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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bum Leg three


Bum Leg Three

 

   I think some of the most fun I've gotten from having an artificial leg  (in my own warped kind of way) has been on the job. That is only because the kind of work I've always done is the kind where you're constantly meeting new people. Wouldn't be near as much fun if I worked around the same folks who knew I had one all the time. Granted some of the things that have happened over the years may not have seemed all that "Fun" to other people and I did feel a little sorry for and guilty abut them but they did crack me up.

   The first one was while I was doing construction work. We were building a second story to a couples house. I was proud of that job because not only did I come up with the concept, it actually worked which was something new for me. They needed to work within a tight budget and tearing off the existing roof, building the second floor and having to re-install a complete new roof was going to push the project over. My idea was to build towers at each corner, run beams through the trusses, cut the portion of the roof we wanted to raise away from the rest, jack it 10ft in the air, build the second floor and sit it back on top. It was a lot cheaper doing it that way because I could re-use a lot of the materials and wouldn't have to charge for them. The only tiny hitch I had with the plan was needing to have four crew members at the top of the towers to work the chain hoists to lift the roof. I found out the morning of the lift that one of my crew members was afraid of heights. We only had to put off the lift for a hour while I shuffled crew between jobs but once we got going it worked great. Of course I knew it would, at least that's what I made everyone else think.  In truth there was no one there more surprised than me..

   After we got the roof up and propped in place we had to really hustle to get the new floor and wall installed because we couldn't just leave the roof swaying in the wind 10 ft above the house especially since the couple and their kids were still living there. We were at least smart enough to have the new floor joists cut to length and sitting there ready along with the new floor decking. We got the joists up in record time and were laying the decking when the lady of the house and her husband came stopped by to see how were doing. I was still pretty limber in those days so I was packing up the ladder and the other three guys were installing it. It's not easy to balance a 4 foot by 8 foot piece of 3/4" plywood while your climbing a ladder but you get the hang of it after awhile and back then I could do it fast enough so the rest of the crew wasn't slowed down waiting on me. The problem with that was that i really didn't have time to stop and talk to the owners but you just can't ignore them, they're the owners. Anyway, I'm trying to answer their questions while still running up and down this ladder. The lady asked a question just as I was starting up and I couldn't hear her very well so she moved closer to the bottom of the ladder. I caught her movement from the corner of my eye and glanced down to see her moving to the bottom of the ladder. I really didn't want there with me above her trying to balance a big piece of lumber and started to ask her to move back.    I guess I should have been paying more attention to what I was doing because the next thing I knew  I caught my toe under the ladder rung as I was stepping up and yanked my leg right off. I managed to lean forward and slam the plywood into the ladder so i wouldn't drop it. It took me a couple of minutes to get things settled then i looked down to make sure everyone was all right.

   Both the husband and wife were now standing at the bottom of the ladder. The husband had his arm around his wife who looked like she was going to pass out. he looked down at the leg, she looked up at me. she looked down at the leg, he looked up at me. they did that back and forth thing half a dozen times with no one saying a word. i figured what the hell, I can't make it any worse so I ask them if they would mind handing it back to me cause I was pretty sure I was going to need it. I thought I had made it worse cause the wife took off for the house, crying. the husband just stood there watching her then finally reached down, picked up my leg and handed it to me. I was embarrassed as hell and trying to apologies when all of a sudden he busted out laughing. it took a minute for it two dawn on me that he really was laughing as I was trying to apologize for making his wife cry. he had to take a couple of deep breaths to get himself under control enough to tell me that she wasn't crying, she was also laughing and had to run in the house because she was a afraid she was going to embarrass me.  I guess that time the joke was on me but I ended up thinking it was funnier than any of them. i did have to spent the rest of that job hearing them telling their friends about that day, over and over. I reckon they did get the last laugh.