Saturday, June 05, 2010

Poor decisions

I haven't added it all up, and probably won't, but so far this is what we've gotten for about a thousand dollars overall expenditure going back two months when we started the project. It wasn't the smartest decision I made but at the time it looked good. I just didn't have a clue how much it would take to get this "free" material.

6/5/10 Saturday
Boy, am I beat. We didn’t get home till 11:00 last night. It was a long, long, day. Tearing down this barn has been a struggle from the start and in retrospect probably not the smartest decision I have made. Knowing what I know now I would not do it again. We have over a thousand dollars invested in getting this “free” barn and for that money I could have bought the materials we hope to gain from it several times over. But a promise is a promise and keeping my word is important for many reasons. The biggest reason is because I let people know I believe in Jesus and once you do that they watch how you act, judging Christianity and you by what they see. I’ve seen so many who wear the Christian label but don’t live it, even though they seem to think they do, and I have no desire to be placed in that category. You know the one, the word that seems to be most connected to Christianity, hypocrite.

We put 400 miles on the truck in two days for this job and Sam, the guy helping me, worked 26 hours in two days. Despite that we aren’t halfway done. A lot of the miles were put on driving back and forth getting things needed to do the job. The small oxygen acetylene bottles only last about thirty minutes and we estimated we would have to refill them over ten times before we finished cutting all the steel. At twenty three dollars a pop that quickly adds up to a chunk of change in addition to the two hours of driving it takes for each refill. So when we were getting the bottles refilled yesterday morning, on the way out to the job I asked the guy if they rented out the large bottles. They lease them but it would require opening an account and passing a credit check, and that would take days. Plus I already know there’s no way we could pass a credit check, we have never established credit in our names or the farm’s name. “Do you sell bottles?” I asked. Yep, they do and he could work out a deal for me to get what he called personal use size bottles for $300. Money is tight and I try hard to be frugal but I did the math and it would be better to get the larger bottles. They aren’t as big as the full size commercial ones but are way bigger than the little bitty ones I had borrowed from Eric. Plus I knew that Tractor Supply sold that size for $700 and that it would cost over three hundred to get the little ones like I had at Harbor Freight, so it looked like a good deal.

I had assumed that the gauges and regulators on Eric’s bottles would work with these new ones. You know what they say about “Assume”, it makes an ass out of u and me. So we went to Harbor Freight and bought a cart to haul the bottles in because it was a better one that Airgas had for about the same money. Then we went to Crane, where the barn is. By now it’s already 11:00 so getting started early to beat the heat wasn’t happening. I’m excited about having these new bottles that would allow me to get to work and keep working till the job was done so we put the cart together (You know that everything has to be assembled these days) and Sam and I went to attach the regulators and hoses. NUTS>the acetylene stuff won’t fit. So we go back to Harbor Freight only to learn they are sold out of the kit they had on sale for a hundred bucks. Then we go to Tractor Supply and find they too do not have just an acetylene regulator but they did have a kit with both the oxygen and acetylene regulators along with a torch set. But that was two hundred bucks and by now I’m choking on spending any more money. I told the kid that I thought I could find it cheaper so he took it back to the stockroom where he had gone to get it at my request. We get out to the truck and look up welding supplies in the phone book I had the presence of mind to take with us. Calling them I learn that just an acetylene regulator was $230.00 by itself. So we go back in, embarrassed, and ask that they once again bring the kit out from the back.

Finally, we can use the bottles I bought. So we get back to the barn and get started. By now it’s almost 2:00 and certainly warm. We were relieved to see that everything hooked up so fired up the cutting torch and got to work. It didn’t work, not like it was supposed to nor like I remembered when I learned to use a torch in shop class back in high school. So I struggled along trying to cut this steel, wondering what I was doing wrong. Taking a break from the heat we sit in the cab of the truck and read the instructions that came with the torch. We learn that we had a #0 size cutting tip and that was designed for thin sheet metal, not the stuff we were attacking that is about ¾ of an inch in places. So it’s back to the store to get the right size tip. They didn’t have it so we got the biggest one they had, which was a #1, just one step up. It’s the best we could do. Didn’t work as good as I wanted but was better than what we had.
A hose broke while I was out. We get that a lot with all the old garden hoses I use. Unfortunately the spigot this one comes from is so full of that hard water crust it won't turn off.

So it was a long arduous day, with things moving at a snails pace. When the sun went down I called it a day. We loaded what steel we had cut and hooked up the trailer. I was tired and when I’m tired I don’t always think as clearly, not that I think clearly much anyway. As we drove off the property I heard a crash and looking back see the trailer had come loose. I had carefully hooked up the chains and plugged in the lights, but I forgot to lock the trailer hitch. It took an hour to get the trailer back high enough to hook it up and several goes at it to back the truck to the right spot as we were just crossing a ditch to get on the road when this happened. I am so grateful this didn’t happen as we were going down the highway at 60 mph. (the fastest I can go with the trailer hooked up as it sways) That could have been a disaster.

The lady, who owns the barn, called. She’s no longer in a hurry for us to finish the job, and for that I am grateful. Today, Saturday, is the Sabbath, a day of rest. And resting I need to do. I’m not moving very fast at all and am a little slow brain wise. Cherie keeps feeling bad for me as she watches me stiffly shuffle around. Keep telling her not too but that doesn’t do any good. It’s nothing unusual, she just knows I pushed more than I should, which is also not unusual. I don’t care, I’m used to it and it’s just life. What I tell myself all the time is that if a little pain and stiffness is the price of being alive I will gladly pay it.
Things neglected. This whole area should have been seeded with the Giant hay Bermuda

We must buy dog food so will go to town today. What bothers me the most about the barn project isn't the project itself but the cost in other areas. The torch set and oxy/acetylene bottles are an investment that will be used often in the years to come as we build this farm so will pay for themselves in the long run. But as I work and expend resources on tearing down this barn other things are being neglected. It rained three or four days ago and I really needed to get seed out while the soil was wet. That didn't happen. The funds we were gifted with to pay for help around the farm are not going to last as long as we hoped but there is still some left so next week Sam will come out. A guy expressed interest in buying the truck and trailer yesterday so that would be cool. But I'll have to not hope to much for that because things don't always work out.

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