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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 6/7/2010

Today's activities worked out fairly evenly. Colleen went up during the day to handle the plumbing inspection, tidy up the window wells, select out rebar for bending and placement within them, and generally accomplish some clean-up and smoothing of the excavation work. A very busy day.  She came down in the late afternoon and met me on my way up to do what I could do with the few hours of remaining sunlight.

I focused on two things that had needed to be done for a long time--putting wheels on our trusty generator, and cleaning up some of the mess left over by the concrete guys.

The generator had been bothering me for literally years, so I tackled that first. The Generac 4000EXL is a fine little generator, very capable and quite tough--it has nearly universally excellent reviews. It's an excellent tool--except for one annoying "feature" or should I say, lack of a feature. 

It only has rear tires!

There are no front tires. Instead, there's this weird metal leg that helps to keep the generator level, but which supplies absolutely no side-to-side stability. Worse yet, if you're trying to move the generator, you have to lift it up by the front (there's a fitting for a handle) and then keep it up lest that silly leg catch something on the ground. When you're moving the generator around a hillside partway through a long hard day of work, you will catch that leg on Every Little Thing that sticks up out of the ground--roots, rocks, pine cones; makes no difference.

It's an extremely annoying situation.

Fortunately Colleen had found a set of tires a couple of weeks back that seemed to be about the right size, and I had decided to try to upgrade the generator. It took some doing, but I eventually located a bit of rebar to serve as an axle, and with a bit more work I was able to attach it via a pair of brackets. It was awesome to finally have tires on the generator that actually worked! No more stupid metal leg to catch things every chance it got!

The leg went into the scrap metal pile destined for the recycling trailer.

After that, I got to work on cleaning up some of the mess the concrete folks left behind. Turns out that back when they were pouring the footers and the first-floor walls they sometimes used plywood or 2x4s to shore up things. Apparently cleaning these things up wasn't considered part of their job, though, and the infill guys didn't bother either. As a result, there were bits of pieces of wood under my walls and alongside my footers throughout my house.

I didn't fancy the idea of termite-attracting wood sitting there on the ground, so I set about to dig them out.

It was quite a bit of work. Most of the 2x4s had been installed when the footers were still just shells, so they were in a couple of feet of hard-packed gravel and Red Canyon Breeze infill. Colleen thought I was crazy for spending time on them, but I was insistent; I wasn't about to leave wood sitting around like that to bring in wood-munching bugs. By nightfall, I'd gotten out all of the odd bits of lumber I could find except for one piece near the eventual garage-manifold location--I'll get that one later when I go to work on the first-floor radiant-heat tubing.

Lesson Learned:  Never trust the contractors to properly clean up after themselves.  They're focused on getting their job done, and once it's done they don't really care about how hard they've made it for the next guy or doing much more beyond gathering up their tools in a timely fashion.  You've got to watch them like a hawk or they'll just "forget" to do all kinds of stuff.

All in all, a good evening's work.

Steven in Colorado Springs


Behold my four-wheeled generator!
The wheels aren't perfectly aligned (the front axle is a bit shorter) but it's good enough.
A 2x4 stuck in the ground between the apartment and the garage. This particular piece went down about two feet.

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