Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Stupidity? Check! (Or, a conversation with myself.)

I don't know what it is about me. My wife would probably (and accurately) say that I have a serious problem with asking for help. Once in a while, I get in far enough over my head that I don't have much choice... but there are times when that line is hard to find. I chalk some of it up to my army days, when BFFI was the order of the day. (Brute Force, and F*** Ignorance) You just grab, go, and get out of the way if it doesn't work out.

Last night, about 8:30 PM, I had finally assembled the new stand for the dust collector, and gotten the cyclone bolted on, with the 5hp Baldor motor on top, but the whole assembly was on its side. So, all that remained was to tilt the thing up.

It's getting late, there's no one around. Logic should have told me to let it ride, and get back to it on Wednesday. (I'm out today, home with the boy.) But, the whole thing was on its side, in front of someone's table saw, and I didn't want to leave it like that when I wasn't coming in the next day.

Common sense doesn't usually take part in these conversations. Usually, Common Sense sits back, has a drink, and assumes an expression that's equal parts insulted, concerned, amused, and curious about how this one's going to turn out. (My wife has a similar look, so I'm a little too familiar with it by now.)

My arms and aching back both agreed that "Uh, uh. No way, man. This is dumber than that other time, with that thing you did with that stuff. You know... like when you decided to move an entire shop by yourself, stationary equipment and all?"

And my Head and Ego looked at the lot of them, and decided that since I'd gotten the thing down off the wall of the old shop by myself, and had enough control of the situation to stop and take a photo...

...well, surely I could find a way to make it work this time, right?

(Note... anyone paying attention will observe that the heavy motor is NOT part of the assembly in the photo)

Well, the first problem was a lack of mounting points on which to hook the block and tackle. I tried using my Little Giant ladder, setting it up directly over the motor, and hooking the block and tackle up to the top of the ladder. Great plan, but then I realized that as the dust collector would (in theory) be coming up in an arc, pivoting on the two feet that were on the ground, that it might not work. It might actually tip the ladder sideways, and then everything would come crashing down. Then I realized that even if the ladder would get it up most of the way, without tipping, that I'd have to tip the dust collector the rest of the way up... which would tip the ladder over anyway, but at a fairly inopportune time for me.  Even Common Sense decided to take part in that conversation.

Well, not really. Common Sense looked at just how far I'd already Jerry-Rigged everything, and gave me the finger. That was the extent of the exchange.

I found an I-beam that was at enough of an angle that it might work... but it was too far away. So, I hooked a ratchet strap to the I-beam, and hooked the other end to the block and tackle. I took another look in Common Sense's direction, and got pretty much the same response, again. But Logic was on board just enough that I went ahead with it anyway.

I ran out of rope to pull, and the thing wasn't completely vertical. That meant me getting under a heavy thing, that was mostly up, but still a live load as far as Logic, Common Sense, and the block and tackle were concerned. And getting under a live load is one of those things that I've been told is even dumber than doing this kind of thing by yourself at night after everyone else has left.

Logic, Common Sense, my Head, and Ego, all agree on two things: Announcing that one has sounded the depths of one's own stupidity, and possibly found the bottom, is a dumb idea. And, that announcing the recorded depth is even worse. Maybe not as dumb as stepping under a live load at 9:30 when everyone else has left the building, but dumb nonetheless. So I'll simply stop the confessional here, and say that the dust collector is vertical.

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