In my previous post where I rambled about work, my new boss, and my love for being outside I also mentioned that I recently built a safety rail on a roof. For those who have never been on an ICI flat roof before, they are commonly covered in a few inches of stone. This particular roof I was working on had a lot of stones that were split into two pieces. As I was stuck waiting for another guy to go up and down the lift to get tools and materials I wandered around and picked up a few of these. I was hoping my Dremel and its engraving bits (courtesy of The Dude) would be capable of hollowing out a portion of the stone so I could hide a spare shed key in there.
When I got home from work I immediately let Dempsey out of his crate and after a pee stop we both went to the shed. I traced my key onto the rock with a Sharpie then fired up the Dremel. Less than a minute in and two things became abundantly clear: with enough time I could definitely accomplish my goal, and Dempsey loves the taste of powdered sandstone. I had to eventually kick him out of the shed because he wouldn’t stop trying to lick up all the piles of dust I was quickly creating. About thirty minutes in I was almost done. There was a few spots that were riding high, but my hands were freezing, I was filthy, and Roan wanted me to take him and Dempsey to the Dog park so I left it unfinished temporarily.
The following afternoon I got off work a little early and it was beautiful out. I spent about ten more minutes with the Dremel and I now have a stash-stone. I still want to get a couple little magnets from somewhere and set them in there to hold the lid on well, but until I find something that will work it’ll be fine how it is. Until Dempsey tries to eat it… I’ll have to find a spot out of his reach to hide it I guess.
While figuring out how I was going to frame Gage’s new room, there was some debate on where the closet door should be, I had my opinion on how it would need to be in order to make best use of the closet space, and Holly and Gage had their opinion on how it needed to be in order for his television to be where he envisioned it. Luckily for me, Holly understands mathematics and once I broke it down into how much the usable storage space was affected just by moving the door from one side to the other, she agreed that it had to be on the side where he wants his television. Once I figured all that out I decided to model the room in order to create accurate materials lists. If I was doing this job for someone else I would be adding 10% to my material estimates to cover anything unseen, but since we have a limited amount of space for spare / scrap wood, and a limited budget, it’s best for me to do it this way and buy only what we need.
I probably could have left the cats’ litter boxes out of the drawing, but it was probably my favourite part if I’m being honest.
After I finished crating all the “super secret” cargo at the shipyard I was supposed to be off for a period of about two weeks, while the owner of the company was on holidays. That all changed on Tuesday when the guy who runs the other crew (let’s call him Bo-Bandy for now…), Bo-Bandy, unfortunately suffered a minor heart attack. I was called to fill in while he’s getting rested and tested so he’s not overdoing it. I didn’t mind at all since I enjoy the work, need the money (fuck you xmas), and get a chance to work with the guys who have the most experience with all the tools, jobs, clients, procedures and – most importantly – the owner. I have yet to work with the owner. I have gotten a lot of positive feedback from him regarding my work, which makes me happy. But most of that feedback is just relayed through him, to me, from the client. Without us working together on something he only sees what I can do, and not how I do it. A lot of people can do the jobs I’ve been hired to do. It’s a question of whether they can do them smartly and safely, while being fast and efficient. When all he sees is the finished product, there is always the chance that I’m acting like an ass all day, fiddling with my smart phone, maybe not wearing pants, who knows. So far my work has been enough to keep me there, which from what I hear is often a difficult task; the place goes through people like I go through blunt wraps. I’m sure one day soon I’ll get to work with him, and soon after that know whether it’s a good thing or not. Either way I love the work, and I love working outdoors again.
The job I was called in to finish on Wednesday was a safety rail on a roof near the skyway. It was -7° that morning when I stopped to get my coffee, and the lovely lady behind the counter asked “You’re not working outside today, are you?”. I assured her that not only was I working outside all day on a 32′ lift, I was looking forward to it. I remember having conversations with people at John Deere about how much better it feels to work outside every day, regardless of the weather. Most thought I was crazy for preferring the outdoors in our cold Canadian winters, but I love having the world as your office. Just look at the view I had while working on that railing in the photo above. All day I watched massive boats pass through an engineered waterway that acts as a boat escalator (see: Welland Canal), while a C-130 Hercules circled above us (a regular occurrence here in Niagara). You don’t get that experience when you’re stuck in an office or warehouse. You just get neon lights that fuck with your head and eyes and make you contemplate not coming back after lunch. I get no lunch, and I don’t even care. I just like the job that much. Hopefully there is enough work to keep me there for a long time.
Over the past week and a bit I’ve been working at the local shipyard (same one I cut the boat cribs for recently) where they currently have two impressive ships: The Amundsen and The Athabaskan. The first is a Canadian Coast Guard ship (which is featured on our $50 bill), the second a destroyer belonging to our navy. The navy ship is full of antiquated and obsolete technology, so before she goes back east for upgrades she’s being stripped here, and the old junk is being shipped into cold storage somewhere for some reason (if it’s too old now, what is the point in keeping it so it can get older?).
We were hired to build crates around everything that couldn’t be seen by the public while in transit. Kind of a cool contract. There was some neat old computer terminals that were huge, a bunch of hatches and valves, and then a ton of what I assume was sonar equipment based on the labels and warnings. Unfortunately the destroyer was stripped of all it’s armaments before arriving in the dry-dock, so we didn’t get to see any cool missiles or mounted AA guns it would normally be sporting. Luckily for me, this job happened to fall on a week when my high school friend, now in the navy and stationed in Halifax (home of the Athabaskan) was stopping by for a visit. He was able to answer all my questions about the guns and choppers that were normally present on a boat like that. Then he told me about pirate spies. The navy sounds like a fun place to work.
Unfortunately cameras aren’t allowed in the shipyard and photos of the cargo was forbidden, so I have chosen to avoid treason charges (even though I could go for an ice cream sandwich) and use Sketchup (yup, I still love to play with Sketchup) to illustrate what my finished work looked like. Nothing special, but it was fun and I got to see some neat stuff.