Oct 02

Timeout for the Outage

WHAT’S PLAYING: Little Big Town “Boondocks”

Normally, I love my job. The pay is good, the people are great, and the work is interesting. Plus, there’s the warm, tingly feeling that comes from knowing that I help to provide a vital service to millions of people. (Just because I don’t like being around people doesn’t mean that I don’t want to help them.) Most importantly, my job provides me with plenty of time to devote to writing. But every eighteen months, all that is turned on its head. Because that is the time of The Outage.

For those of you not in the nuclear power industry, a refueling outage is a period of time – usually a month or two – when a plant shuts down to take on new fuel and perform maintenance and inspections. An outage generally means three things: 1. More work. 2. Less sleep. and 3. More people. To be honest, I don’t really mind the extra hours. I am getting paid after all. I don’t even mind the extra work. Some of it is pretty interesting. Yet, in spite of the opportunities to expand my knowledge base and the much-needed transfusion of cash into my anemic bank account, I absolutely loathe outages.

Usually, my plant employs about 600 full-time workers. That number doubles during an outage, which means insanely long lines to get in and out of work, a chronic shortage of parking spaces, and zero alone time, not even in the bathroom. Basically speaking, it’s a brief sojourn through my own personal Hell. I’m not really a “people” person under the best of circumstances. Throw in the extra hours, sleep shortage, and the new low carb diet I’m experimenting with, and you have a recipe for mass homicide. (If you laughed at that last line, it’s probably because you think I’m joking.)

My blog posts will probably undergo a steep decline for the next five or six weeks because I want to devote what little free time I’m going to have to writing, and because outages make me ornery. (And, apparently, so do low-carb diets.) I’d rather not lose what few followers I have by posting a nonstop litany of complaints and mean-spirited diatribes. I might pop in now and again with an update, but for the most part, I’ll be suspending my posts until after the outage. But don’t worry, I’ll be back in November with a host of new adventures for all you antisocial writing misfits. And, if you’re willing, I’d love to hear about your own social misadventures in the meantime. Maybe they’ll make me feel better.

Then again, maybe not.

See you in November!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.jacquitalbot.com/2011/10/timeout-for-the-outage/


  1. Lincoln

    Ah, THAT time of the year is it? You’ll get through!

    This is probably the BEST author blog I have run across, John Scalzi (yes, a science-fiction author) talks about pretty much everything in his 20 years of writing and 13 of being online. It’s phenomenal!


    1. justjacqui2

      Yes, which probably explains why it took me so long to reply to this message. Six 12-hour worknights a week can take a toll on a gal.
      Thanks for the link. I’m always looking for ways to improve.
      BTW- just checked it out and you’re right. It is phenomenal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>