June 2016

Another busy month and I’m still catching up. For example this week included:

  • Tuesday: Well, if you want the load cell (used for calibrating sets) and other stuff badly enough, come down to Portland and pick it up.
  • Wednesday: Early start, drive to Portland. As I explained to Paul who now lives in Ballarat, that’s equivalent to Ballarat to Bairnsdale and return. Stop off at Olympia on the way back for about an hour to calibrate 2 sets onsite. A 12 hour day.
  • Thursday: Called late morning to go to Tacoma, pick up a load of rebar and take it to Olympia. So that’s a bit like: drive from Mona Vale to Wollongong, pick up a load and take it to Moss Vale, then come back. A 9 hour day.
  • Friday: Looking forward to working just 3 hours, almost ready to go home, called to go back to Tacoma and pick up another load. At least this time, drop it off on the way back. Resulted in 3 hours of overtime!

Stopped off for lunch down by the water of Lake Washington. This picnic area actually has a permanent toilet block.

The Express Lanes, 4 lanes of alternate traffic depending on the time of day, running UNDER the 6 lanes of main freeway over the Ship Canal Bridge.

Taken on a different day, the same Ship Canal Bridge. In the second picture, you can see the extra lane hanging out. The double length bus provides some scale.

We heard the fire engines and saw the thick smoke. We found out later that it was a huge fire in a recycling plant at the northern end of Everett, which is the suburb where we live.

Buddy and Angel enjoying the sunshine. She looks almost normal.

These are the pump and jack sets that I lug around. This is at a building site where they are currently working on about level 7, heading for more than 40 floors. We had lifted 2 replacement sets up to the deck on the crane, and these 2 were coming back down.

Just chillin’.

An example of what can happen when applying high stress pressure to post tensioning cables. The corner of the concrete slab had exploded, leaving the anchors exposed.

You can just see inside the top anchor where the wedges are offset.

The choices here were: Detension the cables and abandon them, or leave them in place and tidy up the concrete. Detensioning a cable that is already under 33,000 pounds of force, with the cable at about 80% of its potential breaking strain, is a tricky exercise. You have to extend the jack to most of its pistons’ length, then grab the cable and pull it further until the wedges let go, then MANUALLY fiddle around inside the anchor to get them out, then let the pistons back in. Way too many things can go badly wrong here! Fortunately, in this case, the engineer decided that the alternative option was to leave it all in place and make up the slab corner with a really sticky concrete grout. Whew! Note: I supply the equipment, sometimes tell the onsite crew how it needs to happen, without actually providing any technical advice, and stay the hell away from the immediate vicinity!

I had a day in Canada. Gary and Colleen were in Vancouver for the last day of their one month Canadian tour, so I drove up the night before to meet them in the morning and be their chauffeur for the day. We ended up in Steveston, which is where a lot of the filming of Once Upon A Time takes place. I actually relaxed for the first time in a long time!

The truck with a load, and the apartment building in the background. Ours is top centre.

The truck (and my car) has a new decoration. This time they are laminated.

The view from our balcony. This is a lane at the back of all of the properties.

Another lunch spot, with a great view over the lake to Mt Rainier.

Buddy has been “unwell”. He was moping around 2 weeks ago. After several days, just as we had got an appointment at the vet, blood suddenly appeared on his front. We dropped him off and I went to work, Julie went home. Phone calls as the situation became clearer:

  • We will need to sedate him to take Xrays and examine him. “OK.”
  • He has a hole in his throat. “What!?”
  • He’ll need surgery. “OK.”
  • Do you want us to do a geriatric test, to see whether he will survive the anaesthetic? “Um, no, he’s not that old, go ahead with the surgery.”
  • Surgery went well, he’s groggy but awake. We’ve debrided the area and stitched up the wound. (We have since counted 5 stitches).
  • Go down and pick him up. Nope, it doesn’t look like a stray bullet. Looks like he may have jumped onto something and missed, with his throat landing on a sharp corner. Force feed him water if necessary, and here’s a supply of pain killers, already made up in syringes.
  • After that, we knew he was in pain when he would asked to be scritched. We knew he was “back” when he started attacking my ankle as I walked past.
  • He has made a full recovery and will have the stitches out tomorrow.

Angel continues to develop. She loves to be on the couch, so we eventually rigged up a box at just the right height, halfway between the floor and the couch, so that she could learn to climb up herself. It ONLY took a week for her to learn how to do it herself!

In Portland, stacks of PT cable ready to go out to job sites.

The truck has nearly a ton of rebar on it.

After the load was lifted off. You can see the difference on the cone at the rear.

Just joking. I remember a picture similar to this with the bus in it.

The view while driving over the Ship Canal Bridge.