Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day off

For those of you who were having trouble posting comments, I think I fixed it. You should be able to post comments now without creating a username for Blogger. Post away!

The flower in the last post is apparently a wild geranium. Thank Lisa for her horticultural knowledge.

Today is our day off. This is a bit exciting because we work 6 days a week, 10 hours a day, and have only Sundays off. CRM schedules are often bizarre - I've worked regular 5-day 40-hour weeks with weekends off, but also have worked "8 days on, 6 days off" - i.e., 8 ten hour days in a row and then 6 days break. No overtime in that scenario because you do two weeks work in the 8 days. I've heard also of "9 days on, 5 days off" and "4 days on, 3 days off".

Overtime isn't really common for the same reason it isn't common in other hourly-wage fields (no one wants to pay time and a half), but it is more common in CRM than in other areas except, perhaps, construction. There are two reasons for this:

1) Projects are usually rushed ("this pipe needs to be in the ground by June! You have three weeks to finish before the bulldozers arrive!")

2) Companies will make tons of money once the pipeline/well/whatever goes in, so they don't mind paying overtime up front.

As a result, we get 20 hours of overtime a week. Which is sweet. However, that means we work 60 hour weeks. Which is no joke when you dig holes all day long.

The long days make more sense when you think about the amount of time it can take to get to a project. We drive 45 minutes one way to get to the site - that's an hour and a half out of the day before any work has even occurred. One project I worked on had a two hour one way commute, leaving only 4 hours of actual work time each day.

Anyway, that means we have only one day off every week, and I intend to lay around and do nothing.

Well, not do nothing, because I have to devote a certain amount of time to scratching my bug bites. The area we're in is heavily wooded and we have a constant swarm of black flies and mosquitoes around our heads as we work. I had a very impressive itchy lump that pretty much took over my forearm, but it seems to be receding now. Not so much my ear, which I guess has a bite on it somewhere because the entire thing has been really swollen, red, and itchy for two days.

Most impressively, I got my first ever deer tick bite! I've lived and worked outside in several tick-infested areas and never even seen a deer tick (they're about the size of a poppy seed), but one showed up sticking into my hip two days ago. Deer ticks are the species that carries Lyme Disease. On the lookout for the characteristic bullseye rash, which should show up within a week or so if I have the disease.

Only about 1% of people bitten by deer ticks get Lyme Disease, and the percentage is down to basically 0 if the tick is removed within 36 hours (which mine was), so I'm not concerned - just alert.


  1. I'll get an extra frontline!

  2. Thanks - get two, one for me and one for Leland...

    Actually, that would be AWESOME if I could just put a little dab of something on myself and keep ticks away. Why don't they market that stuff to humans?