Me, Myself, and the Voices in My Head

A place to ramble and maybe make some sense about a thing or two.

I almost feel sorry for this guy….

In the continuing story of the property/fence/boundary line argument between Stupid Neighbors (I figured by now I should just give them that as their pseudonym) and my family, they finally have gotten the hint that we’re serious about having what they placed on our property removed.  First it was their kid’s tree, which was moved last night.  Today, it’s the 200-foot by 2-foot strip of concrete that is part of their driveway/patio they installed without having permits or a survey completed.  I tried to warn them that they were over the property line but they just wouldn’t listen.

So now they’ve hired someone to come and remove that strip because we told them we want it gone and we’re even considering adding another fence along the property line to keep them, their pets, and their kids’ junk out of our yard.  We’ve tried being nice but they’re the type of neighbors that if you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile.

This morning after I’d taken my medication and had drifted back to sleep from their side effects, I was rudely awakened by a horrible screeching noise which was quickly followed by both of the dogs trying to get my attention and lead me to the door to look outside.  There, in Stupid Neighbors’ driveway, was a pickup truck and three guys.  One of them had a hand-held cement saw and the others were watching him.  This was not the water-cooled type of cement saw that works effectively on construction sites.  What he had was the type you’d use to remove maybe an inch of cement quickly without the blade overheating.  It took over two hours for him (and his buddies who kept refilling the gas tank on it) to cut a line along the boundary cord we’d stretched between the survey pins and additional cuts along the side to make the slab easier to remove.

Here’s something you need to know about that slab.  Not only is what they need to remove 200-feet by 2-feet, but it’s also between 3 and 5 inches thick depending on where they’re cutting.  The person they hired to lay the concrete just used a Bobcat to quickly dig-up a pad for the framework and it wasn’t completely level across all areas.  This poor guy holding the heavy saw — which, by the way, is not making quick progress through the cement — is having to cut and recut until he reaches the ground underneath.  He’s lucky that Stupid Neighbors didn’t put a wire grid or rebar in the slab or it would have taken even longer or broken his saw.

After all of the cuts were made, the same guy whacked at the slab with a soft-headed sledgehammer (I have no idea why) three or four times and then packed-up all of the equipment and left.  I figured by now he had realized that he needed heavier and proper equipment in order to easily remove the massive amount of cement/concrete/whatever that is over there.

Nope.  He has returned, three hours later, with a heavier sledgehammer and a crowbar.  Not a long prybar that you would use in moving slabs of concrete, but a typical crowbar that you might use in small construction projects.  And he’s whacking the slab with the sledgehammer and then using the crowbar to pry away small chunks of concrete.

You have to understand that I’ve never worked professionally in construction but I have assisted in building items for local organizations as well as studying construction theory before working in technical theatre so that I could build safe and sturdy set pieces.  And I can’t imagine that this person believes that his way of trying to remove this amount of concrete will be effective, especially if he’s supposed to be a professional.  Maybe he came in as the lowest bidder (if they even bothered to get estimates on this project), and I could certainly see why he would be if this is the way he’s going to get it done.

Whereas before my house was filled with the screeching sound of a wheel slowly working its way into the cement, now it’s filled with the deep “THUD” that comes from each swing of the sledgehammer and an occasional “DING” when he drops the crowbar onto the slab.  I don’t think he’s realized that you get better purchase and that momentum will work best in your favor trying to break concrete if you stand up while swinging the sledgehammer, but I’m not going to tell him how to do his job.  As long as he gets it done, removes the debris, and fixes the yard where the slab is currently, then I’ll be happy.  It can take him all day (or two or three) to get it done; I’m not paying for it.  And it’s cheap entertainment for the dogs to watch him and growl at others who come by to see what he’s doing.

I’d feel sorry for him, but if he chooses to work harder instead of smarter, that’s none of my business.


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