At Mr. Brickie’s last union meeting he was unemployed and looking for work. A nice member told him that US Steel was hiring for refractory work.
A little history. Before Mr. Brickie started his apprenticeship he randomly met someone who did refractory work. This guy described it as very lucrative but difficult.
Everyone he has talked about it with since has also called it very demanding or difficult or some other negative term.
So Mr. Brickie was hesitant to sign up for the gig, knowing that bricklayers are working like the dickens everywhere and another job would surely come up.
That’s where his greedy wife (that’s ME!) comes in and says, “Babe…maybe think about it a little. Talk to some other people you know. The nice man at your union meeting wouldn’t have suggested it if he didn’t think you could do it.
He called and found out more and decided to give it a try. After a couple nights of putting in insulation brick, clay brick, and fire brick he’s come to the conclusion that not only is it not the worst job he’s ever been on….it’s actually kind of enjoyable and he *gasp* likes it.
The hours, however, are hell.
Because all this brick goes on very hot things. The very hot thing is shut down (which means less productivity for the plant) and they have to very quickly replace the brick so the line can get back up and running.
I’m being vague here because I don’t need homeland security thinking I’m giving away national secrets about steel production. Even though this is probably the coolest job ever there will be NO pictures of any kind, even for me to see in the privacy of our home. Mr. Brickie is a smart guy and I appreciate him not getting in trouble.
He volunteered for the night shift because you get a $2/hr. differential. He works 12 hours a day until the job is done.
Wait. I literally just got a text. Starting tomorrow it will be 10 hour days. Still no days off until the job is done.
Here’s where it’s lucrative. First he makes scale (he’s in Indiana again so that’s $6/hr. less than Illinois but he’s on overnights so that’s $2/hr. more so the difference is negligible) the first 8 hours of every shift. Then time and a half for the remaining hours of the shift. On Saturday he makes time and a half the first 8 hours of the shift then double time the remainder of the shift. Sunday is double time the whole way through.
It adds up in a big, big way. Lots of hours, no days off, working straight through until the job is done makes for a hell of a paycheck.
I’m over here making sure to set my alarm so I’m awake when he gets home and we talk for about an hour so he can wind down and then he goes to bed. He wakes up an hour and a half before he has to leave, has coffee, wakes up a little and I feed him something before he packs his lunch and goes back to work.
I miss him very, very much.
The intimacy of that hour after he gets off work in the morning is really nice, though.
On days when the kids go to school he’s getting home right when I’m taking the youngest to school. When he moves to 10 hour days he will be home an hour before I wake the kids up, I think.
So I’ll be getting up at 5am to hang out with him until he goes to bed and I get the kids up to start their day.
I’ve become a master of napping.
Also, I shop now. Someone has to and like I said on the social media, “I am not a great every day wife. But give me a short amount of time where I have to be amazing and I will kick ass!”
So I’m being amazing and mopping and running the dishwasher and wiping the counters and sweeping the living room and doing all the things.
I think he’s going to be working until next Sunday morning. It sounds like there will be a week off and then another one of these jobs starts.
If he does this kind of work for a year? We could easily pay off all our credit card debt and start hacking away at the house principal.
Oh, yeah, the house. Or duplex. Whatever you want to call where I live. Last I heard from the mortgage guy he’ll have a date set for closing this week. When you don’t know what day it is, the stress of waiting on someone to tell you a closing date takes a backseat to everything else.
We’ll close when we close.
With the paychecks from the refractory gig we’ll first set aside money for winter just in case. Then I’ll put aside an emergency fund, then I’ll start knocking out credit cards from smallest to largest.
When I do taxes, my goal is to pay a year of the mortgage up front (or set aside the money in a savings account dedicated to paying the mortgage) so I can use all the income we get to pay down credit card debt.
I know that’s not very smart when that’s going to be 10k+ we could put toward debt but there’s a balance that has to be maintained for me to sleep at night. Part of that balance is knowing I do not have to worry about the home payment (whether it’s rent or a mortgage) being made no matter what Mr. Brickie’s work status is.
I don’t know. Maybe I’ll change my mind. I don’t think so, though. We’ll see.