Saturday, September 4, 2010
Another Rough Week
The heat here has been unrelenting; beating our bodies into exhaustion well before we are able to finish our work day. Although my feet have improved somewhat (I’m down to only one badly festering blister), Marc has had more trouble with his and is losing three toenails on one foot due to the pressure of wearing the boots and walking on pavement all day. Friday, due to the hurricane, a real non-event in Williamsburg, we signed in for our two hour show up pay but got rained out. Instead of making money, we drove into Sam’s club and spent a bunch replacing the Saturn tires with a new set of Michelins.
Now we’re faced with a wonderful three day weekend and no energy to fight the holiday crowds. However, it is our anniversary today so I purchased ingredients for a nice surf and turf dinner with a bottle of Korbel Brut so we will at least eat well. We’ll see what, if anything develops with the rest of the weekend. Since the gas company has Labor Day as a holiday, our company cannot work but for us it is not a paid holiday so will be another day without pay. We’re happy for the extended rest though as we are being pulled off from working this wonderful area next week to work an emergency map in either Newport News or Norfolk. Either town will mean a very long commute but at least we will be allowed to work together as there are 955 meters that must be surveyed as quickly as possible before the due date on the map. Even given the best of circumstances that could take a week or more.
Late this week I worked a wonderful master planned community with two golf courses, impeccable landscaping and amenities (I have never seen a space dedicated to a community garden before), and very large homes. There is even a shady park on an old mill pond which has served me well as a lunch spot, and features a livery of free canoes and boats for resident and guests use. Due to their distance from each other, as an example, and the fact that I needed to add all the details of the survey into my hateful PDA device, I was only able to survey 23 homes in one day. The gas company here is woefully behind on their records so when we see new homes or any home or building which is not listed in the PDA for that map grid, it must be added. This slows our production by as much as two thirds yet the gas company thinks it is a better method. We think next time we get an assignment we are definitely going to request one that does not use the PDAs!
Signing off, a random smattering of my days, including this historic Episcopal Church in Toano, dating from 1750 and still in use. The Kudzu forest as we call it—the dreaded invasive plant that is swallowing up huge swaths of trees—this voracious vine literally grows so rapidly as to totally engulf its host tree, eventually smothering it from getting its needed sunlight and chlorophyll. It’s creepy!
I surveyed a gated enclave in Williamsburg called Kings Hill which is part of the Anhauser-Busch conglomeration which includes commercial and retail centers, a Budweiser brewing plant, Busch Gardens amusement park, and an enclave of million dollar homes and more golf courses. These condos enjoy an exclusive view over the vast James River towards Chesapeake Bay.
Finally, I surveyed a Williamsburg icon called the Pottery Barn, a warren of old warehouse buildings which date from 1938 and house discount outlet type merchandise. The original section is being demolished soon for new building but they gave me access so I could check for any meters still left. It was like walking through a bizarre carnival after all the people have left—just some of the experience of our days. Take away the heat and ungodly sweating all day long, take away the sore feet that refuse to heal, take away our total exhaustion at the end of our days, and there’s a lot about this job that could be fun. We just can’t seem to get there yet.