After a couple near-60-hour weeks spoiled me pay-wise, two rainy weeks set in where I didn’t even get 40 hours. I have to work 50 hours at this job to get the same pay as I did for 40 hours at my factory job, 10 years ago, so I prefer to have a little overtime. The money doesn’t go nearly as far as it did back then, though. Since most of our work is tied to the construction business, rain in summer is almost as bad for us as snow in winter. The bosses are good about having a little “busy work” on hand to keep us working as near 40 hours as possible, however.
Thursday before last, the three of us with the least seniority sat around for the first hour, hoping for a load on that on-and-off rainy day. Finally, the dispatcher found us a job hauling for the mine. They had an overabundance of one size of stone, while their yard in town was a little low on the same size. Our job was to load up at the mine, 20 miles away, and haul the stone back to that company’s city yard, almost directly across the river from our employer’s shop. It was stone-yard to stone-yard, instead of stone-yard to mud lot, so it was a good rainy-day job.
Now you might think that, since their mine is only 20 miles away, the city lot would get ALL their stone there, but I’d never seen any evidence of that. Since the city yard sits between the river bank and a spur of the railroad, I figured their stone came by one method or the other. Not being bashful, I asked the lady running the scale about their stone source. She said that it came by barge from a source downriver—Kentucky, she thought.
I guess it says something about the cost of trucking that it’s cheaper to do the extra handling and ship it from another state than to haul it 20 miles by truck. Still, the stone spends a few minutes on a truck, even then, since the dock is about 200 yards downstream from their yard. So, the crane uses a clam bucket to load the trucks, and the trucks shuttle it the 200 yards to the stone-yard and dump it in a big pile. There, the end-loader pushes it up into a taller pile, so it soaks up less rain and takes up less space in the yard.
Incidentally, the company is very diversified and owns not only mines and stone-yards, but also manufacturing plants. In fact, it’s known primarily for its work in the aerospace industry. I’ve never been fully convinced that the whole moonwalk thing wasn’t just a slow-motion tape of goings-on in Area 51; I wonder if those “moon rocks” have been tested for lime content?
After hauling three loads apiece for that company, the dispatcher had us haul a couple loads each from the mine to the shop. That was just busy-work, but they’ll probably sell it there in a few days, since that’s where they do their retail business. Between those five loads and the hour’s wait that morning, we got eight hours on the clock, so that wasn’t bad for a rainy day. © 2015