I think maybe I spoke to soon when I said my machine was running fine now that we replaced a shitload of parts... And by last Friday I was playing catch-up with my work and should now have everything done soon.
I should have known I'd have a bad week. It all started around 9 PM last night when I went to bed. No sooner was my light off and my head on my pillow did I hear a loud noise outside my apartment. I looked out the window and what do I see? The Town of Durbin chose that moment to start digging up the street right under my bedroom window with a backhoe.
What the fuck.
This went on until at least 3:30 AM when they called it quits. I was finally able to get to sleep even though my alarm would be going off in an hour and a half. I get up and I don't even feel rested. Now I'm pissed and my goddamn coffee pot decides to take a shit then too. So now I'm tired and cranky with no coffee as I'm getting ready for work. I make my lunch and put it in my lunch bucket and head to my truck. I'd been loosing a lot of oil lately so I've been checking it every day. The dipstick is bone dry... I take my maglight and peer deeper into the engine compartment and see where my oil is going. The PCV valve is shot and it's spewing the oil all over the motor.
It's a wonder I didn't smell it sooner. So I stop on my way to work and dump four quarts of oil into it (yes it was that low) and head off. I get almost there and I hear the lifters begin to chatter again... I pull into the small gravel area next to my machine and shut it down. I'll deal with it after work.
So I do my morning inspection, fuel it, check and add oil to it also and fire it up. Only cranked once and belched to life, idling perfectly.
At least something is going right this morning I think.
I thought wrong.
The sky is turning blacker by the minute and I hear rumbles of thunder over the hum of the diesel. Just as Jimmy the tamper operator pulls up the sky opens up with a torrential downpour. He rushed over to my machine and climbed into the cab. We have a brief meeting to discuss what we're both going to do. It was decided that I head out immediately up to milepost 48.7 and finish the last two miles up on the top of Cheat Mountain so we can begin to work our way back through Elkins and on to Belington.
By the time I get to milepost 44 I begin to notice something is awry. The engine is still running perfectly, but my windshield wiper is slowing down markedly. I look out at my work lights and they too are growing dim.
By the time I got the machine stopped so I could check out the fuzebox, I lose all electric. I decide to limp back to the siding.
I finally get there and she finally dies. That new alternator and battery we put in last week?
I'm glad it's not my money. The battery was $270 and the alternator was $544...
We head to the Napa in Elkins to get another alternator. Unfortunately we got the only one they had and to get another is a special-order.
"We can have one here by Thursday afternoon..."
That's definitely ungood. If the machine is down, I can't work. And I don't work, I don't get paid. The company isn't going to pay me to sit on my ass on a broke-down machine and I don't blame them.
So I'm off the 4th of July... But I didn't want to be off. I was looking forward to not only getting this shit done, but the double-time premium Holiday Pay.
A 16 hour day at $85.00 an hour would have been really nice.
If I were paranoid I'd say someone or something is conspiring against me...
Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden