Friday, December 15, 2006

The Wind, The Rain, The Day To Day Reasons I Love My Job--

Posted by Picasa If you've been following the National weather news, you'll have noticed that we North Westerners have received a bit of wind recently, notably yesterday. While I will be the first to admit, we never saw the 100 mph plus winds they saw north of us on the coast, I will also be the first to tell you we got some strong-assed winds blowing through here causing all sorts of noisy, turbulent problems while we attempted to put exterior siding on one of the big four outside walls of this two story house we are in the throes of building just down the street from my house which means I get to come home at lunch and check emails and change my wet socks for dry ones which is a stunning development...

And in the process of all of this, the inside is occupied by electricians and plumbers and heating and air guys, with one small room walled off with plastic where things are painted and dried leaving us poor carpenters out in the weather which has been in the low forties and lower, actually snowing on us this morning for a few minutes, and to continue working we do things like drape large tarps off the building and work underneath them. Which is all fine and dandy if it were just raining and the rain fell straight down and behaved as rain should, but when you suddenly have forty mile an hour gusts of wind hitting the rain, it tends to blow a little sideways. Which would all be fine and good, except for the fact that wind strong enough to blow rain sideways is also strong enough to turn our fancy little tarp set up into giant sails, which would be OK if the force wasn't so great it pulled the lumber the tarps were attached to right off the side of the building, leaving us poor carpenters out in the cold rain and the side of the building exposed to sideways water which would undo all of the nice caulking that got done ahead of the painters which are us anyways...

All this to say that I really do have a good time at work everyday, and in spite of having ice-cold water poured down the back of my neck in a volume sufficient to fill both my boots once it has run through the butt crack and been tainted, and in spite of having to climb all over scaffolding with mud on the bottom of my boots making every step a slippery, uncertain one, and in spite of the fact that everyone else is working inside while drops of sweat mingle with drops of frozen rain on the tip of my nose, I sure enjoy the heck out of myself.

We're outside in the elements. The wind is howling, the rain is tattering on tarps from above. The saw screams and cuts. Numbers are yelled down from the top of the scaffolding. Siding is cut and handed up the scaffolding and installed with guns...

I pull the cord out of the puddle because I don't like the tingle the steel on the saw gives me when electricity passes through my hand. I tell midget jokes and jokes about foreskins turned into wallets that, when rubbed vigorously, turn into suitcases. We let the new kid make every joke ever made about "caulk" ("Is that a caulk in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?" "I just wanna put the caulk in the crack, man!" etc...) and we remember how we made those same jokes, twenty years ago to old carpenters who rolled their eyes the way we roll ours...

And then the wind comes up in an instant and the tarps fill with air and "whup" they snap open completely and then the wind has passed and the tarps fall back down. We work and this happens again. "Whup!" Only this time one of the tarps is pulled completely loose from the house, and it and the twenty foot two by four it is attached to go crashing down two stories to the ground where carpenters are all ducking and doing ninja moves to avoid a conk to the head.

Shit. Now a side of the house is exposed and the fresh "caulk" will start to bleed out and run down the walls, making a horrific mess. We have to put the tarps back up. I run to the ladder that leads to our recently completed roof, and in the rain and wind, walk out to the edge of the roof and look down shouting instructions and bracing myself for further gusts of wind. I am, after all, maybe twenty four feet off the ground. What is it? G=32ft per second squared?

We attach out tarps to twenty foot two by fours because you need a lot of nails to secure a tarp to something so it won't rip and "unzip". Then we attach this two by four to either a barge rafter or a fascia board. We do this with minimal nails or screws because people don't like lots of holes put in their new houses unless they did it stringing Xmas lights or something. When the wind blew, it pulled out three very large screws (I told you we needed clamps, Charles!) and the two by four took the tarp to the ground, but the back half of the tarp was still tied to stuff.

So to replace the whole thing was a simple thing except for the wind and the twenty four feet. The boys handed me the twenty foot two by four and I worked it up until I had a hold of the middle of it. Now all I had to do was put it back on the barge rafter and get a nail in it. Then some screws. Then a couple of clamps on the end to keep it from coming off again. No problem.

