Tuesday, 1 November 2011

A Little Flutter

As only concrete could achieve my day started crap. The first job for the morning was to a concrete pump for a house that was being built. Houses that are built with Besa brick have concrete poured into the walls via a concrete pump to strengthen the walls. 'Score!' I thought as my job would be as detailed as sitting on my butt at the back of the truck keeping the concrete pump hopper full. No effort involved at all. Well this job required no effort either, just a patience for things that are really slow. First off, after being guided in and getting set up, the fins on the concrete pump wouldn't engage. This went on for at least 15 minutes. Over the course of the pour, every five minutes they were wanting me to add water to make the concrete more of a slurry. In the end I added 220 litres of water to the mix and it wasn't all that dry to start off with. By the way, my onboard water tank only holds 200 litres so for the extra 20 litres that they asked for had to be added with the dribble of a garden hose. After adding some water at one point, a gawky lad came up to me while I was accelerating the spin on the bowl to mix the water in to tell me not to spin it too much or it makes the concrete go off. Umm, hello? One, if I don't spin the bowl the concrete and water won't mix and in actual fact it WILL go off from sitting still and Two, the only 19 year old that can tell me what to do with concrete is a fat Italian boy who's been dealing with concrete since he was old enough to swing off a shovel and you don't look like no fat Italian boy! Then of course to make things take even longer their hose blocked up so I twiddled my thumbs till they cut the end of it off and got started again. When finally my truck ran out of concrete I went back to the yard and jumped in the next truck already batched and ready to go to return. Only 40 litres got added and straight off the bat this time. When they finished pouring into every wall I could finally go. In total, this pour took over 2 and a half hours. The last concrete pump job I went to we did four and a bit trucks in less time than this job.
On my way back to the yard the boss called to say there was a small load to take to one of the backpacker establishments. Batched it myself, checked the slump, lost a wheelbarrow load of it on the ground doing so and once all was good headed in to town. The owner of this little tucked away accomodation "guided" me in so well that he directed me into a wall (I had to reverse through a very narrow entranceway to get in) that pushed my passenger side mirror back so I could not see out of it and then directed me even further straight into a mango tree causing a nice big dent in the back passenger side of the cab. Oh me oh my! To even be able to get into the entranceway to start off with took ages because I had to wait for a decent break in the traffic so I could block off the street to reverse in and I swear that every other road user decided to drive even slower than normal because they could see a truck on the side of the road... an immobile truck with a very irate driver. The pour here didn't take very long. I got congratulated by the resident geriatric for being the first female truck driver he has ever seen. He mustn't get out much. Between wheelbarrow loads I texted the boss to let him know of my little disaster. He rang the second he got the message. It's fixable I tell you, calm down. I didn't wreck the cab but my desire to quit this job has increased!
Finally I could knock off for the day and get dolled up as only I could with limited nice clothes for it was Cup Time. The evening before I got a phone call from a friend, Lizzie. She had a spare ticket to a Cup luncheon at The Golfie (as it is affectionately known) and tells me I should ditch work and come and join her and Taryn, my colleagues daughter for the rest of the day. I told her I didn't think I would be able to but I'll text her when I know if I can or not the next day. Well good news at last rewarded me during the concrete pump pour when the boss rang to tell me if I wanted to knock off for the the Cup that I could. After washing the truck and locking the gates I screamed off back to the town house and put on clean new jeans and my new favourite blue and pink checked shirt. I had a shower in the form of a perfume bottle, no time for a real one as icky as I was feeling. I raced down to the shopping centre, dodged a salesman and headed to the sunglasses shop to buy a fascinator. The shop assistant pointed out the various displays of fascinators with me responding to each of them with a simple "Meh". The last one though had something that would actually match so I asked for him to open the case and I pulled out two identical headbands, one being light pink, the other purple, held them up against my shirt looked at him, looked at another female customer standing nearby. "Which one?" The shop assistant stood dumbfounded as the woman pointed to the purple and I put the pink one back. Done! "Gee, I wish all women could make up their mind that quickly when it comes to what to wear" the shop assistant reckoned. The power of knowing what you want before you even get to look at all options. Paid for it and raced back only to once again be bailed up by the salesman. "30 seconds of you time" he reckoned. I should have timed him! He was trying to plug a childrens charity called Plan, figure headed by Jamie Drurie. "But I already do Save the Children", it didn't matter, he still rabbited on so I shrugged my shoulders, filled in a form while he was still nattering on, randomly picked a child (Jemile from Ethiopia), he handed over some paperwork while still talking and eventually I made my escape. I hope I don't regret signing up down the track.
Finally, after being delayed to the luncheon by nearly two hours, I could sit down and enjoy myself. With Liz and Taryn were Bec and Claire. Liz also brang her stepson, Connor, who was very dapper and dressed better than nearly all of the men in the room in his pinstripe vest and pants. I'd like to add that he is only 10! But sitting at this table I felt like the odd one out. I was the only one without a baby. Liz had Harry, Taryn had Riley, Bec had Sophie and Claire had Caine and there's me feeling out of place while they talk of explosive poos and having baby food flung at them. But, then again, in a way it is kind of reassuring. They enjoy being mothers. The thought of me being a mother petrifies me. I'll stick to dogs...
During the approach to the race Liz and I placed our bets. I think she bet on a total of 6 horses and I bet on 2. Precedence and Manighar. Those two solely for their jockeys. Darren Beadman and Damien Oliver respectively. As the horses got loaded into the starting gates I started waving my betting cards around. It probably won't bring me good luck but what the hell. And they were off! The room fell eerily silent. I looked at the distance the horses had to cover, 3200 metres. "Someone let me know when we're getting close to the finishing post". At the last 200 metres I looked up at the television and witnessed the closest finish that I had ever seen. Not only placings for 1st and 2nd were photo finishes but for 3rd and 4th too. The entire crowd, including me, simultaneously gasped as slowed down footage of the horses crossing the finishing post aired. No one could have forseen that! It really is the race that stops the nation.
Not long after the race had finished, group photos were taken (I happily guarded purses and pushers) and the girls that did have a winning bet collected their cash we packed up our prams and baby bags (well, not me but they did) and headed off. Liz, who was wearing the most amazing dress, missed out on entering the best dressed competition because it was never announced. Connor was disappointed too as he also wanted to enter. None of the girls won the lucky door prize raffle but we did manage to score Connor a 'James Boag' top hat.
During the afternoon I waved hello to many people I knew. Didn't chat to any of them though except for the boss who was still worried about the dent in the cab of the truck. Can we worry about it tomorrow?
With good company and a good feed in my belly we all parted ways into the heat of the afternoon. Very appreciative that Liz invited me to escape the tedium of concrete for the remainder of the day and that the boss actually allowed us to knock off early. Thank God for the Melbourne Cup!

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