May 28, 2006


This week... I've been working on completing a job that's roughly 90% "Did", and it's about 5 minutes away from my crib (depending on the traffic lights.), which is really sweet. There is/was quite a few things that needed to get completed on this job, and I was completely ready to sink my teeth into them... however...

When I left Memphis the last time, I was under the impression that I'd be returning in a couple of day's, so I left my construction "pendant" aka: "Run-Button" on the job out there. If the previous installer had pushed the "Travelling Cable" up through the platform into the 'COP" (Car Operating Panel) then I'd have been able to To wire up and get the car running from the cartop... It Wasn't. The cab was resting on the Buffer's, at about 8 inches below the lower floor level. Let's see... There's the "toe guard", there's the lower "fascia", not to mention that I've got to get the traveller up into the cab. Needless to say, I need a run button in the worst way. The nearest one is an hour and a half drive away.

The electrician's showed up to get me power for my controller and my car lights. We chased some wires down for a minute, and finally got power on the disconnects. Since I couldn't move the car, I went on with completing the things that I could do with it on the buffers. Wired up the cartop, got the selector wires down into the COP, and so forth.

The next day, I stopped by the shop and picked up my run button, and headed over to finally get something rolling on this elevator. I get my pendant wired up, and everything else ready to run... flip on the power, and Nothing. Shit! We took care of this yesterday. I get looking around, and I discover that the electricians hadn't put any fuses in the disconnects. Talk to the contractor and get "Sparky" back out there to finish his job. Meanwhile, I've still got to get the Door Operator up onto the cartop, and the only way to get it there is carry it up the steps... all seventy-five pounds of it. I forgot to mention that since there is a distinct lack of manpower in town right now, I've been doing all of this work with no helper. Yup. I hauled that thing up there by myself. After lunch, I returned to find that I had some juice for my pump, so I fired her up and ran the car up. I went ahead and got the Door Operator installed on the cartop and ran its wires down into the COP, and then went down and took a look in the Pit.

Looks like there's a little water leak. Not a bad one, just enough to fill up the Sump Hole and put a skim over the pit floor. I go ahead and mount up the lower Fascia and the Toe Guard. The ladder was a little slick from getting water on my boots, so I had to really be careful. I guessed that there was a little oil in it, but didn't get too concerned as we usually get some oil on the pit when we bleed the air out of the jacks. I get all my parts together to assemble the fascia between the floors, and get it all onto the cartop. As I ran the car up to get this stuff in place, I noticed a small problem. My pump is sucking air instead of hydraulic fluid. Ah Fuck. that ain't water down there, it's hydro. I jump down in the pit, and discover that one of the pipe fittings is leaking.

(Insert a day here for me to get all the supplies I'll need, get the fitting replaced, and clean up the fucking mess.)

Thursday, Kev came out to help me for the day. It was kinda nice to have someone to talk to while I was working, not to mention someone that I like. We were able to successfully land up the travelling cable on both ends, and get the car running off the Inspection Station. We even got a chance to do some adjusting on some things that weren't quite right. A good day.

Friday came and I stopped over there to clean up a little, and to collect the parts that we won't be using and get them back to the shop. I drop them off and get sent up to Pigeon Forge to help out our Residential Installer on one in a rental cabin that's being built. I'd been there just long enough to get one door lock installed before a call came in that we were to drop our tools and get our behinds back to the shop ASAFP. We get back in, only to discover that there is a major problem with a four stop residential elevator in another rental cabin in Pigeon Forge. The problem? It's Not Been Installed Yet, and the place is rented to a group of Thirty souls that are to arrive on Thursday.

I deliverred that elevator on Friday afternoon, and have been installing it since then. With the Holiday Weekend, we were scraping the bottom of the barrel for some help. There's myself, one of the Service guy's, a helper from Johnson City (three hours East of Knoxville), and the Owner of the Company. Over the past 2 1/2 days we've gotten this elevator to the point of: sticking the magnets to the selector tape, mount the cartop box, install the car gate, install the top and bottom limit switches, hang the traveller, put the lights in, install the telephone jack, land everything up, and scan the hoistway. If things go well, we can finish that in a half a day tomorrow.

Three to Three and a half Day's to install a four-stop elevator. Not bad. Especially once you consider the fact that None of Us have ever even seen this particular elevator before. (Our company has only installed two of these, and none of the people who installed those is on this job.)

