Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sidewalk and Driveway Brick Adventure Part:I

I have taken my journal entries documenting the installation of the brick driveway/sidewalk and have combined them to tell the story of this adventure in some sort of order. This entry begins at Stanton's Antique Music Auction in Michigan. This was a three day auction starting 2:00 p.m. on  Thursday and ending on Saturday afternoon.  Billy drove from Gainesville, FL to my house in Tuscaloosa, AL. We drove up together. It was great fun annoying the other auction goers baiting them on the brick pick up!!

U-Haul AdventuresWednesday, May 09, 2012

Saturday May 5th was the big day for me! The main reason I made this road trip with Billy was to acquire 832 Nelsonville star paver bricks located in Ohio. Each brick weighs in at about 10 pounds which makes this load of bricks total in at over four tons. The bricks were located in a little town north west of Dayton, Ohio. It was imperative I be able to get my U-haul truck as near to these bricks as possible. There was another problem in the pick up time for the truck. I was picking it up at around 5:00 p.m. on a Saturday. Many U-Haul locations are closed at that time.
The town of Troy, Ohio was the perfect pick up location. Once I made a truck reservation and had a number to deal with, I contacted U-Haul through their website to explain my situation. They do not guarantee you the size truck, or pick up location you request. I was flexible with my pick up location, but I could not vary from a 14ft truck. The maximum weight it could “legally” carry was around 6,000 pounds. The next larger size truck at 17ft was rated to carry even less weight. I did not want to spill the beans I was going to be carrying bricks, but I wanted them to know it was the weight limit as to why I needed the 14ft truck.
I have to give praise to U-Haul. Within a couple hours I had an E-mail reply from their website with a number to call for scheduling truck pick-ups. I spoke with the most competent scheduler. She put me at ease that I would be able to get the needed truck along the route I was travelling. When I learned Friday it would be at the Troy, Ohio location I was ecstatic.
We got on the road and headed to Troy, Ohio a little late to pick up the U-Haul and adventure. It was just before six when I was behind the wheel trying to get the feel of driving a box truck for the first time since 1996. I had my Garmin to direct me to Arcanum, Ohio where the bricks were located. Billy was following me. I was driving on narrow country roads. The road I drove out of Troy was called, Horseshoe Bend road. I saw a sign which read “no busses or trucks”. I figured they meant semi trucks. There were hairpin turns where this road dropped to a creek. I had to back up on the worst bend to be able to negotiate the turn. I was a wreck by the time I arrived at the brick pick-up.
The 834 bricks were located on pallets against a far wall of a garage. Billy was able to back up the truck pretty close. We had to transport those damn things by hand. Justin, the guy selling them had two helpers, so there were five of us. We had one person in the truck while two people made up stacks of bricks four high and the others convoyed them to the truck. Ever so slowly the truck got filled. I was so glad to close the door and latch it shut.
Four plus tons of bricks stacked in the U-Haul:
Our destination for the night was the Motel Six in Dayton. I deliberately chose this location as an Outback was just down the road. I tried to call to make the reservation, but the call would not go through. We decided to just take our chances and show up.
It was only about a 25 mile drive to the motel location which was one exit south on I-75 from the interchange of I-70. The Motel Six is now a Best Value Inn. I checked us in. Billy backed the U-haul into a parking spot up front and I put my lock on the latch.
We washed the worst of the dirt off us and headed to the Outback. It was Prime rib tonight after the day we had.
A hot shower did wonders before bed. We slept in and did not get on the road till after 7:00 a.m. Traffic was light through Cincinnati. It took a while to get comfortable driving the truck. It was a few hours into the trip before I got at ease enough to start passing and driving a bit more aggressively. I’m so glad to be driving this load on a Sunday instead of bumper to bumper weekday traffic.
I was telling Billy at the rest stop before Louisville, that it would be shorter to take the Watterson Expressway around the city. One of the state workers overheard this discourse and he recommended we take the longer Gene Snyder Expressway. He explained there was still clean up going on from the Kentucky Derby, and the Snyder was only about four or five miles longer and was easier driving.
This was good advice. We stopped for lunch in  Bowling Green at the White Castle. We took a break leaving the truck in the White Castle lot and driving in the Honda to the Flea Market. This is the nasty place I used to frequent back when I lived and worked in Bowling Green. I was cornered and asked if I played the bagpipes because of my Utilikilt! The human interaction that garment brings me!
It is a five hour drive to Tuscaloosa from Bowling Green. Nashville was a nightmare to get through as I-24 was closed down for construction. Once we were able to exit onto 40 west things picked up again. Normally I would have detoured to Trader Joe’s in Nashville. Not this time. I just wanted to get home.
It was about 6:30 p.m. when I parked the truck in the empty parking lot across the street from my house. I was numb and “rubber legged” as I stepped down and out of the cab. We had covered some 600 miles.
Life With BricksThursday, May 10, 2012
Monday morning I started unloading the bricks. Using a length of 2”x6” with a backing of an old piece of wood siding on my moving cart, I was able to figure out how to move 18 bricks a trip. That does not sound like a lot, but it works out to wheeling 180 pounds down the ramp and then stacking the bricks at the end of the driveway. Billy took over in the truck stacking the bricks into the cart. We worked in tandem. The truck unloaded much faster than it loaded!
Got the truck all cleaned out and we dropped it off at the U-Haul. Before I dropped it off I had to make sure the tank was ½ full. It used to be you got the truck with a full tank and you returned it with a full tank. What a pain in the butt to figure out how to get a ½ tank. It took some three tries. I think Visa thought there was a problem as after the second swipe, I had to go inside to see the cashier.
Those bricks were driving me crazy… Wednesday I went to work to do a mock up how this new sidewalk will turn out. I decided to go with a “herringbone” pattern. This is how I’ve seen most sidewalks laid with this style brick.
Today I started the day working on the front gate. The gate and post are supported by cement, but the past few years the gate has been shifting. I fixed up a brace by using galvanized ½” pipe. I used up an old tee fitting to join the two pieces of pipe, and sized it so it just fit between the cement gate foundations. Then I took pipe wrenches and opened up the pipe enough to get the correct spacing. Then the trench I dug which is where the pipe ran was filled with cement.
I have to wait till that all sets up before I work on the crushed limestone base for the new bricks.
Bricks are InstalledThursday, May 17, 2012

