Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Down In The Ditch

It was on this date in 1993 that I started work for WSDOT in Wenatchee. (24 years ago) It really was a blessing; as we had just bought this house, our oldest daughter was a senior in High School, Jan had just started her job, and I was on city council- so moving would have changed our lives greatly. The previous month  I commuted to Kent; as I had to transfer to Kent, or quit my WUTC job. The following year I would learn that additional layoffs at WUTC occurred, if I had stayed with them. DOT has been good to me and I have worked with some great friends. My first winter was spent on Stevens pass working nights plowing snow. I love the variety of work we perform and our goal of keeping the roads open for you.
In 2003 I went to the Striping Crew in the summers and continued to work in maintenance for winters. I actually work for two different bosses (ok, 3 with my wife). Last month I accepted an opening in maintenance where I now work.
Thanks to Luther Beatty for hiring me- I have gone thru about a dozen different lead techs, about 7 supervisors and about 5 superintendents. In fact my winter Superintendent, worked with me on nights my first winter on Stevens pass. I enjoy working 4 ten hour days.  I had been assigned to Stevens, and Leavenworth, besides working in Wenatchee. I have seen many changes, shared many laughs, shared some sorrows-and have so many memories that I treasure. I welcome the new hires and it is tougher each time to say goodbye to those retiring or have passed on- The Lord Willing I hope I can retire in 3 more years and let someone younger take over. It really has worked out great and has gone by so fast.

My friend was fired from his job at the road department for stealing. I have to say I saw it coming. The last time I was at his house all the signs were there.

My father's father wanted to know if he could stay with the company in spite of the many changes. They ended up grandfathering him in
Two mentally-challenged fellows are digging a ditch, when one of them asks the other, "Why are we both down in this ditch digging in the hot sun, doing all the work, while our foreman sits in the shade, smoking a cigar, reading a newspaper, and he getspaid more than we do?" His partner says, "I donno. Why don't you go ask him?" So he climbs out of the ditch, and goes over to where the foreman is. "We were wondering why are we both down in this ditch digging in the hot sun, doing all the work, while you sit in the shade, smoking a cigar, reading a newspaper, and get paid more than we do?" The foreman says, "Well, it's because of education." "Ed-you-kay-shun? What the heck is that?" The foreman smiles broadly, "I was hoping you'd ask that." He puts his hand up on a big tree and says, "Now, you take your shovel, and hit my hand just as HARD as you can." Wow, the old boy's been waiting for a chance like this, so he really cranks up his backswing and let's it fly. But *just* before it hits his hand, the foreman jerks it away. The shovel meets the tree, "BLANG," and the fellow kinda "vibrates" back down into the ditch. His buddy says, "What'd he say?" "Well, he said that the reason why we both down in this ditch digging in the hot sun, doing all the work, while he sits in the shade, smoking a cigar, reading a newspaper, and get paid more than we do is because of ed-you-kay-shun." "Ed-you-kay-shun? What the heck is that?" (smiling broadly) "I was hoping you'd ask that." (puts his hand up in front of his face) "Now, you take your shovel and hit my hand just as HARD as you can..."

Friday, September 8, 2017

Big Grand Coulee Dam

46 years ago today,  Sept. 8th, 1971- my parents moved to Coulee Dam; from Fife Washington. My Dad worked on the 3rd powerhouse as a carpenter. I had to look on the map to see where it was and I finished my last two years of high school there. I really met some special people there, including my wife who I married in 1974- over 43 years ago.  Its been interesting to hear of some of the history of Grand Coulee Dam from our 50 year class reunion site- I added a few photos of that area to an old Woodie Guthrie song that would be played before KFDR radio went of the air at sunset each night. The government actually paid Woodie to write this song- guess I can only hope I get paid for making this video.
Above-This was what the Dam looked like most of the time we lived there in High School- I actually never worked on Dam; my dad and my brother did. And we actually did not arrive in Coulee Dam until Sept. 10th as the mobile home mover decided to leave us 17 miles short of Coulee Dam due to another flat tire. We slept across from the now Steamboat Rock Entrance and my dad arranged for a mover from Wenatchee to  haul us the rest of the way in. Here is the words from my dads diary for that week:
Sept. 6th-Labor day-off to work at 4:00. Sent Anniversary card to Wymond's. Cold day at night
Sept. 7th-Hard short day at job with lots of welding
Sept 8th-Wed. plenty of blowouts on house tire. End of run(???) For this mover at 15 miles from destination. $417.1- trip costs twice!
Sept. 9th-Thursday-Waiting at camp site-took blocks to Earl's Tr. Park to get mover from Wenatchee, $88.00 plus 105.00 for 1 wheel and tire!!wow!
10th-Moved at 7:15 this morning. A hot day! Leveled house, have elect. & water.(no gas)
12th -To Assembly of God church twice-pretty good. Start here-Moved!
I don't recall how coulee dam looked before the Dam was built, so here is a photo for us to see. Not sure the year taken?
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Here are five fun facts about this very cool place to visit.
1. Grand Coulee Dam measures in at 550 feet high from base to top. The original plan was for a low dam to be built that would be just over half that high at 290 feet tall. At that height, it
would’ve produced electricity but would not have contributed to the irrigation system that the surrounding area relies on.

