Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Busier Days

Traffic is picking up. Today, I got my first tractor of the season. People I haven't seen in months have started crossing the river. It's fun. The busyness also means that I'm on my feet a lot more, which I'm not used to, so I'm more tired than usual. 

Today was downright hectic. I left the house late, so I was stressed getting to work--though I managed to get there on time. One of my first trips was a large truck that I haul daily through the spring and summer. We went across the river, and before he drove out, he randomly got out of his truck, walked over to where the boat and apron meet, and stood there peering at something just over his head. I know his english isn't that great, so I asked him what he saw, and he just pointed up. Ohhhhh lordy. 

The apron, which is the ramp end of the boat and extends past the end of the boat, is held in place with cables. Two cables on each side of the apron. The cables are connected with turnbuckles and clevises. Basically just adjustable bits of cable and big U shapes with a pin you run through it. The pin had come out of most of the clevis, and only the weight of the turnbuckle was keeping it in place. It's not a holy-crap-catastrophe, but it's worrysome. I grabbed some tools and the ladder, and climbed up. The cable and turnbuckle was so heavy, there was no way I could lift it enough to shove the pin back in. I called the boss, who is a good sport, and came right down. Turns out the clevis, the U shape, had bent, from the weight of the apron. We had to take the whole thing apart, whack the heck out of it with a hammer, then use all of both of our strength to shove it all back in place. It all worked, it was just a weird random thing to go awry. Finally the boss left, and all was quiet and peaceful for a bit. 

Only about an hour later, I looked up and saw the Crummy. The crummy is the large truck that the bridge crew drives. The bridge crew, obviously, fixes the bridges in the county. Sometimes they just don't have anything to do, so they just wander around. I guess they were down in the area and needed to pee, and were bored, so they came to visit. Suddenly I had 4 large, loud men wandering around the boat and talking over each other in the tiny confines of the cabin. One of them was looking at different parts of the boat, and discovered a BIG problem. The engine, overall, is a pretty simple contraption. The engine turns a belt, which turns a long shaft that runs from the engine to the propeller, which is about 20 feet past the engine and under the center of the boat. The bridge crew guys had noticed that whenever I reversed directions (which you do a lot when landing), the shaft moved back and forth a lot. This, for someone who knows nothing about engines, is evidently very bad, it shouldn't move at all. 

So I called the boss again, who instantly knew how bad it was, and sent a mechanic down. And that's what I did with the rest of the day. The mechanic came down, and spent at least an hour looking at things, and figuring out what to do. Finally he realized the problem, and also that he needed to get into the work boat to fix it. So there we were, holding up traffic for 20 minutes or a half hour at a time. The work boat was tied to the ferry, parallel to the engine, and down there, the mechanic was working away. At one point, I had two of my favorite regulars waiting to go across. I ended up gossiping with them both for quite awhile. I really like knowing the regulars. 

The shaft problem was happening on both engines, so he was at the boat for at least 4 hours. He left at 6:55, which left me just enough time to lock up the boat and go home. It was a very long day. 

I did get a great bit of potentially good news about maybe later this year possibly getting a planning job 
(notice all the potentials and maybes). I can't say anything else, and it's only the potential for the future, but just that bit of potential news made me feel very hopeful for the future. 

So what am I doing right now? I need to pack for my vacation, clean the house up a bit, finish the dishes, go to sleep so I can get up early, etc. What am I actually doing? Blogging and painting my toenails. Yeah, super productive. 

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