Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A real "Carp Helper" task

Six months ago, I was making $40/hr to sit in people's heated or air conditioned houses, in their comfy office chairs, and the hardest physical task I'd have to do would be to fish some cables behind someone's desk to hook up their printer.

Today, I'm making what works out to around $6/hr to spend four hours elbow-deep in the most rancid slime you can imagine.

When the grease trap for the kitchen drains is clogged and needs to be emptied out, guess who gets that job? That's right, the "Carpenter's Helper". Otherwise known as the lowest notch on the totem pole. Me.

Imagine the smell of a McDonalds dumpster on a hot, sticky day. Now seal it up, let it sit for six months, and run hot water through it a few times a day. Complete with bits of rotting vegetables and meat and whatever else gets stuck in there. You get the idea.

Eric, one of our cooks, describes the smell as "sick puppies". When Sean (who took those pictures) walked into the room to do something unrelated, his comment was "What the F*CK". When Diane, our other cook, heard that I was going to be cleaning the grease trap, she just got sort of quiet and said "Oh . . . poor guy". Paul, one of our sysadmins, made the suggestion of smearing some Tiger Balm on my upper lip, which actually did a VERY good job of masking the smell. After a few minutes, my smeller was fairly numbed and I couldn't smell much of anything.

It was so gross I couldn't do much besides just laugh as I was scraping this smelly goop out with a putty knife.

Anyway, after that, I deserved some candy. I think I was hunting for another Twix bar. Again, picture taken by Sean, who seems to get a kick out of following me around with the camera to document all the stupid or unpleasant things that I do.

Now, another random picture of me putting my scrawniness to good use; changing a ballast for a flourecent light in a ceiling crawlspace that was obviously designed by people who never had to actually work on what they built. You know the Hazard Course in the video game "Half-Life" where you have to go over one pipe, then under the next, then over the next, and sorta snake your way between two others? That's what it was like, sort of, but you have to keep yourself braced up above the surface you're crawling on so as not to mess up any of the valves or motor controls for the glycol heat system or sprinkler system.

So, in conclusion, I'm very happy down here.

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