Today’s post is a paper Nate wrote for Freshman Comp. It does a good job showing a typical day working together.
The resort is waking up from hibernation. For nine months it has been silent, but now it is starting to stir. The bobcat is grumbling through its many responsibilities and the shop is buzzing with projects. The workers progress from task to task with a quickness in their step. There is a sense of urgency to get everything done before opening.
On this beautiful Saturday, I started late because I took the ACT test in the morning. I anticipated the chance to flex my muscles and not my brain. It did not take long for the bantering to start flying between Forrest (my best friend), Dad (the boss), and I. “It looks like you two had a good morning drinking coffee and eating donuts.” I shot across, but they just let the comment roll off their backs like rain. Forrest asked, “Doesn’t your brain feel like mush after taking the ACT?” I responded, “Definitely!” We went to lunch. After Forrest and I had lunch, we got our first job: leveling the docks. Dad had another project in the shop, but I convinced him that leveling the docks was the best use of the beautiful day. Forrest and I moved on to the docks.
Leveling docks is a four step process: first, winches are placed on the two end posts; second, the bolts holding the dock posts in place are loosened so the deck of the dock can be raised or lowered to make the dock level; third, the dock is winched up or down above the water using a tape measure and level for pinpoint accuracy. Well, at least it looks level to the eye. Lastly, the bolts are tightened and the winches removed hoping we do not fall in the lake because we did not tighten the bolts enough. This process is repeated until all the posts on the dock are done. We reached the first dock and discovered one of the bolts was broken off. The boss would have to be contacted later, but for now, it was on to the next dock. This dock had a bolt that was rusted in place because it sat out in the elements and had water splashed on it all summer long. My two sisters volunteered to get the oil from the garage. The oil was applied but the bolt was still not moving, even with the impact wrench. While laying on the dock working on the bolt, the impact wrench slipped and it tried to go swimming. I made a lucky grab and saved myself from having to explain to the boss why the impact wrench was in the lake. The bolt came free only after I risked a swim by stepping on the handle of a wrench which was hanging over the water.
The next two docks went smoothly. We then made contact with the boss to ask about pushing in a dock and to let him know about the broken bolt. He said he was in the middle of something and would be out in fifteen minutes to help push the dock in. Walking back, Forrest and I had a little conference. I said, “Do you think we should wait for the boss?” Forrest replied, “We are a couple of young bucks, and we pushed it in last year.” I agreed, “Deal, I was hoping you would say that.” We grunted the dock in by ourselves, but it was not as straight as we wanted. The boss was going to have to make the final judgment. We leveled the next dock while waiting for the boss. He showed up as we finished leveling the dock. He took one look at the dock we put in and turned to get the bobcat to pull it out. I objected saying we could muscle the dock out if he helped. He slowly agreed, so we muscled it out and pushed it back in straight.
Next, the boss headed to get the bobcat, while Forrest and I headed to the house to don chest waders. The waders were needed for our next job: hooking up the sprinkler system. Forrest and I had to pound a stake into the bottom of the lake to hold the sprinkler system’s intake pipe off the bottom because the resort uses water from the lake for the sprinkler system. Forrest started pounding but soon ran into rocks. We had to start over. This meant it was my turn to pound. I was using the sledge hammer sideways. Soon the boss said, “Quit hitting that stake like a girl!” I retorted, “It’s better than hitting my fingers.” However, I did start using the hammer the right way. I also hit rocks with the stake. We started over again. Success! As we hung the intake pipe, we found a problem; the intake was out of the water. I hollered for the hammer, and Forrest waded to shore to get it from the boss. Before he handed Forrest the hammer he said, “You know Forrest, when someone uses a hammer like a girl, that’s when the handle brakes.” They both chuckled at that.
The last job was to pull the dock out that had the broken bolt. Forrest and I chained the dock to the bobcat. The boss had it sitting on dry land in about a minute. We started repairs. First, we drilled out the bolt and rethreaded the nut. Testing to see if the bolt would hold meant dropping the dock back in the lake, leveling it, and tightening the bolt. The bolt did not hold so we pulled the dock out again. This time we took the dock back to the garage. We fired up the grinder and the old bolt came off in a shower of sparks. The welder was wheeled out and I welded on the new bolt. The welder produced several more showers of sparks, and the dock was as good as new. We left the dock by the garage because the smell of fried chicken and fresh bread was calling us in. Supper time is a great time to catch up and recap the day.
One last photo to compliment Nate’s paper on a typical work day. Here is Kenny, a new employee, who found out the hard way what happens when one side of the dock slips!