Friday, September 12, 2008

The COST of CLEANUP - Hanna, Part 3

We are still cleaning up a bit from Hanna. The week started out with the truck, chain saws and the big chipper parked out front. Fortunately they only had to cut the power off for a few hours on Sunday, and then not at all on Monday. Watching them work was fascinating. Or should I say, watching them NOT work. Now, one guy (out of 4) did work on Sunday. Well, OK, one guy went up in his bucket and cut the wires – that took about 5 minutes, and another 5 minutes to reconnect them. The rest of the 4 hours was spent watching and then trying to tell the idiot with the chain saw how to do his job. Well, the poor fool needed all the help he could get as he was not having a very good day. The BIG chain saw burned out after only a few minutes. That resulted in the chain saw man (CSM) shouting the F word a couple times as the BIG saw was no longer usable. So the guy tried to cut this tree with a diameter of over a foot at this point with a little saw on a pole. That saw might have been a foot long – certainly no longer. First he cut the top part of the wood then he tried to come up from underneath to finish cutting the wood thru – this is the part of the tree leaning against the other tree and supporting all the weight. Because he cut thru from the top first, the wood bent to pinch the saw. It jammed in the tree. The F word was broadcast loudly several times, again. The blade is so small you can barely see it - but it is sticking off the side of the tree here.

It took him 3 hours to finally get that saw blade out of the tree. You would not have believed what they went thru in the process! It was unbelievable. I guess he thought if you swore at it long enough and loudly enough it would just jump right out. The supervisor had left, the electrician was trying to tell him what to do (which did not work) and the 3rd guy stood out in the road and occasionally waved traffic by. This is a very narrow road.
Monday was almost as interesting. They drove by the house at 6:45 AM and parked in the field road next to my property. There they sat. I could hear them talking. The one guy whistles all the time, so that was easy to hear. They drank their morning coffee, had a couple cigarettes (easy enough to smell) and gabbed about “stuff.” Around 7:30, they walked thru the yard and looked around, picking up the occasional branch and piling it near the edge of the road. Around 8 they moved the truck so CSM could get in the bucket and cut more tree down. That took about a half an hour. The other dude shoved a few branches in the chipper. They left before 9 to go get more coffee. They came back and parked in the field again, eating pastry, drinking coffee, joking about football, and smoking. Around 10:30, they pulled the truck back out front and finished chipping the branches. The one guy started stacking the wood on top of my miniature rose bushes. I went out and asked him to please not do that, so he left the wood in the driveway. A neighbor moved it for me. They left here before noon.
Now, as one neighbor said, it was good I was not paying them by the hour – but, I pointed out – essentially, I was! Even though they are paid by the power company, I pay the power company, and their salaries come out of what we all pay. So both my neighbor and I were paying these guys for 6 hours work. My neighbor’s grin turned to a frown when he thought about that and realized I was right! They worked about one hour and billed 6. Plus, CSM totaled 2 saws the day before. And if you get your power from the same company, you paid for it, too. If you are with another company, you wanna bet it doesn’t happen where you live????? And they got paid double for Sunday.
Didja ever drive by a road crew with 5 supervisors and one worker and a “flagperson?” now I can hardly blame them when it is 100 degrees out there on that hot road, but this is year round. This is not just road crews or power people. And, yeah, the guy who did nothing had to be there. I mean if CSM killed himself, somebody needed to call 911, right? And it coulda happened! He didn’t seem too bright.
So, now I have several piles of logs and one huge tree trunk laying out front. I guess they are done, the power line is no longer in danger, and I need to hire someone to come and cut up the 20 foot long trunk.


ancient one said...

Ha ha... that would have been funny... but it is the truth. We had a crew come and cut some trees for us. One person did most of the work, stacking, racking, etc. I'm sure the one who did the most work is the one who was paid the lowest wage. We paid a set amout to have the work done, and it wasn't cheap!

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

If i lived near by I would gladly come and cut up your wood. I just bought a new chainsaw and it needs a workout. (I will be cutting more wood for the Winter). You shouldtry to find someone to come and cut the wood who will do it for free if they can keep the firewood.

It sounds like the line crew did not have a qualified forester person in their crew. The probably burned out the saw by putting plain gas in it. A skilled worker would not get his saw pinched in a log under stress.

A line crew needs all tbose people because they may need their efforts in part of their work. It looks more inefficient that it is.