Monday, September 5, 2011

Cleaning up after Brian

After Greg’s first birthday, I decided it was time to start intentionally looking for some work outside the house again.  While staying home with Greg, I have had various from-home work assignments, mostly of the boring-but-necessary computer variety.  And then I was teaching Spanish at the High School last semester, but that ended in June.  Well, one weekend I was cleaning out our attic, and I forced Brian to go through some boxes and get rid of a bunch of stuff that he never uses.  The next day he was talking with his office manager and they thought, “Hey!  Susan is so good at throwing stuff away, she should come down and clean out our offices!”  And that’s how I started working at Industrial one morning a week.

The Industrial department is in the process of merging with the Construction department in order to work more efficiently.  Part of that is going to eventually involve a bit of office remodeling, and moving all of the Construction office staff to the Industrial office.  Before that takes place, Industrial badly needed someone to come in and clean and organize all of the paperwork – and throw a lot of stuff away.

My first few days were spent in the previous manager’s office.  I organized employee files, sorted through and cleaned the bookshelves, and then tackled the computer and organized all of the electronic files too, deleting things that were no longer needed.

Last week I got to start on Brian’s office.  I wish I had a “before” photo, but here are the newly organized shelves.  Ok, so this the Industrial office, so imagine not only a large collection of paperwork, service manuals and books, but also random greasy machine parts strewn here and there around the office and on the shelves, muddy rubber boots in the corner, and about a half-inch of dust covering everything that isn’t used daily.  I was dusting the shelves and went to move a small bag of blue powder.  It had some holes, and so when I touched it – POOF! – bright blue chalk powder for chalk lines went all over everything.  Aargh!   Good thing there is a huge pile of rags out in the shop!

Now the shelves are organized.  Two shelves for textbooks, three for service manuals, two for parts catalogs.  A few empty shelves for accumulating the inevitable junk.  I threw away a ton of old catalogs.  I even found a 1993 telephone directory for Cairns, Australia (that went in the trash!).  But the 2010 Granger catalog was definitely a keeper – Brian and I paid good money to ship the 4-inch thick monster back from the U.S. last year!

There were actually some really interesting things in the textbook section.  Industrial has seen countless different managers over the years, and they all tend to leave things behind.  I found several old technical books from the 1940’s, including this one, which is one of Brian’s favorites:
It’s a 1944 War Department Manual for building airstrips and bridges out in the bush.  Very interesting reading, if you’re into that sort of thing.  Brian has a sort of growing fascination with bridge building, since it’s something that he knew nothing about when he came, but now there is an important bridge near us that is in danger of falling into the river, and Brian is afraid that he might get called in to help fix or replace it one of these days.

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