Posts Tagged With: Work

The last coyote

I had to be out in the North Ranges at 6am this morning for a lengthy inspection. I drove my little work ranger around the base of the hills, at the edge of the dry lakebed, and the sun rose copper red behind smoke from a fire in the North. The light was dim, but not dark.

As I drove slowly over an unfinished road re-pave, a coyote wondered out of the desert in front of my truck. I stopped. He stopped and sat down. We stared at each other for an eternity. It felt like he looked in to my soul. It felt like we were the only two beings left on Earth. The last man and the last coyote.

With a Yip, he finally stood up and walked away.

I drove on.

Categories: animals | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

What is a mom worth?

What is a wife and stay at home mom worth? That’s the question that has been raised in a couple of venues I have been in recently. Now, I am not talking about the love aspect, because love is priceless. I can’t and won’t put a price on my love for my wife, that just IS.

My beautiful wife and I both worked when we were first wed a couple of months ago, but due to totally opposite and conflicting schedules, money that wasn’t worth the time, and just her physical well being, we decided it would be best for the family if she stayed at home. So now she is a stay at home mom and housewife and I absolutely love it. Money is tight, but the girls have their mom all day, which I believe is important. She isn’t taxing her body like she was before, which always worried the hell out of me. Also, she doesn’t have to stress and worry about her safety being a waitress working a graveyard shift.

To me, this is all priceless.

Lately she has shown some concern over money as things are tight, to which I have this to say: Babe, you are contributing more than you think. I don’t worry about things like I used to, we will get through the tight finances and debt and we will be okay. Don’t worry about not bringing home a paycheck. You do things that are just as important, if not more so, on a daily basis. I love you.

This article says these things in a much better way than I can, so I will share it for your reading pleasure:

Now, if some of you disagree with me and this article and think that this is all easy and stay at homes mom have it easy, I say try and do it without one. See how hard it can get. Better yet, hire out to other people. Get yourself people that do all the things a stay at home mom does and see how much it costs you. The average stay at home mom puts in 96.5 hours of work a week according to and Forbes. Imagine paying a housekeeper, a cook, a launderer, a driver for errands, (etc.) for all of this and then having them on call for nights too. Yup, it would run you a huge bill.

In the end though, as I already said, it is all priceless. You can’t put a value on what a mom and a wife does, it will never come out right. Just love them and help them when they need it.

Categories: Family, Life, money, Work | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The only one….

Some days I seem to be the only person at work and in my family.

There is a saying in Government that goes something along the lines “Those that work get the work, those that don’t still get raises.” Basically in Government jobs, if you work your butt off and do a great job, you still get the same pay raise as the man or woman that can’t do their job. If you demonstrate you can work and work well, your boss will probably give you all the work, all the projects, etc. While the coworkers that don’t work, can’t work, or just screw up the work, they get very little to do. Again, everyone gets the same pay raise. At least in the GS pay system. Their are other Government pay systems out their, but I am unfamiliar with them.

At work, I get the majority of the work. My customers for Safety are two of the three largest and most technical departments on the base, encompassing chemistry labs, physics labs, optics labs, energetics labs, large machine shops, etc. Not to mention a handful of other departments. I also run the confined space program for the base, the traffic safety program, blood borne pathogen program, assist with the fall protection program, energy control (lock out/tag out) program and respirator program. Though I do more to run the respirator program than assist with it.

With all of this I am also the Non Ionizing Radiation point of contact for our command, backup for my supervisor in the Emergency Operations Center, on the Chemical Hygiene Plan board, and more.

My supervisor is a great manager. I think she took all this in to account when she selected me for a promotion a few months ago and made me her Deputy. Still, when you are the only person that people can go to for all of these things, it can get overwhelming. I am the only person in the office that can do a lot of the things above and I can’t be in two places at once. If I make the wrong call or manage my time improperly, I can end up holding up a multi million dollar test. That has only happened once so far. Worse, if I make a bad decision in regards to certain deficiencies or programs (i.e. confined space or respirator), I can kill someone.

Family wise, I am the only person that my mom has. My mom is emotionally a wreck at most times, has a stress disorder, bad coping skills, very low self esteem, a stressful job that barely lets her make ends meet, can’t make friends very well and a love life that is a couple deaths short of a Greek tragedy. I am the only person she has to talk to, help her out with things, etc.

Right now she is being evicted from her apartment and has been looking for a place to live. A veteran used a VA loan to buy the duplex that she has lived in for 10 years. As VA loans make you live in the place you buy (I think for a year), and the other apartment is on a new lease, my mom is being evicted out of hers.

She has only been working for about 11 years and that came at the end of a divorce to a bad man. She doesn’t make much money, doesn’t have much of a savings and is now forced to either rent a crappy apartment (there are not many nice rentals in this town) or buy a small house. She has chosen the latter and is buying a small house in a bad neighborhood. Most of the house was renovated, but it still needs work. Of course, I am the only person she has that can help her do this work, help her move, etc.

I am basically the only person my grandparents have too. They live an hour away and I go down their often to help them, probably not as often as I should though.

