Saturday, September 03, 2011

Hard Bargain

Well, I had good intentions (but you know what they say about that) for my posting while I was away but ran into a couple of issues. First, the place where I'm staying has horrible Internet connection. I'm using a wireless connection but can only sometimes get a strong enough signal to stay online more than a few minutes. I inquired about the hotel's connection but they want $10 a week for it and I said screw that. I would get an excellent signal at work but do not have time to even log on, much less write anything and I'm not about to hang around after work to blog. Sorry folks. Don't mean I don't care about you! But that shower, however crappy it is, is calling to me mightily by quitting time. Hopefully, I can figure out a solution to this dilemma but in the mean time if I am slow answering emails or replying to comments, that is why. Also, and just as significantly, this first week kicked my ass, to be honest and I really didn't have the energy to do much writing. We worked overtime everyday except Friday and by the time I got back to my room, cleaned up and got something to eat, I was about ready to pass out. My crew has been working on hanging brick angle and so must work out of man lifts up to 80 or so feet in the air. Of course, we must wear safety harnesses that add about 6-7 lbs. to what you're already carrying and in the blazing sun with hardhats on. We've been going in at 6:00 a.m. to get some coolness but that makes for some early nights. At least for me. I can't stay up all night like I used to could. Fortunately, as far as the stress of the work, I do see a light at the end of the tunnel. The first part of the week was rough, to say the least, but by Thursday I was feeling like I was starting to get acclimated to it all again and Friday was almost enjoyable. Maybe that was partially due to the fact I knew we were leaving at 2:30 but I felt not quite so wore out. It was still about 100 degrees that day and I burnt the living crap out of myself cutting some steel but it wasn't a bad day. (The slag spewed back on me because I was cutting against concrete and it basically showered me completely in molten steel.) That statement may help you understand just how bad Monday through Wednesday was.
When I was pondering what to blog about I was thinking about just how hard it is to describe what we go through on these jobs to someone who has never experienced it. I mean, I picked metal BB's (basically) out of my flesh and yes, it hit in some very sensitive areas for a woman, but it was still a fairly enjoyable day, comparatively. Not to sound overly dramatic but it occurred to me; nothing I have ever done while building my house has ever been as hard as what I do at work. And my house includes quite a bit of structural steel and concrete. I admit, the spring box was close and some days at work are super easy but it is just a whole 'nother world there. I think that is part of the reason I get so pissed off when I hear people speak disparagingly of construction workers or have some office slackers make snide remarks to us. It kills me that society has so much respect for doctors and professors etc. but the people that build the structures for these esteemed members of society to work in are treated like so much trash, for the most part.
Well, that's enough ranting for now! Thankfully they are letting us have a 3-day weekend for the holiday so I will probably have some time to post again before I go back. I will try to write about something other than work also!

Oh, I forgot to mention, the photo is the view from the front of the job but you can only see one of the two tower cranes. Directly beneath the crane is some of the forms they use for pouring the floors. These are some interesting contraptions as they can be jacked up or down and shoved out over the edge to extend the floor they are forming. After the floor is poured, these forms are dropped down and pulled out by the crane to be replaced with shoring. The shoring is the 4x4 posts and scaffolding you see to the far left. There will be a forest of these posts amongst the floors. These must be left in place for a few weeks until the concrete samples taken from these pours break at the prescribed strength.
And...if you're wondering why I wasn't wearing some type of protection when I got burned...well, that's a good question. I just didn't take the time to get down from the lift and go get my sleeves. I only needed to wallow this hole in the steel out about an 1/8th of an inch and knew it wouldn't take a minute. So, in an effort to save time I did it bare armed. I eventually had to burn a few more, so I did retrieve my leathers when I went down to doctor myself. And yes, Daddy Rabbit chewed my ass when he found out that I had injured myself, so now I'm sore on both ends. Ha!


Beyond My Garden said...

After four days in New York City with a very slow connection that turned off every few minutes, I feel your pain. It is very hard to write when traveling.

Anonymous said...

Whew! Between being whipped at the end of the day and the recalcitrant Internet connection, I can see why you weren't blogging every day. I ached just after reading it!

Very interesting to hear about your work, and see a bit of it. Thanks for taking the time.


Ed said...

Fortunately though I'm an engineer, they still allow me to go downstairs and work with a welder and a torch. Last week I had to cut a half dozen holes in some c-channel for bolt access that someone didn't think about. Despite it being 100 degrees down there, I wore some leathers and sweated my ass off but I didn't end up with any holes in my arms... this time. I guess if I had been in your position with an 1/8th inch to wallow out, I would have done the same thing. You're human.

HermitJim said...

You better take care of yourself, and enjoy the long weekend! Sorry to hear about the internet connection. That truly sucks!

Looking forward to more pictures from the job site!

Have a great couple of days!

edifice rex said...

Hey nell! yeah, it's been aggravating but maybe I can work something out.

Hey R! Sure! I'll try to post more regularly as I get situated.

Hey Ed! Yeah, if I had a bunch I had to do I would have put something on but I thought one wouldn't take much! I shoulda known!

Hey Jim! thanks! I'm relaxing and enjoying myself this weekend you can be sure!

Melissa said...

Congratulations on being back at work! A lot of friends here in Maine is busy preparing for winter journeys to places where there are jobs available, so many of us understand the need to travel for work. I'm with the people that compare you to an Amazon warrior--anyone who can take being scattered with molten metal deserves that title. And enjoy every last one of those 100-degree days. I'm looking out the window right now at maples that are already beginning to turn and it's 69 degrees here.

Floridacracker said...

My satellite connection is running like a snail with Tropical Storm Lee out in the Gulf, so I feel your pain ... well the internet pain anyway.
Be safe up there. I'm glad you are able to get back into the swing of it so quickly.
That's probably because you never seem to sit down, even when you are off work!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Sounds like a tough week on the job. Glad you get a long weekend to rest and relax. And i think construction workers are far harder workers than any of those in an office.

edifice rex said...

Hey Melissa! thanks! Although I enjoy fall, I am actually enjoying summer because I know it turns too quickly to winter and I believe I will always enjoy working in the heat more than the cold!

Hey FC! thanks! I'm trying to be careful I promise! Well, I am getting somewhat acclimated but I've still got a ways to go!

Hey Beatrice! it was tough but hopefully it will improve!

Jenn said...

Good man, that Rabbit.

Glad your getting your stamina back.