Saturday, February 5, 2011
Joe Daigneault 1278 words
I show up, as usual, twenty minutes before the rest of the crew. The sky to the east is just starting to lighten a bit. It’s still too dark to see. I go over the sheets, layout the rigging, set up the torch and check the wire. Today we’re finishing a six-barrel, box culvert in the desert just outside of Whitman. As the crew shows up I drink that last cup of coffee and pop four 500mg Tylenol.
Kenny, an ex-bull rider turned-Christian-speed-freak, who is now the Super, wonders over. “What do ya need, Joe?”
“When’s the pour?”
“Well, I could use two men and three punks.”
“I’ll give you black Howard and two new skins.”
“Right out of the box… just came off the rez yesterday and Joe, don’t kill em we’re short on help.”
“Okay but we’ll be chasing it, see if you can’t get me a few more.”
“Billy T called and said the office was sending out some new guy and they said he was only to work with you!”
“Call those assholes back and tell them, if they want me to baby-sit, they need to tack 50 cents an hour on to my check and send out a few cases of Pampers.”
“Either way, it’s gotta pour, so it’s assholes and elbows!”
“Amen to that.”
Kenny walks over to an old truck. Two young Indians get out. He points me out; they put on their brand new, tool belts and walk over quickly.
I say, Yah teh hey apena, denez (Goodmorning, Navajos.)
The older one replies, Yah teh hey, hostein (Hello Boss.)
About the same time, Howard, a huge, scary, midnight black, man, with a two inch wide scar running across his face, walks over, and growls, “Good morning, you fat, white, piece of dog shit”
“Morning fudge blossom! If your all done with the sweet talk, why don’t you get these guys loading in that bottom and I’ll lay it out. Oh, and Kenny says if you break em, you buy em. So play nice.”
Howard walks over to the iron pile and starts shaking out the rods. I tell the Indians “Just do what that big black guy over there tells you, keep your hands on the rebar, don’t slow down and you’ll be fine.”
The older one says in broken English, “Wha happen to his face?”
I’m tempted to lay some bullshit story about a knife fight in the ghetto on them, but decide against it. “Well, when He was twelve, down in Morenci, he and his little brother stole the limo at his sister’s wedding. Shit, they were just two little black kids that had never seen a Cadillac that big before… going for a fucking joy ride. They made it about a mile before Howard wrapped the car around a big old oak tree. Howard went through the front window. His little brother was crippled for life. He’s every bit as mean as he looks… so I’d leave it alone.” Nodding my head toward the iron I say, “Get to it!”
Howard picks up three of the 35 pound, number seven hook bars. They are 12 feet long, with a six-foot tail. Howard is tall enough to rest the bars on his shoulder as he carries them out to be placed in the box. Unfortunately, the Indians are only about five feet tall, so they hold the bars over their heads as they walk. Both try three bars and make it about ten feet before their arms give out. The bars go tumbling to the ground. Howard storms over and starts screaming.
“You clumsy, gut eating, ccoksuckers. Are you fucker’s lazy or just plain stupid? That’s a good way to end up in the hospital. If you’re too fucking short to carry these by yourselves then team up. I don’t want to see you carrying less than five of those ‘Chingaderas’ all fuckin day… And don’t let that fat, white, son of a bitch over there run out of iron, I don’t want to hear it!”
As Howard and the Indians pack the rods in I set them into place. Working as fast as I can I tie the bars together by wrapping the wire around them, where they come together. Then I cinch them tight by pulling and twisting the wire at the same time with my hands. Another quick twist with my pliers then I cut the wire short. There’s no time to be careful, so about every five minutes I accidentally run my knuckles or forearm across the razor sharp wire. After twenty minutes, my arm drips blood and will do so for the rest of the day. I’m so use to getting cut that I don’t even flinch anymore. If it feels too deep, I just check quickly to see if it needs stitches.
Around nine, an orange Toyota pickup pulls up. An old Mexican, wearing thick prescription sunglasses, gets out. He’s the field superintendent.
He asks me, “Hot enough for ya Joey?” I’m hot and sweating. it’s around 110°.
“Hey Billy T… no, but don’t worry we’re suppose to hit 118° this afternoon. How’s that A-C been treating you?” At 118°the average guy will make it about twenty minutes before he starts puking. When it’s that hot, people die from heat exhaustion.
“The A-C’sFine… just fine. Come on up out of there I need a word with you.”
“Look, I got a pour at three and my ears work fine, so just speak up.”
“Hey… get you ass out of that hole NOW1… I need to talk with you about this guy the office is sending out.”
I’ve worked around Billy T all my life; he has a look of concern on his face that really grabs my attention, so I tell Howard, “Hey, take over.”
When I get up top, Billy T. says, “Do you remember a huge con that worked down at the yard. The FBI came in and scooped him up one day about eight years ago?”
“Yeah, I remember him. His name was Willie. I used to work with him when I was a kid… Why?”
“He’s out and coming here. Apparently, they were so afraid of him down at Florence that he’s been in solitary for the past six years. I guess he beat three guys to death.”
“So why’s he out?”
“No one left to testify, but he did the did the rest of his time in the box. They let him out for one hour a month to walk around in a cage in the sunlight, wearing shackles with two armed guards watching. Your old man gave him a job so he made parole. No General population for him. They took him out of solitary this morning and put him directly on the bus. He’s a little spooky. The office told me to give him to you… keep a fucking leash on him. There’s a tool belt for him in the back of my truck. Tell him I’ll take it out of his first check.”
