Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Workin' for a livin'

Nothing new on the nails today, so here's a little background on me:

As I've said, I work in heavy construction. We do structural earthwork - we build systems that protect hillsides from lake erosion, protecting property values and improving lakefront access for our customers. Among my jobs, I am a machine operator - "my" machine is the Bobcat shown here on its way to work...

The crane in the foreground is my dad's, nobody operates it but him. For this job, we had to use the crane to place the Bobcat at the bottom of the cliff we were stabilizing. On the other hand, the machine below is my baby - isn't she beautiful?
Seriously, this is the third crane in our fleet, our newest acquisition. We've had an eye on her for 25 YEARS, and we haven't seen her move for the whole time. But, one day, while working a job just a mile away, I stopped in on a whim and asked - and the owner said "Hey, it's got some problems, but if you want it, you can take it... the guys here have been talking about cutting it up for scrap, but I'd spend more on torch fuel than the scrap would be worth." DEAL! I've started her up, she drives on her own power, and in the next week we'll load her on a trailer and bring her home! The funny thing is, we were interested partly because we thought this crane was one size smaller than what we already have, but it turns out to be exactly the same model as our other two cranes. If it was smaller, then we could transport it without needing the permits for oversize loads that we need with our other two. But, it's better that all 3 are the same, because I've needed to learn to operate our cranes, but the two working cranes are always on jobsites where we're too busy working to take time for practice. This will be our yard crane (her drivetrain is a little weak, needs some love... ) and at the yard I can work on fixing her up and I can learn to drive her, so she doesn't end up like this one:
This poor crane is next door to the job we're currently working, a mile from my baby... and we watched it all Fall, wondering when it was going to go, and why its owner hadn't moved it. Turns out, it wouldn't start for him, so he had been jacking it up and propping wood under it as the bank eroded out from underneath. If he had told us this before it fell, we could have used our crane to tow his crane away from the edge... but our crane doesn't have enough power to drag it back up the hill on its side. Now, he says he's leaving it there until Spring - but if the lake (Lake Erie) freezes over, the ice will have the power to drag it a mile offshore - nothing is strong enough to resist the momentum of a 100 sq mile sheet of 6" thick ice, even moving at 1/4 mile per hour.

Reading this blog again, reminds me of an episode of "Frasier". I know, your thinking "WTF? How in the world do you get from three cranes... to Frasier?" Easy! There was an episode where Daphne had gained weight. She fell down, and couldn't get back up. Niles tried to help, but couldn't. His dad, Martin, came over, still not enough. Finally, Frasier, Niles and Martin all got in on it, and got Daphne on her feet. Then Martin says "I just thought of something funny... it took three Cranes to lift you!"

1 comment :

  1. That's an awesome find. It should be a great way to lean to operate a crane. Be sure to post pictures If you do some work to it.