligence I got my $5 bucks back.

Months go by and I don't hear anything back about the phones. My boss is shuffled aside to work on "special projects" meaning something short term so they can cut his job and let him go. I run into him one day and ask what happened to the phones. Dejectedly he told me that the agency had dumped the whole idea of satellite phones so I could just take it back home. I offered to pay back the $5 and he said to just keep it. Taking the phone would be better than trashing it. Okay, I take it back home to my wife's displeasure. Not for long as I listed it on eBay and sold it to a yachtsman planning on sailing around the world. I made $2,150 off of the deal which paid off a few debts and made Christmas real special for the kids. Sorta wish I had that kind of money this year but we'll still have a good year. Oh, of course I paid taxes on that money I made. You have to give Uncle Sugar his cut, after all. :roll:

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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by Samurai Penguin » Thu Dec 24, 2009 3:28 pm

And people wonder why I'm an anarchist. Is there anything the government can't turn into a brass-plated, three-cornered cluster bungle? :lol:
"Some folks just need to tuck their e-penis back in before it gets cold and we all laugh." --Brash
"Here's something every ZS'er can agree upon; no matter the situation, the individual who KEEPS THEIR WITS during a panic always comes out ahead." --prebans

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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by Mr. E. Monkey » Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:20 pm

Samurai Penguin wrote:And people wonder why I'm an anarchist. Is there anything the government can't turn into a brass-plated, three-cornered cluster bungle? :lol:
A brass-plated, three-cornered cluster bungle. They'll only end up with two corners, a thin brass-colored finish that will rub off, and it will only bung.
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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Post by Samurai Penguin » Fri Dec 25, 2009 12:05 am

evil monkey wrote:
Samurai Penguin wrote:And people wonder why I'm an anarchist. Is there anything the government can't turn into a brass-plated, three-cornered cluster bungle? :lol:
A brass-plated, three-cornered cluster bungle. They'll only end up with two corners, a thin brass-colored finish that will rub off, and it will only bung.
It's funny because it's true. :lol: I bow before your sense of snark.
"Some folks just need to tuck their e-penis back in before it gets cold and we all laugh." --Brash
"Here's something every ZS'er can agree upon; no matter the situation, the individual who KEEPS THEIR WITS during a panic always comes out ahead." --prebans

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