Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Delivery Man Who Felt the Need For Speed

One of the basic ingredients to any remodeling project is wood and so one evening after work, I dropped over at one of those big box stores and walked around pricing some wood. The economy may be crap and the construction industry at a complete standstill but it certainly makes my billfold happy. I figured out what I needed and arranged to have it delivered on Saturday when I would be home to deal with it and I needed a day to get stuff ready anyway.

I woke up Saturday morning to find that three inches of that white stuff had fallen over night and soon the road plows were flying by scraping the road out front into an icy sheen. I live on a hill so I got to see quite a few people slipping and sliding as they made their way by my house. I kept plugging away with my project and finally about four hours late, the semi with my wood arrived.

Why a semi I have no idea since I only had 20 sheets of OSB and a small pile of 2x4's but that is what it came on. The semi came down the hill towards my drive and put on the brakes only to keep right on sliding down the hill. They drove off down the street and came back five minutes later heading up the hill this time and parked right in the middle of the street. The guy hopped out and apologized for being so late but said it had been a heck of a morning. The store hadn't plugged in his semi and so he had to work a long time to get it started. Then he had discovered that the brake lines had frozen and so he had thawed them out. Next he learned that the skid steer hadn't been plugged in either and so he worked to get it started and warmed up. Finally after all that, he pulled into the loading dock of the store only to have to wait because they hadn't pulled up my order.

His luck didn't change when he arrived at my place because as soon as he lowered the skid steer to the ground, the rear tire on it was completely flat. So I drug out my tiny emergency battery charger slash tire pump slash flashlight slash jump starting unit and hooked it to his tire. Of course the battery in it was dead so I had to drag out every extension cord I own to reach the road and get it working. Twenty minutes later, the tire was pumped up and I had to reel up all that extension cord as the driver hopped on the skid steer and immediately floored it. He probably sat there for two or three minutes spinning the tires as fast as they would go while making a whopping inch or two a minute headway up the hill. I was just about ready to suggest he back down the hill and get some headway because once your tires start spinning like that, you aren't going to go anywhere. But before I could he figured that out and backed down the hill and started up again.

He got up to the mailbox but couldn't fit between it and the truck so he stopped and hopped into the semi and immediately floored it which only got the tires spinning so all hope of forward progress was lost. He then put it in reverse and promptly backed into his skid steer while I frantically tried to jump high enough to get his attention through the side window. Fortunately though he hit the tire hard with the rear trailer bumper, no damage was done and the skid steer was backed down the hill out of the way. He got back into the truck and immediately jacked knifed the semi so that the trailer was going into the Lawn Nazi's lawn across the street much to my delight.

He never did get the trailer straightened out and got to the point where he was either going to run over one of the Lawn Nazi's perfectly manicured bushes or have to drive out of the lawn and up the hill. After much spinning and digging of ruts in the Lawn Nazi's lawn, tires going full speed of course, he slowly an inch at a time melted through the thin icy sheet of snow glazing the street and progressed up the hill. A full twenty minutes of slowly spinning the wheels brought him past my drive and up to the top of the hill.

Had it been me at this point, I would have just left the truck up there and brought the lumber down with the skid steer. The driver however backed down the hill and once again slid past my driveway though he did manage to avoid jack knifing the trailer into the Lawn Nazi's lawn this time. At the bottom of the hill, he floored the semi and inched his way back up the hill but this time a couple more feet into the center of the road.

While the driver hopped onto the skid steer at the bottom of the hill and floored that so that he crept up the hill an inch at a time, a hippy looking guy driving a small RV came over the top of the hill and hit the brakes. He got out and eyeballed the situation for awhile and I wondered what he was going to do. He could turn right onto a side street and drive around the block or he could try to squeeze between the semi and the curb protecting the Lawn Nazi's lawn from the street. The hippy went back to his RV and evidently decided to go for it and started down the hill. Forty feet from the semi he lost his nerve and locked up his brakes but with all the weight and the momentum he had obtained, there wasn't anyway he was going to get that thing stopped. So with front tires locked up, he continued to slide towards the semi.