This boy is tore up. It seems I’m saying this line more and more. I have been in overdrive to get the new sidewalk installed. The worst of the job was done when I put the first bricks in back in 1999. I just had to enlarge the sides a bit and scrape down the crushed limestone base to compensate for these bricks being a bit thicker.
This is the first time I’ve ever laid brick in a “herringbone” pattern. I have read enough on laying a brick walk, but a video on the “You-tubes” showing how you start using a center line with the bricks pointed down, and then adding to the sides going up. Add another course pointed down, etc…. was invaluable. Using a strait line to line the first course up made a real professional looking job. I was seeing bricks in my sleep!!
I had so many neighbors stop by to comment as work progressed. One neighbor stopped by with her son who is now tall as me. She remarked how she remembered me installing the old bricks in 1999 when she would push her son in the stroller!! She just shook her head when I told her I was going to use those bricks to brick over my driveway. But, I had to wait till it got over 100° to break up the cement!
There was little waste in cutting up the bricks with the saw. The edge on left side needed a 45° cut. That corner bit of "waste" fit perfectly in the space left on the right side!  Even so, I hated to cut up that beautiful brick. The distance worked out perfectly to where I did not have to trim and cut down the last course of bricks to fit.
It is always a good day when you are working with bricks!
Here is a shot of the bricks with the second coating of sand ready to be soaked in between the bricks.
I was flooded with memories as I worked with the old bricks. The bricks which edge the walk are termed “vanilla bricks” as they are unmarked. I’m thinking these bricks were used on alleyways and secondary streets as they are not at thick a full street paver, but are thicker than a sidewalk paver. These bricks I discovered dumped on an old railroad right of way. I used to get more bricks at this location. Usually the police would stop by to see what was going on when I'd be loading these up. Back in the early 1990’s there was never any question. They figured I was doing a service cleaning up junk. I doubt I could get away with that now!
Another Brick Project:Saturday, June 23, 2012

           I need to get the last road trip all recorded, but life has taken over! Once I get caught up with some brick work, I'll get the trip written up.
           It never fails. Once the temperature and heat indexes go off the charts, I decide to start another “brick” project. With the front sidewalk finished, I decided to start on bricking up the driveway. I had all the bricks I had previously used in the front walk along with some 500 of the star pavers from the Michigan/Ohio road trip. Since these bricks are all a uniform size, I decided to take the easy way and just lay these over the existing concrete pad.
I’m always so in awe of people who can plan things out on paper. I have to do it as I go. I did a dry run laying out the bricks to get an idea how things would pan out. The bricks along the outside edge of the driveway were cemented in along with the “flower” pavers across the driveway width.
The bricks were laid out in a dry run.

  The bricks were then powerwashed and laid in a “herringbone” pattern. That was my job yesterday! 

Today I will get to work on the star pavers getting them arranged, cleaned and laid. It looks like I’ll be short enough bricks to finish up this section of the driveway. I will have to dig up some of  the bricks I laid last fall in the back yard to finish up this project and just replace them with street pavers!
Feeding on a FrenzyTuesday, July 03, 2012
              I’m going to start this day at the beginning. Daggy licked my face waking me up right around 2:00 a.m. Dozed back to sleep a bit but was up for good at 3:30. It was so good to sleep in a cool house. The night had cooled off a bit so I turned off the air and opened the side door the driveway after putting on the morning coffee.
Stumpy hearing me in the kitchen came tearing in for some food. As per our morning routine he got his pill in a bit of wet food and then a full bowl after eating that little portion.
Daggy and I retired out to the driveway. I sat on the steps while Daggy went to investigate a cicada buzzing under Michele’s car next door. Stumpy joined her and they proceeded to do their “cat patrols.” It is hard for me to imagine it has been 14 years now those two cats have been exploring together.
Just the simple act of sitting on those back brick steps watching the cats brought me such a feeling of contentment and well being. How I savor such moments.
Before I knew it I had to run to the boathouse for practice. The moon was hanging so huge and low you would think you could just reach up and touch it. I was kicking myself for not having my camera when I saw the view from the dock. Then I remembered my Tracfone has a camera. I did my best to take a picture. I have to figure out a way to download from my phone to the computer.
We had a troubling practice. We were constantly “down on port” which made a miserable row for me rowing port in the bow seat. My shoulder is still sore ….
As I was watering in the front yard the phone rang. It was Joe. Oh my God.. we dished for nearly two hours! How I miss not having him more in my everyday life.
He was the one who coined the journal entry for today as I was explaining to him my latest E-Bay brick adventure! This life of mine … I would not trade places with anyone for a million dollars… I’m having so much fun!!
There was an E-bay listing for 900+ Nelsonville circle bricks located up in Indiana, some 635 miles away according to my Google maps. This listing had a freight calculator, something I had never seen before. According to the listing calculator, Dayton Freight Lines would move this load door to door for $1,300. This seemed too good to be true, so I checked with Dayton to see if this was on the level. Long story short they do not service Alabama and could not do the move.
I contacted the seller and explained how Dayton could not move this shipment, and they may have a problem down the line. There was no way I could do a round trip or even one way U-Haul move for under $2,000. A round trip truck at $29.95 a day plus 89¢ a mile adds up. The truck for three days would be $89.85 and figuring the roundtrip mileage at 1,400 miles: $1,246.00. Figuring 10 miles to a gallon: 140 gallons of gas at an average of $3.00 a gallon $420.00. Just all that adds up to $1,755.85 and there are not the overnights, food, tax, insurance, etc accounted for….
Any savings doing a one way rental would be lost in getting to Indiana via bus or plane.
The dealer got back to me with her best price on the bricks along with a rock solid quote from another shipper at $1,000. delivered to the street in front of my house. The bricks were a little bit more than I initially wanted to spend, but the cheaper shipping more than makes up the difference. This shipment will be delivered after I return on the 16th.
This afternoon I will mortar more perimeter bricks around the edge of the driveway for the next “brick driveway expansion!”

