Back at the end of March, I said that I probably wouldn’t be posting very much starting this month. At the time, I had just accepted a new assignment, and from past experience, knew that “time to blog” would be tough to find. Still, I thought I was pretty well prepared for my new position, and most of my learning curve would involve the usual “where is everything?” and “getting to know the staff” aspects. As it has turned out, it wasn’t that simple.
I spent the next month after that first post “in limbo.” What that means is that my official start date wasn’t until the end of April. So practically, I was marking time in my old position until it became official. Which wasn’t so bad, because I couldn’t get out to the field anyways. The road into that area is a “seasonal road,” and access depends on when the town gets around to opening it. Which in this case, wasn’t until April 17’th. I know that, because as the town crews were leaving, I was pulling in for my initial survey.
It wasn’t until I actually started that the litany of bad news began. Up until that point, I’d been told “not to worry, everything is taken care of,” and “we got you an experienced staff.” What I found out was that the person who was supposed to be transferring in to be my assistant – who had worked there before – had decided to stay in his current position. Which led to a mad scramble to find someone else. Once I got out there, I found out even more things. First, the generator was “in the shop” for repair. Since we’re not on the grid (the place is miles into the back woods) it’s rather necessary for a number of things. There were numerous breakdowns in other things, a long-term former supervisor had been “the pack rat from hell,” and the last supervisor was … a slob.
So for the past two weeks I’ve been trying to get things straightened out. It’s going to be a long process, but the “critical” things are slowly coming under control. There’s a generator, most of the critical infrastructure issues have been fixed, or at least work for now, and I’ve finally gotten most of my staff (and a new assistant) on board. I’m still learning where everything is, and getting to know the staff. That’s why I haven’t been around that much the past few weeks.
Now for the other shoe. I’m going to be extremely tied up the next few months. Just because I’ve gotten most of the critical things under control, there’s an enormous amount of work ahead for me to straighten this place into the shape it should have been in. Although I’d planned on spending a number of nights out there, it looks as though I’ll be staying out there even more than that. Mostly because of the work that needs to be done, but also because the commute is a bear. 50 miles round-trip in a day, and a good percentage of that on dirt roads, is not something that I want to do on a regular basis, at least in my car. While I will have internet access out there – at least once they get around to installing it – it rather depends on the generator, the use of which I’ve been instructed to “keep to a minimum.”
So while I said I wasn’t going to be around much this summer, it looks like my plans for even that limitation were optimistic. I may not be around for a month or two. Hopefully, I’ll be back in full force once “field season” winds down, and I’m back where I have electricity and reliable internet access. Which, with any luck, will be in time to blog in the time before the election. Have a nice summer everyone!