MacBourne's Musings

Time to go back to the land: Planning to be as off-grid as I can - in the process there'll be music, guns, guitars, a smattering of politics (really kind of over that), CNC routing, yeah - a bunch of other stuff, too. Conservative with libertarian leanings - no wookie suit, yet. Μολὼν λαβέ - ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

Category: True Stories

Not sure what happened…

…but my blog installation hurked a hairball.
Alas, none of my backups would let me do a direct restore, so I’m manually copying, pasting, updating links, and cursing. In the process, I’m purging out stuff that was really past its due date and preparing to get my slack butt back to writing again.
The page ain’t pretty – I still have a ton more work to do. Please bear with me as I ferret out broken links and try to get things back in good shape…

Update: Automated backups configured – hopefully I won’t have to do this exercise again…

Of Farts and Bubble Suits…

Back in the day – all good stories start that way, right? – I worked in the nuclear power industry as a Senior RadCon tech. (Radiation Protection/ Radiation Control/Health Physics – all the same-same).

We monitored the workers that did maintenance in high radiation/high contamination areas. On this particular job, we were covering steam generator jumpers that were crawling into the hot side of the steam generators to plug tubes that had developed leaks. They were suited up in canvas protective clothing and plastic “bubble suits” like the guy in this pic…

We had a steady flow of contract boilermakers coming down to the staging area, dressed for success in their PCs and partially suited up in the plastics – no bubble hoods at this point. They were all sittin’ on the Group W bench waiting their turn. This one boilermaker apparently had some pretty severe intestinal issues – that or he ate a roadkill possum for dinner the night before. Flatulent did not begin to describe this guy. He was in serious violation of all known chemical warfare rules. The rest of the guys were sitting as far away as possible, but he kept firing ‘em off.

Gawd, it was nasty…

The manway they used for access to the genny was 18 inches in diameter, so no SCBAs for them. Their bubble hoods had an airline pigtail that we hooked up to an air whip bringing in nice clean filtered air. When it was his turn to jump, I was working on finishing his suit-up. Just as I’m tucking the hood in and taping up the seams on his suit, he rips the loudest, longest one yet.

The other RPT at the jump station calmly grabbed the jumper’s air hose (which vented in around the top of his head), and kinked it – thus stopping the air pressure. Now, there’s plenty of air in the suit for several minutes of breathing – in fact the guys would climb up to the genny platform without being connected – but now Ol’ Cuz had effectively gassed himself. When the cool flow of air stopped, and the realization of just how screwed he was hit him, the look on his face was priceless.

His face went several glorious shades of green, and my coworker looked at him with an evil grin, “Pretty effin’ nasty, ain’t it?”

The jumper nodded.

“Gonna walk around the corner next time you need to, right?”

Jumper agreed – and there was a huge round of applause from the rest of the boilermakers. He did wander off around the corner for the next several days he was on our job…

Moral of the story? Don’t screw with the guy that controls the air supply…

Happy Father’s Day, Dad

My Dad taught me many things – one of the first things he taught me was the fine art of procrastination, hence why I’m so late on Father’s Day writing this. But along with that lesson, he taught me that when you do get “a round tuit” you need to do the job to the best of your ability – and do it right the first time. Blogging is a lot easier than life – you can have an infinite number of do-overs until the words flow right.

My Dad taught me to treat your fellow man with respect – and that a good business deal didn’t require “getting over” on the other party. In fact, I saw many occasions where Dad did the exact opposite – he saw to it the other fellow got the best end of the deal. My Dad taught me that while it wasn’t always easy to take the high road when dealing with someone you were at odds with, it was always easier knowing that was the path you chose. Dad and I had quite an experience with being at odds with one another back in the day…I’m truly blessed that we worked past that.

When I was a wee tyke, I had special bond with my grandfather. Grandpa passed away when I was six but as I grew older, I came to realize that the things I had so loved about my grandfather lived on in my Dad. I realize now that as his father lived on in him, our Dad will live on in my brother and me. I’m good with that.

My first ever blog entry was back in January of 2009, I wrote a bit about lutherie and Dad then. Might enjoy reading that, I’ll wait. (Searching for an archive of the original post – bear with me).

Lloyd Young McCray was born October 14, 1926 in Louisa County, Virginia. He was a lifelong resident of the county except while he served from 1943 to 1946 in the Marine Corps, and while he was away at school. Dad was a jack of all trades – and master of many – long-haul trucker; insurance agent, service station owner, timber cruiser, logger (woods rat) and steward of the land through farming and tree farming. He was a private pilot  – he had a Piper J-3 Cub until the mid-80’s – you can see the airstrip he built in the background of the picture (above). I mustn’t forget – groundhog, muskrat and beaver eradicator – the man was a deadly shot!


Even in his later years, Dad was still very active – ladder climbing, tree cutting – here he’s just taken down the two pear trees you see in the first picture. Mom snapped these shots of  of the old woods rat in his element.

Those old pears bore fruit for many years – over 150 growth rings. Like the lines on Dad’s face they told the story of a long, hard-working life. Some years leaner than others, but good years nonetheless.

For those of you that have Dads (and Moms) to call today or any other day – please do. You’ll never regret staying close. This will have to serve as my call home and my card to Dad…yep, I still miss you, Pop. I wasn’t quite done with you yet.

(I’ll be talking to Mom tonight for our daily recap).

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