Saturday, February 23, 2008

Warm And Fuzzy Center Beam

Hopefully Paul Frazier will send along some pictures that captured our acrobatic act trying to get the center beam erected across the lengthy span of the building. I told you before that we had a Venezuelan contractor and his son involved in the project -- enter Murphy's law -- the contractor did not show up for the most crucial piece of construction. Around 10 in the morning Paul called him to see what was up. As it turned out he had celebrated his birthday the night before and had eaten some bad "cake" and was too sick to come to work . . . riiight!

The proverbial "monkey wrench" was thrown into the works. We would have to get the beam in place without the staging the maestro was supposed to supply. There were no chain falls or any thing else to provide leverage to hoist the spine of the entire top floor into place.

The mystery of the building of the pyramids in Egypt immediately came to mind . . . how did they do it . . . how would we put the capstone on our pyramid?

One of our team members, Damon, owns a construction company in Columbus -- he builds banks. He and I put our heads together and came up with a plan (I know how to improvise, but you would not want me to build your house . . . ask my friend Harvey . . . long story). Thing is one part of the plan was unavoidably dangerous. One guy would be needed to spot weld the gable end, and the other guy would have to be precariously perched on the tip top of the one section of staging we had. I volunteered for the tip-top spot -- actually I insisted. I have lived a long and eventful life, I was the oldest, and I was in charge.

I know what you are thinking -- what a guy!

Once we got Damon's end in place we had to lift the beam the last few inches to set it on top of the 4 inch wide support column -- which now looked the breadth of a toothpick. Once we got it to that point we would have to steady it there while the final end was set in place and spot welded! One of the sherpas -- sherpas being one of the young guys who were part of the team -- joined me for that final push. He is a hoss'.

We got it in place -- held it -- tacked it!

Paul who had been watching the whole process told us, "Of the 51 construction teams I have had -- putting that center beam in place is the most dangerous maneuver I have ever seen. But I wasn't worried -- youns' are expendable!" Did I tell you that Paul is not the warm and fuzzy type?

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