December 31, 2004

Yeah. But you should see the other guy.

So it's Monday morning. The twenty-seventh of December, Twenty Aught-Four. It's chilly, (Well, actually. It's Cold.) at around twenty-seven degrees Fahrenheit. Luckily we are working in the part of the building that has some working heaters, so there's a little bit of sunshine in what has begun as a mostly dreary day. (Standard stuff there, up at 4:00am, on the road by five, on the job by seven, and nothing but a honey-bun for breakfast)

The rails are up and plumb, the "jack" is in the hole, and we are prepping things to get the "car sling" built. We placed the parts that comprise the "sling" into the "pit", and began our assembly process. Wait a minute here... let me tell you what a "car sling" is, so you'll get a better picture of what is actually going on here.

AS the name "sling" suggests (think of it like a sling for a broken arm) it supports the entire elevator. It is a box that is comprised of three parts: The bolster channels, the side stiles, and the crosshead channels. The stiles are the vertical sections of the box that the rail guides attach to. The crosshead is the horizontal section at the top of the box, and they attach to either side of both of the stiles. The bolster's are the horizontal section at the bottom of the box, and they also attach to either side of the stiles. The bolster's also support the platform, and (as you may have surmised if you are mechanically inclined) the rest of the car is built off of the platform.

In the case of a "traction" (the average person's perception of an elevator ie: supported by cables "wire ropes" from the top) the pulley (or "shieve") attaches to the crosshead. In the case of a "hydraulic", the jack attaches to the bolster's at the bottom. We're assembling a hydraulic, so everything is attached at the bottom. Now that you know what we're dealing with, I'll get back to the tale at hand. Ahem...

We had already set the Stiles up on some timbers (to get them up above the head of the jack, the top of which stands about four feet up off the pit floor, and had the top guide shoes mounted, so we were ready to put the bolster's on.

Since every part of the sling is lying in the bottom of the pit, we had to pick them up off of the floor to get them to line up. Now the bolster's each are 17 feet long, by a foot and a half high, by 3/4 of an inch thick. That amounts to about 700 pounds worth of steel. So we picked it up by one end to get started on getting it up to the stiles, but we really needed to pick it up in the middle so it would balance and we could attach both sides at once, so we set it up on the head of the jack, so we could reset our strap to the middle and get the thing raising up properly. So, one end on the ground, and just slightly past the middle is sitting on the jack. We've got it sitting on its edge there, so we had to hold it upright. While I was holding it up, another helper was trying to stretch his tape out to find the center of the beam, when it happened...

I got distracted from holding up the beam by trying to get the end of the tape on the edge of the beam. While was doing that, the beam decided that it was going to tip over, and I saw the other man in the pit (who was holding the other end of the tape measure) out of the corner of my eye. He was at the top end of the beam, and the only thing I thought of (in the split second that I had time to) was the picture of the channell jumping off of the head of the jack and crushing my compatriot. I tried to stop the beam from falling over.

(Reminder: 700 hundred pounds)

So when it hit, my hand was between it and another steel component of the assembly. BANG! (Many expletives and colorful metaphors deleted) "Are you all right?" comes from the other guy in the pit with me, and I am already heading for the ladder. I'm halfway out of the pit when one of the guy's up top says "No. He's not!" I get myself up onto the first landing, and pull off my glove, and I witness a really nice gash in the middle finger of my right hand. Blood is flowing freely, and the pain is like you'd hit yourself on the thumb with a hammer (albeit magnified just a few times).

(Backstory time kids. Insert "wavy lines of remembrance" here.)

There was a time when I was an assistant manager of a Burger King restaurant. I had the combination to the safe and everything, so I could count down the drawers, and resupply them with cash when necessary. One (late) morning, I was called upon to get some money for one of the register's, and I got it from the safe. I had (previously) been in the habit of swinging the door closed with a bit of velocity, catching it before it closed, and then closing it slowly before locking it. One time, I swung it briskly, and went to catch it, and wound up slamming the first three fingers of my left hand in the door. I screamed. I cussed. I got something to cover my wound. Then I passed out.

