Friday, August 14, 2009

Our Public Works System

I have to admit, I've never really thought much about public works unless I land on one of them while playing Monopoly. But this summer I've gotten to spend some time with my cousin as he and his crew have work on the piping system throughout Alexandria.

Whenever Drew (or "Freddy" as the guys all call him) comes into town for a job, he'll give me a call. Sometimes we meet up for dinner or go to a movie or just hang out at my place. But every once in awhile he'll be working a night or evening shift down the street from my house so I'll bring him dinner or keep him company while he waits for a job to start. I'm not really versed in the intricacies of his job, but I know that his company cures water pipes using a rosin system rather than digging up roads and replacing old concrete pipes. Drew assures me this method creates about an eighth of the carbon footprint and nearly triples the lifetime of the water system.

Last night I stuck around for a little and watched Drew at work, and I have to admit, I was kind of impressed with all of the work that goes into what they do. I don't think I'll ever look at tap water the same way again. (It was about 10:30 p.m. when I took these pictures, so I had to lighten them considerably so you can kind of see what's going on.)

I've always wondered why so many people just "stand around" on a construction sight, but after watching how much attention is required to maintain, operate and monitor all the machinery and equipment, I understand why so many people are needed. And watching my cousin be lowered into a deep, dark hole in the middle of the road made me grateful there were so many trained guys there to watch over him.

I don't envy Drew having to go into that hole. I guess after so many years as a Marine, he's kind of used to damp, dark and dirty, but I'd get claustrophobic real quick.

Our jobs might be vastly different, and we might look like polar opposites, but we're still family and have a lot of fun together. We like to trade books (we both have a weakness for urban fantasy and the paranormal), and we're going to Crue Fest 2 together next weekend. He was also with me the first time I saw the Nats actually win a game.

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