Monday, February 07, 2005

Talk About Timing...

Now that the local mortar-maniac blew himself up and we’ve had practically zero incoming for a month, the company that houses us decided to put up some cement and earth-filled protective walls. We hope that at least is one step closer to getting the water system installed. Still haven’t figured out what to do with the sink in the meanwhile, it just kind of sticks out of the wall into the room.
Then the company, hereafter referred to as “the company,” had us all sign that we understood some of the most important OSHA rules. Some things, like “don’t keep combustibles in the office” were common sense. But some of these you may not think of and would like to implement at home. Hey, if it’s good for those in a combat zone, think what it could do for you! This is exact wording, although abbreviated in some cases:
Be careful when handling paper, it can cut severly (sic).
Always turn on a light when entering a dark room.
A hot light bulb....wait for it to cool before touching it.
Walk, never run....seconds saved are never worth the risk
Never read while walking (can you imagine the damage from reading while running?) Keep fingers away from [stapler] discharging area
Use handle to close [filing cabinet] drawer. Make sure one's fingers are not curled over the edge. (I wondered why it hurt so bad and the drawer still wouldn’t shut)
Keeping floors [etc].... free from protruding nails (what about the hot coals?) and finally:
In the event of an injury, apply First Aid
Wow, what would we do without the government? I wish they would hurry and take-over health care. But I'd play with a whole ream of paper, risking all kinds of paper cuts, before I'd waltz through Mosul...that place is still really "hot." (army lingo)
As you can see, things are a bit slow. The hail today was twice as large as last time, but still small. Perhaps in a week or so, we may be able to use the bunkers again if the pattern of enlargement continues.
Today they did the quarterly maintenance on the shop power generator. It pretty much runs 24 hours a day for months. We keep it going at night so our mini-fridge has cold drinks in the morning. A crew drives around and fills them all with diesel regularly. But today they shut it off and changed the oil and banged on a few things. There were some locals doing it managed by an American. It was actually funny to see them argue and push each other when they disagreed on how it should be done. I guess that’s why we take their guns before they come in the gate. I wish I understood the words but the hand motions of unplugging and plugging, twisting, and hitting were quite clear. Lest you think all the Iraqis are perfect. Sometimes they downright remind me of ourselves.
Anyway, below is a picture of the crews about to unloading the cement T-walls that they set up around living quarters to stop flying shrapnel. You can see the weather did not stop them. At least they dump lots of small stones over the mud to help keep it clean. Well, that’s it--just keep it safe. Stay away from paper, send emails… Ernie

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