Saturday, May 4, 2013

"Road Tramps"



The above photo is of the early morning sunrise view at our job. My husband and I are both working on the same job doing industrial electrical work...we also have the good fortune to be able to be "work partners" as well...for safety and productivity in industrial work most construction workers work in pairs.

 Above is a photo of my husband Charlie (left) and his look-a-like Bob...Charlie and Bob had worked on a power plant project back in the 70s ....Charlie and Bob were surprised to see each other again after all those years. Bob is working on the job that my husband and I are now working on.






Pictured above in the top photo shows a small section of the pipe Charlie and I installed...we also installed the 4 ft by 3 ft metal "can" or "junction box" there in the ceiling. The bottom two photos show the hydraulic Greenlee pipe bender that we used to bend the EMT (electrical metallic tubing) metal pipes to offset down from the wall into the metal "can". The pipes do not come from the factory pre-bent....industrial electricians bend each pipe to make metal "raceways" for the electrical wires to be placed into once the pipes are installed.

We used 3 inch EMT...each "stick" of pipe is 10 feet long and weighs approx 30 lbs each "stick". Sometimes a whole stick of pipe must be carried up a ladder to be installed..of course two workers share the weight of the stick of pipe. Want to see how much physical effort is involved? Try carrying a 20 lb sack of bird seed up a 10 foot ladder and place it above your head on a shelf.

Studio painting time....not much time for painting for the past two weeks since I started working over time. 

Comparison: I've been doing some comparison....comparison between painting full time and working as an industrial electrician. Although the two jobs are completely different in all aspects...and the electrical work is so much more physically and mentally demanding on every level..... the stress is not there for me in electrical work....the biggest stress relief is that I know that at the end of my work week there will be a pay check and that I am contributing the my retirement pension as well. I am also physically active in the highest level doing electrical work.

Painting items specifically for sales items ..in my mind...is such a gamble these days. My calculations for wages earned for an item that I painted, say that I would sell for $1200.00....the hourly wage I made was $4 an hour. I contributed zero to my retirement funds and I have to pay taxes on that $1200.00.

I am itching to continue painting the items I have in my personal resin collection.... 

Wishing you all a super happy spring!!! Enjoy some time outside in the sunshine!!!











Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Picking up old tools of the trade

My early years of work were spent in retail/cashier/sales work. Later in the year 2001 I went back to school for the field of inside journeyman wireman ( industrial/commercial electrician)...the same training that my husband has had.

If you have followed my last blog post you remember that I am putting down my commission brushes and that I am venturing out to locate a "real job"...that phrase always makes me smile...long story there :)


After doing research on the retail cashier wages here at home the wage scale is not what it used to be  years ago when I was doing cashier work. Back then the wages here were starting around $11 per hour for experienced applicants...the wages have fallen to around $8 an hour and some are only paying minimum wage....and there is near zero full time work. Seems that the new norm is around 25 to 35 hours part time work for employees.

With that said I have decided to go back to work as an inside journeyman wireman as the local wages are still holding and higher wages are being paid at jobs out of state.

I realized too that it would be a shame for me to have accomplished and completed the most difficult schooling I have ever had in my life and just leave it behind...forgotten....not to mention working in some of the most fascinating work environments that I have ever seen. The two that come to mind are a power plant and a semi conductor plant.

Working on a job in a power plant I was able to see first hand the inside of a house sized turbine and huge conductor cables which were larger in circumference than my arm.

Working in the semi-conductor work environment was like a fiction movie...all computerized controlled working machinery and these little computerized mobile semi-conductor disk carrier cars that ran on tracks in the air everywhere ....all day long there was the "ding-ding-ding" sound of those cars and the censor lights blinking in several different colors. That job was also the most dangerous job I had ever worked on. The chemicals there running through those clear plastic pipes were so dangerous that one micro-drop getting on your skin meant a regiment of treatments for quite a while and probable bone cancer.

The work is very physically demanding and encompasses lifting heavy loads and carrying heavy loads and heavy drilling in ceilings and walls...anything from carrying a 125 lb bundle of EMT metal piping up five flights of steps to carrying a 14 foot wooden ladder up five flights of steps.

We do a huge amount of bending various sizes of pipes and building pipe runs and cable tray runs to run electrical wire and cables through. We work with wire as small as communications wire up to cables as larger than your arm. We work with pipe from 1/2 inch diamiter to 6 inches in diameter. Click here for a photo exapmple of what we do with pipe..click here for photos of cable tray and pipe photos.

Today is my husbands last day at his job.As with all of the electricians jobs all work is temporary...once a job is completed we move on the another new job that is just beginning and do the same all over again.

My husband and I will go on the road to sign work books locally in our state and also to sign books here in the south eastern US..Miami Fl, Augusta Georgia, Norfolk Virginia and D.C. We will sign work books in Ohio,Tennessee, and perhaps N.J. Illinois, and South Dakota/North Dakota.

After the signing is over we sit and wait for our names to be reached on the books....each perspective employee waits his/her turn on the work lists. We might be called in a week or we might be called in a few weeks...depending on the work that is available. If we are lucky we will be able to get work in D.C. or in our state....or perhaps later here through our local work office. Our books here at home have had about a years wait for a job unless a big job comes to town and they need a large workforce. Work around the country will prove to be more promising we are sure.

The studio:
Five completed horses were shipped out yesterday. These were horses that I had posted photos of in previous blog posts.
The Bacchus sales item is nearing completion as well as two of the 2013 commission projects... another speacial sales item is about 50% completed.
Photos soon!
I am digging out items from my stored inventory of personal resins to paint as well....

Have a wonderful day everyone!
C.S.Richmond Studios