Sidewalk Driveway Brick Adventure: Part II

My Insane Life Wednesday, July 18, 2012

       This insane life of mine: There is not the slightest resemblance as to how my parents lived their lives to how things are unfolding for me. If I want to, I can go back into the past and pin the blame on Joe, as he is the one who first got me onto the internets. How my life has changed after acquiring that first Gateway computer back in February of 1998.
It was innocent enough, I was all unpacked from the last road trip and getting caught up with my E-mails. Old habits die hard, and I was playing around with my Craigslist searches. I turned up another hoard of Nelsonville Star Sidewalk Pavers.
I had been toying with the idea of using mixed street pavers for the bottom 1/3rd of my driveway where it meets the sidewalk. If I could acquire these Star Sidewalk pavers, the entire driveway would be covered in these beautiful bricks.
E-mails flowed between me and the seller of these pavers. They are located just east of Indianapolis, IN. We came to terms on a fair price and Tuesday was spent ironing out the details. This is the point where I wonder how life was lived before the “innernets.” First I scoured airline fares to Indianapolis, IN. Southwest had the best deals being only $50.00 more than a Greyhound bus ticket would be. The bus was my first choice till I spoke with Louis. He warned me how if I had to board a bus at a transfer point that was full, I would be s—t out of luck.” The timing was: boarding the bus at 4:30 p.m. here in Tuscaloosa on Thursday and arriving in Indianapolis at 5:30 a.m. Friday. With Southwest, I depart BirminghamAL at 6:30 a.m. and arrive in Indianapolis at 12:30 p.m. on Friday.
On the U-haul site I was able to pin down a dealer close to the airport for the truck pick-up. The bricks are located about 60 miles to the east. I have the routes all mapped out from Google maps. I would like to be able to get the bricks loaded up and make the Motel Six in ShepardsvilleKY just south of Louisville for the night. It is only 6 ½ hours to drive home from this point. However, I just might get a room north of Louisville so I don’t have to fight the rush hour traffic and just get an early start in the morning. The more I work this out in my mind; this might be the smartest move. I-65 is torn up in Louisville. Driving the truck through the construction early Saturday morning should be a lot easier than doing the by-pass in heavy traffic. I have the truck for four days/630 miles. There is no need to push myself too hard. I need to learn to slow down a bit!! 
Another Road Trip to IndianiaSunday, July 22, 2012
Where to start???
I posted this Youtubes to my Facebook page. I was going through a bunch of old files and found the link to this squirreled away. It really hit home to me how changed my life has become in the past ten years. What this entry will explain: Using the internet I was able to first locate Nelsonville Star Paver bricks in an obscure city in Indiana. Then through E-mails I negotiated a price and pick up dates.  I made my plane reservations to Indianapolis, IN, and lined up a truck rental just a few miles from the airport. Then to top things off, I printed up maps to the key locations using Google maps. Harking back to the how things were even twenty five years ago, to be able to do all this is magic to me!
Friday at 3:30 a.m. I woke up ahead of the alarm clock. Made up coffee and rounded up Stumpy from outside. Turned on the air conditioner, filled up the food bowls, turned on the alarm system and left the house by 4:15.
It was a straight shot to the airport with little traffic. I had an off site parking service all chosen, valet parking at $9.00 a day. It is $12.00 at the garage at the airport. As I was getting my ride to the airport, Budget was parking cars at $8.00 a day! The last time I used them they were the most expensive! I can’t win!!
The security line for Southwest snaked through the terminal. I’ve never seen the airport this crowded this early in the morning. Fortunately, I had my boarding pass all in order and there were no bags to check. My prayers had been answered and there is now a Starbucks at Birmingham Airport. That Grande did a lot to calm my nerves!
My first flight was to Chicago which left right on time at 6:30 a.m. I was able to get an aisle seat with a nice couple from Montgomery, AL. I wanted so badly to wear my Utilikilt, but with all the mess going on lately I decided against it. I did not want to draw attention to myself this trip with all the recent shootings and all. For once I was content to just blend into the crowd. I stuck to my army camos which are much more comfortable over Levis.
My plane change to Indianapolis was a two hour layover. I walked around the terminal a bit and then got an Egg McMuffin and coffee. I needed some kind of food to tide me over. Did some reading and then walked around some more. It is just amazing to me to people watch and realize all the different stories and lives being lived out in this crowded terminal.
It was a very short flight to Indianapolis, some 45 minutes, but I lost an hour going back to Eastern time.
I got a cab to the U-Haul pick up. I had a Google map printed out I gave to the driver. I do this for insurance so the driver knows where to go, and he knows I know the directions and I don’t get taken advantage of.  He was kind of dismayed as it was a short fare and he told me he spent some three hours in the taxi line. I apologized, and gave him a decent tip when I got out.
This truck is not as nice as the one I got in Ohio for the last move. There was a lot of “X’s” on the truck body signifying claimed damage. I had to do a visual inspection there was no other damage and sign off.
I went to call Cory to tell him I was leaving the U-Haul place and to expect me around 2:30 or so. I went into panic mode when I realized I did not have my cell phone. I remember using it to check the time in the terminal. It must have slipped out of my pocket in the back of the cab. DAMN!! It was my fault for not using the button over pocket on the camos. The top pocket is so easy to lose change out of. Fortunately, I always have back up contact information. The guy at the U-Haul let me use his phone to call Cory.
It was almost second nature getting behind the wheel again. My destination was New Castle, IN. I went the Google map way over the GPS way. My “direction lady” was much annoyed for a spell!
Traffic was not bad and I made pretty good time. The address for these bricks was in a neighborhood which seemed to be coming back a bit. The house looked empty. I had a very apprehensive feeling as I knocked. I guy in his 20’s came to the door. I said, “Hi, are you Cory? I’m here to get the bricks.” I got the most bewildered look in return. “Are you not Cory Blank? I am supposed to get the bricks from Craigslist at this address.”  “No” he said, “My name is Adam.”
This young woman pipes up, I know Cory, let me call him. She walked upstairs while Adam went into the kitchen leaving me standing alone in the living room.
She came back with her cell phone in her hand saying John wanted to talk to me.  It turned out John was the owner of the bricks and Cory listed them on Craigslist for him. He promised to be at the house within half an hour to get paid and help load the things. I told him I was parked in front of the address and would meet him. I felt much reassured after hearing that. I was so afraid this whole thing would blow up in my face. Everything seemed to be on the up and up, but you can never tell.
John showed up right on time. I had to move the truck to a back alley to get close to the garage where these bricks were stacked up. I let John drive and park the truck in his backyard. I’m not good backing up where I can’t see.
Adam came out and we three loaded up the bricks. It was not a real hot day so it took a bit before the sweat started to really flow. John was amazed that I would make the trip I did for these bricks.
It took about an hour to get the bricks transferred to the truck. It was time to get back on the road again. This rental only had about 3/8’s of a tank to start. It tried to get gas at a cheap place, but the lines were not moving, so I decided to try my luck elsewhere.
It was “blue highways” to Seymour, IN. This city is some 50 miles north of Louisville, KY. I did not want to hit Louisville at peak rush hour with I-65 all torn up. Besides, I had heard on a radio station that I-65 southbound was going to be closed Friday night.
Fortunately, I had saved an Indiana motel discount book from my road trip last week. I had a Travel Lodge picked out for $34.95. Once I checked in I realized that the majority of the restaurants were on the other side of the highway. I did NOT want to drive that truck anymore today.
My shirt was filthy and I was so smelly after loading all those bricks. How I luxuriated in a nice hot shower. The truck was all loaded and parked for the night. I needed to get some food in me.
I walked towards the truck stop and noticed a “hole in the wall place” called Brewskies.   It looked like my kind of place. I started with an ice cold Rolling Rock and then decided on a barbecued hamburger. I met some of the nicest people sitting at the bar who filled me in how I stumbled upon pretty much the best place in town to eat. The burger was EXCELLENT!! Since I was walking I let myself have three beers so I would sleep well.
It was about 7:30 when I got into bed. I was dead to the world till my 4:00 a.m. wake up; call……
Early Morning Start/Messing with Bricks and StuffMonday, July 23, 2012
             My Saturday 4:00 a.m. wake up call brought me out of a deep slumber. Nothing like loading up bricks to induce sleep! There was a coffee maker in the room so I was able to brew up a cup of coffee to take on the road. It was about 4:20 when I got the U-Haul back onto I-65 south. With all this travelling I wish I had access to satellite radio. Soon as I find a decent FM Station, it fades out!
As I feared, I-65 south was closed and I had to take the western by-pass. I have never driven this before. At this hour there is no real traffic which is how I planned things. I hate to drive in the dark on unfamiliar roads. This detour was pretty well marked out and I traversed it without incident. I was so glad to merge back onto I-65 again. The truck handled very well. I constantly checked the back tires. The outside tire on the passenger side is very “weather checked” and alligatored. So long as the dual rear tires are not touching each other. They are really bulging, but not connecting…
I pretty much stick to Pilot Gas stations for my fill ups. Their gas is pretty much the cheapest, and they have decent coffee. I’m still full from supper and I don’t want to take the time out for Waffle House. I don’t like driving this truck in tight places like parking lots. I stop at exit 6 south of Bowling Green to fill up. I always make sure to use the rest stop not far from here when I enter Tennessee as there is not another one till I hit Alabama some 120 miles away. I-24 is still a mess in Nashville. It is early enough to where I don’t have to worry about traffic.
I stop at the rest area in Alabama and the place is mobbed. It looks more like Disney World with all the kids and parents around. I ask the information lady about the bridge over the Tennessee River that is a mess. She told me there was one lane open in each direction. I know you can detour around by driving through Decatur, but not knowing the area I risk sitting in traffic a bit.
Naturally there were no signs saying which lane was closed. I stayed in the left lane which turned out to be the best choice, as it was the right hand lane that was closed.
 It was slow going for two miles or so, but once on the bridge things opened up.  The first exit past this bridge is where I always stop for gas and coffee. I have discovered Pilot has decently priced coffee, but if you want any kind of pastry they are way overpriced. I usually stop at a supermarket and pick up bakery items much cheaper. Being in this big truck and not having a lot of miles to play with I stick to the interstate. It is 130 miles home from this spot.
I have done this trip too many times so can pretty much drive it on autopilot. The road is very rough in the right lane so I stay in the passing lane which I don’t like to do. If I’m holding anyone up, I’ll change lanes, but traffic was not bad.
I had the route to my house planned out in advance. I’ll take 12th street so I can park the truck in front of Michelle’s house. I pulled into that spot around 12:15 p.m.
Stumpy was waiting at the door for me wanting out, while Daggy was under the bed. After taking care of the cats I called Amtrak. The northbound Cresent is a bit late and should be arriving around 1:00 p.m. This was music to my ears. Packed up reading material and headed on foot to the train station. Got a one way ticket to Birmingham and relaxed in the cool crowded waiting room till the train arrived. Sat downand luxuriated till the train started up. Then I realized I had not eaten all day. What the hell, I went to the dining car! I was seated at a table with a man who was headed to South Carolina. He was in a roomette so we were able to compare notes. What a great lunch companion. We had the best conversation. He gave me his card with his E-mail. I’ve already sent him a note along with a link to my journal. Hope we can keep in touch…A huge Black Angus burger and beverage was $9.50 in the dining car which I did not think was exorbitant.
It was an easy cab ride from the train station to the Valet parking lot where my truck was parked. The clerk at the lot admonished me for coming out in a cab. He explained had I called, he would have picked me up! I only thought they did pick-ups at the airport. He explained how they get a lot of people who take the train to New Orleans and leave their cars there and do frequent trips to the train station.
It was a blur driving I-59/20 again. I got home and collapsed on the bed with Daggy. There was an E-mail from Laurie that she would be able to give me a ride to Trish’s farewell party’ Trish and her family are moving north to South Dakota. What a change from Alabama!!
Got all cleaned up and was asleep on the bed when Laurie came to the open side door. After hearing of my adventures, she was surprised I was up for the party! I have to go… Trish was one of my favourite rowers….
The night was kind of low key, but as usual I was able to liven things up with stories of my latest adventure! I was home in bed by 9:45.

