Thursday, March 22, 2018

So, fresh story. First off, whatever I got hit with, it wasn't fun. Stopping at rest areas all the way down the line to take care of business.  I was thinking about just calling my manager and telling her these people at this plant are going to have to wait.  I am sick and I don't feel good. But, I thought twice about that - let's get this over with, hell or high water - and get going home. 

So I go up to a truck stop near the place. Actually, I tried to get into a hotel just down the road - I would have rather had a bathroom handy - but there was no place to park the truck, contrary to the manager's belief.  I sure as heck wasn't pulling it into his parking lot and the next nearest parking lot was full of cars.  Back to the truckstop - only a few miles away and spent the night there.  I was supposed to be at the plant at 6 am, but darn if I couldn't get myself up this morning;

That alarm went off and I felt like a ton of bricks had just been dumped on me.  I turned the thing off and went back to sleep for another half hour. So, yes, I was late, but only by 15 minutes and they didn't car.  But ohhh my, was I still feeling it. 

It only got worse.  I got the truck in there, got it backed up, got every thing set up.  We're standing there, opened up the pressure builder and started building pressure in the tank. But we all heard it: a hissing sound. I was like, where is that coming from?  It took awhile, but there is a 3 way valve that feeds the bladders that raise up when you push in a handle on the outside of the trailer.  It's an emergency shut off.  If there is a problem, you push that handle at the rear of the trailer or the handle at the front of the trailer - no, you pull it out - and it shuts off the valves allowing the product to be released from the tank. 

I had NO idea what to do, I am still new to this unloading business.  Most of the places we go to, we don't do any unloading.  Just some of them.  They went back inside, I stood there fooling with things til I figured it out - but had texted my manager about it.  Well, I figured out what to do about keeping air pressure up on that, which really was much more figuring out than it should have had to have been for something that seemingly simple. 

But then...I smelled Ethylene.  I've smelled it before, several times now actually, it has a distinct odor.  Neither pleasant nor bad, just an odor.  I started looking around and here it was, a tube was spilling it out the bottom of it.  I mean, you don't want to see any of this stuff coming out anywhere. In fact, you really don't ever want to see it at all.  It was pouring out that tube.  I shut everything down on my end, all the vales and the emergency shut off - it was still coming out of there at a high rate.  

I ran over and banged on the door to the facility, they needed to shut down there end of it. Not that it was going to affect the truck in any way.  Well, 2 of them come out, one of them starting sh******* his pants and having a literal panic attack.  I just looked at him.  I'm thinking, I can't afford to get panicky, I have to figure out what's going on here and figure out how to get it stopped. By then, my manager and this other driver had already called, but I had missed both calls. I'm not going to say I didn't get scared seeing that stuff coming out of there, but I fell far short of having a panic attack. I forced myself to keep at cool and collected as possible and work through this. 

Well, they left again. Which was fine by me, that dude needed to chill out.  I mean, f*** this and f*** that - every other word was an f  bomb and s*** and this and that and the other thing.  I ain't doing Ethylene.  I had my thoughts, I kept them to myself.  About that time, I called the dude back.  He knows his stuff.  I told him what was going on and he thought about it for a second and said, hold on, let me go back and look, I'm at they yard right now.  He says, well if there's product coming out of that tube, it means the manual blow vent valve isn't seated all the way. 

But, by then, I had already followed this tube's course and figured it out - the product is getting past that vent valve and it shouldn't be opened at all. But, I had already checked that before I even got started with anything. I go through and make sure all 13 valves are completely shut. No surprises, please.  Well, that vent valve was shut, tight.  I wasn't even able to move it when I tried to tighten it down. 

We're discussing this on the phone, and he says, well, try opening it up - quickly and shut it right back off - and see if you can get the valve to reseat.  I sat there with him on speakerphone and put all my might into that thing and couldn't get it to budge.  Now mind you, there is liquid in this system right now, not just vapor, opening that thing up would mean liquid shooting out of the top of the blow stack.  I wasn't really enjoying this experience, at all. It was much to much reminding me of the trip up to PA and all the problems I had had with the trailer they assigned to me while I was up there. Anyway, like magic, the flow stopped.  I figured that it had frozen up and wasn't allowing anything through there. 

