Monday, August 07, 2006

Using a crowbar with finesse...

Moving for most families is not a pleasant experience. There are those rich few who hire professionals to do it all; take down, packing, transport, unpacking and setup. It costs a fortune (and I am a frugal tightwad...) and there are still all too many stories of things gone wrong. So my wife and I are stuck doing it without the use of professionals. Our small group has helped mightily, for which we are very grateful.

Moving my particular chatels and baggage is especially problematic because I have a basement full of tools and machines, some of which weigh well over half a ton. Of course, the long term solution is an above ground shop, but that will have to wait a bit. In the mean time, all those cast iron beasties will have to be dragged out of the basement, transported 30 miles, and dragged into the new basement.

This brings us to the crux of the post. The "new" house has an abominable set of stairs into the basement. They used 2x6's for treads and stringers and they put the accursed thing in the most inaccessible spot on the first floor. It is very steep and there's not enough head room and they are weak. It is essentially useless for moving lathes and milling machines and large diesel engines. So, we determined to reinstall the other stairs and matching exterior door that the house was originally equiped with. To accomplish that, we had to tear a hole in the floor and remove the old door, which was nailed shut and covered with paneling on the inside and plywood on the outside.

The tool of choice for some of these impediments is a crowbar. A crowbar does not look impressive or complex. As far as tools go, it looks one small step above a rock in complexity. After all, it's just a steel rod about the size of a man's thumb, with a gentle hook on one end and something less than three feet long. Both ends have a little wedge shape. How hard can it be to use a crowbar?

In the hands of an unthinking cad, a crowbar is a weapon of mass destruction which will cause vast amounts of collateral damage, both to the building and to whatever innocent bystanders are available. The cad himself is often injured as well.

However, in the hands of a master, a crowbar can deliver almost surgical precision in the deconstruction of a stick built house. Joel is such an artist. He wields the bar with such finnesse as to provide precisely the neccessary level of destruction, and no more.

I take my hat off to him.

We won't discuss the fact that we were both whumpstugled for two hours while trying to compute the correct geometry for the new stair stringers. Plus we had to account for the fact that the finished floor upstairs will be three inches taller, while the basement floor will end up one or two inches higher. Yet, in the end, we overcame the geometry.

How would Jesus compute stair stringers I wonder? Did he have to look things over for a while and contemplate, measure some things, do math, then contemplate some more? Or did he just know?


1 comment:

entirelysimulated said...

We know Joel is quite the maestro with the bar. Oh, to behold the steely ballet of finessed destruction, I would take off my hat to him.

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