And the road goes on forever...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Agony

We just finished up a very tough week here in Virginia on our new job. The humidity continued unabated for the most part which made the work uncomfortable in the high temperatures, especially as we got quite a few showers which then turned the air into a suffocating steam bath. We continued our battles with our PDA devices, both of which acted up to the point where they took them away and had to reprogram them. They sent Marc out another one via Fed Ex, so early in the week we were both trying to work off his and later in the week, both working off mine. It was a convoluted process requiring lots of input of data on our off-hours at night as we tried to better understand the mysterious ways of this damn software and what is required of us.

The maps we’ve been given generated by the gas company are notorious for not containing all the information we need so as we survey we must ad hoc in repeated entries. I stumbled upon an entire new subdivision of about 150 homes that only had one home listed. The reason this makes our jobs so much harder is that then we are required to approach every home to see if it has gas service. This wouldn’t be a big deal in a western type subdivision but here homes are well spaced and in the country where we’ve been working, often have long rambling driveways so we are walking ourselves to death, sometimes for nothing. Absolutely nothing. It’s a disgusting way to survey and shouldn’t really have to happen save for the fact that someone higher up the food chain is not doing their job of properly inputting all this data that we worker bees have been gathering for years. Techs in this area tell us, the maps go unchanged for years, never showing all the homes they’ve added to the system. Supposedly, this is the reason this gas company has us use the PDA’s in the first place. Make sense to you? Me either!

To add injury to the insult, due to the humidity and rampant growth of vegetation we walk in tall, wet grass much of the day. Sopping wet feet have taken their toll and I was in the agony of serious blistering on both feet—some almost pressure sores. Due to the extent of the pain I am in, we have decided for yet another weekend that we will do no touring even though there are some tours we would dearly love to see. I’m afraid if I do that I won’t be able to walk at all next week. So other than a Costco trip and a trip to replace my GPS which has already bit the dust after only a month, we will spend a quiet weekend in the RV trying to catch up and rest.

I wish I had more exciting things to relate to you but so far this assignment is just grinding us down and has our aggravation (a.k.a. bullshit) meter pegged to the max. I do however have some photos snapped along the way of some of the various neighborhoods and things we see along the way. Some parts are actually very pleasant and others downright scary. For instance: surveying two feet away from 60-65 mph traffic on a four lane highway as we’re following a main. Then it gets even scarier as we have to turn our back to that traffic and walk back the entire way as the main only runs on one side. I happened to snap the first photo along such a road at a merciful break in traffic to give you an idea of where we must walk.
Those are not my favorite maps!