Keith has been working yard jobs ever since he completed his training and became a real employee. He hasn't been out on the road since he went out a few times early in his training, but got bumped from his yard job and decided to get out onto the road where the job isn't quite as hard (you get to sit in a locomotive) and there aren't as many eyes watching you for mistakes you might make. Of course he couldn't remember how to mark up for the road and was having some trouble with the railroad's computer system, so he called Joe for some help, Joe who just happened to be in the neighborhood shopping at Walmart yesterday afternoon. How handy for us!
They went through the computer system and how to use it again. I watched and asked the questions Keith forgot to ask. The whole system of seniority and how you bid on jobs or put yourself on an extra board really is quite confusing and even more so for someone like Keith who has never worked on a computer other than to check his email before. When he marked up for a road job it put him in the training board where he is allowed a familiarization trip or two so he can get his bearings. How and why that happened we are not sure, but the training coordinator must have flagged the computer to do that, so Joe contacted the guy and arranged it so that Keith could ride with him on his next trip, so off they went at 2am today. They'll get into Barstow about 12 hours later and then sleep at the motel and then get called for another trip back. So, right about now he is somewhere out in the Mojave desert riding along the rails. Clickety Clack.
And I have the house to myself until sometime tomorrow afternoon.
Joe did kind of suggest that Keith get on the road where you make more money just in case things slow down after the holidays and there isn't much work available. Make the money now and put some aside for that rainy day, so to speak.