Except for the wind. Did I mention the 40 mph wind? I think I did. It was still blowing, and the rain was still coming down sideways, and I was still up on the roof with cold water getting down the back of my jacket, and I had to lean over the side of a two story building while holding a twenty foot two by four with one hand and a hammer in the other (did I mention the wind?) trying to time my movements between gusts because while the wind was gusting, I was holding on to the two by four which was nailed heavily to a very large tarp which was making a very large sail and was trying to pull me off the roof and take me far away...

You see what I mean about having a cool job?

I get to stand in the rain, on a roof, trying to decide whether I really wanted to continue holding on to a sail that was trying to pull me off the roof. I get to lean back as far as I can without actually sitting, hoping my muddy feet stay gripped to asphalt shingles, and I get to hope my 260 pounds is enough to anchor myself until the wind gusts subside, all the while screaming expletives with lots of symbols in them, and warnings and such to the carpenters below me, while the two by four arches like a bow and threatens to break.

I mean, how cool is that?

Did I mention I get to come home for lunch, my boss is one of my best friends, the guys I work with are all crazy and my dogs get to go with me everyday and romp around forty acres with a great view?

That too.

11 comments:

daffa said...

thankyou for your comment on my blog. that was so lovely of you. one of my friends has been receiving anonymous comments on her blog which aren't quite as nice... it's nice to know that not all the strangers that happen across our blogs are judgmental assholes. i look forward to giving your blog a read. peace.

Little Miss Kylie said...

So, apart from the 40mph gusting wind, what exactly was the problem??

Hammer said...

A couple of years ago I was part owner in a siding company. Those twenty foot ladders, blazing heat and driving rain gave me a new appreciation for that kind of work.

It was next to impossible to keep enough skilled employees. Most everyone would quit less than a month after starting, leaving me an my partner to finish the jobs.

Flat Coke and Flies said...

"foreskins turned into wallets that, when rubbed vigorously, turn into suitcases."

That's the funniest thing I've ever heard!!

Scott from Oregon said...

daffa--If you returneth, you are welcometh...

Hi Kylie. I hope everything is as good as possible in your world?

Hammer. I would never be a sider, or a roofer, or a drywaller, but I would do them all in short spurts.

Texas heat, I imagine, would be like Austrtalian heat, at times. Brutal on the sunny side of the house...

I'm too old for that kind of heat, I think. But who knows?

OK missy flat coke, I see you are up and commenting agian. Glad you found your keys to the internet. Your site comment box never opens for me. Did you put a Scott lock on it?

I once sat in a bar on the beach in Mexico and told Jerry Garcia's daughter 200 jokes in a row from memory. They are in there, I just have to lubricate the brain a beer or two and start letting one joke remind me of the next.

A rabbi has collected foreskins. He wants to utelize them and not waste them. He takes them to a leather maker, who agrees to make a wallet.

When done the rabbi asks "how much?"

"400$"

""$400$? Oy vey, why so much?"

"This is a special wallet. When rubbed vigorously, it turns into a suitcase..."

badda bing!
(Very old joke)

Dogbait said...

Rain, what's that? Like the new site.

Nancy Dancehall said...

Fresh air, adventure, friends, happy dogs, 200 jokes in your head, and home within lunch reach.

Sounds good.

Tisty said...

my mum tells stories about the good auld days when it used to rain! It feels like we have been in drought forever. it's only decemeber and yet all the country burning down all around us. Feburary is the fire month god damn it!!!

Thanks for reminding me that there other kinds of unpleasent weather!

Flat Coke and Flies said...

There is no Scott block. I think it's a beta/old version thing. Funny joke!

WildFlower said...

sounds to me like it was an adventurous day out there...sorta like being on a pirate ship in the middle of a storm! like in the movies ya know!

Cheesy said...

Oh Scott.... you had me at "water down my butt crack"

LMAO I feel your pain sweetie... Im afraid my job is the next one down on the unpleasant list here in Oregon for the weather we've been having... btw... Can I borrow some of that 260#'s?? I need more anchoring on the street lol.