Wednesday, December 23, 2009

And the work continues. . .

Today Mario and his men were on the job before 8 a.m. They weren't here yesterday except to clean up the pad late in the day. The concrete around the posts was still curing. But that isn't to say they weren't working. When Mario arrived today he had the trusses on his trailer, already welded up with brackets, etc. It was obvious he had worked all day getting the material ready and he had all the material on his trailer except for the trim and guttering which he picked up later in the day.

We had a lot of wind yesterday and there was wind today, although not as bad. Mario said he did all the welding like he did because it would be easier to put things together in the wind. He had measured everything and made the cuts, so all his men had to do was put things together on site. Everything fit together perfectly. We were unsure if Mario's promise to finish by Christmas was going to ring true, but after today, we know it will. They will be done tomorrow.

It was interesting to watch the men work. No one sat down on the job; they all worked hard from 8 a.m. till they stopped at 6 p.m. They did take a lunch break and we gave them lawn chairs and a table on which to set the food Mario brought them. None of the workers speak any English, but they were grateful for the meager hospitality we offered.

Mario brought his three oldest sons and they were busy all day. They helped the men unload the rafters/trusses and the purlins. They were heavy, but the boys worked together with one other man and they got the job done. When the workers were hoisting the rafters up, the oldest boy was working the winch. He obviously has done this before, because he knew what he was doing. Mario was very patient with them and I could tell by watching that they liked helping their dad. Mario called the lift a "Mexican crane." It was truck winch powered by a jump start. Standing 15 feet up on the scaffolding, he did his job well. They strapped the rafter to the winch and it took little time to get the job done. But I was glad when the third one was up and in place. The purlins were a little easier. Mario fashioned a hook which they tied onto a strap. With a strap on either end of the purlin, the workers pulled the beam up to their station and bolted it in place. When the boys weren't busy offloading material, they busied themselves taking tools to men and fetching bolts.

After all the rafters and purlins/beams were in place, the workmen took their lunch break. After that, they placed and screwed all the steel roofing in place. While they were doing that, the oldest boy worked brushing all the welds where the rafters rested on the posts and then spray painted them with primer.

Tomorrow they will finish up the trim, facia, and the guttering. We are so pleased with our canopy. It will be so nice to be out of the sun. Now I know we come here for the sun and the weather, but the best part is the shade. It can be 100 degrees here in the sun and a cool breeze blows in the shade. In the winter time, it is easy to be comfortable here in south Texas. And if we are ever here in the summer, the canopy will protect us from the sun. In fact, once "winter" is over in the valley, the sun will be hot and we will be enjoying our shade. We should be able to get by with less air conditioning as well.

We do seem to be the talk of the park. I'm sure everybody has their own idea of how they would do things differently. One resident spent quite a bit of time this morning watching and when I greeted him, he said, "I've got six grandsons I'd like to bring down here to show them how to work." Hah. A lot of people hire Mexican workers and they don't all work the way our crew has. I cannot say enough about Mario and his crew. We called him last Friday night, we signed our contract on Saturday, they started on Sunday, and they will be done on Thursday. They have been very professional, reliable and qualified. They arrive looking professional, with shirts emblazoned with the company name. Even though we cannot speak their language, they have been very respectful and we are glad we found them to do our building. Anyone in the valley who is looking at doing some commercial work, I would be happy to pass on contact information.

Till next time. . .


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