Posted by: Rob | July 26, 2008

Pouring Concrete Saturday

Less than 24 hours of BBSW* remaining and it’s Friday evening.  I’d gone to Home Hardware in the Fort** on the way home from work to pick up half a dozen more 2 x 4’s and some rebar.  Like most places here in Alberta, this business also suffers from the boom economy’s impact on the labour force.  After enduring a lengthy wait in line at the check out*** and another foray into the messiest lumber yard I’ve ever seen, I was on my way home.

A quick bite of supper and out to the yard to make final preparations for pouring concrete.  It seems I’ve been a little too efficient in doing clean up in my own “messy lumber yard” as I had to really scrounge to find some scrap pieces with which to make stakes.

I was finally happy with the forms for the back side walk and, having done an estimate of the concrete required and knowing I would have extra, so I moved around to the front to start prepping the front sidewalk for new concrete too.

There were old sidewalk blocks to move and stack and weeds to dig up and pull out before I could get started laying the forms out and installing them.  I fussed a bit with the elevations and finally found something I could live with height- and slope-wise.  It was already dark as I loaded a couple of wheelbarrows of gravel from the back driveway and wheeled them around front to even out the grade inside the new forms.

Since I could no longer see and I was too lazy to set up a light, I decided to leave installing the rebar until morning, which meant I had to get up early the next morning.  I went in, showered and got to bed by about midnight.

The alarm went off at 6 am on Saturday, but I lazed in bed until about 6:20.  Got up, dressed, ate and headed out to finish up the rebar in the front.  Finished that task and was ready to head for Cat Rentals in the Fort by just after 7:30.  I had committed to pick up another wheelbarrow and a bull float when they opened at 8.  This would allow me plenty of time to get to the Mini-Batch concrete place by my scheduled time of 9 am.

Everything went smoothly everywhere.  I got into and out of Mini-Batch early and was back home with the first load (1 cubic meter) by about 9:20.  I remembered that I had been a bit pessimistic in scheduling when I told my friend Chris – who had volunteered to help out – that he didn’t need to be there ’til about 10 or 11 am.  Oh well, I got things ready in the yard and went in to alert Ann and Jordan that it was time to get started.

Things went pretty steadily.   I wheeled the wet concrete to the back and the gals did the placing.  They also started some of the finishing work as well as I gasped quick hints and pointers and instructions to them between wheelbarrow loads.

Chris showed up just as the mixer went empty.  I think he wheeled one partial load.  We washed up the things that would set up.  I left the gals with some instructions for keeping the cement wet and getting as much finishing done as possible and Chris and I left to get a second load of concrete from Mini-Batch.

It was a sunny day and it was even hotter by the time we got back with the second load.  No time for lunch (other than a quick barley sandwich) because the concrete was setting up fast.  I worked on placing while Chris wheeled the fresh cement to the back.  We finally got the back sidewalk forms all filled up, did a quick screed and floating and then moved out front.

We filled the front sidewalk forms (remember they were open ended for an uncertain quantity of overage) from the road towards the house.   We got nearly five feet or so before the mixer drum was empty, so I put in a crosser form to give a neat, straight end line for the segment.  Screeded and floated and got the gals working on finishing the front piece while Chris and I cleaned up the mixer and the other equipment.

Chris had other commitments so we bade him goodbye and I left instructions for the gals to keep working the concrete and keep it wet while I ran the empty trailer back to Mini-Batch.  I also dropped off the rental wheelbarrow and bull float at Cat Rentals in the Fort on the way through.

Back home by about 4 pm.  Applied a broom finish to the surface of the new slabs, tried to re-mark the edging, but the concrete had pretty well set up and that task was a bit tough.

With everything finished up and clean up all done, it was time to have some supper.  Did some more work on the finishing and started stripping forms.

Once it started getting dark, it was time for a shower and then falling into bed for a well deserved good night’s rest.

The gals were pretty pumped up and impressed with the work done (and rightfully so), however they won’t be so joyous when the soreness in all those muscles sets in tomorrow or Monday.

* Before Back Side Walk

** This was after a quick stop at the Southfort Chev body shop to pick up a trim piece for the Avalanche, only to find out that – this time – the wrong colour had been ordered.  *Sigh* Have to wait another week or so.

*** There were two check outs open when I approached, but as I joined the line, one cashier announced that she “had to upstairs for a minute” (which I took to mean – “I have to take a dump”) leaving us with only one cashier.  Said cashier was transacting some business with a dipshit who decided to pick Friday afternoon to make some returns.  Of course, he had no receipts and had the girl looking up his purchases – from March – in order to make these returns.  In the meantime, another employee opened up the second till and another dumbass – failing to recognize that there’s a single line (meaning I’ll go to the first available check out) – sidles by me on the left and butts into the newly re-opened till.  After a few seconds of internal grumbling, I decided to chant “Serenity Now” over and over until my Zen-like calm was re-established.  Of course, it always looks like that on the surface, but is not always the case on the inside.


  1. I think we girls did a great job but I attribute much of it to masterful direction.

  2. Impressive. i’ve never done concrete. i find it too hard…

  3. I unfortunately had a “do-it-yourself” father, which usually meant he roped as many of his offspring as available into the projects. I have done concrete. And what Daisy Fae said.

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