Sunday, January 04, 2009

Later for Las Vegas

I think I'll take a break from the Las Vegas stories and go back to some memories that came to me the other day.

Working for your father is a tough job in itself, never mind the actual work. Psychologically, it's high drama. And I did that a few times; very few.

One; my dad was a mechanical contractor at the time and he had a small project going that included some concrete pads and trenches around some future acid holding tanks. The concrete needed to be coated with an epoxy to keep any spillage from deteriorating the concrete. My job was to help out on a crew that was doing that work. I was the 'go'fer'. Of course everyone on the crew knew I was the boss's son and they treated me accordingly. With deference. I hated it! So I worked harder.

And if you have ever been around industrial strength epoxy, you know how unpleasant the stuff is. I had to mix it in small batches and then add color to it, stirring it thoroughly while standing directly over the bucket. The fumes were overpowering to say the least. And once mixed, I would take it to the trench and hand it down to the men working there. Then I would join them, trowel in hand.

The trench was about 5 feet deep and 2 feet wide, just deep enough so that any breeze that might come along was never felt. And epoxy becomes quite warm as it starts to set up. The sweat just poured off of us as we were surrounded on all side by the hot material. And after awhile I began to enjoy the occasional trips out of the trench to mix more epoxy. At least I could feel a breeze now and then.

Finally, at lunch time, my hard work paid off. The crew started talking about the 'boss' and ignoring the fact that I was his son. They may have forgotten!

Note: this was probably around 1955 and there were no safety standards for working with epoxy. We wore rubber gloves but no respirators. And the rubber gloves wore out within an hour or so. Today, California and many other states don't even allow this kind of epoxy to be sold.





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