Sunday, 7/22.
Daggy woke me up early licking my nose. It had rained all night which we desperately needed. Once it was light enough to see, I moved my truck to the street and prepared to back the U-Haul into the driveway. How I wish Billy was here! He can back up trucks like this in his sleep. There no traffic to worry about so I was able to pull forward and back up as much as I needed  without holding up traffic. I was able to do it! YAY!!
The driveway was still wet and slippery. There is no way I can move bricks till things dry up a bit. I made up a “hopper” that fits onto my moving dolly that will easily hold 20 bricks. That works out to 200 pounds to control down the ramp. My first attempt wheeling down bricks had me losing footing on the wet pavement and sliding on my butt. I don’t need to get injured at this point in time. As much as I want this truck unloaded, I’ll wait for the cement to dry.
Stumpy was in no way going to help. He had more important things to do:
Finally things dried up enough to where I could start unloading the bricks. I’ve done this too many times. Once I lay one level of bricks to build on, I add to that using bricks stacked two high. I load the carrier with bricks two high which makes handling the things so much easier. The truck was arranged with 18 bricks across stacked four high and some 11 bricks deep.
The moving in progress:
I did my best to pace the day out and keep hydrated. It was around 2:00 p.m. I took the last bricks off. I was exhausted.
The dirt from the bricks had dried up to where it was easy enough to sweep out bed and ramp of the truck. I washed down the sides quick where some dirt had found it way.
The truck cab was clean. The only thing I really had to wash out was the spilled coffee in the molded cup holder. I was allowed 630 miles for this move before I would be  charged 40¢ a mile extra. I checked out the truck with 55883 miles. I checked the mileage in my driveway and it was 56508 making the miles used at 625.
I put my bicycle in the back and took the most direct local streets to the drop off location. They were open till 5:00 on Sunday. It was exactly four miles to the dealership. I had one mile to spare! Having to by-pass Louisville tacked too many extra miles.
I rode my bicycle back to the house. I felt as if a weight were lifted off my shoulders with this move over and done.
So Far Behind With Both Bricks and DiaryMonday, July 30, 2012

