Happy Birthday to Jeek!

Today’s blog is in his own words, relaying a mishap he had while on the job (he somehow rose above his pink elephant traumas to become a chemical engineer). All comments/well-wishers from yesterday and today will be forwarded to him as part of his birthday present (yep, I’m too cheap to buy him something).

“I was working in Newark, NJ in a beautiful industrial area. If you aren’t in the stolen-car market and didn’t know, Newark is the auto-theft capital of the United States, a fact that local residents hold in high esteem.

(editor’s note: boring but critically important Jeek engineer talk in this paragraph)
Part of the day’s task was to test storage tanks for steel thickness, corrosion, check for leaks, etc. The tank in question was situated in a ‘tank farm’, where about fifteen 20,000 gallons tanks full of a few different sorts of hazardous materials are found. Surrounding all tank farms is a concrete berm that prevents a rupture from draining into the storm sewers. There are always minor leaks and every now and then spills in this bermed area, so there are typically nasty chemicals on the ground, pumps and pipes, etc. There is usually a sump area in the tank farm so that in the event of a spill or a rain event, any built-up material in the tank farm can be pumped out to a tank truck or the treatment system.
(editor’s note: you made it. Keep reading)

Well, I was carrying an instrument called a Photo Ionization detector that can measure air contaminants that is used to verify it was safe to enter an empty tank and test it (the instrument in question costs about $10,000). Typical to NJ weather, it was raining and there were a few inches of liquid built up in the tank farm. I entered the tank farm to go do my readings and all of a sudden I stepped in the sump and fell flat on my stomach in this chemical rain mixture. Because there was a sheen of an oily substance on the water I failed to see where the sump area was and didn’t notice that the cover that normally covers the hole was off.

I quickly ran to the plant area, took my protective clothing off (which apparently does nothing when one goes swimming), and turned the shower on. As a note, the disgusting showering facilities at an eighty -year-old paint-manufacturing plant might have done as much damage (mental, if not physical) to me as the actual fall did.

I have not experienced any after effects from the experience, though I have some weird places that have been growing hair on my body (most likely the fault of my parents/genes). My wife Shannon is expecting any day now, and I am anticipating to see if in reality it is a boy as indicated from the ultrasound and not a third leg!

(editor’s note: a somehow befitting ending after the trauma of the pink elephant; the well-being of his future children seems to always be in question)

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