(Wavy lines return us to the future.)

I pack my wound with a few rags. Wander around for a few minutes, and then promptly pass out again. Within a minute or two, I've recovered, and am completely lucid. So I'm held to a prone position until the fireman, and then the EMT's arrive. They assess that I'm okay, and I proceed to the hospital with a coworker. Seven stitches, and four hours later, and I'm back at work.

Wanna see some gruesome pitchers? Check the extended entry.

That's the first shot of the carnage. Please note that it is now Thursday, adn the incident happened on Monday.

How do you like the stitches? And the swelling? And the blood marks, where the wound was? Thought so, but it's a reminder. Especially to me. Be careful of the things you can't control. Abide by the things you can.

Once again...Don't get in a hurry. You see what that can get you.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 12:07 AM | Comments (8)

December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas 'n stuff

Well I finally got off my lazy ass and decided to post something. The main thing that I wanna say is (of course) Merry Christmas! (Sure I'm an athiest, but that doesn't mean that I can't use the ages-old expression of well wishes during the Holiday Season. Get off my back already!) Ahem.

So, I've been running around over the last couple of day's doing the whole Christmas "thing". I never got around to picking up those gift certificates that I was talking about, so I just did the next best thing: I bought a box of Cards, and put some cash in each one of them. This was only for the immediate family members, (except for Mom and Dad, they've already got enough cash, and time spent with them seems to count for more than a few bucks. Maybe the next time I'm in town, I'll actually feel up to spending more time with them. Damn I hope so, I miss my parents.) and the people that I share a house with. I really hate the fact that I didn't have time to do any personal shopping for all these people in my life. Most times a nice little trinket that goes along with someone's interest's is more appreciated than something as impersonal as cash, but I had to do something. I hope they take the meaning behind it, and buy something that they want, and will have fun with.

As for all of the good people out there in the blogosphere, all I can say is: thanks for what you do. All your posts are like little gifts to me, that I receive each day (that I can get to a PC that's online). My blog "Family" is very special, and the rest of the folks on my blogroll all actually mean a little something to me. It's still a little strange to me that I can find such a connection with people whom I've never met, and only read their thoughts on their 'blogs, and that they've become so much a part of my life. Since I've been disconnected from the internet, It's become very obvious to me that I really miss it, and am worse off for the lack of it. Hopefully, I'll be able to get back home a lot more in this new year, and be able to spend more time with everyone. Friends, Family, Blog and otherwise.

Here's looking to the New Year.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 06:40 PM | Comments (8)

December 19, 2004

Favorite Songs

It seems that my friend Eric has really outdone himself this time. He's turned a really brilliant Billy Joel song into a linkfest, and I'm (happily) included in the listing. Thanks a ton for the honorable mention.

This has been one of my favorite songs for a long time. I can actually sing a few of his tunes. "Still Rock 'n Roll to Me" got me an ovation at a karaoke bar one time. I completely messed up the next song I tried, but by then I was drunk and it didn't count.

Who knows? I may try the same gimmick sometime soon.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 09:33 PM | Comments (5)

The Squirrel meme

I've been trying to get caught up on my blog-reading this afternoon, and I dropped by Furry Wagglebottom's and saw that little nugget. I couldn't resist finding out what my squirrel name might be so I went here, and found out.

Ladies and gentleman, I am just stunned at the result that I got.

Johnny Oh from this day forward you will also be known as: President Out of Their Tree

Suits me, no?

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)

I hate being sick

Mainly because it doesn't happen to me very often, so I'm not used to it. It crept up on me around Wednesday evening, headache, stuffy nose, and a general feeeling of suckitude. Through the course of Thursday, it got steadily worse, and by the end of my eleven-hour work day, I could no longer breathe through my nose, and generally felt like the Southbound end of a Northbound Jackass. A third of a bottle of ersatz NyQuil and a few hours of sleep later, I could actually function again. I still ain't a hundred percent, but as long as I keep blowing these lovely lime-green chunks out of my nose, I'm going to keep considering myself "on the mend".

