The Return of the Commissioner
April 7, 2013
It has been over five years since I’ve been out commissioning equipment, but too much going on at once at work meant my number was up. Commissioining is like a bike, you don’t really forget how to ride it, but it is a bike you never really want to get up on again, it hurts, people yell at you, you spend all day on your feet, you are exhausted, and you have to do it all again tomorrow. My mantra is “remain calm”. As I watched the lead operator run around like a hamster on a wheel, directing his considerable panic energy at everyone around, my mantra proved it’s value again. I think my team did a good job of systematically moving through problems, spending our energy on fixing rather than freaking the freak out.
As we were out in the bush, in a square of mud cut out of muskeg and spruce trees, we brought our own breakfast and lunch for the day. Around 4 pm one day I lamented at length that the nearest chocolate was over an hour away, and the fact that we had been much too virtuous at the store that morning at 6 am, apples, and bananas our snacks. The electrician said when he got back to town he had two chocolate bars due to my rapsodizing.
I was also interested in whether the bears were still hiberating, as I knew other sites had them wander through from time to time. The sub zero temperatures and blizzard reassured me of our safety. The operators then mentioned the pack of wolves in the area, and cougar sitings. Don’t go into the woods kids, even if you are wearing your fire-proof coveralls.
By the way, don’t you love my outfit? Hard hat, safety glasses, fireproof coveralls that hide a multitude of body types, safety boots? I was looking for my co-worker and an operator told me he had walked right by, “Everyone is wearing blue” I shot back.
Best line of the week was from the electrician “I don’t trust a guy who gels his hair and wears Lululemon Pants under his fireproof coveralls”.
Bad news however: due to slow progress, many problems, and general normal conditions for a start-up I’m heading up there again next week. This time I’ll buy an apple, banana, AND a chocolate bar. I sure hope the snow has stopped.