I thought he would surely hit it but the crown of the road saved him and he gently slid over to the curb so that his front tires scraped along it the rest of the way down the hill and his rear tires rolled through the Lawn Nazi's lawn, much to my delight. The truck driver had finally inched his way up to the trailer and had lifted up my small pile of OSB and 2x4's from the trailer bed. What he should have done was turn around by backing up the hill so that the weight could stay over the front drive wheels but he backed down the hill and once again, floored the engine and slowly spun his way up the hill and dropped the stack off in front of my garage.

While he drove down the hill to the rear of the bed, turned around and once again floored it so that he slowly inched up to the rear of the truck so he could fasten the skid steer, I transferred the entire pile inside my garage door and closed the door. He hopped into the cab, floored it and spun his tires until they melted the snow, grabbed the pavement and propelled the truck an inch forward to the next patch of snow waiting to be melted. I walked down the hill to my neighbor's driveway where I had parked my two wheel drive vehicle out of the way while he slowly crept up the hill past my driveway. I backed out of my neighbor's driveway, feathered the engine slowly so not to spin my tires and loose traction, and easily drove up to my driveway and into it. What should have taken all of about ten minutes had taken almost two hours. I got my money's worth.


sage said...

Do you think that was a divine sign that you should be doing something other than remodelling... That morning could be a skit for the Red Green Show.

Ed Abbey said...

Sage - I took it as a divine sign that the guy upstairs was going to look after me and keep me entertained while my wife was away. It was very close to being right out of a Red Green black and white motion picture clip.

TC said...

Wow. That poor driver! Man, I felt bad for him with every other thing you said was going wrong in his day! I mean, you were just ONE delivery.

His luck didn't change when he arrived at my place because as soon as he lowered the skid steer to the ground, the rear tire on it was completely flat. So I drug out my tiny emergency battery charger slash tire pump slash flashlight slash jump starting unit and hooked it to his tire.

You sounded very MacGyveresque there :)

The Real Mother Hen said...

Oh crap, it's a rather funny story but I felt so sorry for the driver. What a crappy day that was for him.

Btw, the Chinese calendar might have marked that particular day down as "bad for transporting woods", you guys obviously didn't check the Chinese calendar :)

Murf said...

How amusing. Especially the bits about the Lawn Nazi. I bet he was fuming while watching all of this.

Beau said...

Too funny! Glad you some time on your hands- all you can do in situations like that is hope the guys doesn't hurt himeself or anything else too bad. I had a little used lawn tractor delivered once. A big semi showed up and the delivery gent was disabled with a limp and weak back, but wouldn't let me help him get it off the truck. I think it weighed 400 pounds or more... Wham! It nearly fell off as he dropped the hydraulic gate by accident, then again almost on his feet.

I cringed, helped where I could while he struggled. An hour later he thanked me for the help, but said he felt it his duty to do things for himself. I appreciated that but said he could get hurt or be responsible for the equipment costs, and he said that's why he was looking for a different job! He drove off, over the lawn and my neighbors lawn.

R. Sherman said...

Bloody marvelous. Thanks for ending my day on a high note.


Ed Abbey said...

TC - I wouldn't carry one of those in my car because they are useless. They are always dead just like that one, which my wife carries in her car. I just carry a spare and jumper cables and call it good.

Mother Hen - Lesson learned. I will consult you the next time I think about getting some wood.

Murf - I have to believe he wasn't home or he would have been out there. Whenever the city so much as parks for lunch besides his house, he is out there keeping an eye on them lest they touch a single blade of grass. When they were installing fiberoptic cable to our neighborhood last year, he wouldn't let them seed the part of his lawn they tore up like they did everyone else. I'm sure he has his own special blend of grass seed.

Beau - This guy was an abled body guy and was probably younger than I was. I suggested just hand carrying the OSB and 2x4's at one point but he would have none of it.

R. Sherman - It was my pleasure.

Woody said...

Patiently waiting for a lawn nazi update. When will his investigation begin?

Ed Abbey said...

Woody - I haven't been subpoenaed yet!

PhilippinesPhil said...

Ice and snow. No way, no how. You can have it. I LOVE it here in the tropics, esp after reading about that little fiasco.

Ed Abbey said...

Phil - I guess it is the price I pay to escape the crowds which I have a hard time dealing with when I am in your neck of the woods.