All the "Big Wheels" of the company came down on Tuesday to have a Powwow with the driller, and the site superintendant. That's always fun. My standing reaction to an announcement that a "boss" or other such dignitary will be visiting is a resounding "So?", but other folks tend to get excited about it. I just continue doing my work just like they weren't there, but some of the other guys decided that we really needed to push hard and get things done while they were there. This type of attitude leads to people getting in a hurry, and getting in a hurry leads to mistakes. Invariably. Trying to un-wedge a platform that is stuck diagonally fifteen feet up the hoistway is no fun at all. Luckily, noone got hurt, but it was a close thing. I cannot stress enough the importance of doing your job just like any other day when the "big dogs" come around. If they're not itn your work area, just go about your business, and if they are, acknowledge their presence, answer their questions, and then go about your business. I've seen more things get messed up due to an official visit, and wasted more time trying to undo the "band-aid" fixes put in place to hide problems, than I care to think about. Just don't do it. It's not worth all the hassle just to get a few "brownie points".

I got the chance to watch the extended version of Return of the King last night, and I must say that the story flowed a lot better with the additional scenes added in. The rough edges that were in the theater release were smoothed over quite nicely. My favorite part? The Pause button. Yeesh that is one long movie, but if you're a LOTR fan, well worth it.

So far I've been able to get exactly zero Christmas shopping done. Not one present. Looks like there's going to be a lot of gift cards in my future. I hate that, but it's going to be the best way for me to do it. I just don't have time to do any shopping, and most of the people I need to buy for are too old to get toy's for. Toy's that I can afford anyway.

Anyway, as soon as my laundry's done, I'm off to the lake to spend the day with the parent's. Should be nice and relaxing. I'll be back soon.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 09:32 AM | Comments (2)

December 13, 2004

Home (even more) Briefly

Back in town on a weeknight, Woohoo! Back in Chattanooga by 7:00 am tomorrow, Boooo! Friday night, I was in town for a total of eighteen hours. This time, it's twelve hours. This keeps up, and I'll just drive home, stick my foot in the door, pull it back out, and drive back. Me being the type of guy that I am, I made a joke out of it. I was talking to my sister at the shop today, and she made a comment about Ford and I being back on the job tomorrow, and I said "Yeah. If Ford and I have less than an eighteen hour turnaround time, they'll have to retrain us." My Sis' liked that one quite a bit. :^)

I've been reading some booklets lately that are part of a course to become a Certified Elevator Technician. There's all sorts of interesting little tidbits that are in there including the fact that a fully-loaded hydraulic freight elevator should lower no faster than 150 feet per minute. If it's not at its weight capacity, it'll go a bit slower. I had an opportunity to apply this knowledge the other day in a most entertaining way. We were just about to "knock off" for the day, and were jabbering with the Driller's helper for a few minutes before we left. He asked "So what do you guy's do when you're "on the set"?" I answered that we "Work some more. Hell, we're Elevator Men (tm). We eat, sleep, breathe, and dream elevator's." Ford added "Even when I Shit it comes out as a little elevator." I could not let it end with that, so I added "When I Shit it comes out at 150 feet per minute." I thought Ford was gonna split a kidney he was laughing so hard. So I decided to add fuel to the fire by also interjecting "Well it does depend on the load." He didn't stop laughing for a good ten minutes. Good times.

