Sunday, November 23, 2008

As part of my "day job" as a Plant Maintenance Man at American Airlines my co-workers and I occasionally have to replace the flexible material in the expansion joints in the building and outside on the walkways. This is usually a latex based material that goes in as a liquid and cures over time to a rubber like consistency. We usually try to schedule this kind of work on Sundays or late in the evening so as to impact as few people as possible. So today started out as a usual Sunday. We needed to replace an expansion joint on the second floor walkway between the building and the parking garage so we went up there and put up a nice, bright yellow caution sign and began cutting the old material out with utility knives and taping the edges off with bright blue painters tape. The mix we are using today is a product called Deck-O-Seal which is popularly used around the edges of swimming pools between the coping stones and plaster.

I already had my reservations about this because ordinarily this stuff cures in temperatures of 77 degrees and above and today's high was 67 but mine is not to question why mine is just to do or die as they say so we're out there mixing this goop up and nicely and neatly pouring it into the squeeze bottle to apply it. Everything is going fairly smoothly except for this one sinkhole that keeps needing to be refilled on one edge. We're not sure if the sealant is somehow working it's way past the batting underneath or if there is just a big air pocket below but after we manage to get the entire gap filled we move our work cart and a nearby disposal can over the area to join the nice bright caution sign and the bright blue painters tape.

Okay? So I'm trying to paint the picture here that the area is pretty well marked that something is going on around here so you might want to watch your step. We've even had a couple people come by while we were working and they even stepped over the 2 inch gap of grey goop on their way to the revolving doors like any sensible person would so I figure we're fairly safe. We go down below to the first floor to examine the area and see if perhaps some of the material had been leaking through causing the indentation we experienced above. No sign of leakage so that's good but what is that sound we're hearing from above?

Is that the sound of two people pushing a shopping cart across the walkway overhead? The walkway we just put fresh Deck-O-Seal down on? Surely not! Not on a Sunday! Why would anyone be out here on a Sunday pushing a shopping cart across the second level walkway. Well even if that is what's going on surely the people would have the sharpness of mind and consideration to see all the signage and see the fresh grey liquid, not to mention the smell of the stuff, and have the good sense to lift the wheels of the cart while going across the area right?

So up we go to see what has transpired and not only are there two nice rows of tire tracks leading from the expansion joints across the concrete and into the carpet in front of the doors but one of them even managed to stick their big clodhopper of a foot into the middle of it and track it all over the place as well.

Seriously. How dense does one have to be not to see so many signs that there is something going on here so it might be wise to watch your step? So I did what I should have done in the first place. I use caution tape and completely block off both ends of the walkway so no one can use it, unless of course they choose to break the caution tape. This of course inconveniences anyone who might want to use the second floor walkway but what other choice do I have? I tried giving people the benefit of the doubt that they might exercise some common sense and common decency and now I have a big mess to clean up later after the stuff has cured and I am able to scrape it off the concrete with a razor scraper.

A little consideration can go a long way folks. Not only do you inconvenience the person whose work you just messed up by doing such things but you also inconvenience others by causing precautionary measures to have to be taken to prevent further damage caused by carelessness.

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