sparked by sparks

As you may recall, I’ve found a new job and left that old place behind. Gone are the days of anxiety and fear. Let me tell you a little something about my first week in metal.

new beginnings

I started on Monday. Mondays are a good day to start, I think. It started with the tour. This included the bathroom situation. The men get both the bathrooms. No, really. It’s true. But that’s okay. There’s a hallway leading to the office side of the building. There’s a lovely, well-kept ladies room down a short corridor. I should probably point out that I’m currently the only female on our shift in our building, and the offices are closed soon after I’ve arrived.

sparkle and shine

turpentine and rags

I was tasked with cleaning a whole lot of parts. Just taking solvent, likely turpentine, and a rag to remove gunk and grease and mark-ups from stacks of metal parts. I couldn’t tell you what the parts were because they weren’t finished becoming, yet. But clean them I did. I spent about 7 of that first 10 hour day cleaning those parts. Parts that somebody else had already deburred. Eventually, I ran out of those parts. That’s when the fun began.

new toys, err I mean tools, to play with

I learned how to use some new tools this week. Monday, I learned how to use a pneumatic angle die grinder. He showed me once, and I spent most of my week deburring and cleaning parts. I take the angle grinder along the rough edges of the parts, removing all the jagged little bits that could slice a person up. Then, I clean them up with a bit of turpentine. It’s not a bad gig.

deburring tools

Friday, I learned that some parts require another deburring tool or two. That’s when hubby taught me to use a hand deburring tool. This I use to clean out the smaller holes. It requires you to come at it at just the right angle. Sometimes it seemed like I had a wrangle on it and then I’d find myself wondering if it could go dull. I also used a file –the kind you bake into a cake for your jailed loved one– to deburr a few hard to grind places.

a different kind of press

Grinding and cleaning isn’t the only thing I did this week. I also found myself on one of their presses. Presses are different over there. Nothing automatic. It’s all metal stamping and shaping. Clark and I worked a press together a couple of times this week. Though it was silly because it’s really a one person job, and we kept tripping over each other.

reshaping metal

We were taking disks and gradually reshaping a bubble in the middle. It was actually pretty cool. Remember the grease I was cleaning off at the deburring table? I was slathering that stuff on. This along with squares of plastic keep things lubricated and moving along nicely. It was actually kind of fun to reshape metal. I can’t wait for the opportunity to work it alone.

working together

Clark started the week before I did. He’s doing basically the same stuff I am. Mostly, I suppose we are auditioning. This way they can put us where we will be the best asset to the company. So far, we’ve actually worked together quite a bit.

Monday, he was on the laser and I was on the table. I could see him from where I was, and he wandered over a handful of times throughout the night. I was admittedly tired and grumpy and very snippy with him, but he kept on smiling right through my snide remarks. The switch from midnights was a little bit harder to do than I’d anticipated.

We deburred a whole lot of parts together this week. He got the added enjoyment of lasering parts to then bring over to the table and deburr. I loved watching him smile. When we’d run out of parts one day, we spent a couple hours reshaping those bubbles. Today, there were no parts to deburr, so we spent the entire six hour shift reshaping bubbles.

calm climate

Monday I was crabby and tired. I didn’t talk much. Nobody seemed to mind. Nobody seemed to judge. Everybody just went about their business. Tuesday we didn’t work because our son had the appointment with pulmonary. Wednesday, we returned. I was feeling more like myself. I started to get to know my coworkers a little bit. By Friday, I was cracking jokes. There was a whole lot of laughter and easy-going conversation.

The atmosphere is very laid back. I like it there. I’m looking forward to discovering what more I can learn. I can’t wait to see what they have me doing next week.

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