Earlier today, I was up in the original building looking for a part to complete a portion of the assembly I was working on, and the driller's helper was wandering around over there. We got to talking while I was digging through the boxes of parts, and something he said (I can't remember what it was) got me to "preaching" about elevators. No, I mean it. Imagine Jesse Jackson doing a sermon (I do a fair impression). "Let us now turn to the Book of Otis. If you find yourself a tall building... with NO IDEA...of your destination. Look ye unto the elevator. If your faith is TRUE, and your heart is will be removed from your consternation. MOVE to the lift without hesitation, and let RISING your motivation. But remember...brothers and sisters...that the Man there will judge you upon your entry. He can lift you up to the HIGHEST OF HIGHS...or he can take you ALL THE WAY to the bottom." This type of thing just kills on a jobsite. (I've got to be a little careful about it though. Ford is a Deacon at his church, and I don't want to offend him. Obviously, he doesn't know that I'm an Athiest.)

Up next week: best pickup lines of an Elevator Man (tm). Stay tuned!

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 10:50 PM | Comments (5)

December 10, 2004


I arrived home at about 6:30 this evening. I spent some time reading the sidebar, and I've been steadily steeling myself "IE: getting blasted" for the fact that I have to arrive back at the jobsite in roughly thirteen hours. I'v gotten my laundry done, but not a lot else. Read a few blogs, but just don't have the time to comment like I should. This sucks. I'll work through this weekend, and return again on Monday evening for the Company Christmas Party. Then I'll return to the job to complete the week. If I said that blogging will be light, I'd have a penchant for understatement.

In other news: it seems that there is no way that I can afford the boat. With the pricing/financing that the financier I've been working with would prefer, my payment comes in at roughly $130 a month over what I can afford. There are compromises that I could make to come up with the excess, but I enjoy eating at least once a day, so..No. I'd rather put up with the inconviences of living where I currently do, than put myself in jeopardy of declaring bankruptcy. I'll wait. I'm sure that the correct opportunity will show itself in due course. Until then, I'll persevere.

I'd like to give a heartfelt "thanks" to everyone who's left a comment over the last few weeks, and issue an apology over the fact that I haven't been able to reciprocate. I know that you all understand, but it would be crass of me to not say a little something. At any rate, I really appreciate your readership, and I hope thst the lack of posting doesn't drive you away. Special thanks to the "family" for showing up in droves.

I'll be back (and posting) as soon as I can.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 11:09 PM | Comments (5)

December 05, 2004

Ze Arteest has Return-ed

It's been better than two months ago that one of the people down at the Marina, let's call him "George" ('cuz that's his name), had mentioned that he wanted to rechristen his boat. She was previously known as "Wit's End", but he wanted something that more closely reflected his carefree lifestyle, and the fact that he's a bartender. He decided that the moniker "Bottoms Up" suited his vessell more appropriately, and began making inquiries around the dock to see if anyone knew someone who could put it on there for him. He mentioned it to the 'Rents, and (for some reason) they thought of me. When I was down there fishing one afternoon, they brought the subject up to me, and I requested a pencil and a sheet of paper. No more than five minutes passed, and I had a design ready for it. George thought it was cool, and asked me to do it for him. I siad "sure".

Well, a new job, and working out of town had put a serious hampering on my progress in making the design a reality. Last weekend, George mentioned it to me again, so I decided to get offa my lazy ass, and get started on it. I got some posterboard and a ruler, and proceeded to create a stencil for the design. I had to make a stencil, as he not only wanted it up on his flybridge, but also on each side of the cabin. I wanted to make sure that all three matched up as closely as possible, so that was the way to do it.

Yesterday, I completed the template, and I went on over to George's boat to see about applying it. He was there, but there were'nt any lights on inside, so I figured that he was asleep. I just took it upon myself to go ahead and trace the design onto the sides of the boat. He never came out, so I just left the one on the flybridge for today, and told Mom and Dad that I'd done it in case George had any questions.

This morning, he came out and noticed my handiwork. He (thankfully) stopped himself from calling the law due to the fact that someone had "vandalized" his boat. he said "I'll just wait until they finish, then I'll call the police." Did I mention that George is a Nut? Oh yeah, I told you he's a bartender.

Anyway, I decided to take a few "pitchers" of my progress today so I could share with the class. Ready? Here they come:

These two are of the stencil "in situ" on the flybridge.