But, I kept trying to open that valve and finally got that thing to budge, opened up up and shut it back off immediately, but even that had liquid shooting out the blow stack.  I firmly shut that valve, still nothing coming out of that tube.  There was still vapor coming out of the stack, but we figured that there was fluid on the exit side of the valve and it's going to sit there and boil until it all evaporates. 

I get these people back out there, let's do this.  It ain't leaking, I'll just keep recharging the air system for the bladders to stay up.  Started building pressure again.  They turned on the pump and away we went.  And away I went. Mother Nature wasn't telling me anything but go to the bathroom, and go right now or you are going to have an accident.  I left, just said I've got to go.  Just in time, got there.

Back outside.  Stood there for over 2 hours.  Got higher than a kite, btw.  I didn't know Ethylene willl get you high. I had read somewhere where it will be you feeling dizzy and such, but this was more like smoking pot.  I was standing there, leaning in the cabinet in that pool of Ethylene that was building up on the bottom of it - and immediately vaporizing and I was breathing in.  I didn't even give that a second's worth of thought at the time, was only focused on trying to get it to stop coming out. 

I can't lie here, I actually felt pretty darn good after that stuff hit my system lol.  Nothing I would ever do intentionally, but dang.  I ended up Googling it later on, it isn't extremely harmful to humans (tho there description leaves out the flammable part and the fact it's 125 below zero boiling point), has a list:    Ethylene is of low toxicity to humans and exposure to ethylene is unlikely to have any adverse health effects. However, inhalation of air containing extremely high levels of ethylene may lead to effects including headachedrowsinessdizzinessnausea,weakness and unconsciousness.  

Okay, when it started wearing off I got a bit of a headache, but nothing serious or stopping  me from doing anything.  

I finally got out of that place hours later.  And I wasn't feeling none to good.  I didn't know what I was going to do. Drive? Or go find a place to park and sleep this crap off. The delivery is made, I can do either.  I decided to drive.  I actually started feeling better a few hours into the drive.  That's when I made my plan to drive at least 500 miles today.  I had already blown at least 4 hours at the plant, plus I knew I would have to stop for fuel and take a 30 minute break, so getting much over 500 probably wasn't going to happen.  \

I stopped driving about 20 minutes before I had to stop anyway.  I did not get my hotel last night, so I got one tonight.  It's a hotel that was just bought out by new management.  The new place is a Travelodge and it is nothing near as bad as the reviews said it was, but that's because the reviews are under the old hotel and it was, apparently, a total dump. They have remodeled the room I am in, fresh, carpet, nice furniture, comfy bed, nice bathroom. $50.  There are cheaper places around here, but not that much cheaper and not with it's own restaurant.  But, it's kind of eerie.  It's deserted. If there is anyone else staying at this motel, you can't tell it. There are no other cars parked anywhere excepting in front of the office and restaurant.  There aren't any people walking around.  The restaurant was empty, the hotel lobby was empty.  Looking at the reviews, this place has a bad reputation.  I am going to help change that.  It's not perfect but it's nowhere near as bad as some of these reviews are claiming - and those reviews may have very well been honest when old owners had this place.

I'm going to go to sleep in about an hour, get up at 6 am, get free breakfast and coffee, get out of here.  GPS tells me I have 6 hours and 54 minutes of drive time.  But it's never right. It's basing it off of you going the speed limit, which my truck can't do. It's set at 65 mph and most of these roads are 70mph. So you add at least 5 minutes per hour.  If you hit any traffic, it goes up.  Not to mention stopping for fuel. And then, if I go over 8 hours, I am forced to take a 30 minute break. So, I'm going to call it 8 and a half hours and I'm thinking that's pretty close to accurate.  I over estimate on my numbers with travel time, so I'm calling it 3 pm and I'll be back at the yard.  Home by 4:30 at the latest. I'm going to have to show the manager the stuff that went wrong, tho they know about it already, still.  I mean, they can't keep using these trailers that are always broken. 

Of course, the problem is the mechanic quit and we're left to fix as much of it as we can, otherwise, you might end up on a trip to Amarillo to get a valve replaced. Which is ridiculous but that' how they do it.  But then, you have both a driver and a trailer out of commission. 

Ugh, anyway. I"m starting to get tired.  It's been a long day. I never thought I would make it as far as I did today. I am happy to be in this hotel room.  I'm thinking I'm going to bed in a few minutes, not an hour, lol. 

Happy Independence Day to everyone! Beautiful day in northeast Texas. Well, it's hot and humid but oh well lol. Good day to re-read th...