16 June 2012 Jim Class

“Jim Class” is a feature that airs within The HomeFix Show. Writen by original charter show listener Jim Forrer from Caldwell Idaho, Jim shares his observations, life experiances, and lessons learned in life. Joe Prin reads these at varrious times in most of the HomeFix Shows. Here is the original written text.


It was not a dark and stormy night, but rather a cold early March morning. We were breaking forms on the footing pour, when John missed the stake, but was bead on with my shin bone. That 20 ounce Stanley Rocket should never be in John’s hand ever again!  And worst of all, it was my hammer. I was pretty much done for the day, because my tears kept me from seeing and finding and killing John.  Way to go John.

Next, we laid concrete for the basement floor. The truck arrived around two in the afternoon. After screeding, jitter-bugging and bull-floating, we sat back and waited. The concrete didn’t set up, and didn’t set up. We tried to place our knee boards down, but to no avail. There just wasn’t any heat in the mix. With the sun going down, we set up lighting to shine down into that dark hole. We finally pulled off the job a little before one in the morning.

The basement walls were concrete blocks and went up without difficulty. As soon as we sealed the perimeter, the prime contractor was supposed to back fill, but he did not. He said he would do it later. Of Course, later was only after the roof was in place.   I’ll come back to that story a little later on.

After decking, we built the North and South walls flat on the floor, placed 3/4 ply. at the corners and Celotex backer board on the rest of the wall. We all settled down for lunch. While eating, a guy pulled up to give a check to John. John had been waiting a couple of weeks for his pay from a previous job. He became so excited, he jumped up and ran to get his due. In the process, he ran across the finished wall and punched holes in almost all of the Celotex.  Way to go, John.

Everything went pretty smoothly for a while. We had placed decking on the front half of all the trusses and were stacking some sheeting on the front edge to be placed  Later on the back side. There was 5 or 6 sheets atop each other with a wooden cleat holding them in place. My father-in-law climbed the ladder, stepped out onto the sheeting when it happened. The cleat gave way and like a deck of cards, the 4×8 ply. started peeling off the roof one by one. I stood there on the ground yelling like an idiot. I could do nothing to prevent what was about to happen. Lonnie was walking in place, all in slow motion. When the last sheet was slipping away,from out of a cloud of dust with a hardy [High-o-Silver], John suddenly stuck out his hammer and my father-in-law grasped hold and John pulled him to safety.  Way to go, John.

Up on the roof, Lonnie and I were finishing off with the stone chimney. We were placing the last couple of stones, when Lonnie dropped his Goldblatt. It teetered on the edge for half a second, then fell into the abyss. We took turns trying to retrieve it. Lonnie bent a piece of wire into a makeshift hook and after almost two hours of frustration, we finally got it back. He said that he was not about to leave his favorite joint trowel down there to be burned to a crisp with the first fire.

The prime contractor was  also the home owner, but had little to do with the construction.  He just ran his mouth a lot and promised a lot.  Anyway, he had been convinced to use [Red-X] as sub flooring as well as an overlay.  One sheet was supposed to do both jobs.  When moving an upright piano into the house, the wheels punched holes through the [Red-X] and left the piano stuck in the hallway.  It took five of us to move the darn thing.  After that, we did place down an overlay.

Now, the last mishap was really plain stupidity.  As I had mentioned, the prime contractor was to take care of the back fill.  Well, he never did and we worked the entire time with that opening beckoning us to make a misstep.  The week following our departure from the completion of construction, he started back filling. He did it all at once, then stuck a hose into the loose fill, and let the water run unabated. The result, as you might have guessed, was catastrophic. The North basement wall caved in, spilling that slurry of mud over the entire basement floor. It’s a wonder to me, that he didn’t lose the entire structure.  AMEN!