Last week, the 70-something fellow running the coating machines announced (quite reasonably) that he was retiring. I was asked to take over his spot. I gave a resounding "Hell no!" to straight afternoons, but the lure of a raise and the offer of alternating shifts with the day guy got a firm "Let me talk to Mrs Rabbitman."
So this week I find myself working 10 hour shifts learning how to use old Russian equipment, faith and science to coat machined pieces of steel.
The machines, being second hand, are each subtly different. And they are all McGyvered together with solder and hope.
And being Russian, the controls are in, well, Russian.
To my surprise those lights and dials are actually beginning to make sense to me. At least the lights and dials that still work.
The blades come in various sizes from tiny to 9 kg.
The gold is a coating of titanium nitride and the black blade is coated with aluminium oxide over a layer of titanium nitride. Yes, I put on a mask when vacuuming out the vacuum chambers before reloading.
But punching out at 0200 hours and being back in for 1530 hours means the hours of wakefulness are mostly spent drinking tea and eating.
A three day weekend every other week will be a good thing however, and this weekend there is a holiday Monday here in Ontario, so extra bonus.
So every other week is going to be a wash for painting however, just when I was resolving to spend more time at my painting table.
Last week was also a painting washout due to fatigue, Hotlead prep and prep for a navigation FTX this past weekend with the cadets.
But no longer being the utility guy who is trying to keep (and look) busy will be another good thing.