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Concrete Diaries

Monday, September 22, 2008

Nothing very interesting has happened lately. Mostly it’s been just brute labor. We rented a concrete saw to cut up the old foundation. We cut up the old foundation to make room for the new foundation. After cutting, we used a sledgehammer to break up the concrete. That got us nowhere. Then we rented an electric jackhammer to break up the concrete.

That worked for the thin stuff, but when we got to the real footings, the 18 inch deep stuff, it got us nowhere. Each visit to the tool rental place was like another installment of an arms race. I’d return the tool and say, “got anything stronger?” And the dude who worked at the tool rental place (who shall go unnamed because I don’t know his name and he was a big jerk) would say: “well, we got the 2990.” And then I’d have to say, “[long pause] What’s the 2990?” And he’d give me this well if you need to ask look. And then I’d say nothing. Saying nothing turns out to be a powerful move in the building trades. Saying something only invites rebuttal. But if you say nothing then you leave your opponent, er, rental place dude, vulnerable to the possibility of saying something stupid. Sometimes these tense bouts of tactical silence can go on for minutes. Anyway, I ended up with a 90 pound jackhammer and a ginormous, diesel-powered air compressor that needed to be towed behind me. The silence technique usually requires that I leave with a tool that I have no idea how to operate.

Bert showed up just in time to fire up the jackhammer and start pounding. The great thing about Bert is that he just goes for it. It would’ve taken me thirty minutes to double check all the air compressor settings and reading of panels to figure out what the blinking red light was and wondering about why there were so many dials and so few operable buttons. But Bert just plugged it in, turned it on and started pummeling. 

Once the hammering was complete we were left with many piles of concrete. I spent several days loading them into my truck, hauling them to the landfill, and then unloading them at the base of a giant concrete mountain. The landfill somehow recycles concrete. They probably send it to China to put into baby formula or cat food. By weighing my full and then empty truck at the pay station I figured that each load was a ton. So in the end I loaded and unloaded ten tons of concrete by hand. When one envisions the process of building the dream home, the whole tons of concrete thing rarely makes the highlight reel. 

One Response to “Concrete Diaries”

  1. Mr. Bayes Says:


    I recognize that I’m not qualified to give this title, not being one and all, but I believe you’re officially now a badass.