Tuesday, July 01, 2008

This Woman's Work

I have actually done some more work on the siding but it is still moving at an excruciatingly slow pace. I have, at least, reached the eaves with the siding on the north wall only and have most of it painted. I am painting as I go so that I do not have to rebuild scaffolding. It is looking pretty good I think although me and the architect had another fuss the other day about colors. I must come up with a drawing of the entire house finished so that ya'll can see what I am working towards. The house looks very plain to me right now but it will be a rather interesting design when finished.
Other than this I have not gotten a lot done lately. Work has been very tiring to me this past 2 weeks. I know ya'll are tired of reading about me pissing and moaning about work and how hard blah, blah, blah. I've been trying to make an accurate record of this thing I am attempting to do so that if anyone comes across this blog who would like to build their own house, they might understand how much it involves. I know my circumstances are different, everybody's are, but it is still very tiring no matter what you do for a living, to work all day and then come home and try to work more. Last week was rough. We were forming and pouring about 100 feet of wall every other day. The walls are only a little over 2 feet tall but lots of extra steel in them and anchor bolts to set etc. It has just been me and 2 apprentice boys forming. I guess I have been declared one of the lead carpenters. Anyway, we were pouring one section and I got stuck with vibrator duty because the boys have no experience with that. No jokes here please. It is very rough work because those things (vibrators) are quite heavy. OK, again, no jokes, (snicker). It was pretty hot that day and so I got a little white-eyed, as we say. The chute man wasn't helping me any either as he kept piling the mud up too much and I was having to drag it too far. So, fortunately, we had to call for a clean up and I got a break. I had to go sit in the shade for a while and cool off. Normally you are never allowed to sit down on a job except at break and lunch. It doesn't matter what is or is not going on, you never sit down. But in this case nothing was said. The guys could tell I was in a little rough shape. They would come over and check on me and wanted to bring me Gatorade but the water was fine. Lupe' (our Hispanic carpenter) said to me later, "Annie, you feel bad? This first time I ever see you give it up!" I said, "Yeah, Lupe', I had to give it up for a while." "Is OK," he declared.
The next pour wasn't much better although I made the boys get on the vibrator. They've got to learn sometime. Anyway, this time the mud came too wet ( 8" slump) and the engineer shut us down. Our foreman had already poured about 12 feet of wall so we had to dig all that mud back out of the form and wait on a new batch. However, it wasn't a new batch. That same truck just went back to the plant, doctored his load and came back so when he got to us that mud was so hot it would hardly come down the chute. They are not supposed to do that, and would vehemently deny any such thing if confronted, and it did not occur to me what was happening because I was working so hard to try to get the stuff to lay down in the form. I did find it odd he got back to the job so fast. I begged the foreman to put a little water in it which he finally did but at that point it didn't matter much. We had to wait on another clean up and so I tried to strike it off again to make the finish look a little better but the mud was already set up. It was about 5:00 pm before we got off that day. So, I was very tired last week. But, the wall looked great when we wrecked it the next day! We were all suprised that it did not honeycomb.
This week I have been loaned out to another job to help them get caught up due to a couple of their guys taking off some. It is a very heavy duty industrial job, a car manufacturing plant. I hoped I would never have to go to this job but agreed to for 2 weeks. There were 2 fatalities (not our company) on the first phase of the plant but this is a much smaller operation. All the guys are super nice and so far it has not been so bad. I did add another scar to my collection when I snagged my forearm on a piece of rebar but it was not so bad. And of course, being with a new crew, I have been able to catch up on some new gossip! Men are far worse than women ever thought about when it comes to that.

*Kate Bush


Woody said...

I have to agree with you that men are worse than women with the gossip/rumors...If we ain't telling stories about ol' what's his face we're making something up about you.


Linda said...

Very smart to do all your work in one place while you have the scaffolding up :)

Robbyn said...

I'm holding my breath for you while you're on the new job...beeeee carefullllll (hiding my eyes). I'm praying for you to remain in one piece :)

Richard said...

I remember those hot loads. Had one job where we couldn't get it out of the sling bucket with a vibrator. Drink plenty of water and stay cool out there...:-).

edifice rex said...

Haha Woody! You are right! I heard once, years ago, from the guys that I used to be a man.

Hey Linda! Well, smart or just lazy. I hate building scaffolding.

Hey Robbyn! It actually has not been that bad and the guys are very safety conscious. But I appreciate the prayers just the same.

Hey Richard! That's not hot, that's set up! :D I'm doing my best on the cool part! Water and gatorade.

Floridacracker said...

I'll join the chorus ... be careful out there.
In awe of your abilities!

edifice rex said...

Hey FC! I'm being careful, I promise!

Jenn said...

Shit, that concrete work sounds like pure hell. Definitely a job to get the apprentices up and running as quickly as possible.

edifice rex said...

Hey Jenn! Actually, the pours we have done lately are not even considered enough to get a finisher for; very small time stuff. it was just very hot that day but yeah, those boys need to learn. The really big pours we do go on for 6-8 hours without stopping. Now, that's hard work.