SOMEWHERE IN THE D.C. METRO AREA
Throughout my four years in high school, the first two years, I worked every weekend, all year round, as a plumber apprentice and nearly everyday my last two years during summer vacation. At first I began this job only as a means of supporting myself financially, but it slowly became more than just any ordinary job. I began to enjoy myself digging underground, into ceilings, digging up people’s floors and walls, but the part that sucked was repairing all of it. However, I got to learn a lot about the job and until this day I can get around simple and some complicated repairs, but lack the tools and machinery to complete certain jobs. Hey, at least I can save my family and household some dollars to a certain point, but I hopefully to be able to do more. I’m sure that day is coming when it is suppose to come.
However, on this particular topic, I had a best friend, named Trey, and his father Rozier Sr., who we were both working for since Rozier had his own plumbing business. I’ll admit dealing with measuring in fractions and certain mathematics just stumped me over and over and made me hate the work sometimes. I definitely understood the frustration by my boss at times, but he didn’t have a lot of patience in teaching you math on the job so I often times would guess, and I would be right less than 50% of the time. He easily caught on would often ask me if I was either guessing or did I know the answer. Another frustration was that if I was right I often didn’t know if I was and I think that would make me doubt my ability at times. Nevertheless, he kept me on for four years, and he had his own frustrations with his son, which he called us both knuckleheads quite often.
Well, one day all three of us had to work well together to complete on mission of the day, carry a 300 pound cast iron tub to the second floor. One of the challenges to completing this was that there was not permanent set of stairs going up. Someone made a make-shift set of steps that we leaning, some steps were not equally separated and to make it worse no handrails/banister was on either side of the stairs. So when you are going up the steps you had nothing to hold on to, and if you looked straight down to the floor below, you could see a huge hole cut out of the floor, and looking through the hole you could see the gravel floor of the basement. I would only estimate that we were probably a good thirty feet up from falling to our demise, no not really. Anyway, when Trey and I found out that we were going to be moving a cast iron tub we didn’t know it was going to be to the floor above us until later.
After discovering we were going to have to move this cast iron tub to the top floor, the challenge was how was this going to happen. The most obvious thing was that we couldn’t carry it with the legs pointed down with the concern with one of us losing our balance and plummeting to our unsure death or serious bodily injury. So after some serious thinking the best idea was to turn the tub upside down and have two of us push with our boss pulling upward. Of course, Trey and I had to do the pushing and when something went wrong we were the ones that had to figure it out. After getting it up one set of make-shift steps, we had one more set to go and that is where our problems began. Due to the fucked up steps the tub got stuck and of course our boss struggling to pull it up, even with help from the both of us pushing it with all we had. Now, the decision had to be made to go on the other side of the tub to help our boss pull up the tub. Well, as we tried to figure out how to get to the other side to help him, it was determined very quickly the only way this was happening is the one of climbed over top of the tub.
Of course, thinking about the scene that I placed about the tub on the steps earlier, and looking down to see the gravel floor in the basement, you could probably imagine my look of horror when I was told to get the climbing. So I very gingerly and cautiously started to make my way on top of the tub and the whole time I was scared that the steps wouldn’t be able to hold my 200 pound plus weight and the tub at the same time. I just had visions of the stairs cracking and breaking apart underneath me and just plunging to the basement with the tub in position to break my fall, or depending on how the steps would collapse maybe the tub would fall on top of me.and that would surely suck! However, the whole time climbing and freaking out this would happen and with no way to prevent it from happening, it never came true. I made it on the other side of the tub and we got it up the rest of the fucked up steps. We felt accomplished after that, but our job wasn’t done after that since we had to connect the pipes so the tub would be operational at a later date. Till this day that is the only time I can think of ever risky my safety and health for a job that could’ve been done another way. Certain things you don’t risk your safety for and if I ever get back into plumbing I will do things smarter, but of course that was years ago! Oh my goodness! I’m old!