Now with the stencil removed.

The first "mask" now in place.

The first coat of color, and the first time I've used my airbrush in awhile. Due to the color selection, I'm sure you can see where this is going.

Here we see it "Post Spankin'" and the masking tape removed. I'm likin' it so far.

The next section of color, now masked off.

Post airbrush. This shot makes the color look really yellow, but when you're looking at it with your own eyes, it's actually gold. Not unlike a certain liquid that I am rather fond of. Ahem.

After I got all that done, it was time to mask off the rest of the letters, and that took some time. I had to cover all the area to be painted completely with masaking tape, then take my razor knife, and cut out the sections where paint was to be applied. Unfortunately, I forgot to take any shots of the mask job, and just went right to painting. It kinda got dark on me, so I had to borrow Mom and Dad's camera, as it has a flash on it. Here's the end result:

I'm really proud of this work, and George is just tickled with how it turned out. So far, the local constabulary have not been involved, as I've still got to finish putting the black on the sides. Next weekend I'll complete this masterwork, so if you don't hear from me then, send bail money. I'm too cute to spend an extended time in jail.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 08:24 PM | Comments (10)

December 04, 2004

Just Sayin'

That the CheeseMistress is a lovely and talented individual. I hope I can come up with something 50% as creative as this for my Christmas Cards.

Thanks Honey, You're a Peach.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 07:01 PM | Comments (2)

Stuff that pisses me off...

It's usually just the little things. Stuff like:

My alarm didn't go off at 4:00 AM on Monday morning like it was supposed to. I woke up at a quarter to five, and I waws supposed to meet Ford at his place at five. Luckily, he had to pass really close by my house on the way to Chattanooga, so he was able to pick me up. We made it to the jobsite with plenty of time to spare, but dammit, I'm used to being punctual. I'm still a little pissed at myself about it, but I'll get over it.

Going back to the convenience store where I saw the "hot chick" from my last post, and finding that she wasn't there.

We expected to get the hoistway and car doors for the second freight elevator on Thursday. ETA 10:00 AM. It's a big job unloading those doors, so the office sent out three more men to help us. ETA also 10:00 AM. Ford and I arrive at the job at around a quarter-til-seven as usual, and we see a semi parked on the bridge just outside the gates. Sure enough, it's our load. After a brief conversation with the driver, we get to hear the good news. The doors weren't on his truck...he only had the rest of the parts for two of the three elevators to be installed on this job...and a second truck was on the way with the pieces for the other one. ETA 10:00 AM. After working for three days, getting the big rails stacked (and generally feeling pretty good about the progress of my welding skills) for nine hours each day, I was looking forward to getting a truck unloaded, and then getting a few other things done. What I got was: Arrived before sunrise, and got done with unloading the trucks, and moving the electronic pieces into the building, after sunset. It's not the Work that bothers me, it's the fact that we were told that we were getting one thing, and we got something else entirely.

I can't forget about the little issue of no storage space available onsite. We had to unload the trucks on an empty lot, and then move our stuff up into the building. The storage lot is across the bridge (that goes over a 4-lane highway) down the hill one block, and then another block back toward the job. You can see the museum from the lot, but you really have to jump through a lot of hoops to get your equipment up to it. As I was carrying a pump unit and controller assembly up to the site, the damn thing fell off of the forks of the Lull I was driving. Big crash, but it seems that only a door broke off of its hinges, and some brackets were bent.

There had been some talk about pulling Ford and I off of this job, and having us work in the Knoxville area again. I make the mistake of taking it to heart, and I start looking forward to coming home for awhile. About 45 minutes before we left the job, we finally find out that we'll be down there another week. Grrrr. Once again, it's not the fact that I'm working out of town, (That's part of the job) but don't tell me we're leaving, and then renege. That's a really quick way to get me upset.

It wasn't all bad, but I just wanted to bitch awhile and get it off my chest. Thanks.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 09:45 AM | Comments (4)