After I finished my work at the South Hill Safeway store, I was in the shop at a desk making out the final “actuals” list of material used on the job. The boss walked over and asked me; “Adrian, How do you read a blueprint?”
“Uh-oh” – I thought to myself. Here it comes. I wonder if I can find another job as good as this one has been. I had thoroughly enjoyed working for this shop. I sat there thinking; “How do you answer a question like that?”
“Very thoroughly” ???
Is he asking me to blame someone for something?
Without waiting for me to formulate my reply, he continued; “Both (his son) and (the shop lead man) have run conduit on two big jobs and didn’t use the compression conduit fittings called out on the print.” (Further vituperative expository explanation followed.) The upshot of it was that these two large jobs downtown had to have all the set screw fittings changed out to compression fittings. I was sent to assist.
The first assignment I received was to put together some recessed lighting fixtures. I say “some” because if I remember correctly there were about 400 of them. They were going to be installed throughout the building. The last step in assembling each fixture was to snap a piece into position. It was a hard “snap” to get it in place. The procedure required a very hard pressure with both thumbs at the same time.
I think the first day I completed 75 fixtures. I thought to myself; “I can do 100 of these in one day if I work at it.”
The next day I applied myself and completed 90. The next day I was able to get 95 completed. The next day I was closer, completing 98.
The next day I ran out of fixtures to assemble way before I got to 100.
Boy, were the muscles on my thumbs sore! It was a good thing we ran out of fixtures to put together.
The next task I was given was to install the lighting fixtures over the escalators. The ceilings were finished, but at each of the landings for the escalators there was an access hole. I would crawl in the access hole and fish the wiring up and down inside the ceilings. Then I would cut an opening for the fixture from below and install the fixture through the opening.
I made some interesting discoveries.
On the top of each landing, below the lowest point of each escalator, there was a hoard of coins. Pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. Apparently the coins had been dropped by people as they rode the escalators. All the quarters were bent at about a 30 degree angle. They were the largest and not quite small enough to slip through the openings before the escalator turned the corner. I took a rubber mallet and straightened out all the quarters. If I remember correctly, it was about $5.00 worth.
There was also another profitable discovery. I found two pipe wrenches which had, I suspected, been left by the original installation crew for the sprinkler system.
It didn’t surprise me. After all, I believe I have left enough tools behind on jobs that they could have equipped a crew of electricians.