Dr-Fix-It! Notebook Archive:
Remember The Backhoe . . .
It was a small patch of ground along side the loading dock at the back of the hotel. It was maybe 20 feet wide and 40 feet long; hardly big enough to host a respectable game of horseshoes. So, John was startled when he saw Bert unloading a John Deere 300 with an articulated bucket on the front and a Backhoe on the rear.
John walked over to the flatbed trailer and hollered up to Bert who was busy unchaining the tractor. "You're not going to use that here, are you?"
John motioned to the little lawn covered with painted lines. Earlier in the week, he had contacted CallB4UDig, the local underground utility detection service, to mark the location of all the buried pipes and wires. It was hard to pick out a single blade of grass that wasn't painted.
John's face flashed red and his voice starting to squeak, "You see that lawn over there? Grass is supposed to be green! A lawn Is Green!. It shouldn't look like some Picasso masterpiece! See the Orange line? That marks a four- inch medium-pressure gas main that serves this hotel. That's the gas for three commercial kitchens, a laundry, heat the for the hot water and the swimming pools. The red lines running up and down the lawn mark where the power mains are buried. Those mains feed the distribution panel for the whole darn complex- the hotel and the convention center. The other lines you see crisscrossing all over the place are white for the data cables, blue for the water, and purple for the fiber-optics. Oh, and let's not forget that there are sewer and irrigation lines running under that patch of grass, too."
Bored, Bert nodded,"Yah, I know what the paint lines mean. I dig for a living. Seen' em before."
John begged, "Man, don't even back that rig off the trailer. Go down to Labor Temps and rent some certified number-two shovel operators and dig this trench by hand."
Bert Shook his head."Bull. I 'll knock that trench out in twenty minutes with the Backhoe. Trust me. It's not a problem. I dig in stuff like this all the time."
While Bert continued to unload the Backhoe, John rushed to 'Admin' to talk to Todd, the General Manager. Todd was working on a spreadsheet when John burst into the office.
Todd occasionally glanced at the monitor and fiddled with the mouse while John quickly outlined his fears. Then, Todd shook his head and said," We really can't stop him, John. The owner of the building called Bert personally and the owner always gets what he wants."
John grabbed the edge of the desk and pulled himself toward it," Well, I am responsible for the building and I think using a Backhoe out there is just asking for trouble"
Todd, nodded, "Yes, but you work for us. And we are the management company. We work for the owner. So, if the owner wants to hire Bert to dig up his lawn with a Backhoe, we really don't have much to say about it."
John stood up and reached for the door, "Okaaaaayyyy..."
Todd looked down at his desk and shook his head, "But John, CYA....CYA John."