Billy T drives away and I get back at it.
Around eleven, I look up from the hole and there he is in brand new, Levis, boots and a white tee shirt. Just as big as I remember, except he’s as white as a ghost from being inside.
“I’m looking for Joey Daigneault,” he says.
“Well Willie, that would be me. How the fuck are you?”
He smiles that big, shit eating, Willie grin and says. “Fine as frogs hair, boy… I’ll be, look at you. You grew up!
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Shipping Container Building
One of the goals we have in building our campus is to use our different buildings as individual labs, the buildings themselves. The goal being to discover ways for the average person on the street to build their own home or what ever other buildings they may need, at the lowest possible cost, and with the greatest future savings of energy.
What we’re studying is Shipping Container (Connex Box), Straw Bale, Cast in Place earth, and super insulated frame, Construction. Along with this we are implementing photovoltaic electric and passive solar hot water.
I am currently working on the utility building that will house our art studio, mechanical workshop, storage and potting shed. Its frame is a shipping container. Known as a “High Cube” it is forty feet long, nine and a half feet tall and eight feet wide.
These come with utility grade, hard wood floors and are strong enough to stack eight high fully loaded. What that means to us is they can handle almost any load that the average builder might want to place on top of their building.
These Connex boxes are made out a product called “Corten” also known as weather resistant steel. There are several builders worldwide thinking up new and unusual ways to stack these structures. After looking at several boxes, our criteria being; straight, without major holes or dents, minimal corrosion, floors in good shape, doors with good seals and in good working order and weather tight, we bought ours for $2700 delivered. A friend moved it into place with a backhoe and I leveled it with a 6-ton jack. I cut in the window for light and placed a vent on the roof. Our future plans include adding thermal mass with poured in place, reinforced adobe, wrapping the finished box with two inches of insulation and a living roof that will serve as an herb garden and possible second story office. This is one or most requested blog subjects we receive. Please let us know what you’re building needs and plans are. And if we can lab something or help answer any questions that you may have. I just grabbed these pics of the net as examples of box construction.
Mad Coyote Joe
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I am getting readers from all over the planet. Two nights ago I had 26 Latvians reading my novel. We are in a global economy. My advice… take advantage of it.
I love the fact that I can write something and 20 seconds later people in Asia are reading it. Please let me know what you are thinking especially globally! It takes a few seconds but it will help to write what interests you! It’s a little daunting to think that my words are being read globally. This is a new world and I’m hoping to have my work find you. I’ve always said “a true friend is someone that tells you the truth, bullshit is for buddies.”
Be a friend and tell me what you think about my writing and my posts!
Mad Coyote Joe
Being the reigning Garage Sale King has its responsibilities. One to be King you need to score treasures along with a constant flow of hot deals in whatever area you might be interested. This is my modes operandi upon arrival at a yard sale I find the owner or who ever is in charge. I ask if they have tools, building materials, musical instruments, guns, kitchen equipment, and coins. If no, I take a quick look and then move on.
If they have any of what I’m looking for I assign a price that it’s worth to me and then look for anything else that I may want. Then I ask what they want for it. If they want more that I want to pay I ask if they are willing to come down on the price. If no I leave if yes I offer the lowest price that I think they can live with. When the price is lower than I was thinking I still go lower quite often they will take the price. Where I really make money is when I will add other items in often a whole group. At one sale there was a weaving that I liked they wanted $5 I added in a table full of chisels and screwdrivers, a knife an eight-foot level and three boxes of nails one had about 40 lbs of nails inside. I offered $10. He came back with “How about $15?” These items at his prices were over $80 and at retail over $200. I gave the $15 and left.
My big Scores are tools at less than 10% of retail, I have found a nice Salvador Dali Serigraph $40, 2 Rembrandt Etchings $5, A 60 year old mandolin$20, A Gibson B25 12 string guitar$25, Building Materials for 5% of retail.
Yester day I took my Rembrandt Etchings down to a few galleries in Scottsdale with my good friend Rick Strole. After being helped out of the door by people that were better than the both of us we came upon a small Gallery. The owner was chatting with a friend and welcomed us. He took a look at the Rembrandt’s and told us they were struck from the original copper plates in the earily twentieth century. He could tell by the paper it was not from the 1600’s but still very old. He showed us a few of the etchings that he had in his gallery and suggested a retail price of my etchings of $125- $150 each.
Not bad for a $5 investment. A few years ago I found a nice lady selling coin rolls she had Washing silver quarters in $10 rolls she was asking $12 per roll. I took all she had 5 rolls for $60. I sold them a few months later when silver was up for $678.
Right now people are in need of bill money and selling anything that they are not using or in great need of. I wait until I need something. Like the other day I decided I needed a chainsaw for my Bread oven. So I started going to the sales. The second sale that I stopped at had a Remington electric Chainsaw. She was asking $12. It looked new, I plugged it in and it ran fine, plus the chain was very sharp. I said, “How about $8?” She agreed. I went home and checked the model number on line it was on sale at a reduced price of $87, so I got it for 10% of retail. The deals are out there go to the sales early, know what you want and what you will pay and you too can save some cash!