Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why I'm in New Jersey Part One

Because of the construction economy, Jeff had been working on out of town projects since the first of 2010.   It began when Jeff was talking with my brother who does business with an engineering firm in Boston. They offered Jeff the position of a Utility Safety Inspector for some of their large natural gas pipeline projects. He started in California, Utah, Nevada, and Colorado, and then New Jersey.  So, Scott took over running the company, and anyway there just wasn't enough work to support us.

Over the 4th of July that year he met up with me at our home in TN for the holiday; he was telling me that they were going to be bringing in more inspectors for the project. I was joking and said they should hire me.... ha ha ha .... tee hee... big joke. Well he left and went back to NJ and I stayed behind for another week. As the week went on, I started to really think about the idea. I called my brother Garrett when I got home and he said "yeah I think that's a great idea". WHAT!!!??? A great idea....oh boy:o

Now my knees are shaking and my stomach is cramping. I called Jeff and he said I know you can do it, but it's up to you. I really loved the idea of being on the site with Jeff and the romantic notions of weekend trips and dinner in the evenings. I was so lonely you see that this is what I am envisioning. Oh, and the pay for this position was pretty good money, which we desperately needed. So, why not?

Well.....there's some "why nots".

The clothes. I was immediately sent to a store to buy my steel toed work boots, and then to Home Depot for my very own hard had. Ever been fitted for a hard hat ladies? Oh yeah and Jeff had an extra safety vest in the bed of his truck, bless him, this was mine now too. He was so generous when he presented me with the safety sunglasses that he had ordered and didn't like; they were perfect for me. Actually, to be fair, they were great. I completed my ensemble with a plain T-shirt and jeans. If this outfit sounds to you a little, hmm, should we say butch unfeminine, you're not wrong.

Jeff and I did have those wonderful weekend excursions, and languished over delicious, just the two of us dinners.  But, only on the weekend.  During the week, you found me in the bed and asleep by 9 pm, because I was dog tired!  My day started at 4:30 when the alarm went off and I was standing with 30 other men workers for the safety meeting at 6:30.  I learned so many lessons about life, hard work, people, my husband, and myself.  

And, believe it or not, I had some fun.

These people became my friends and I have an immense amount of respect for them.  These men, and a few women, are brave, careful, humorous, focused, independent and teammates.  A few of them even let me take their pictures.


Vito 13 (because there are 13 letters in his last name and 13 is just easier)



Ray there, he drove the bus everyday which hauled all the workers to the site.  I am so proud to say that I didn't ride in the bus.  I, thank you very much, was an inspector.  Inspectors drove their own vehicles, YES LORD.  This is one area that I'm not gonna sugar coat; that bus needed to be hosed down or burned. It was nasty.  And the picture below, not much good to say about that bad boy either.

This was an unexpected, at time uncomfortable, path on my journey; and, should I tarry on this earth, there will be more. What was most important to me, was that I was with my husband, that we were together. 
Living and working in New Jersey has been a painful, necessary, lovely transition that I couldn't do without my faith in God.  God is good, all the time, and his promises are unchanging. 

But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 
Ruth 1:16

To be continued.