             OMG this boy is tore up. It seems every summer when the heat indexes are off the charts I tackle a brick/cement project. This latest driveway project has taken over my life.
Tuesday the 24th the temperatures were in the high 90° range as I began to break up the driveway. The angle grinder with a diamond blade was used to first cut the “score line” which will mark where the cement driveway will remain. I need to have a clean break where this new ramp will join the existing driveway. This does not meet the sidewalk at a 90°angle.  The sides were the first to go. Forms were made up and the edge support was installed. The top bricks were installed directly to the new cement.
Wednesday was a bit easier to install the other edge support. The day really heated up. I don’t think the actual temperatures peaked over the 100° mark, but the heat indexes must have been way up there. Once the northern support was in I began to break up the remaining concrete. My trusty sledge hammer and pry bar went into overtime. I try to keep the chunks of cement as big as possible to make it easier for the garbage crews to pick up. There was a huge pile of debris on my side street by the time I was done.
I had some ten double garbage bags holding the smaller cement pieces I was able to deposit into a dumpster on the way to rowing practice Thursday morning at 5:00 a.m. I’ve been rowing nearly four years now. This day was the first time I seriously wanted to back out of a practice. I was so sore all over. Will had us bumping up rates and rowing all 4’s. I had to apologize to Laurie after we carried the boat up to the boat house as I had an overdose of garlic in my Fettuccini Alfredo for my Wednesday night supper.
I got home from practice, laid down on the bed with Daggy and took an hour an a half nap!
I needed to break down and get a new water pump for my brick saw. My old one is so unreliable now.  It keeps stopping which causes the blade to heat up and not cut. I need more cement anyway. I made up my route to go to Lowe’s after a visit to Hanson Supply to get another City of Tuscaloosa manhole cover and ring.
The Hanson supply office was deserted and empty. I checked with the business next door and was told it has been pretty empty for over a year now. Damn! Went to Lowe’s and got what I needed. The check out lady knows me from waiting me for years. I had not seen her for a bit. She complimented me on my “TV performance” and said how she recognized me right away! It is hard to miss someone wearing a Utilikilt!
Friday morning I called the number for Hanson supply and got a recording to call the office in Pelham, AL. I called the number and learned the Tuscaloosa office had been closed for over two years now. I had the inventory number of my needed manhole cover and ring. They had them in stock. YAY!! Pelham is about 45 miles away. It took about an hour to get there as much of the drive was in urban sprawl before it thinned out to industrial parks.
Found the office without much trouble. There was only one frazzled woman manning the desk. She was so competent. She radioed Phil the fork truck driver and gave me vague direction on how to find him. She told me he was a big man with a full beard.  I found a pile of generic manholes when I heard a horn honking. It was Phil waving for me to follow him. He drove his truck to a mound of manhole covers and rings. I parked well out of the way and checked to make sure they were the right ones.  They were. I know how unwelcome strangers can be on a lot like this. I asked Phil where he wanted me to park so he could load my truck. He told me I was fine and went to work.
It is magic to me how Phil can control his fork truck. He had it “singing” as he tweaked the load from the stack onto the back of my truck. I gave him a “thumbs up” as I closed the tailgate, thanked him and told him, “You are the main man Phil…Thank You!!” Then I got out of there as fast and safely as possible.
I had inquired in advance and was told a check would be the best way to pay. Once it was all approved I headed back to Tuscaloosa. I don’t know the exact weight of the ring and cover, but it is HEAVY. It was riding over the back axle so the truck bed was really dragging. What I put that poor truck of mine through!
Once home I excavated the spot for this new addition. The dirt under the cement is just clay and pea gravel: More debris to remove. The truck was backed into the driveway and my old planks were put to use. These old boards were salvaged from house back in the late 1970’s. They have supported more weight. This is the third manhole cover and ringI have moved on them!
The cover was taken off and the ring was “rolled” to the planks using a pipe as a roller. It was then slid down the ramp into place. The fun part was leveling it all out. I wanted the top of the ring to be pretty much even with the bricks on the "high end" and then only have a bit of lip exposed on the "low end". It must be level so the water will not puddle in it off center.
As I was doing this Gina, a neighbor from around the corner stopped by in her truck. She told me, “You are such a mess! Can I take a picture of you and post it to my Facebook page?” I laughed and relied, “Sure, I’m flattered. Besides I have no shame left!”
I got the ring all leveled up and the last of the dirt and pea gravel cleared up. Now to get the crushed limestone: The sky was turning dark as I drove out to Scottie’s.
I no sooner got into his office when the sky opened up and it poured. Naturally I had left the window down in the truck. Oh well…..
I’m hoping that ¼ yard will see me through this part. The wet limestone again has my poor truck overloaded. It was groaning all the way home. We did not get that much rain in my section of the city. The sidewalk was still dry under the oak trees.
Saturday morning found me installing bricks. For this section I planned on using as many different maker pavers as I could. I did not want to have a preponderance of any one manufacturer. Working with all this different sized brick is a real pain as each brick has to be leveled in place individually.
To say I was exhausted Saturday as I put the tools away would be an understatement. I heated up leftover Fettuccini Alfredo and was in bed asleep before I knew it…..
There is a scene in the movie Girls Will Be Girls  where Evie is getting out of bed. Her body makes horrible creaking noises. That is pretty much how I felt Sunday morning. My knees were so sore. Even with using gel knee pads, the hours spent kneeling leveling bricks took its toll. I took a couple more Ibuprofen before my coffee.
Sunday was more of the same. The brick saw got a lot of use cutting complex cuts to fit the bricks around the manhole cover and make up the small “wedge bricks” to tie things off. I decided to have a series of cement squares to display the sidewalk builder plates, and “safety buttons” I have accumulated over the years. The builders who installed sidewalks would "sign" their work with these plaques. It was a form of advertisement and pride. I acquired these plaques on E-Bay years ago. The "safety buttons" were used as advertising by schools in sidewalks. The Grapette Button is definitely old, but the Coca Cola is more likely than not a good reproduction.
How I wish Daggy would be of some help, but she was into her catnip and had no use for me whatsoever!
Here is how the jobsite looked at 9:30 this morning.

