Friday, November 11, 2011

The Dynamic Drunken Duo Puts Safety First!

Preamble: I started writing this post 4 days ago after a full day on my feet, shoveling or dumping dirt, and pounding beer in the warm sun on an empty stomach. The three days that followed were identical to the first. Each night when the work was done I would come inside and either edit or completely delete what I had written the day before, and then add a little more to the post. By the time the work was done on Thursday, I was physically and mentally spent and realized that I had written four pages in a Word document with a font size of 11. Holy shit! I have mandated myself a little vacation from the fine taste of sticky green, and relaxing effects of tetrahydrocannabinol for nearly a month now, and it's obvious that my writing has suffered immensly. I have lost the ability to keep a story short, concise and limited to relevant details. The more I edited and deleted, the more I would add and the worse it got, until I finally just said, "Fuck it!" So with that out of the way, here it goes...

Earlier this year, my folks came to the conclusion that the swimming pool put in 25 years ago when they bought their house had become a major pain in their asses. They’re getting older and don’t want to deal with the bullshit part of owning a pool anymore and don’t think it’s worth the expensive costs in utilities and chemical expenses to maintain. That, and the fact that it hadn’t been used more than a handful of times in the last 15+ years made the decision a no brainer for them. Since both of them love gardening and harvesting vegetables they decided to fill it with dirt and turn it into a massive vegetable garden. My brother and I both tried talking them out of it, because a swimming pool can net another $25k when it comes time for them to sell the house, but they didn’t give a shit They were tired of it and their minds were made up, and I can’t say that I blame them.

So a couple of months ago, my dad drained the pool right after my mom left to visit her family back east for two weeks and had 40 cu yards of fill dirt delivered and dumped in his driveway. 40 cubic yards of dirt, for those of you that don't know, is a lot of fucking dirt! I wish I would've snapped a picture of it in his driveway so I could illustrate the huge fucking 40 yard mound that covered his driveway up to the roof line, but didn’t think about it at the time. Pops went and rented the only machine he could find that would fit along the narrow side of his house, and then called me to see if I would help him start filling the pool. When I got to his house and saw this pile of dirt that used to be a driveway and this little Kanga Kid loader parked on the street, I knew this was going to take us a while, but I also thought it looked like it was going to be fun to operate this little machine, and boy was I right! Obviously not as fun as operating a backhoe or Bobcat, but it was fun as fuck! And the more beer I drank that day, the more fun I was having on this simple piece of equipment. After less than an hour on it, I was getting really good and fast with the simultaneous operation of the arm and bucket, forward or reverse and steering. Three days and damn near a cubic yard of crushed beer cans later, the huge mountain of dirt in the driveway was decimated, and we were ready for more dirt. Talk about two functioning drunks! In the underground world of functional drinking, my dad and I are known as The Dynamic Drunken Duo. We are the undisputed featherweight champions of the world in functional drinking. Even the heavyweights are afraid of our wicked skills, so don't waste our time with meaningless title challenges. We will embarrass the fuck out of you, and then we will drink all of your beer!

Not one injury, not one accidental bucket-chunk taken out of the side of dad's house, or his fence, or his gate, or the bricks around the edge of the pool. No pissed off neighbors with dents in their cars when I tried to catch some air off the curb with the Kanga Kid (which was a lot of fun trying, but impossible with a maximum speed of 5 mph and machine weight close to a ton). Not even one beer was knocked over in those three days, and I was wasted driving this thing around. I could tell my dad had a good beer buzz rollin' too! He can't hide it as well as I can, but then again, I've had a lot of specialized training in deceptive drunkeness from living with this chick for a few years with her head all fucked up with misconceptions of regular drinkers (among other crazy bitch psycho-ness). The sex was fantastic, but that crazy bitch drove me to drink more and train harder every day!

It was nice with my mom not being there while The Drunken Duo was working, because Pops was having a little more fun and he was able to enjoy his beer buzz for once without my mom counting his empties and raggin' on him about it. Don't get me wrong, I love my mom more than anything in the world, but when she's gone on her trips like these, my dad cuts loose like he used to do before his heart attack, and seeing him having fun makes me a happy boy!

I was kinda bummed when the last scoop was dumped into the pool, because that meant The Drunken Duo would be on hiatus for a while. The pool wasn't even half full, so I knew The Drunken Duo would have another drunken adventure soon when Pops could coordinate the next dirt delivery at the same time as K.K. would be available for a 1-week rental.