I started writing this post on the 23rd of this month, and am finally finishing it now. I hope that gets everyone up to speed. I'm gonna go to bed. Up at Five AM, to be on the job by seven. I'll be remembering our Veterans, by building a conveyance that I hope that one will use. Hope your weekend went as well... Mine's been a Disaster.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 09:05 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 19, 2006

Can I just cancel WGN?

Since I've been going "Wide Open" for so long, and was in town anyway, I decided to take yesterday off. It gave me a chance to catch up on a few chores around the house that had been neglected in my two-month absence. Stupid stuff like: getting by the bank to have my zip code changed and order new checks, etc., and get a little rest if possible.

I sat down in the old easy chair, and started surfing through the digital cable-channel guide as usual, and I noted that my beloved Cubbie's were playing! Huzzah! I actually get to watch a game... finally. I really enjoyed the fact that the Washington Nationals just stomped the crap out of my team. Kerry Wood was pitching strikes all night, but the Nats' bats were hot so they got a couple of home runs.

Tonight they were going to be broadcast again, against the American League (Not REAL Baseball!) White Sox, and I got home in time to turn the game on. Well, through checking blogs, and conversations with the rest of the household, I wasn't able to focus on the game much... So I didn't get to see how my Cubs managed to lose 6 to 1. Hmmn. I think I see a pattern forming here. Channel 22? You're now Dead to Me. Maybe if I don't watch them, they'll have at least even odds on winning.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 06:13 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 18, 2006

Who'da thunk it?

I guess I would have.

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Maybe I should let my hair grow out so I can look more like him.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 02:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 15, 2006

Home for Awhile

Well... I've been sweating bulletts over the weekend, 'cuz I got a call from the Big Boss on Friday. I left Memphis around noon (in hopes that I could arrive home early enough to have some semblance of a weekend) and I was making good time. When the phone rang, I was "miles away"... trying to plan out what would get done this week. The upshot of our conversation is that I'd messed up a hoistway door frame on the last new construction job I was on... And he was pissed about it. I was informed at that time that I would be working here in Knoxville this week, and "did I have my tools?".

The rest of the drive home was spent thinking about all the things that went wrong on that job, and the ultimate cause of the problem... and all I could come up with was "I was the Mechanic In Charge", so it was my responsibility to make it right". I called up the "Adjuster/Construction Supervisor" (Phil) who was out in Memphis last week with us and got three elevators running on auto while he was there, and told him of my plight. I basically told him that I'd Fucked Up, was prepared to make it right, and "Take my ass-chewin' like a man".

The weekend was spent chewin' on my fingernails, and trying to get caught up on my chores. Mostly it was not a lot of fun. I have a tendency to punish myself for making stupid mistakes. I'll sit around and dwell on it until I've driven myself to complete distraction, then I'll think about it some more. I examine everything... from every angle, and try to determine why I fucked up...Was it a physical thing? Too much fatigue, too many body-aches, incorrect/faulty tools, etc.? Was it a mental thing? Distracted with home-life, thinking about too many things at once, trying too hard to advance the job, etc.? Needless to say, the wheels were turning from the time the phone rang until I finally arrived at the job with the Boss.

When I got to the shop this morning, I fully expected to get "raked over the coals" a time or two (and even more later at the job), but the Chief restrained himself to heroic perportions. I think that it was due to the fact that he'd had a weekend to calm himself, but who knows? I rode all the way out to the job (35 minutes of drive) in his truck, and we discussed the finer points of everything but elevators on the way. When we were on site he calmly pointed out the errors I'd made, and we talked about how "The company had failed me?". I allowed that it was not them, but it was MY fault... I've gotten an awesome level of support from everyone that can help me in this company, it certainly isn't thier charge to ensure that I did my job correctly... and there's An End On't.

I'm slated to correct my mistake over the course of a few days this week, and I welcome the experience. I look at it as a learning experience, and an opportunity to get better at what I do. It's taken me eighteen-years in the workforce to figure out what I want to be when I "Grow Up", and I'm not about to let "Stupid" fuck up this opportunity for me. I'm an Elevator Man Goddamnit! I Love my job, and I'll do what it takes to ensure that I keep on doing it... Including admitting I was wrong.

the benefit of this whole scenario is that I get to sleep in my own bed for a week... It's a lot to bear just for that simple benefit, but it's the cross I bear... Sometimes I hate being a fuckin' grownup!

