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Act Three

Well, I am not sure that this play will end up being a dark comedy or a tragedy, but today certainly offered comic relief.

I started the day in the office updating various parties on the current situation on site and the need to delay.  I also checked in with the shop and we were still a go for the new cylinder pickup for mid morning.  I got to the site at 9:45 AM and took off one of the hydraulic hoses that powered the outer boom as I had noticed it had a gash down to the SS winding.

I headed out to Williams Machinery at about 10:30 and arrived just after 11.  The cylinder had not come in yet but I was able to meet all of the individuals I had communicated with by phone and email and inspect the broken cylinder. It was for sure my cylinder.  They showed me the damage and I am at a bit of a loss at how it occurred.  The speculation is that a piece of concrete somehow got wedged between the cylinder and its shield and every time I lifted the arm, it was gauging the barrel wall.  End result, was that the barrel and piston were done.

At 11:30 AM we were assured that the truck was “minutes” away.  One of the mechanics advised that new cylinders often do not come with bushings so we pressed the old ones out of the broken unit and I spend some time cleaning out the grease journals as I waited.  The truck showed up at 12:10 PM and NO CYLINDER!

At this point I was laughing (somewhat hysterically) and apologizing that they had been sucked into my black hole vortex. After several calls, it was determined the freight was missing and somewhere between Prince George and Burnaby.

While at the shop I also got a call from the ICF carrier.  They were putting through $900 onto the visa and that was only the delivery of the first 10 skids.  There is then the delivery of the second 10 skids and then the last 2 skids.  I believe I will be taking to the manager on this.  This should have been handled as two shipments on smaller trucks and was a miscall by the dispatch as to the right equipment for the job.  It is also not my problem that they were not able to pick up with the right equipment from the dock and move directly to my house.

I set off to KMS tools to primarily buy a snap ring pliers, because using a needle nose pliers and then a flat head screwdriver in my mouth to jam into the snap ring when I had spread it enough, was not my idea of fun.  I got a call while at KMS that the cylinder had been found and that I could pick up at the carrier’s dock in Burnaby.

On the way there, I stopped in at NewLine and had a new hose fabricated for $70 in about 10 minutes (it was going to cost me hundreds to bring one in from Bobcat on a 2 day service).  So things were looking up.  I also asked for the old hose as a spare as it was not leaking yet.  This turned out to be very fortuitous.

I got to the Burnaby freight dock and picked up the cylinder.  I asked them to take it off the pallet and my first clue something was amiss should have been when I overheard “how is he going to lift it” as a response.  Anyway, they cut the boxed cylinder off the pallet and helped me carry it into the truck.  The whole time I was thinking, this feels heavier than mine.  I even started to unwrap the box but could see it was going to take a while and I was tired and just wanted to get home and get it installed.

Immediately on un-boxing it, I realized it was the wrong unit. It was for a much larger machine and was longer, had larger fittings, and larger journals where the pins slipped through.  There was no way that this unit would fit on my machine.  The new cylinder had the right part number felted onto it, but when you looked at the engraved number it was the wrong one.  So someone in the Prince George stock room or perhaps THEIR supplier had mislabelled the cylinder.

At this point I sat down, I could not write a script for this convoluted of a week if I tried. It was definitely looking like a Greek tragedy was developing.   This play was definitely looking like a tragedy.  Was I to plunge myself off a cliff as the climax of the final scene?

I called the shop (it was about 3:45 PM) and gave them the bad news.  I left it with them and after 15 minutes got a call back.  There did not appear to be any cylinders in Canada.  They found one in the USA, but even with air freight I would probably not see it till Tuesday or later.  This is where things took an amazing turn for the better.  The crew at Williams Machinery stepped up to the plate and advised that they were sending over one of their rental machines and that they would ‘work something out’ re the rent.  I offered to pay for the freight which was appreciated.  I am so thank-full to Joel and Chris for their efforts dealing with this setback.

So now I had to deal with poor disabled Alfie.  I put a chain over her canopy and used a cum-a-long to pull her arm off the ground.  I then used the used hose that I asked to keep as a spare as a patch chord between the two hoses that normally connected to the now removed boom cylinder.   A top off in the fluid tank and we were good to go.  Alfie stalled a couple of times as he tried to circulate fluid through all of his lines and then we were good to go.  I was able to drive him further onto the garage pad and out of way of the driveway,  Once I remove all the broken concrete I will drive him further to the back of the property so he is out of the way until he is better and can rejoin the party.

The loaner machine arrived and I immediately started to put E to work. E is a Bobcat E35 and she is young and beautiful.  She is sleek and fast and I am in love.  Her front blade pivots like a grader and all of the controls are tight and responsive.  She also has rubber tracks that can climb mountains.  My metal tracks are shot and I get stuck climbing over a rock.  I want to keep her – sorry Alfie.  During the last hour of the day I could make noise, I widened the driveway by moving old railway ties and relocated a pile of waste dirt. With the last 15 minutes I started pulling apart the sub-floor I had removed from the bedroom separating it into the green waste and then the rubbish (plywood and building paper).

I wasted no time getting to know E and putting her to work.
I wasted no time getting to know E and putting her to work.

Once I saw that the machine actually had arrived at my site, I called the excavator to update and left a message.  I can only hope that he can get a truck to me Saturday AM so that I can spend the day loading the concrete and clearing the site.  I then need to co-ordinate with Sean from Burley Boys to put up my tarp cable.  He was to come Sat AM, but I will not be ready now.

And do not forget, I still have to figure out how to get a new cylinder for Alfie.  I will look into the possibility have having a new barrel and piston made if I can find teh right machine shop in the lower mainland.

So – lets see what act 4 will be and how this all turns out.  Enjoy the ride!

As always, thanks for the visit.

2 Responses to “Act Three”

  1. Generally people don’t comprehend all the stages of
    construction.One of those stages is
    related to frustration with the best laid plans. The wasted time the extra costs and scheduling
    delays can be an absolute nightmare as you have so eloquently described.
    Contrary to TV shows on construction, houses don’t get built
    in a one-hour program.
    Let’s see how this works: 5 minutes for demolition, 5
    minutes for excavation, 2.5min. commercial break, 10 minutes for foundation
    preparation and concrete foundation walls, 5-minute commercial break (opportunity
    for the crews to have a 5min. lunch), 3min. strip the form work and for the
    basement slab, 10 minutes to start framing to lock up, 10 minutes for sub trades
    (plumbing, electrical, heating, insulation and drywall, 2.5min. commercial
    break (coffee break, 7 minutes finish carpentry, painting and landscaping, customer
    reveal and hand over the keys.Easy as

  2. Wise words indeed.  One of my hopes is that by doing most of the work myself, I will claw back all of the time typically lost on scheduling conflicts and inter-trade conflicts.

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