Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tougher Than The Rest

They made a fairly sizable pour yesterday on the job; around 200 yards of concrete. That's not huge by any means but to put it in a way that you might imagine better, that's about 20-22 full concrete trucks. It was on an area of our job that I don't normally work but we did end up going over there to help out by lining forms and sticking dowels.
Anyway, it's a parking lot and so a lot of square footage. In this kind of situation, they need a good many concrete finishers so I got a chance to see 2 of my old buddies that have now retired but come back occasionally to help out on such jobs. These 2 guys are brothers and were some of the first men that I met and worked around when I first started. Abraham is the oldest at 75 and Al is 70 and they still finish concrete. Granted, they just do the floating off and not the placing but still....I'm hoping to just be able to walk when I hit 75, not go out and finish 200 yards of concrete in freaking August! I think Abraham gets bored and so does a little here and there to have something to do and be around the guys. He always gives me a big hug when I see him and has always been one of my favorites. I told him about my land and building my house. He seemed pleased for me. Then he turned with this real serious look on his face, "Annie, you still by yourself?" Reluctantly I admitted, "Yes, Abraham, I'm still by myself." I knew I was about to get scolded. He gave me one of those stern looks, as if I were being difficult and kind of shook his head. I smiled, "you know I can't find anyone willing to put up with me!" He just laughed and I had to go.

*Bruce Springsteen

7 comments:

Ron said...

They sound like a couple of fun characters!

My 75-year-old grandpa amazed me when I was a teenager by pulling the transmission out of my car, disassembling it, educating me on how it worked, and pointing out the problem - all in about 5 minutes. The magnitude of my ignorance really sunk in right then. :)

Hope you are getting some cool weather.

Ron

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

My impression of cement finishers is that they are a breed apart. The work is very hard and the hours can be long, working a large slab through the night. (As an electrican I have stayed to make sure they have enough light in the right places.)

Then there are the times a slab is ruined by freezing. If it is salvagable the finishers are back to put a new skim of a surface of the damaged slab.

Anonymous said...

Abraham was always one of my favorites also. I got the same serious look from him one time when I caught him down on his hands and knees finishing concrete by hand. I told him to give me his trowel and I would show him how finish concrete the right way. The joke was on me because Abraham has forgot more about concrete pouring and finishing than I will ever know. We both had a good laugh when I told him I was just kidding.

Elizabeth said...

I am always amazed with the "older generation" as my grandma used to call them. They truly have forgotten more than we will ever know. When I worked for the home health dept. I loved listening to the stories they would tell. I felt like I had dozens of grandparents when they would share their early lives with me.

edifice rex said...

Hey Ron! Oh, they are! They'll keep you in stitches when you're working with them. Yeah, the older guys I have worked with have taught me so much. We are getting some cooler weather,well, only 90 instead of 98. :D

Hey Philip! Yes, those guys are some men! I have often been amazed at some of the stuff they do.

Hey Anon! You know they came back today on this second pour we made! Abraham is so funny and Al too, they get me to laughing so! Both of them were cutting up all day.

Hey Elizabeth! I have been very blessed to get to learn from so many of the older guys. They are very kind to me. I never knew either of my grandfathers so several of these guys have sorta filled that role for me.

Jenn said...

Huh. Concrete. The job we designed in Truckee, CA is in the pour stage.
They poured 300 yards last Thursday.

Of 3000 psi.
We speced 3500 psi.

You know this nightmare, right?

Hell for all involved.

The decision was made to let it set and strength test it. But that means if it doesn't test out, it'll be jackhammered out and we lose MONTHS on our timeline.

What a mess.

edifice rex said...

Hey jenn! Oh lord, yes , I know it well, unfortunately. That particular mistake is just bound to happen eventually. Sometimes it's the plant's fault, sometimes the contractor's. Ya'll made the right choice to break your cylinders first before proceeding though. You know, concrete often tests higher than it's listed strength anyway. Or that has been my observation unless you've got a plant that screwing you and putting out a weak mix to begin with. Good luck. I hope it tests OK for you.