That delivery happened Monday morning around 8:30 as I walked outside for a smoke and cracked my first 24oz breakfast in a can. I walked up to the truck and said, “Holy shit! A white guy? Are you kidding me? Dude, let me run in the house real quick and get my camera!” The guy laughed because he knew exactly what I meant and he asked me where I wanted the dirt. I pointed it out, and he dumped 30 more yards of dirt in true white boy style (fast and accurate), while I sat there with my beer and smoke and kept out of his way. Dad was just getting back from the rental yard as the guy was hooking back up and checking his hydraulic lines and all that good shit. I slugged the rest of my breakfast, cracked another one, and started to release K.K. from the tie-downs as my dad was signing the ticket and bullshitting with the guy. I got The Kid fired up and rolled him off the trailer in drunken-dirt-movin’ anticipation and heard a whistle, looked up, and got the universal “kill the motor” sign from Pops. I shut it off and said, “Don’t worry, I was just getting it off the trailer. It’s your project, and you’re paying for The Kid so I know that means you have dibs. You want me to get you a beer?” In a grumpy tone he said, “No. We still have to take the gate off on the side of the house, and I don’t want to listen to a bunch of shit about dust all over the patio for a fuckin’ week like I did when your mom got back from her trip last time, so we have some work to do first.”

We attached some poly sheeting and tarps from the roof of the patio and then covered everything in sight except for the table and chairs that we use for beer-breaks, and then we took off the gate on the side of the house. It took us a lot longer than it should've taken because Dad was still marinating in frustration about the earful my mom gave him last time. He would grab the staple gun from the garage and then forget the staples. Or he would get the visqueen and forget the box cutter. It was one thing after another until 45 minutes later, we were finally ready to put this shit behind us and start moving some dirt.

At this point, it was around 10am. I was seven beers deep on an empty stomach and I was feelin’ good! The Dynamic Drunken Duo was back and ready to save the day! Dad fired up The Kid and dove right into the pile of dirt. One thing that The Kid is lacking is torque. No matter what we tried, there is no way to get a full load of dirt unless you top off the bucket with a shovel. Even with a good running start at full throttle, 3/4 of a bucket was it. If you weren’t operating the machine, you were the shovel bitch. The shovel bitch would wait by the mound of dirt for The Kid to return for a new scoop and then top off the bucket and that was about the extent of shovel bitch’s job description. I didn’t mind being shovel bitch, because there was a chair to sit down in and lots of down-time to smoke and drink and perv-out on my parent’s MILF neighbor down the street.

There is no way to drink and drive The Kid because of the design of skidsteer. It’s like a tank; two separate vertical levers, a left and a right, control the respective left and right drivetrains, which requires two free hands. Believe me, I tried! This was one of those times I wished I would’ve bought one of those stupid frat-boy hats that holds a beer on each side and has tubes for straws that hang down to the mouth for hands-free drinking.

Anyways, we would switch off between operator and shovel bitch after 10 loads. When it was my turn to have some fun and be the operator, my dad looks at me and shouts over the sound of the engine, “Where are your fuckin’ earplugs?” I gave him the “Shit, I’m not worried about it” gesture. Still in his shitty mood he yells, “If you’re not gonna wear ‘em, then you’re not gonna get on this thing!! My project, and I’m paying for it, right?? Just like you said. Remember?” Well, Fuck! You gotta be kidding me! I yelled back, "I have to go find some in my truck. Keep going on the machine!" What a crock of shit! I mean WTF? I had been feelin’ good all morning, and then he got on his pissy little earplug power trip and got me in a shitty mood. It wasn’t a big deal last time. Why now? When did the asshole from OSHA show up? Pops was wearing some fuckin’ loafers or moccasins or something. I was wearing boots! He wasn’t wearing gloves. I was wearing gloves! He was wearing his regular prescription glasses. My sunglasses, like every pair of sunglasses I own, are stamped Z87.1 on the inside of the arms. That means they’re OSHA approved safety glasses old man! I was ready to call him out right there in his driveway with some compare and contrast safety shit, but the smartass that lives in my head gave me a better idea.

