|Last Friday I started landscaping my side yard a bit. The contractor I've hired has marked the spot where my new 20KVA generator will have to go. So I'm digging out the bank above it and will need some concrete blocks for a retaining wall to keep the hill in place.
I tried to call the last masonry supplier I used four years ago... but it rang, and rang, and rang, then went to voice mail... with a message the box was full.
'Come on, the economy is recovering and there's building going on all over. They don't listen to their messages? What's up?'
So I called a competitor and ordered a pallet of blocks. "Oh, we're so busy, and with the holiday, we can't get them to yah til'... oh, the 11th."
"So... I guess I'll have to wait to break my back luggin' 40 lb blocks until the 11th."
"Well, unless someone cancels."
"Fine, fine. Bring um out whenever you can. I'll be home."
I went out to the hill and started moving dirt, one shovel full at a time.
Two hours later a big white flatbed with a crane lift pulled up to the driveway.
The driver looked vaguely familiar when we shook hands. "You want it in the same place?"
"Huh? Oh, so that's why you look familiar. You used to be with New England Blocks?"
"Yep, 25 years."
"What happened to them? They don't answer their phone."
"No, they're gone. Laid me off two years ago. I used to drive their big yellow truck."
"Laid off? Out of business?"
"Owner died. Widow didn't have a clue how to run the place. Got picked up with Hudson Quarry at about a third less pay."
"Damn. I've been laid off... oh, maybe a half dozen times. The last time I said 'screw it' and retired."
"Love to, but the kid is still in college." He looked over the block-work I've done around the driveway. "You got more to do here?"
"No, not here. I'm working on a wall up the hill," pointing to the hole I've started.
"I could put these half-way up there for you. Won't have to carry them so far."
"That would be great. I ain't 70 any more."
He maneuvered the truck's ass-end right up to the beginning of the slope. Then like a magician (with 25-years experience) swung the ton and a half pallet of blocks way over the yard. The truck's front wheels looked like they were about to lift when he set the pallet down.
I estimated 3,200 lbs, times 12 ft, is about 38,000 ft-lbs of work I would not have to do for the wall. (How many calories is that?)
I made out a check to his employer for the load ... and handed it (and a sawbuck) to the driver.