2. Due to the rising water behind Grand Coulee Dam, known now as Lake Roosevelt or Franklin Delano Roosevelt Lake, more than 3,000 people had to be relocated, many of them Native Americans.

3. The reservoir behind Grand Coulee was officially recognized as full on June 1, 1942 when the first water flowed over the dam’s spillway.

4. The Columbia River Treaty is a treaty between the United States and Canada that allows for water storage where backed up water of the Columbia River behind Grand Coulee Dam extends north of the Canadian’s border.

5. 1952 saw the United States Post Office issue a commemorative Grand Coulee Dam stamp with a face value of three cents.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Happy Days Are Here Again-Silverwood Theme Park

This must be my 225th video I have made, and I made it on a new movie maker. I do this for a hobby as well as to remember memories. This video was our trip to Silver wood Theme Park, as well as Get Air at North town Mall, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Sleep Inn to the song Happy Days are Here Again. We really had a great time and highly recommend each of those business's we visited.  I hope your summer was as great and went a bit slower than ours did.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Happy Retirement Mr. Major Highway Line Painter

It is going to be hard not to have Al Willms part of our crew, when he officially retires after 15 years on August 15th, after  working with me on striping crew and many of the winters in maintenance. He actually started on striping crew before I came on full time by a year- (in photo below) I had several suggested songs to use for him, but I don't think he would have liked "take this job and shove it", or Oney by Johnny Cash- so here are two short  retirement songs and a few of the photos over the years.(I actually could not fit them all in song) I certainly wish you the best in your retirement- and thanks again for all  you have done for the crew and for our region in your work over the years- you are a Real men of Genius.
above photo was taken in 2002 and below photo was taken July of 2017 near Winthrop
above photo was taken in Maui a few years ago when we met up with him and his wife
We always had fun on the job- Going to Miss Al!
Retirement is a big decision- I am undecided on my plans. There are many who "I sure hope they do not retire for a long time." My brother sent me this clipping of a man who has been working for 75 years with American Airlines- wow! Hats off to his employer as well- many do not know how to keep someone that long or want to.  His wife's advice is pretty amazing too.
Age is just a number – from Al Blackman
In the July issue of American Way, Azriel "Al" Blackman, a JFK-based crew chief, reflects on his 75 years of service as an aviation maintenance technician at American. Read the full letter below and be sure to check out the video of Al's special anniversary celebration.
I could start this column by telling you how much I love my job working in Aircraft Maintenance. I could tell you that it's never really felt like a job because it's a craft I love and take great pride in every day. I could share that I've worked on more than 50 different aircraft types during my career or that I served with the U.S. Army in Korea at a facility located across from the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. Yes, M.A.S.H. Yes, that M.A.S.H. But instead, I'll start with the reason I was asked to share my story. This year marks my 75th as an aviation maintenance technician at American Airlines. That's right -- 75 years. I started just before I turned 17; I'm now 92. That has landed me in the book of GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS for having the "Longest Career as an Airline Mechanic." But don't think for a second that this is a retirement letter. See, American keeps buying new planes - in fact, we have the youngest fleet among major U.S. carriers. Many of these new planes are from Boeing, which happen to be my favorite to work on. And while I may not be as hands on as I used to be, I still do some sheet metal work from time to time. My primary role, however, is coordinating our team members so they're safe and successful at getting our planes back in service. You might find this hard to believe, but I still see every day as a new challenge. I always have. My late wife, Dolores, knew it too. She used to tell me, "Go to work; go play with your friends." We were married 57 years before she passed away about seven years ago. But I still hear those words, because they're true. My colleagues are my friends. And they are the finest group of aviation mechanics in the world. When I'm not working to maintain our fleet, you can find me restoring vintage aircraft for the Historical Aircraft Restoration Project at Floyd Bennett Field, a few miles west of my work home -- John F. Kennedy International Airport. I guess that makes me an antique fixing an antique. It's possible I know some of our aircraft as well as you know your kids, but I consider that a good quality in a mechanic. And while I will eventually leave our fleet in the capable hands of my colleagues, American's maintenance hangar at JFK will always be home. My fellow mechanics -- my friends -- have made sure of that.
Azriel "Al" Blackman

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Woman In Our Little Girls Room

Kim and Dean  Hopper sing a song called the Little Girl in Our Little Girls Room. Many of the videos  labeled grandchildren I make, are about how fast kids grow up. I think it is something most do not realize until its too late or people think it only happens to other people? Being a grandparent when you don't see your grandkids every day- sometimes it is a shock how fast they have grown. For some, viewing this video will bring a tear to your eyes, for others, maybe you will  be reminded to take time with your child just a bit more today. Someone once said; "In bringing up children, spend on them half as much money and twice as much time."
You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back. 

Always kiss your children goodnight - even if they're already asleep. 

When you have brought up kids, there are memories you store directly in your tear ducts.

It's not only children who grow.  Parents do too.  As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours.  I can't tell my children to reach for the sun.  All I can do is reach for it, myself.

Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you. 

If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders. 

What a child doesn't receive he can seldom later give. 

If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others.

These are my daughters, I suppose.
But where in the world did the children vanish?

The trouble with being a parent is that by the time you are experienced, you are unemployed.
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