. . . and quoth R.E.M., ‘I feel fiiiiinnne’.
So, I’m back from my first “big dig” at work: me and a crew of 50 folks or so went down to Ellsworth AFB in Rapid City, SD for two simultaneous projects (at different locations). We ended up building a new post office—designed by a civilian firm, complete with safety shower (for that funny tasting white powder on the incoming envelopes) to a mail bomb containment room (which vents the blast vertically up—taking half the roof off the building in the process :rolleyes: ). We also took some overhead power lines and made ‘em underground power lines (the other project).
Holy crap, did I learn on this, my first trip. A few observations I’ve made, that I’d like to share a few pointers with the budding contractors among you: [sub] as you’ll note, this OP was three months in the making. . .[/sub]
[li] If you’re going to build something, make sure you have all your materials on hand and/or accounted for. No sense spending two weeks on site with an idle crew, waiting for a roof, all the while spending money to keep them in a housed at a hotel, and fed by a per diem allowance. Time is money. Have a complete bill of materials on-hand or with confirmed delivery dates.[/li][li] No matter what they tell you, you don’t have to get into the wet concrete to “stomp the air out” as it’s being pumped. Should you fall for this ruse, you will inevitably fall into the concrete itself, as your guys ‘baptize’ you on your first big concrete pour.[/li][li] Every year during the last week in July, there is a local “folk festival” in the town of Sturgis, SD, and I must say it is a very “enriching” experience. At this “festival” there’s plenty of food, drink, music, and “culture”. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re probably too young to go, so don’t worry about the quotation marks.[/li][li] An ounce of prevention is worth 1.3 tons of asphalt, the labor to cut out the old asphalt, and the rental fees of a steel-wheel roller.[/li][li] Every morning, make sure you’ve got three things: a hard hat, a full mug of coffee, and a fully charged laptop. Lack of any of the three may result in a headache.[/li][li] Don’t squat with yer spurs on, nor with a handful of nails in your back pocket. Your carpenters should know better’n that. . .[/li][li] Regarding the aforementioned “festival”, even though you arrived just days before the commencement of the opening ceremonies (which coincide with the opening of your project), it is best to give your work crews some time off to visit the “festival”, lest you have a mutiny a-brewin’ in your midst.[/li][li] Airplanes are cool. Airplanes are also loud. But when the job site is literally 300 hundred feet from the only active runway on base, airplanes quickly become not-so-cool. Especially B-1B bombers–which, incidentally look like huge, flying dachsunds with wings.[/li][li] Inevitably, you will refer to your cellphone(s) as your “electronic leash(es)”.[/li][li] Hoofprints found in the mud at dawn can be a fun, educational way to learn about the natural wildlife around you. Hoofprints found in the concrete poured just the previous evening can be a less-than-fun, educational way to remind your workers to “put the damn safety fence up every fuckin’ day before quittin’ time!”[/li][li] Water all the time sucks. Buy some damn Gatorade or Kool-Aid mix, you Scrooge![/li][li] Inspect, inspect, inspect! Schedule your final inspections at least a week ahead of time, to ensure you have ample opportunity to correct your mistakes or overlooked items—lest you have to bring the original crew back down to finish up (not good).[/li][li] Tripler’s Corollary of Cellphones: The more ‘electronic leashes’ you carry, the exponentially higher the rate that multiple cellphones will ring simultaneously, and thus, the higher the likelihood that you will be caught with two cellphones on your two ears leaving two callers totally confused with your one voice: “. . . and I need 16 tons.” “What? I sell lumber!” “No, not you Bill, I meant you, Mike” “Who, me? I’m Bob.” :rolleyes:[/li][/ul]
I swore, with the way the funding swung up and down like a Coney Island roller coaster, I figured I was going to be wearing an orange jumpsuit stamped “LEAVENWORTH”. After all is said and done however, I think I may end up in the county insane asylum instead. But hey, at least the fate of the free world is now secure for one more day. . . [sub]damn Commie pinko bastards[/sub].
So, now I’m off tomorrow for a week in North Dakota, then a whirlwind trip to New Mexico for another week, and finally a tentative class in airfield lighting at some location and some point in time for a nebulous duration. I love my job.
With my astute observation/trained eye, I can verify that “culture” can, in instances, refer to “thousands of scantily-clad/half-naked women”.