My fiancée is a different story. She is really the only person I have that I can ask for help as everyone else either lives too far away, is not in a position to help me with anything, or is the one always asking me for help. Though I am reluctant to ask her for help; instead just drawing strength from being with her and having her and the kids in my life. She gets mad at me for this and chews me out for not asking her to help lighten my load. I guess I just became used to doing everything on my own, helping and supporting everyone else. I don’t really know how to ask for myself. Besides, she works swing shifts and graveyards, has two kids, and is going to school full time. She is Superwoman for pulling all of that off! Her strength is one of the many things I love about her and I know she would be strong enough to handle anything I ask of her too. However, when she is already facing so much on a daily basis, how can I ask her for help?

By the way, Jen, if you are reading this. I love you and thank you for everything you do for me. I’ll see you tonight 🙂

Last week an old friend and his wife came in from out of town. As his wife and my fiancée were inside Dennys, getting to know one another, we were outside so he could smoke. He looked at me and said “You used to be the laid back one out of the group. Now you are wound really tight and kind of angry and cold. What happened? I’m worried about you.”

My fiancée agreed with him when I told her about his concern.

A few weeks ago, at the end of the work day, my supervisor came in my office, sat down, looked at me and said “I’m worried about you. You are always doing everything for everyone else, taking care of everyone else. I can see it in your eyes. You need to take some time for yourself and start focusing on yourself more.”

At that point my office phone rang, I was needed for an emergency mishap. I ended up working an hour and a half over that night, almost missing a dinner date with my fiancée and the girls.

Categories: Family, Friends, General, Life, Work | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Nerd at work


This decorates my office door. I am nerd.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Sick Day

I left work early today. Fever, headache, constant need to run to, and sit on the toilet. You get my drift. Well, as much as I needed to be at work today I really didn’t want to anyway. I’ll use today to catch up on some wordpress, a new episode of Spartan Ops for Halo 4, and the Mass Effect trilogy my brother bought me for Christmas. I’ll make the most of my sick day. 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

A day at work

My job title is Occupational Safety and Health Specialist, which is just fancy way of saying that I am a safety inspector and mishap investigator. I work near, around, and with some interesting people, and see some interesting things. Every once in a while, my job is actually work though.

This is not the typical safety inspection end result, but it is not uncommon either:


Per our walkthrough and meeting, here are my findings.

Program findings:

1. MSDS binders need to be updated; Old MSDS sheets need to be disposed of or replaced with current ones. You don’t want old MSDS sheets for stuff you don’t have, hanging around and cluttering up the binders.

2. No documented ORM/SOP (Operational Risk Management/Standard Operating Procedure) for any process other than the laser lab processes. The machine shops and optics labs need to have ORM’s and SOP’s.

3. No formal ORM training is documented for your employees.

4. No HAZCOM (Hazardous Communications) training is documented for your employees.

5. No documented NAVOSH orientation for your employees.

6. No documented Energy Control/Lock Out Tag Out training for your employees. 

7. Fire Extinguishers are not being inspected.

8. There is a NAVOSH Safety for Advisors class that is in ESAMS. This class is designed for any Safety POC that interacts with our office. It is not a required class, but I do recommend it.

Facilities Findings:

Building XXXXX

Room C-33
1. Air nozzle in machine shop is not compliant with 1910.242(b)

Rooms C13-17
1. Extension cord being used as permanent wiring. This Vilates NFPA/NEC regulations.  
2. Old fridge being used to store hazmat. If hazmat needs to be stored in a fridge, it needs to be a “laboratory safe refrigerator.” This is per NFPA-45 Section and Section
3. HAZMAT is being stored in regular cabinets, not HAZMAT lockers.
4. Cabinets need to be secured to the wall.
5. Blade guard was removed from the optical saw.
6. Drill press is not secured to the floor.
7. A power strip is next to flowing water.
8. Housekeeping over all is poor.

Room C-9
1. Housekeeping is needed. 

Room c-6
1. Small fridge being used to store batteries has a microwave located on top of it. Technically batteries should be stored in a fridge like the one I referenced earlier. However,  it would suffice if you just relocate the fridge away from the microwave and re labeled it as a “batteries only” fridge.

Room C-20
1. Exposed electrical panel. Fixed on the spot.
2. Housekeeping is needed.

Room B-26
1. Housekeeping.
2. Cabinets need to be secured.

High Bay
1. Housekeeping.
2. Storage shelving needs to be rearranged. Heavy and unstable items are stored up high, with small and light items stored below. 

Building YYYYY
1. Nitrogen bottles improperly stored.
2. Oxygen and Acetylene bottles shall not be stored next to one another, ever.

Wing 4 of building IIIIIIIII:

Room 1404
1. Microwave is located in work area with chemicals. Food and chemicals shall not  be around one another.

Room 1406
1. A bunch of paper is located under a breaker box, this needs to be relocated. If a breaker malfunctions, shorts, etc., those papers are going to catch on fire.

Room 1419
1. Power strips are “daisy chained.”

Room 1423
1. Extension cord is plugged in to a power strip, and then that power strip is plugged in to another power strip. NFPA/NEC regs explicitly forbid this.

Room 1426
1. Emergency light does not work.
2. House keeping is needed.


Travis Wilkins
Site Safety Office 

The funny thing is, I just created a bunch of work for myself. I have to keep track of all these findings to make sure the supervisor actually does something about them. 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Tank 2

Tank 2

Another one of me on an old tank.

Categories: Work | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments


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Me on old Tank 1

Me on old Tank 1

Sometimes at work I get to see some really really neat stuff. Old boneyard of military equipment like this is just one of the cool things.

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