Thursday, July 22, 2010

Enough with the sniffing!!

Ok, so I have finished work for the day but I am still here because kat finishes an hour after me. What better way to spend it than doing this...
In the spirit of all things snow and ice, today's blog will be about the trials and tribulations of working at an ice arena.
Firstly - it's cold. Duh. What most people don't consider is that if you come here to skate, then you are burning energy and thus not as cold. I always end up in my shirtsleeves when I skate. Although that last part is true, I just really wanted to write 'shirtsleeves'. Anyway, so when you're working and not moving around as much, you freeze your nips off. Thus, I have to layer so much that I look like Kirsty Alley smuggling snacks inside. Also, going to the toilet becomes a marathon of re-tucking crap in. The worst part is that your nose starts to drip and you start sniffing all the time, I feel like Lindsay Lohan - the cocaine bit, not the incarceration bit.
Secondly - people get really injured and you have to deal with it. I had to patch a guy up once who lacerated his leg by falling on his own skate. One girl did the same thing in figureskates but the pointy bit at the back stabbed her in the butt and when she got up, the pointy bit retracted and a glob of fat bulged out of the hole. Yellow, it is. Faceplants aplenty, one girl fell on her glasses, they broke and lodged in her forehead! It was so cool. One of the guys who work here was showing off one day, trying to get the ice off his blade whilst still skating. He slit his palm open and had to have stitches. Not long after it healed, he did it again, same place.
Thirdly - Millions, millions of weirdos come here. Once a guy snuck in while workmen had the door open, hid in the workshop for two hours, put on all the hockey gear that belongs to our maintenance guy, went to skate hire and asked for skates, and then skated around on the ice! Then he took it all off, dumped it all at the top of the v.i.p. room stairs and left, but all the clothes he came in wearing were still here. Another guy comes here from time to time who is almost blind. he constantly knocks kids over and doesn't know it. Once, he took his trousers off in the main area where all the tables are and people complained. I had to have a talk with him and explain that the whole centre is a 'pants on zone'. At present, there is a guy and a girl who come here every weekday, park in the carpark and go at it like rabbits in his car. Fogged up windows and everything.
Fourthly - you get to do cool stuff. I'm a Zamboni driver. I've been doing it a couple of years and I like to think I'm pretty good at it, but I wasn't always. Maybe two years ago, we got our new Zamboni. Zamboni is actually a brand name (hence the capitalising), not the name of the actual machine, we just call it a resurfacer. The old resurfacer was Olympia brand. Now, these things are kinda touchy, they have little knobs on the wheels for traction, but so many things dictate just how much traction you get. If you cut the ice deeper, you won't slide around so much. If you don't cut too deep and you have a tank full of snow, you will drift like an eighteen year old dude in a WRX. The Olympia was very touchy, and had next to no tyre knobs thingys left. Now, anyone who's been to the Adelaide Ice Arena will know that we have two ice pads. One is small. On the large, when you resurface, you have a specific pattern that you drive. You can't get this nice pattern on the small, there are two patches that you will always miss. The way to get around this is to either stop, raise the conditioner, back up and start from there (a pain in the ass), or to hang the ass end out like a hoon (much more fun and entertaining to watch). Back when I was learning, I was at the point where I could resurface the large ice pretty well and control the drift of the machine, but I hadn't really done the small ice. One afternoon when my boss was out, the maintenance guy at the time decided to give me a lesson on the small ice. We were doing a dry cut, which means we effectively shave the ice but don't put the water on top. As I was driving, he told me to hang the ass end out. I said 'I'd rather not, I don't really feel comfortable with that'. The next pass, he asked me again. I answered the same, and added 'it doesn't feel like it wants to slide...' A third time... on the fourth, he said 'just give it some gas and yank on the wheel!' to which I replied 'ALRIGHT! ALRIGHT! I'LL DO IT!' So, like he said, I tromped on the gas and pulled hard on the wheel. It was apparent in the first half a second that passed that his plan was flawed. Instead of sliding, the chugging hulk of a machine lurched forward with the sudden speed, hooked to the left and ploughed straight through the boards.
After the deafening crash, he leapt off the machine to survey the damage and froze when he saw it, his hand over his mouth. The coffee shop lady threw the back door open and her eyes were saucers as she took in the carnage. I stood up but still couldn't see, so I whispered 'is it bad?' 'yes', he said, 'but we can fix it'. I switched into defensive mode and shouted 'I didn't want to do it! You made me do it!' He nodded his agreement. I got down off the machine, he got on to finish the resurface and put it away and do you knwo what the bastard said as he drove off? 'Yeah, you're right, it doesn't really wanna slide today, must be too dry'. 'YA THINK??'
It took us three hours to repair it and to this day on the small ice there is one board that is whiter than the rest.
Well, time to go train my hockey team! My next post will reveal the winner of this weekend's bout! Cant wait!

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