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 08:18 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

May 08, 2006

Detritus 'n Stuff

I hadda go lay in some supplies for the Memphis Crib this evening. I was just chillin' for a little bit, then changed into my street clothes for a run to the store. My hacienda out here is less than 5 minutes from downtown, so there really isn't any place good to get sundries anyplace close, (Hell, the nearest Wally - World is like twenty minutes away.) so I had to roll three blocks over, and three blocks down to the neighborhood WalGreens. As I was on my way down there, I passed by an Office Max, and it hit me that I didn't have a mouse for this laptop, so I went in a grabbed one. It's a really cool little cordless mouse, and I dig it a lot. The best part about it is the fact that I can just chill out in the easy chair, and use it on the armrest. No mousepad required!

Made it down to the WG, and as I stepped out of my van, I noticed that there was a 3/4 moon hanging out up there in the sky. This was at that peculiar time of dusk when the sun is over the horizon, but is still able to reflect off an airplane that is up at 35,000 feet. The plane in question passed very close to the moon, and I just took a moment to enjoy watching that aircraft glowing a beautiful sunny-gold... right next to a beautiful moon. It were downright peaceful. (All I needed was to be naked on my back porch, and I feel like this would have channelled Eric perfectly. I wonder if Robert Service ever wrote any poems about Airplanes and the moon?)

I made it into the store, and found my way down the proper aisle to procure a razor. Somehow in my rush to pack up, I left my old reliable Gillette Trac 2, sitting on the sink at the house in K-Town. "You mean to tell me that it's been a week since you shaved? I can't get away with that, why should you?" Back Off already! I'm a Construction Worker fercryinoutloud... I'm supposed to be scruffy! Luckily, I managed to get a decent shave out of that disposable Bic, but I still miss my Trac 2.

I've progressed my elevator "re-modernization" to the point where we're finalizing things. My "Punch List" is getting quite a few check-marks on it, and I feel pretty durned allright about that. I hope to be able to complete this job and get it adjusted by the end of this week. I've got another refurb that is to be deliverred on Monday, so I'll get to sink my teeth into that. I'm looking forward to that job, as I won't have to do so much fabrication work 'cuz it's getting new cabs and hoistway doors, right out of the gate. On the one I'm completing, I've been required to adapt the old doors, to new clutches and hanger's, and all the fabrication work has slowed my progress. On the next one, I'll actually have parts that are designed to fit together, so I expect progress to go much more quickly. (I hope I haven't jinxed myself by typing that)

I'm looking forward to getting back to Knoxville this weekend. I miss my favorite beertender, and my roommate's, and my Family... The fact that my bank account is steadily getting larger eases the pain a little bit, but it'll still be nice to be home.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 10:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 06, 2006

A new sport!

The local Elevator Inspector stopped by my jobsite the other day. He was there to check out a cab that the customer was trying to build himself, and I wanted his opinion as he'll be the guy to give it a pass/fail at the end of the job. He was supposed to show up on Tuesday, and he commented as such to me, my reply was "It's not like you've had anything else going on."

After he had taken a look at the cab, and declared that "It won't work. I need to see a UL Fire Rating" we got to kibbitzing about the accident. It would seem that the "Pinnacle Apartments" might be slightly misnamed, as the building has been reclaimed at some point and turned into a housing project. The elevators were an older design, and did not have a lot of the redundancies and safety features that are included on newer devices, and this is common in a lot of projects. Since a lot of these hoistway doors have a locking mechanism that can be openned with a simple screwdriver, a new sport has been devised by the young people who use them called "Elevator Surfing".

These young folks get on top of the cab and ride around. They'll party up there, get a snootful, and then dare each other to jump from one cartop to another...While both elevators are running at full speed! (I see a potential Darwin Award for one of these "Athletes".) The Inspector let me know that they had found evidence of such activity on those elevators. Beers cans, and gang "tags" painted all throughout the shaft were mentioned specifically. Due to this (albeit circumstantial) evidence, we're leaning towards vandalism of the door as the cause of the accident. (Mainly due to the fact that we find it hard to believe that anyone at Schindler would have left a door gibb off... under any circumstances.)

