Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dirty Work

I had meant to post some more this week but work had other things in mind. Our boss wants two, 200 yard pours a week in order to get this parking lot done on time and even though we were short a day this week due to rain, he still got his 400 yards. I have been wanting to show a pour but due to the nature of the work, it's very hard to stop and take any photos. These pours are actually fairly easy for us, the carpenters. Just help with the screed (that long metal contraption spanning the forms), line the forms after pouring, chalk some lines and so on. The forming and getting ready is where we get roughed over.

I felt bad for the finishers on this day though. Several of the young guys (finishers) did not show. These forms are 40'x 120' and it's August. Not a time when you want to be short of help. The first 2 trucks were slow and we thought, well if it stays like this maybe it won't be so bad. We heard that the nearby batch plant had broken down so the mud was coming from a downtown plant, accounting for the delay. Well, the plant picked it up or something because all of a sudden two trucks pulled in almost together and they kept 2-3 trucks on us the whole time, as you can see in the background. As soon as one would pull out another would be right there waiting to back in. On larger pours you kind of count on some time between trucks for a breather, grab a bite to eat etc. but there was none on this one. And all of the guys, with the exception of the one running the chute, were our older finishers also. We ended up running the screed for them and shoveling mud back in low spots. Pulling concrete is one of the physically hardest things you can imagine. It may be because you have to keep a certain pace at it. You can't just piddle around. And you are standing in the concrete, which makes it hard to move because of the weight on your feet.

This is me with the two older gentlemen I mentioned a few posts back. Al, on the left, is the younger brother at 70. You can tell Abe is a little older (75) because he actually has some gray hair. Abe said he has been finishing concrete for 53 years. One of these days I'm going to put all these photos and things together in a scrapbook. For who I don't know. I guess just for myself, to show I did something in my life.
Some of the truck drivers you meet on pours are interesting. You get some drivers that can put those big concrete trucks in places you would never imagine; on sides of hills, down in holes, you name it. And then you get some that you wonder how they even made it to the job site. I know years ago, I often saw this one driver that everybody called "Cowboy" due to his habit of always wearing a black, leather vest, even in the summer. He was a pretty good driver but never said much. You could tell he was from the backwoods, as we say. Now, sometimes if you have a bad driver, tempers can flare and ugly words fly and so on. Well, we were pouring out Cowboy's truck and our foreman, who was a short, slightly round guy whose mouth is much bigger than even his ego, decided he didn't like the way Cowboy was driving. So when Cowboy got out of the truck about something, this foreman goes stomping towards him fully intending to chew him up one side and down the other. Cowboy just straightened up, putting one hand on his hip and as he did drew his vest back ever so slightly to reveal a .45 strapped to his side. Our foreman didn't miss a step doing a complete U-turn as he yelled "good job Cowboy!"

*Rolling Stones


pablo said...

I hope I look as good as Al and Abe when I get to that age. (I know I'll never look as good as Annie.)

As to the .45, I've always said you should use the right tool for the job.

Woody said...

I am in whole hearted agreement with Pablos comment.

Floridacracker said...

That's a great shot ... just think how many tricks of the trade those two brothers know.

edifice rex said...

Hey Pablo! Well, thank you but I'm sure you and everybody else has got me beat by a long shot.
I've known both those guys for about 15 years and Abe does look a little older than when I first met him and when I hugged him the other day he seemed, I don't know, smaller or more slight than he used to. Al though, looks just like he always has. Maybe he moves a little slower but that's about it.

As far as the right tool, that's why I carry a straight claw hammer. It's good for more than just wrecking forms. You got to keep those claws sharp though.

Hey Woody! Yep!

Hey FC! Like one of the guys that I work with said the other day, those two have forgotten more than I'll ever know about concrete.

pumpkin man said...

If you haven't yet, find the Lord, he has a plan for you and walks with you daily...Talk to him!

The Country Experience said...

Wow, I cannot believe either of them is in their 7th decade!