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Updated… Going Nuclear

When I walked away from teaching I had no other job lined up and ready.  (See part 1 here.) I had the possibility of a job that would start at the end of summer/beginning of fall, but nothing set in stone.

That’s definitely what made planning anything so difficult and complicated.

Thankfully, the job did pan out, and I started a temporary contract position in July, 2014 working for Duke Energy at a nuclear plant doing administrative work for their outage. Yes, I said nuclear… as in scary world ending nuclear.

Nuclear Lingo Lesson for the day… An outage {at least this is my interpretation of it anyway} is a planned event at a nuclear plant where they bring the unit(s) off line for a period of time to do maintenance or repair. Because of the amount of money they “lose” for each day a unit is off line, every effort is made to get the work done as quickly as possible. That means hiring extra staff AND working ’round the clock a gazillion hours a week. {It has absolutely nothing to do with the power outages that occur during bad weather.}

Going nuclear was quite interesting. They {thank goodness… it IS nuclear after all} preach safety left and right. I mean… I know it’s good AND necessary, but it was an adjustment as a grown, capable woman having to constantly be reminded to look around for potential hazards. Don’t leave your purse on the floor. {I was actually told specifically by someone during my training in another location that was far, far away from an actual nuclear power plant, to pick up my tote bag and put it up on a chair because it was a trip hazard.} Push your chair in after the meeting so no one trips on it. Check the phone before each meeting to be sure it works in case we have an emergency and need to evacuate. Never ever walk while texting or looking at your phone.

KM radiation training

{This is me during my radiation training. Thankfully, I never had to even come close to putting one of these babies on post training.}

Another adjustment was the pace. It was nothing like teaching. Lots and lots of sitting and waiting between tasks. Lots. And did I mention Lots?

We were also very discouraged to hear that once the outage started I would be assigned to night shift. My hours were set starting at 5:30 pm to 6:00 am. SIX days a week. from mid September to the end of October.

Night Shift was horrid and awful and every other negative word I could possibly think of.

I actually managed okay with the staying awake all night part. It was the being cut off from the rest of the family and all of civilization that was so very hard.

Davis’s birthday fell just one week or so after I started night shift.

Davis and Emerald at Monkey Joes for his birthday

Like a true gem, Heather actually took Davis to Monkey Joe’s for his birthday. Did my mama heart good when I knew I wouldn’t get to do much to make his day special.

Here’s just a glimpse of the craziness of the schedule.

We were ships passing in the night.

6:30 am… I get home from work

7:00 am… Chris leaves to take Haylee to carpool and Davis to Heather’s. I wait with Wade for his bus which comes anywhere between 7:20 and 7:30 am.  Once Wade leaves, I go to bed in our empty house… with earplugs and eye mask on and tin foil on the windows to block the sunlight. Not kidding. Tin foil for real.

2 pm… I wake up, get ready, and drive to Heather’s to pick up Davis… then come back home in time for Wade to get off the school bus at 3:30 pm.

4:15 pm… Haylee is dropped off by carpool.

4:30 pm… Chris gets home.

4:45 pm… I leave for work.

It was crazy hard doing that night after night.

At the beginning I only saw Chris about 45 min each day. Thirty minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon.

One night the boys and I texted air hugs to each other at bed time.

Giving air hugs through text 10-16-14

Giving boys air hugs through text 10-16-14

Is that pitiful or what?

Eventually I started going in later and leaving earlier which did help… but because of the bus stop I couldn’t just go straight to bed and stay there, wah.

Contrary to how it felt at the time, it did finally end, and we survived.

Looking back, even though it was hard, I am grateful for the experience because it got me out of where I was, and it got me where I am now. :)

Renee and Davis 10-28-14

After the nightmare outage ended, I had time to be recover and just be home. November and December were glorious at home chilling with the Davis Man. While I enjoyed it tremendously, I needed to find a job, but was having little success.

Stay tuned… :)

6 Responses to Updated… Going Nuclear
  1. Linda
    February 25, 2016 | 6:05 pm

    Night shift at a nuclear plant — nothing quite like it, huh? It didn’t last forever and we have some happy/crazy memories of those nights. Remember thinking you were “safe” in David’s office?

    • Renee
      February 26, 2016 | 8:02 pm

      I would have truly been miserable without you to make my lunch breaks memorable. I’m not sure I’ll ever forget David and I scaring each other to death, haha!

  2. Ellen
    February 25, 2016 | 8:47 pm

    I honestly don’t think I could ever work a night shift… I seriously don’t know how people do it. At this point in my life, maybe a second shift – but I’d be passing out after midnight… ha ha… that schedule does STINK. Can’t wait to hear the “rest of the story…” ;)

  3. Ellen
    February 25, 2016 | 8:47 pm

    Cute white suit, by the way…. ;) ;) ;)

    • Renee
      February 26, 2016 | 8:05 pm

      I would never have thought I could do it either! It was horrid! Glad I made it through… And yes that white suit was one of my better looks, haha!

  4. Susana
    February 26, 2016 | 8:37 pm

    Welcome back. I was wondering about ur new jobs. Crazy. And look at you only giving us bits and pieces. :)