If you ever get the desire to elevator surf... Get a job with an elevator company. You'll learn how to do it correctly, safely, and no three-year-olds will die from it.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 08:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 05, 2006


I guess I bragged a little too quickly on the folks at TimeWarner communications. When I got home from the salt-mine last evening, I booted up the 'Ole Laptop, tagged up on the firefox Icon...and nuttin'. Hmmnn. Peek at the modem, and I see two of the indicator lights flashing in unison... This can't be good. After making a few calls, I got in touch with the local Tech Support crew. After a few ablutions, it was determined that the modem had "TUBE"ed on me, and I'd require a replacement. As luck would have it, the office that has the modems had closed a half-an-hour prior to my learning this, so no-bloggy last night.

In TW's defense, the kid on the Technical Support line didn't jump me through a bunch of hoops. As you may know, I used to do Tech Support for an ISP, and I can tell when someone is reading from a pre-prepared script, and the fella I talked to wasn't. He did a fast diagnosis, and made a decision...and that's my definition of a true technician. When I went in to the office (to do the modem swap) this morning, I was in the building less than ten-minutes, and (obviously) I walked out with a brand new modem.

I brought the new device back to the apartment, and ensured that it was going to function...which it did...I checked my email real quick, and then went back to work. When I arrived at the crib this evening, I pulled up the Interwebs, only to find that anything with a MUNU at the end of it was innaccessible. DANGIT! I can't catch a frickin' break around here! I surfed around to a few sites that weren't hosted by Pixy, and was able to connect no prob'. It took a few hours, but Yahtzee! eventually my site came up, and all the perks that cometh with it.

Like this post... I'm back! For awhile I hope.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 09:20 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 03, 2006


Well...things have been interesting here lately. Over the last month, I've worked a minimum of sixty hours a week, and here recently I've discovered that I'm tired. Luckily, I can choose my own hours, so I've scaled it back a little (only thirty-two hours so far this week...positively slovenly I tells ya). "But Johnny, How the hell are you posting right now? You're in frickin' Memphis!" Well, there's a couple of poeple to thank for that:

Firstly, the Company I Work For hooked me up with an apartment to stay in while I spend some time helping out the West Tennessee crew. Sure, It's adjacent to the 'Hood, but it's still better than livin' in a Motel 6. It's a gated, two-bedroom unit that's about 8 blocks from downtown. The location would be groovy... If I didn't have to drive twenty miles to get to the nearest retail store, but them's the breaks.

Last week, I called up the local Time Warner representative to get some cable TV in my new crib. I spoke to "Bobbi" at around 10 AM, and by 1:15 PM that day, I had digital cable. In and out, 15 minutes. I didn't get my fast Internet until this week though. I contacted Bobbi yesterday, and she geve me the same treatment that I got the first time. Fifteen minutes after her arrival, I was surfing the web. Outstanding service!.

I went to my roommate's Lady-Friend with my hat in my hand. She had gotten a laptop more than a year ago, and had discontinued using it for its original intent. When I requested to use it, she allowed that I could... For a modest fee. 10 dollars a day for the laptop, five a day for the power cord, and anther five a day for the audio speakers. It's expensive, but I'll pay the freight, 'cuz I deserve the opportunity to keep blogging.

That's my story... So far.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 10:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 02, 2006

Bad News

From here:

Memphis Toddler dies after falling down elevator shaft May 2, 2006 04:36 PM

A three-year-old boy died Monday night after falling down an elevator shaft at The Pinnacle, located at 305 South Bellevue in Memphis.

Officials at the scene said when the boy leaned back against a pair of elevator doors in the apartment building, the doors opened from the bottom. The child fell nine floors to the basement. The boy's grandfather climbed down cables in the elevator shaft to reach the child, and handed him to a building engineer.

Emergency crews transported the boy to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

First thing: My condolences to the family of the young man who lost his life. This type of accident should be impossible... not that it'll matter a bit to them.

Second: Thank goodness that this elevator is not serviced by the company I work for. I shudder to think that any of my contemporaries could be responsible for the death of the little boy.

Last: The only way that this incident could have occurred is for an installer or servicer to have either removed/never installed the door "gibb's" (the little guides that ride in the sill grooves), or someone damaged the hoistway door through vandalism or whatever means. (I really hope it was the latter instance). Hoistway doors are designed in such a fashion that they will not fall off in the event of a fire (there are metal tabs that ride in the sill-track, along with angles that hold the top off the door to the track), so this event should be impossible. I wish I knew what caused these doors to fail, so I could put my mind at ease, and ensure nothing like this will ever happen on one of my elevators.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 07:03 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack