Monday, December 07, 2009

Orange Texas

We worked on the same church as in August. It was just a little cooler in October than August. Ah, well, it was a lot cooler. Last trip I was up and down ladders installing junction boxes for emergency lighting and exit lights. This time I had the task of church attic electrical conduit installation. The task was given to another guy and me to run the conduit from the first floor main fuse box up through the second floor into the attic. This first picture is the general area where the conduit had to come up into the attic. Over on the other side of the vertical supports. Ah, yeah, it's pretty small.
Now all that has to happen is to squeeze my somewhat rotund body into the two foot space and connect the conduit from below. That's after we figure out a way to bring it up through the teeny tiny little space between the ceiling joist, the roof rafter, and the tile block outside wall. Oh, yeah and we needed to drag a saws all in there to cut the pipes to fit once we get them in place. That was a real strain for sure.

Once up in the attic, we then made the 150 foot run to the other end of the church. This is the area above the sanctuary. Of course where our conduit was run there was no flooring so we had to be on constant alert not to step through the ceiling.

Across the entry way of the church and down to the junction box for the sound booth. All together we ran a 2 1/2 inch conduit of about 200 feet with four 90 degree bends and two 30 degree bends. That's the maximum allowed in a conduit run. I've really learned a lot about how electricity gets to the plugs. It's not quite as simple as it would first seem.

My team buddie and I finished up the week mounting junction boxes and pulling wires into those boxes. The big conduit didn't get wires pulled through it on this trip.
All in all the trip was a success and one more trip should finish up this project. Then it will be on to the community center. I won't be back on a trip until next year. By then they may be working on something else. Whatever it is the learning experience continues.

Fishing in Wild Horse

After a grueling 8 hour drive to the lovely and senic Wild Horse reservoir, we set up camp on the shore. Being close to the water has it's advantages. It's not far to go fishing.

This guy took the record for most fish caught on the trip. Well of course he had a great advantage with his spark plug weights that would allow him to heave his bait out farther in the lake than anyone else.

First was poles in the water then came breakfast each morning. We were truly rough and ready camping in the wild of northern Nevada, 70 miles from the nearest real town. Temperatures dropped into the 20s at night and rose to 70s during the day. It made for cold tent camping and all agreed that next year we will have tent heaters.

Most of our time was spent along the shore fishing and telling stories about past experiences. We were the great white fishermen.

By the third day we had caught our limit and started eating fish to be able to keep fishing. By the end of the day we were so stuffed with fish, we decided to come back a day early. We had caught probably 30 fish and had to eat enough to make us legal at 20 lake trout. We also caught two catfish one about 5 pounds and the other 7 1/2 pounds. In addition to that we snagged a couple wippers which are a cross between a couple fish.
All agreed that we need to do it again next year. I've been researching bait launchers so look out spark plug man cause Nebraska Dave's coming back with new ideas.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Old Rose

Old Rose was a Rosebud Tree that stood tall and mighty. She displayed her best colors in the Springtime for 44 years in Old Dave's backyard. A few years ago she became home for a dreaded carpenter ant colony. She tried her best to hold up her arms toward the heavens and continue to be the best Rosebud tree she could be. Those pesky ants finally caused a limb to succumb to the continuous gnawing.

Then another branch bit the dust as Old Rose started showing her age. Most Rosebud trees live to a ripe old age of 25 so in Rosebud tree years she was well over 100. Most Rosebud trees don't get much taller that 25 feet, but old Rose towered up to 40 feet.

It became obvious last year that old Rose was suffering and needed to be cut down. With Mighty Moe, the little electric chain saw that thought he could, the process of cutting down Old Rose began. When the last branch was to be hewn down, a little help from friends made the task easier and quicker.

After the last branch came down the task of removing the stump began. A good friend took on the task of stump removal and over the course of several months, he dug, sawed, and chopped on the root system of Old Rose. Finally we called up Big Burtha, the newly aquired Stihl 460 Magnum chain saw, off the bench to dice up the last parts of Old Rose's stump.

Go Big Burtha

In a matter of less that an hour the last of the stump was removed and we celebrated with fried rice, wantons, peanut butter chicken, and other Chinese delicacies at the Hong Hing restaurant.

My stump removing friend

Old Rose will live on in the memories of those that enjoyed her beauty and those that helped to bring her down. All that's left is a hole of victory where she once stood in royal grandeur for so many years. Thoughts have been given about what will become of the space where she lived and those thoughts have been leaning toward a memorial fire pit to warm the hearts of those that sit around the cracking fire telling stories which may just be about the glory days of Old Rose and how she lasted so long.

Long live the memories of Old Rose

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cove Baptist Church August brought the opportunity to be a part of a team that headed for Orange, Texas to help with the wiring of a church. The church had three and a half feet of water in the Sanctuary from hurricane Ike. Since all the wiring below the water line had to be replaced and the church was over 50 years old a total rewiring to bring it up to code was in order. The team staid in Vidor and ate morning and evening meal there.
Noon meal was at the fellowship hall of Cove church which was on higher ground and didn't get any water damage. Snacks at 10:30am and 3:30pm were top notch as well as the noon meal. I always come back from a trip with at least 5 pounds more than I what I left with. But that Southern food just tastes sooo good. I expect it sends my cholesterol up a point or two but I'll deal with it when I get back home.

My job this time was to put rectangle holes in the walls for the alarm system monitor and emergency lights to be mounted. It required up and down ladders all day long. Texas in August is hot hot hot and extremely humid. So working up on the ceiling in a building with no power which meant no airconditioning and only a few fans to keep the air moving was pretty exhausting by the end of the day. A good high cholesterol meal and nice shower really hit the spot.

Mounting electrical boxes for the exit signs was another ceiling job. You would have thought that I'd have sweat off a few pounds, but every two hours the church people wanted to feed us. I didn't have heart to say no. :) Between this trip and the next trip in September that I didn't go on we rolled out about 6,000 feet of metal clad electrical wire.

My Cousin's Patio
The next project of the summer all started with a phone call from my cousin. "What ya doin'" was the question coming from phone on my ear. My response to that question is almost always, "I don't know what am I doing?" She says with an excited voice,"I am going to build a patio in my front yard and need dirt. I was driving down the road and found a sign that says, 'FREE DIRT.' Can you believe it. Free dirt." Well that lead into loading, hauling, and unloading FREE DIRT.
The project expanded into a two week project of hauling, rocks, sand, gravel, and flagstone. I'd never laid a flagstone patio before so it was definitely a learning experience for both of us. We planned and talked and planned and talked then we would dig and shape and talk and plan some more. The two of us together almost made a half a landscaper. But with a little time and wisdom we made it through the building of the patio.
We learned a lot about leveling the patio. It only took a couple days to figure out how to raise up one end to make the patio level with the sidewalk.

Steps and plants finished off the patio. It will take the rest of the summer before the yard damage around the patio fills back in with grass, but by next year it should look as if it has been there for years. My cousin went on to a couple more big projects, but I didn't get to help with those as I had other commitments.

Helping out a friend
The next project of the summer was to help out a friend. She wanted to sell her house and this area was a mud eye sore for sure. She saw my poor man's patio and wanted to know if I could build her a small retaining wall to eliminate the eye sore in front of her house. Well, you know me. I accepted the challenge and obtained the details of how she wanted it to look and set out to aquire the materials. In about three days the project came together and really turned out great. Hopefully the next owner will enjoy the wall for many years to come.

Working at my Sister Pam's house

Las Vegas Work Crew
Everyone knows by now that my sister's husband, Ewald, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in January of this year and lost the battle here on earth in May but now dances with Jesus in heaven. Ewald's sister, Rosie, came to spend many weeks with her brother during his last days. Her husband, Steve, started the task of repairing a kitchen floor but soon it bloomed into an extreme home makeover both inside and out. Weeks extended into months as the project just expanded daily. Family and friends came to help from all parts of the country. Projects that had been in progress for a decade were being completed in a systematic way under the supervision of Ewald's brother-in-law, Steve.
The two sheds beside Pam's house were completely filled side to side front to back were sorted through with save, throw, and give away piles mounting up. Upon completion of emptying these two sheds, one was torn down and taken to the scrap heap and the other was moved to a new location. Pam bought a new tough shed which replaced those two sheds.
New windows around, with trim, and caulking were installed. Amost everything was either replaced or fixed to work properly by time of Ewald's service.

This is a sample of the group that came to help with the refurbishing of Pam's house and yard. We would all decend on the Casino every morning to eat breakfast. By the time everything was finished, we had our special place in the dining area for our group. We just figured they wanted to keep us away from the rest of the paying customers as we heckled each other and the waitresses as well. All was in good fun and they excepted it as just that. This picture was taken close to the last day and was really kind of a sad day as things began to wind down.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Vidor Texas Feburary 2009

In February of 2009 a Nebraska team of 6 particiated in a trip to Vidor Texas to help rebuild what we thought was going to be an old nursing home. Our plan was to rewire the facility to allow it to be used for following teams as a place to eat, sleep, and spend non working hours telling tall stories about other trips. When we arrived we hooked up with about 40 others who came to help with the wiring. We found that plans had changed since we left. The building we were to work on was filled with asbestos and had to be removed before we could begin working. So plan "B" was to wire a new church facility in the same area.

Each morning we gathered in the center of the facility we were wiring to receive instruction, teaching, and encouragement for the day. This was the largest team that I have been on. We stayed at a church that was a center for meal distribution after hurricane Ike went through the area. Our sleeping area was several modular buildings about the size of single wide trailers which were filled with bunk beds. Our shower facilities were two remodeled steel shipping containers with 6 showers and a washer and dryer in each one. Meals were provided by the cooking team of three that was part of the team. Among the team members we had one EMT and one nurse.

Here is a picture of two of the team members. On the right was big Jake and he has a height of seven foot four inches. On the left is shorty and he has a height of four foot eleven. We just thought it would be kind of funny to get a picture of the two standing together. Big jake didn't need ladders much. He'd just reach up and work on anything he wanted on the ceiling. It was real interesting to watch people as he would amble into a Mc Donald's with the team. Almost invaribly someone would want a picture with him. He even got his picture taken with a girls soccer team at one stop.

This is one of our team members wiring a breaker box. These boxes do not come all put together. There are lots of assembly required before hanging them on the wall. We had well over 100 circuits to wire and several boxes were required. In the five days we worked over 7,000 feet of wire was installed and half of that required conduit. Each circuit was wired to a portion of the build and conduit had to be run to a junction box in that area of the building. From there the different circuits up to four would be dispersed to the plugs and lights for a couple rooms or walls. The large team was broken down into smaller teams each with a person in charge of the smaller group. Each smaller group was given a designated area to work on in the building. We saved the church several thousand dollars by helping with the wiring.
This is what's known as a crawdad tower. The crawdad burrows down into the water table which lies about 8 inches below the grass and builds a tower from the dirt removed from the hole. The church yard was filled with towers from the crawdads.

I decided I was gonna get me a crawdad just for fun. I dug up many a hole but never seen a single crawdad. The local people thought it great entertainment to watch how this old Nebraska boy hunted crawdads. I'm not sure how they catch em there but my method was definitely a bust.
The wires that were installed into the conduit pipes to the junction boxes were up to nine individual wires that had to be pulled through the pipe. The proceedure required a stiff fish wire to be pushed through the pipe out the other end. Then the wires were fastened to the fish wire with tape and as the wires were pulled through the pipe they were continually gooped up with some kind to slick stuff to make them slide through the pipe easier. It was quite a process to watch for sure. I learned quite a lot about electrical wiring.