Monday, November 10, 2008

Pouring the Concrete Driveway

Under our contract with Chick-Fil-A we are obligated to provide a shared driveway between the site and the old house. So Friday the 7th the crew framed the perimeter and laid the steel reinforcing bar and then began pouring about 400 cubic yards of concrete really early on Saturday morning.

Really early as in 5:00 a.m. early. Which is not actually that early for me. Since it was our driveway my son and I agreed to meet at the Starbucks and then go over and watch the pour.

I arrived early since I live closer and I get up early. So I was nearly alone in Starbucks. It reminded me of when I was taking care of dad and would spend the night with my wife on Fridays and then get up early on Saturday morning to return home. Usually I would drive to Starbucks and write in a journal or read or something for a couple of hours before returning.

At first I would go to the Starbucks in Norman and then when ours opened I began going to it. There is something very nice about being there early in the morning when it is dark and not many others are around.

Finally my son arrived and we went over to watch the pour. We got the general contractor's superintendent a cup of Starbucks, too. I am not exactly certain what I was watching for but it did seem to be the right thing to do. Once the superintendent asked me if everything was going okay to suit me. I told him it seemed so to me. I thought to myself if he was really asking me then we were both in a lot of trouble. But I think he was just being nice to me given my status as owner.

The crew that poured and finished the concrete was pretty large. There were 2 men whose main job seemed to be pulling this long 2x4 screed across the wet, newly poured concrete. And behind those 2 men there were 3 others who had these long handled trowel looking tools that they used to pull and push the concrete into or away from the screed. Then there was another man who controlled the tube from this huge concrete pumping machine that actually delivered the wet concrete. There were at least two other men who were working on the hand formed curbs and then there was at least one other man who had several jobs. One job was to fill these buckets with water and then place them around the pour and on occasion he would sling water onto the surface of the concrete using a coke can or some such thing. Another job was using this really long handled trowel to smooth out the concrete from the perimeter.

There were three or four other men who began using these motorized finishing machines after the concrete had set for a while. The finishing machines look kind of like really big fans except that the blade part is facing downward against the concrete. The operators glide them across the concrete kind of like a big floor sander. Ever so often they have to stop and change the blades out.

In between the pouring and the finishing stages there was another stage where some of the crew used these brooms with long handles to broom down the concrete from the perimeter.

I think there were at least 12 men on the concrete pouring crew.

The concrete pump is a huge truck mounted machine that has a hopper on the rear and a large pump and pip system. The pipe is attached to a huge boom that can be raised very high and then extended a very long distance horizontally. It is quite something to behold in operation actually.

The driver of the truck gets out of the cab and uses this remote control box unit that he carries with him from a harness around his neck. It is kind of like a game controller for a video game except that he is controlling the boom and the pump with it.

Another very important part of this is the concrete provider. It just so happened that the particular company has a plant across the street from where I now live. I had never met the foreman but he was there and so I introduced myself. I think he was a little surprised actually.

There was 396 yards of concrete poured as I recall. That's 44 of those really big concrete trucks. That's a lot. But the other day when they poured the parking lot for the Chick-Fil-A it took about twice that. They did that job in one day, too; but, they began at 3:00 a.m. that day and had an even larger crew.

There are some electric wires that feed the house and our office trailer that went across the area where we were pouring concrete. So the concrete pump had to be moved around on the east side of the house to finish up. It was wet and the truck was big and heavy and was stuck for a while in the first location. Finally the others on the job were able to do enough work on the land behind the truck to get him our.

The concrete pump and all the concrete trucks really tore up the yard of the old house. I was standing there watching all of it. There was really nothing that could have been done differently but still it did hurt my feelings in a way that there was so much violence occurring to the old place.

But that's the way it has to be.

The Chick-Fil-A wants to open the first week in February. I think I do not want the old house to be there when that occurs.

It is silly the reason I guess. But I don't want so many strangers gawking at the remains as they come in and out of the driveway. It seems like too much of an invasion of privacy or something like that. Kind of like people gawking at a carcass or vultures attacking the remains of an animal that has died.

So I am going to try to get everything removed beforehand.

I had not thought about this at all. I probably should have planned it better.

Most everything was done by about 1 pm and I ran some errands and then returned later to shut the gate and check on everything.

I was exhausted later in the day. Maybe it was because of the fact that I was on my feet the entire time. Maybe it was the emotional aspect. Maybe both. It was cold there, too, and I became chilled somehow. It took me forever to get warm again.


Lori1955 said...

Please tell me that you at least wrote your name in the wet cement.

~Betsy said...

I haven't been past my mom and dad's house since the day we closed on it. I don't know that I can ever go back. I give you a lot of kudos for seeing this through and I also understand the emotional exhaustion.

¸.•*´)ღ¸.•*´Chris said...

I feel like that when I go over to my parents house to check on it periodically. Just a cold feeling mixed with a boatload of emotion.

I so understand how you feel:(

nancy said...

i admire your strength terry and what you are going through.

it must be so hard. i agree with you on not wanting the house there for the opening. it may not mean much to anyone else but....