Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Pump It Up

Today was one of those days where you are working out in the mud, it's spitting snow, wind's cutting through all your clothes and you just can't get warm no matter what and you wonder to yourself, "why in the world did I ever think I wanted to do this for a living?" Fortunately I was in the warm at times but still had to work out in it some. The guys have been pouring about every other day, trying to get all the casting pads ready so we can start forming and pouring the panels. Concrete pumps are so cool. If you are wondering why we are pumping this concrete so close to where the pads are (why not just drive a truck over there?), the pads are so close together there is not room to get a truck through and casting pads are only about 3 inches thick, not near enough to support a truck driving over them.
I bet these boys had to stay late tonight because of the cold. When I left at 3:30 they had just put the first troweling machine on. That's not good. The mud's just sitting there and I'm pretty sure they added the stuff to make it go faster. Don't let the way Nate is standing there with that hose fool you. He was just taking a break; those hoses are extremely heavy and we often times have to push and pull to direct the concrete in certain directions.
The truck drivers have an easy time of it. They just back up to the hopper on the pump and pour it out.
Know what that big sponge is for? As you might guess, the pump truck drivers must keep their machines very clean and it takes them a while to clean and wash the truck after the pour. The pump lines must be cleared, obviously, to keep any mud from setting up in them so the operator will take this sponge and snuff it up the trunk of the pump! The pumps can suck in either direction. The sponge travels the length of the lines and is pooped out the back of the truck! It's pretty cool.

I have been working inside, completing our office, which will be turned over to the owners at the end of the job, for them to use as a maintenance shop. This has been nice on these cold days but I would like to be working with my guys. I walked by a group of them today and they stopped me. "When are you gonna get finished in there so you can come out and work with us?" I said I was trying but Daddy Rabbit kept coming up with more stuff for me to do. They huffed around a little and kicked some dirt clods. Reminded me of little kids wanting me to come out and play. I'm anxious to get back in the groove of things myself and that bunch will keep you laughing.



Rurality said...

That is really cool about the sponge! I never would have thought of that.

Ed said...

I had on my lightest jacket yesterday when the temps reached a balmy 38 degrees. By this weekend it is supposed to be 50 and I reckon time to hit the beach!

But don't feel bad, we just got out (I hope anyway) of the fourth coldest winter and the snowiest winter on the record books.)

On a serious note, have you done anything with shotcrete? I've always wanted to build one of these guys.

Chieftain of Seir said...

Is the "stuff" they are adding Calcium Chloride?

I hate that stuff.

Otherwise, I would rather move mud in cool weather than move it in hot weather.

Nothing like the heat that concrete gives off when setting up to make a hot day really miserable.

edifice rex said...

Hey Rurality! yeah, it's kinda funny to watch.

Hey Ed! I have never used Shotcrete but I think it's structurally ok if done right.

Hey chieftain! yeah, it's calcium. we rarely use it actually because even in winter here it's just not THAT cold but this has been an unusual winter. yeah, pouring in really hot weather is it's own type of misery but I still prefer it over this kinda cold. but then I don't have to finish the stuff, just place it.

Attilla The Mum said...

"The sponge travels the length of the lines and is pooped out the back of the truck!"

You have a way with words, Annie! I NEVER laugh this early in the morning (haven't even had my cup of hot cocoa) and yet you made me chuckle. What a great career you've chosen--something different every day.

HermitJim said...

Some of the images that pop up in my mind when reading your words are a great way to start my day! Thanks for keeping me smiling!

edifice rex said...

Hey attila! oh, it's something different alright! but I enjoy it.
glad to hear I got a laugh out of you!

Hey Jim! you're welcome!! glad you enjoy my writing.