Brick Drama!Sunday, August 05, 2012

          Where to start? This driveway brick project has taken over my life. A few entries back I detailed the E-bay purchase of the Nelsonville Bricks which really got this driveway project going in full gear. Things have turned so crazy I’m going to just do bullets for a timeline rather than try to write it all up to make any sense.
·         July 3 the seller of some 900 “circle bricks” guarantees to me she has a shipper lined up to transport the bricks for $1,000.00 to the street at my house. There is no way I could move the bricks for that price. I make arrangements to have the delivery timed for when I was to return from my road trip after the 16th.
·         Home from the road after the 16th I contact the seller to get a handle on when I can expect delivery. She contacts me back in the shipper is not going to honor their original quote. She is working on the matter.
·         July 31st I got this E-mail from the seller: Thank you for your willingness to be flexible. I did get through today to the "Right person" at the trucking company. She is who I had dealt with originally but has been out for two weeks for a family illness. I am always amazed how some larger companies seem to grind to a halt when one person is absent. When they are gone no one seems to have the authority to get things done. She is standing behind the original quote so we are ready to ship. However there might be a new twist. Our town is small and as I was getting a sub this evening someone ask if I were interested in purchasing anymore bricks. They had purchased an older home and are in the process of removing a brick sidewalk. I went to look at them and they are identical to the bricks you have purchased. There are approximately 200 to 250. I do not know if you would be interested but I would think it would be an advantage to have more of the same type of brick in case a project would warrent. As it stands we have about 2 1/2 pallets. Two pallets of whole bricks (425 each)and a half pallet of angles and halves. The extra 250 might fill up that last pallet but I am unsure how it would effect our shipping cost as it would be adding approx. 2000 lbs. If you are interested we could prorate these brick at same rate you paid for the original. I believe about 1.75 a brick. I would be able to haul and load these additional brick on Thursday and we could still shoot for a Friday delivery. Let me know if you are interested and I will see how it might affect shipping price.
·         I spoke with the sellers’ husband that I would be glad to take the extra bricks. They will contact me as to what extra I’ll have to pay for the shipping and bricks.
·         I was contacted back and agreed to the extra cost. I was then told that the bricks had to be stacked so there were only 250 to a pallet due to the weight. This is not sounding good. The shippers are lined up to pick the load up on Friday the 3rd of August.
·         Taking a break the 3rd the phone rings about 3:30 in the afternoon. It is the shipping company. There is a problem in the pick-up. I was expecting as much. Turned out these bricks are located on a gravel road… I told the dispatcher I understood the problems and would let them sort it all out.
·         A few hours after that call I got this E-mail: Brick saga continues. The truck arrived today and to make a long story short the driver was having no part in hand trucking 5 pallets of bricks in 100 degree heat. He stated he had just gotten off back surgery and wasn't about to risk further damage. After about 3 different calls to the trucking company's dispatcher and the brokerage company's supervisor, we have now scheduled pick up for Monday, same company different truck, different driver. It sounds like you have had experience with these type of situations before but if you are beginning to doubt your bricks will ever arrive I can provide you with the trucking company's number. Sorry about delay. I think my next shipment will be a couple pallets of marshmallows that sounds like an easy shipment.

·         I answered back: I am so sorry you are going through this...I can't tell you how many thousands of bricks I have moved. I have a very good friend who deals in antique automatic music instruments... I've moved too many pianos and the like to shows and customers. I guess I'm letting you know I'm experienced handling heavy things and understanding the glitches that come up....

I'm in no real rush for these bricks so I don't want you to worry about any time frame...I will not be away from my home till September 10th so we have a pretty large window to work with.....

I often joke if I am reincarnated, I'll be collecting butterflies instead of this heavy stuff!!

Keep me posted....

Thank you

That is the brick drama to date! My dull life in retirement! While all that was going on the background I was working on laying brick in the driveway.
This is from the sidewalk looking back. The “sidewalk builders plates” turned out pretty well. The “Grapette” safety button on the far right has Stumpy’s pawprints in the cement! In theory these were placed in sidewalks by schools to promote safety.

This is the morning view to the street. I hope to have this section squared off today. I’m trying to plan ahead for the next brick delivery. I’m hoping to be able to install the bricks from the pallets directly to the driveway. I’m getting tired of double and triple handling bricks!!

The Brick Saga ContinuesWednesday, August 08, 2012

             This boy is so tore up. Tuesday was the “brick driveway job” I have been dreading. It was time to sweep the sand/cement topping mixture between the bricks. It takes a LOT of sweeping to work the mixture between the bricks. The bricks must be perfectly dry as well as the mix to fall right. It took over an hour of sweeping to get the mix worked down between all the bricks. This is then sprayed down with a light mist to totally saturate and set the mix. Once this all gets wet gravity takes over and many times the top mix will disappear as the mix gets sucked down.  
Once the mix is all activated the real “fun” begins. With bubble wrap under my knee pads, a fresh sponge, a new wire brush, and my trusty shop vac I spent the next six plus hours cleaning off the face of the bricks. The cement mixture must be removed from the face of the bricks before it sets. Nothing destroys a job like this more than to see dried cement in the lettering and face of the brick.
Fresh topping mix all messed on the brick face.
Taken this morning:
My legs were cramping up by the time I put my tools away. I’ll let this set for a few days before pointing up the gaps. Besides… I need to give my poor knees another break!
Tim and Liz stopped by for a visit as I was sweeping. As we were talking the phone rang. It was the shipping company for the bricks. The poor dispatcher said they were sending out a truck equipped with a fork lift to move the bricks from the gravel road location! I am so glad I am not the one having to do all the dealing with this move. I apologized to Jodie the dispatcher for the aggravation she is going through. She said in all her years on the job this move was one of the most memorable….I’m not sure if that is good or not!
She wanted to know what the drop off location was like. I assured her it would be a piece of cake. (I was tempted to joke and say they had to be dropped off to a 4th floor walk up! This was not the time for levity… maybe in a year or so!) I explained how I’m on a paved city street two turns off the interstate spur. I can easily block off the front of my house so the tractor trailer can pull straight in and have full access to just drop the skids to the street and I’ll move them from there. Michelle’s driveway will be blocked for a bit, but she will work with me if need be. I expect they will be dropped off next week sometime. I can’t see how the shippers can do this job for the quoted price of $1,200.00.
I was showing Tim and Liz the progress of the project.  They are a distinctive brick, but they are no where near the quality of these Nelsonville sidewalk bricks. I was saying how they kind of detract from the “new bricks”.  
Different styles of bricks:
Saying this out loud finalized my job for today. I’m going to take up these bricks and just do the entire driveway with the Nelsonville bricks. There will be enough with this next delivery to do the entire remaining surface… I had been thinking of doing just such a thing for weeks. If it is driving me nuts now, it will just intensify as time progresses….