I used to work for a signal and lighting contractor where I was occasionally in closed lanes on the highway or in the middle of an intersection flagging traffic, so there was always a safety vest and hardhat in my truck. When I got laid off from that job a few years ago, I never took them out because they’re in my extra cab out of the way, and they can come in handy for various different reasons and situations. For one, people typically don’t give you a second look or think twice if you’re in certain areas where someone not wearing a bright orange hardhat would be the one raising eyebrows. I’ve driven down dozens of miles of new highways that weren’t officially opened to the public yet, and around cones, through barricades, etc. and I never even got a second glance from Highway Patrol, Caltrans inspectors, or anyone else. I looked like I was just another construction worker dude that was supposed to be there. I’ve also been let off twice by the Highway Patrol for speeding well over the posted limit by telling them, “I’m sorry officer. My boss called me on my day off and told me there was an emergency traffic signal shut down and I needed to haul ass to the job site and direct traffic before there’s an accident.” or some bullshit story I made up on the spot. Both of those times, I wasn’t even wearing the shit. They were just on my front seat in plain view for the effective selling of my complete bullshit. And both patrolmen bought it hook, line and sinker and let me off with a warning. BWAHAHAHAHA! Suckers!!

So I topped off the bucket and waited until he was gone before I ran to my truck, threw on the vest and hardhat and some fucking earplugs, ran back, grabbed my beer that was next to the chair for shovel bitch, pounded it down, and lit a smoke while I waited for him to get back to hand over the controls and assume shovel bitch position.

When he drove back out the narrow opening of the side gate and looked up, I was just standing there with my arms stretched out like, “Well? Is this good enough, Mr. Power Trippin’ Safety Guy?” He started to laugh and shake his head. I yelled, “Well? You think this will be good enough for the safety officer at this job site? I heard he’s a real asshole, and these boots aren’t steel-toe. I’m not wearing a cup either, so I hope he doesn’t check EVERYTHING!”

That was all it took. It snapped Dad out of his funk and lightened him up a bit. He shut down The Kid and said, “Go get me a beer you fuckin’ smartass!” And with that, The Dynamic Drunken Duo was back in action, ready to take on any challenge and save the day!

We worked at my dad’s pace all this week, putting in 10-hour days, but with lots of beer breaks in between. He’s pushin’ 70 years old, so I didn’t bitch about his extended lunches and little naps while I kept working. After the dumped piles of dirt lined the edges where we had the access to dump, it was really a one-man job to shovel it to the other side to make room for the next round of piles anyways.

We finished up yesterday around 2:00 in the afternoon, and The Kid was returned to the rental yard with nothing but good things to say about him and his performance. Pops kept a tally of trips it took us to go from the driveway, through the tight opening of the gate and down the narrow side of the house at 3 mph that it took to reduce the 30 yard mountain of dirt into a pathetic ant hill. It came out to 238 in total. That works out to an average of 60 per day, 30 each. Not bad for a couple of drunks.

Next time, they will be sending a load of top soil to Dad’s driveway, but I’m not sure when that’s going to be. He wants to let this fill dirt settle for a couple of weeks before doing the math to see how many yards he’s going to need. We’re supposed to get rain all weekend long starting tonight, so I expect the level to drop at least 6 inches, depending on how much water actually falls from the sky. We’ll see.

As for me? I’m ready to kick the fuck back this weekend and do absolutely nothing but enjoy the rainy weather, kick off my shoes and pound some suds. Maybe I’ll watch some football on Sunday if I get bored watching paint dry. I really want to smoke a few bowls and jam a little guitar with my good buddy Z this weekend, but he’s out of town and I’m on a self-mandated break right now to clean out my system to be piss-test ready when the time comes. Maybe I’ll start working on my resume’ that I’ve been putting off and really need to get done.

Hope everyone has a Happy Veteran’s Day weekend. Don’t forget to thank a Vet and kick the shit out of a scumbag hippy this weekend! As a free American it is not only your right, but your fucking DUTY!

And remember folks, SAFETY FIRST! Safety means NO ACCIDENT, so please be safe out there on the job site and let OSHA know that they are nothing but another bullshit government agency that really doesn't give a flying fuck about the safety of American workers. They only care about control and issuing fines to bring in more revenue and secure their bullshit jobs!!!

Blow me OSHA!


Anonymous said...

I feel your pain.Cleared 2acres by hand with my father.Used a '36 Ford tractor.NO beer involved !

Anonymous said...

I love father stories like this-my father was a compulsive gambler who stole my mom's tips and left us when I was 5-so good on ya dude

kerrcarto said...

