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Stauchy Blog » Blog Archive » Turnover - Oct 19-27, 2007 (JRS)

Turnover - Oct 19-27, 2007 (JRS)

My replacement arrived on the second Basler, along with Al, the Science Support Coordinator (Neal, Nick, and my boss).

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The first day was low-key, giving the newbies some time to adjust to the altitude.  We also took it fairly easy the second day, but went over the basic, daily tasks, including a trip out to ARO.  The following days were a bit of a blur and rushed by much too quickly.  I figured that a 10-day turnover would be more than enough time to go over everything that there was to go over.  It turned out to be enough time, but not necessarily more than enough.

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It was definitely a crazy-busy time between training my replacement; not only for the Cusp job, but also to be Team 2 Lead (it was a bit fortuitous that the next winter-site manager had chosen him to be Team 2 Lead as well); and taking care of all of our last-minute personal business.  It always seems to take much longer than you’d think to go through and clean up your work computer (or maybe it’s just me).  I had been using the computer to store our pictures, not to mention a year’s worth of emails, notes, documents, etc.  It also takes longer than you think to finish up all the last-minute packing.  Lynette had smartly suggested that we start packing about a month ago.  We had gotten things to a pretty good point, but not finished since we were still trying to keep the living situation as normal as possible.  The night before bag-drag (two days before our flight out), we were up late getting everything packed up (we had to have everything in bags, checked and carry-on, in order to get weighed in correctly for the flight).  We also spent quite a bit of time the next day packing, and dragged a couple of boxes to the post office (temporarily set up in the Cryo building, about 200 yards from station) to ship home.

On top of that was the turn-over drill, just before bag drag.  We didn’t have to respond to the drill, but we were there as observers in order to watch how the new team did and to give feedback.  For their first time responding to an alarm, and with a limited number of people on-station from the new tean, they did well.  But, it certainly made us realize how far we had come in a year.  I’m sure our first drill went about the same as theirs, and we probably ran into the same problems, but over the year, everyone had gotten quite a bit better in that situation, and we have learned how we can best work together.  It was really interesting to see things from the other side of the fence.

I suppose that was the theme for the last week and a half, is seeing things from the other side of the fence.  I remember being nervous about handling everything with my job, emergency response team responsibilities, and generally living at the South Pole for a year.  It was a very different experience to see things from a winter-over perspective.  It really made me appreciate the community that had been built.  It didn’t really matter what struggle, difficulty, or problem that we ran across, I’d either figure it out, or I could rely on the community to help me.  It was a pretty cool feeling.

We’ve also realized that (and I’m letting the secret out of the bag here) living at the South Pole isn’t nearly as difficult or “crazy” as it seems.  We have a brand new living facility, everything is close together (home, work, gym, dining, etc), and we have a community of experts to rely on.  If anything, it’s the easiest living I’ve had to do.  No shopping, no traffic, no worries… the hardest part, really, is the isolation.  We miss our family and friends and long for the time that we can see them again.  We also feel like a year has past without any real significant progress in our lives; feeling like the world has past us by for a year.  Those are the two big reasons for not wanting to partake in this “adventure” again.  But, otherwise, I can certainly see why people return to the ice time and time again.  Easy living, decent pay, no expenses, several months off for travel per year.  There’s certainly a lot of upsides.

By Saturday afternoon, turnover was more-or-less behind us, our packing was taken care of, and we only had a few last-minute things to take care of.  It was time to celebrate the past year, and we all got together in the lounge for one final winter-over party.  We broke out all of our snacks that were remaining, which went over really well.  We had a good time hanging out together as a group one last time, recounting stories from the past year, and talking about plans to come.  One last shin-diggy before our flights out two days later.

-JRS

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