Your Bricks Are In The Mail                 Thursday, August 09, 2012
             I found this E-mail in my box this morning: Jamie, Wanted to let you know your bricks were loaded and shipped out yesterday. It ended up being placed on seven pallets. Hopefully it will go smoothly on your end. Let me know how things turn out. They will call you before delivery.” That would have been on Tuesday when the shipping company called me. It is some 635 miles from the where the bricks were picked up to Tuscaloosa. I’m hoping the pallets are small! I wish I had some idea when to expect the things.
         It is amazing how things work out. It was by chance I turned up that Craigslist brick listing in Richmond,Indiana. I made a screen shot of it for my files. It was vaguely written which is why I was so apprehensive of flying to IndianapolisIN, and renting the truck. The details conveyed VIA E-mails were just as vague. I had a gut feeling all was on the level and sometimes you just have to act on that.
As we were loading the bricks, Jon the owner of the bricks told me how another guy was all set to buy them at 75¢ a brick. Jon was thrilled at that price. The poor guy ended up having a heatstroke which put him out of commission. When I popped in offering $1.50 a brick Jon was in shock.
I promised Jon a picture of the bricks once I got them laid. I sent that shot out Sunday to Cory who handled the “paperwork” of this transaction. Cory replied back it was a good thing I got the bricks when I did as they were offered $4.00 a brick two days after I had picked them up! Believe it or not, that is pretty much the average retail price for this kind of brick. That bit of information made me a happy boy!
My saying now is how I must be OCD. The proof is how I’m taking up the  bricks I installed a while back over the cement driveway. They were the bricks I hauled down from Lockport and served nearly 13 years as my front walkway. They are a different style and texture from the Nelsonville Sidewalk Pavers that will cover the entire driveway.
Bricks being moved once again!
Last summer I tore up the cement walk I had installed back in 2001 and replaced it with Nelsonville Star pavers I acquired in Richmond, VA. Half of the walkway came up to finish out where I ran short finishing up the back end of the driveway. The rest I used to lengthen out by a few rows the front end. The middle portion will be the Circle design pavers. 
Well, yesterday I got to work installing the bricks into the walkway. Laid in the herringbone pattern they are a good fit. There are some tight spots though and the last thing I want to do is to cut up any more bricks. This morning I got the brainstorm to have the bricks laid out in rectangles separated by different style pavers from my collection. By doing that I’ll be able to use up all the angled brick I cut for this last installation. I’ll also be able to show how there were many different styles of sidewalk paver brick. It is like putting a puzzle together fitting the cut pieces in. If a triangle section won't go where I want, I try all the existing spaces and usually will find a perfect fit. It is the last pieces to go in that need the fussy cuts and trimmings on the brick saw. 
Initial laying out:


New improved design: Coffyville Sidewalk paver divider:

With it being a gray, rainy, morning I can actually do some cleaning and not feel guilty over being in the house. That guilt over having to be inside on a sunny day must be a “northern thing”.

Sidewalk and Driveway Brick Adventure: Part III

"Piddling" With BricksSunday, August 12, 2012
             I'm not sure if "piddling" is a southern term or not. It was one of Ron's favourite expressions when he worked in the garden. It means to work and fuss at jobs. I suppose I could Google the term, but I'm tired of fact checking things all the time!
             The evenings have cooled off to the point where I need my old wool blanket to curl up in. Daggy is snuggling up in bed with me again. It seems a bit early but it almost feels like the first touches of autumn are appearing. Compared to June and July, August has been very comfortable. I am not complaining!
Friday, the brick delivery was scheduled for “after lunch.” I was told the driver would call me an “hour out” to give me warning.  I had been so apprehensive over this entire transaction. The phone rang at 4:00 p.m. It was the driver telling me he would be at my house in 15 minutes. I had specific directions to make it as easy as possible. He was driving an 18 wheeler which can’t navigate certain sections of my street. I had the parking spot in front of Michelle’s house blocked off. The back end of the truck lined up perfectly to my driveway. It is a good thing I gave this trucker directions as the bill of lading had the wrong address. They left a digit off the house number!
The seven pallets of bricks were in the front of the trailer. I was the last delivery. We were able to get four pallets up the driveway, and the other three were parked in the street. For all my apprehension, the unloading went very fast. I’m not comfortable having the bricks in the street. I placed a sawhorse with a bright red towel to act as a warning flag in front of the skids.
Three pallets of bricks in the street:
Four pallets in the driveway:
Stumpy has a new spot to relax:
After the last few U-Haul moves I have done, I don’t want to double and triple handle these bricks. They will be going right to the driveway from the pallets. It is just overwhelming to see all these bricks stacked all over.
This style brick looks best when laid in a “herringbone” pattern which is the bricks are viewed at being in 90° angles. To even up the sides, one brick needs to have a corner cut off to a end up as a ¾ brick. The remaining triangle piece fits in the opposite side which results in little waste. The largest skid of this shipment was of these “cut up” bricks. I don’t like to cut up good bricks, so having all this pre-cut brick is a godsend.
These bricks are in the 100 year old range. Many of them are far from perfect. The best ones I use where they will be most seen. The bad ones I use to where the defects will be hidden. The border bricks next to the house have the chipped edges placed where they will be hidden.
Since I have all this cut brick to play with I’ve decided to lay it all out in sections some 16 courses long divided by a straight line of bricks. Going in sections like this makes it easier to keep the bricks lined up. It is also a great way to use up the cut up brick to save the better whole bricks for other projects.
Cut up bricks:
Showing the herringbone pattern and how the elements tie in:
Finalizing this plan, I will do a section a day so I don’t get burned out. I can feel that happening….
It was working with the old bricks I got the idea to work with “panels.”  This job is so close to completion. I need to get it done up today along with mowing the lawn and some long neglected yard work.
The pictures pretty much say it all. I have been so exhausted these past few weeks. I can see things slowing down a bit to give me time to get caught up with the cleaning and personal life I have been ignoring. I apologize the pictures are not staged better. I think it is better to show how the work progresses than to have a "perfect" Kodak moment!