One of my favotrite jobs was when I ran heavy equipment. You instantly turn 9 years old again for a while. I can't wait to meet your dad when y'all make the scouting trip.

Harper said...

Great story CD. That little machine looks like fun, but who designed it so that it isn't able to scoop a full load of dirt? That is exactly the kind of thing that would spur my granddad into modification mode.

kerrcarto said...

You mean the state of Commiefornia let you do this with no permits or government handlers. Holy Shit!

CharlieDelta said...

Anon#1- No beer? Are you out of your mind?

Anon#2- Thanks. Yeah, I'm a lucky man. My dad is a stand up, responsible and honest (sometimes too honest) guy who can take to his grave the knowledge that he's gone above and beyond to raise his kids right.

I can't remember the name of the manufacturer, but it was some outfit out of Australia. When my dad first brought it home, I noticed right away that it was powered by a Honda motor. At least they got that part right.
The problem with K.K. is that it doesn't have enough power or torque to muscle all of it's weight into the dirt to grab a full bucket. My shoulders still hurt from (subconsciously) trying to muscle the thing like a dirt bike to get it to do what I wanted it to do. My 175 lbs.(soaking wet) trying to manipulate a 1-ton piece of equipment. I saw my dad doing the same thing. LMAO! It's instinctive!

As for "modification mode", I know exactly what you're talking about because I learned to do the same from helping my brother over-engineer and over-modify just about everything he uses. He won't wait for it to break and let him down either. He already in "modification mode" when whatever it happens to be is still brand new. His motto is, "I bought this thing to use, not to have it break on me! And I'm going to use the shit out of this fucking thing!" Cheers to your granddad!

kerrcarto- LMAO! That's the first question I asked my dad when he said that he was going to fill the pool. "What did the overpaid fat fuck at the City charge you for the backfill permit?" He just sneered at me, because when he had the pool put in, he did the concrete patio work and two retaining walls with massive footings at the same time. The guys that excavated the pool had a Bobcat and used the "open space" next to my dad's house to park their 10-wheeler so they could easily and efficiently fill their truck with dirt. Some cunt that happened to work at the City lived nearby, came by to be nosy, and then threatened my dad to revoke his permit and shut down the project because he used the "open space" to park construction equipment without the City's permission (Translation: $$$$)

Little did she know, my dad had already asked and got a verbal okay from the H.N.I.C. in the permits dept. All they were doing was parking and filling a 10-wheeler truck with a Bobcat. I don't remember, but if it took them longer than two days to excavate for the pool, my dad hired the wrong dudes.

He drove down to the City first thing in the morning the following day after her tizzy and made her feel 2 inches tall right in front of her boss. LMAO! He said the dude that gave him the verbal even greeted him by name when he walked up to the counter where the cunt was shuffling papers or whatever her job was. He was telling me that story during one of our many beer breaks last week. Classic! My dad knows when he's wrong, and he also knows when he's in the right. When to ignore some asshole, and when to make some overpaid cunt at the City feel like a fucking moron. He said when he left with his small, but HUGE victory, she couldn't even look him in the eyes when she (eventually) apologized. LMAO! Where was Youtube and cell phones with video 25 years ago? That would've been great to record and play back!

InsomniacSeeker said...

That's a great story. I moved back to help my dad farm from 1993 - 2000 and it turned into a referee job when we worked cattle with my oldest brother. Good grief those two would get into the worst fights ever. I hate cattle, unless they are in the form of a steak.


InsomniacSeeker said...

so there was an explanation to that pic on fb. :)

CharlieDelta said...

Yes there was, but I figured the pic was good enough without the long-winded story.

You know, you can always ask for an explanation though... :-)

Claude said...

I love the well written story, CD. And you're a lucky guy. Great family all together, and one by one! :-)

PeggyU said...

Well that's a helluva container garden!!! Should be easy to tend. I'm curious how the soil drains, though?

CharlieDelta said...

It was one of those vinyl-lined pools. The only concrete involved was a thin layer along the bottom and in the corners to help keep the vinyl form, and Pops busted that up and removed it before we ever started filling it up. Drainage won't be an issue.

CharlieDelta said...

Thank you Claudia. I am indeed a lucky man, and thankful for the family and friends that I have been blessed with my entire life.

PeggyU said...

Kewl! Looking forward to pictures of a garden :D.

Goldenrod said...

Blow me OSHA!

HA!! I wouldn't give them the privilege.