First day at the new facility

Before I get into the topic at hand, let me just say this: Why did I not have a clue that the book Star Wars: Allegiance was even being written, much less was out in hardback??? It’s a TIMOTHY ZAHN Star Wars novel. That alone should have me counting down til the release date! And I didn’t even see it coming! But I found it, or rather Mom did, and I’ve read it, and it’s VERY very good. It takes place chronologically right after the events of the first Star Wars movie, and deals with Luke, Han, and Leia dealing with making the Rebellion stronger, a group of stormtroopers who desert after not having any faith in the Empire after they blew up Alderaan, and what Zahn’s most popular character, Mara Jade, was doing during this whole time period. It’s mostly Mara, which is fine with me, because she’s a great character and the future wife of Luke Skywalker. Anyway, it’s great. Go read it if you want.

So, yeah, here it is. Day 1 at the new Plant located in Grand Prairie, TX, right off Hwy 360, not all that far from Six Flags over Texas.

It’s funny, when you’re a kid, and you take a family trip to Six Flags or Hurricane Harbor, it seems so far away because you’re so looking forward to getting there, and the drive can’t be short enough. Now working so close to them, it’s somewhat shocking that it really doesn’t take all that long to get there.

Case in point: Anticipating a good deal of traffic both on I-20 and Hwy 360, I left the house at 6:30, giving myself a good hour and a half to get there. I arrive at the Plant, find the building I work at, and clock in at about 7:14. 46 minutes early. Sigh. And I just know if I try to give myself another 30 minutes to get ready or sleep, I’ll run into super-heavy traffic and be late. I’m seriously contemplating switching my shift from 8-4:30 to 7-3:30. That’ll mean I miss a lot of the traffic and minimize the time I spend on the road, which is always a good thing. Downside is I have to get up earlier, which thus means going to bed earlier. But I can adjust and get used to that.

So what did I do today? Um…I adjusted…really. I was buying hardware (think nuts and bolts, simplified), which is usually not something designed purely by Bell; a lot of it is industry-standard part numbers. Now I buy forgings, which are all Bell-designed parts. So we have to get suppliers approved to make certain parts. These things for a lot of reasons are MUCH more expensive than little pieces of hardware. There are a lot less part numbers I have to keep track of, but it’s more critical that they meet our manufacturing schedule, and since they’re so much more expensive, I have to get a lot more paperwork when I write up a purchase order. Gotta be accountable when you’re spending government money after all.

So there are 2 of us buying forgings, me and a guy named Michael Suarez. I got to meet Michael today; he seems like a pretty nice guy. I haven’t met my direct supervisor yet, because they haven’t moved him from the old plant to here. Frankly, when they refitted this temporary building we’re in, they didn’t give him a spot! So another supervisor, named Brian Shagena (who WAS going to be my boss before they suddenly decided to make me buy forgings) came by and showed me what working in the forgings group was like. What tools to use, what to do on a day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month basis, that sort of thing. However, a lot of the specifics that I need to get started, he left for after lunch, and then never came back. I sent him an email asking a couple of questions and never heard back. My guess is he got busy with something and forgot which isn’t uncommon. He’ll probably be here tomorrow morning telling me what happened and helping me get started.

In actuality, I found out that Brian had been working this desk anyway, because the guy who I essentially took all the work from had been out on medical leave, so Brian was handling it for him until he came back, and then senior management made all these changes. So I’ve more or less inherited all this work from him, and thanks to Brian, it’s in very good shape, so I can take my time to learn all the nuances and not get behind at all.

So I got my desk mostly arranged how I like it, though I need to add some personal touches, like my binary clock and that sort of thing. I took all that home because I didn’t want the movers to move all that and risk them damaging my personal stuff. But for the most part, it looks pretty good. It’s very weird working in a temporary building; I actually have to go outside and into another temporary building to punch the clock, buy a drink from the machine, or use the bathroom. The cafeteria is a pretty long walk through the plant to the other side of the grounds almost. Apparently it’s ok to leave the facility and go get some food from a fast food place or even a restaurant.

So do I like it? Well, too soon to tell really. I think it might be good, especially if when me and Dave get a place, we get one around here or someplace that would enable me to avoid the traffic (by going South on 360, rather than north, for example)

Hey, if you’re in Waco, and you’re reading this, you’re probably missing the Bmatt (which is to say the two of you who I’ve managed to wrangle into reading this). Well guess what. Miss no more. I’m comin’ to say heya. And also most likely cause mayhem. I like mayhem. More potent than mischief, not as evil as random destruction.

All righty, I’m out. Til next time. Or possibly rhyme. Probably not crime. With just a hint of lime. And it won’t cost ya a dime.

Sorry, couldn’t resist!

EDIT: When I said I was coming to say heya, I kind of just meant for the weekend. Yeah. Not coming back permanently. Not ruling it as never happening, but if it does, that isn’t gonna happen yet.

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    • godzwarrior
    • February 14th, 2007

    dude it will be soooo cool to have you back in waco. does that mean ur gona quit bell? where u gona work? more importantly, where u gona live? im still not sure what im gona be doing in the coming year, but while preparing for all possibilities i asked the Stone (chris) where he was living and he said that he might be interested in living in apt w/me till dec 2nd when he gets hitched. Howabout u? Wana make it a unbeatable trinity? Or maybe u, me, akin, and jeff? what do we all have in common?i heard about the new zahn book and was waiting for some reviews bfr i bought it. i figured if I knew about it, then YOU of all people would know about it.

    • Josh
    • February 14th, 2007

    You didn’t know about Star Wars Allegiance? Even I knew that. I thought we had talked about it at one point. Oh well. Surprise! 🙂 Looking forward to seeing you this weekend!

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