Brick Project Winds DownWednesday, August 15, 2012
              I am so tired of starting my journal entries with “I am so sore and beat up” but it is the truth. This past month of constant brick work and travel has taken its toll. I have been joking with my neighbors how “OCD” people should not be doing a job like this! I don’t know if I should call myself that as I have never been diagnosed, but friends who know me just laugh anyway and so do I! Life is so much easier when you can laugh at your self!
There is light at the end of the tunnel and I should be through cutting bricks up today. Having all the “pre-cut” ¾ and ¼ bricks was a godsend. The ¾ brick forms a straight edge on one side and the ¼ brick fills the gap on the opposite side to make a straight edge.  This style brick was designed to be laid in a herringbone pattern and the brick plants sold bricks made in this configuration. You can tell as there is glaze all around the edges on these bricks.
As much as I moan and groan it dawned on me yesterday how happy I have been these past few weeks cutting up and messing with this project. I have gotten this down to a science. I now power wash the top layer of bricks on the skid before loading them to the moving cart. I was doing this yesterday without thinking anything of it when out of the corner of my eye I realized this lady was transfixed across the street staring at me in disbelief. Here I was wearing my faded and beat up Utilikilt, do-rag, knee pads and safety glasses. This is my everyday outfit; I have more important things to fuss over than clothes…. I don’t realize how out of the ordinary this is to the outside world. I can’t wait to relay this tale to my dentist this morning in a couple hours!
I plan on doing up an entire entry on the different styles of bricks involved in this project.
The day is starting to lighten up. Let get some pictures taken to add to this and then I have to run. Once this project is over I will be taking it easy and will be getting caught back up….
The walkway in back turned out so well. I’m very pleased with the results.
We had a rain and I realized how when these "Circle" bricks are wet the light is reflected to make “lines of light”. I posted this picture to my facebook page the other day. Years back everyday things could be magical…I miss those times.
The beginning of a “section” showing how I move the bricks to the job. This shot is a great illustration how the ¾ and ¼ bricks all fit together
Just taken shot showing the different cuts needed to work around the back steps.
The last bit to be done. Dagney is inspecting the work so far!

Rowing, Plumbing, Blood and UtilikiltSaturday, August 25, 2012
            The rowing club took out the “8” for the first time since May. A bunch of the ACC novice boys rowed with us.Tyler coxed. It took a bit to get used to his commands. After warm-ups we did rowing first rotating 6’s and then going to all eight. We stopped to rest by the Cyprus Inn. Tyler asked how far we wanted to row. After a few seconds of silence I piped up, “Let’s go to the steel mill!”
As a club we have not been rowing much distance. We had not rowed to the steel mill since the last Damn Row we did just before the tornado hit. The steel mill passed on our starboard side and we continued on past the new bridge. We spun the boat and rowed the entire way back all eights. I was in endomorphic heaven! I only got one fresh blister. We played around bumping the rates up. My legs were like rubber getting out of the boat. It has been too long since I’ve had such a grueling practice.
The driveway project is pretty well finished. This picture was taken after sweeping sand between the bricks for the third time and then soaking it all in this afternoon.

I had pulled a “Rhula” Wednesday afternoon. Rhula (aka Randy) is quite a piece of work. Years ago when AOL profiles were all the vogue, Rhula had “landscape architect” listed as one of his professions. Randy was mowing his lawn when the lawn mower died. He just left it there for weeks with the grass growing all around it. I had deserted my weed eater in the back, which jogged my memory to Rhula!
I’m so sick of stacking and moving bricks. There is an unused area in my backyard. I weed wacked the grass to the dirt and just laid the extra brick down. I can use this brick as a patio extension till I need the bricks. It is just weeds back here, so it is not like I’m sacrificing any good turf for the brick storage.
You have to love Craigslist. I had the eight skids which held the bricks to get rid of. I took a picture of the skids and posted a “free” listing for them. Within an hour a woman stopped by for them. Initially she wanted to try and load them into the trunk of her car. Talk about Mission Impossible: She lived just over the bridge in Northport, so I threw them onto the truck and carted them over for her. I was so glad to have them gone.
I have met some of the nicest people working this driveway project. Two UA students, Annie and Kevin stopped by to inquire about the different bricks I used in the driveway approach. Annie is originally from AthensOhio which was home to a number of brick factories. She was thrilled to see some Athens Block in the driveway! We had the best visit, and it turned out one of her professors is a rowing friend!
There was plumbing work I needed to do to accommodate the new driveway. A faucet exited the basement pretty much at ground level. It needed to be extended up. Normally that would not be too bad of a project, but it entailed working in the crawlspace under the kitchen. Crawling around in that red clay hitting my head on the house beams and pipes in not something I enjoy.
Daggy was holding court and escorted me around the dirty crawlspace. With so much pipe exposed along the outside of the house, I needed to install a shut off so I can turn it off. Come January when the freezing temperatures cause the standing water to freeze and explode copper pipe, the aggravation installing the shut off will be more than paid off. The only problem is; the shut-off is in the crawl space. I was able to modify the shut off valve, and using some scrap copper pipe made up an extension I can use from the outside to open and close the valve.
The new plumbing work alongside the house:
While I was in “shut-off” valve mode I installed a shut off for the faucets on the north side of the house. The run for those faucets is the last of the galvanized pipe in the house. I had the union and shut-off valve in my hoard of fittings. These all came from my dad. There was a remnant of some kind of valve that was frozen in the open mode with no handle. This run is right behind the furnace which is suspended from the ceiling, and too close to one of the main floor joists. I used the angle grinder to cut through the old existing valve. This is where the union will go. The pipe was cut and threaded as needed and reinstalled with the shut-off. This is why I hate working with old stuff. There were leaks that dripped no matter how tight I joined the pipe.
It all had to come apart and instead of pipe dope I used plenty of Teflon tape. I also used the tape to cover the union faces. That old trick worked and things have remained water tight.
This does not look like much. But the awkward location sure made it a nightmare.
On one of my last trips under the furnace my shoulder caught a sharp corner and gave me a good gash. DAMN! It bled out pretty well. Washed it all out and once it dried up I sealed it up with duct tape! Eventually the duct tape came off and now it is all nicely scabbed over.
Applying the duct tape!
While all this was going on the phone rang. I was bleeding and muddy. I’ve smartened up and carry the “walk around” phone in my Utiliklt pocket, so I can at least call out to 911 in case of an emergency while working alone. I answered and it was a survey call on the upcoming election. I’m sorry to say I lost it under the circumstances.
These past few months has taken a toll on my “everyday working Utilikilt”. It has gotten so frayed and stained even I feel self conscious wearing it out in public.
I always check E-bay for Utilikilts. My size rarely turns up for sale. A dark brown Workman’s Utilikilt in my size turned up for auction which ended Wednesday. It was listed as only being worn a few times and washed once. I put in a decent snipe and won the auction Wednesday night at 9:30 I did a “Pay-Pal” payment immediately. To cut to the chase, that Utilikilt was delivered at 12:30 this afternoon. To have this all happen so fast still impresses me so. I’m thrilled in the Utilikilt turned out to be even better in person over the listing pictures. Now I’ll rotate it in so my tan Utilikilt will now become my “everyday working” garment and this new brown one will be my “good everyday” one.


About Me

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Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States
Retired auto worker who can now spend too much time restoring his 1922 Bungalow Home. I'm involved in a number of varied activities from collecting bricks to rowing with a masters rowing group. This blog is to share different aspects of my life on my Facebook page. I've kept an on-line journal for eight years.