John Ege

rock,tree, beer

Blog Post created by John Ege Employee on Jan 27, 2017

The sidewalk leading to my door is not the  'long and winding road' McCartney sings about, but it is a path that has some curve in it. One of the sections, call it a slab, for lack of the more precise term, had been raised about two inches by a tree root. It was this way before the house was purchased. I have been in the house thinking about the problem for a couple of years, confident in my ability to fix it. Two night ago, my friend and neighbor, rented a tractor. I borrowed the tractor, raised the section, shoved a log under it, lowered it, and returned the tractor. I lifted it without breaking it. The tractor was returned and I was deliberating how I would return the section after leveling the dirt underneath, also entertaining the idea that if it wasn't facing the house, it might make a nice ramp to play evil kenevil. Extracting the log would turn out to be the least of my problems.

Do you know how difficult it is to remove a tree root?  No, really. The neighbor's chain saw broke, the starting cord coming right out of the tool on the third try, but even if it had worked, pushing a chain saw into the root and earth is probably not a recommended procedure. The grinder, even with the diamond tip circular blade, just made noise and smoked. The circular saw helped makes sections that made chipping at it with the pick axe and shovel from an odd angle a little more productive. Mind you, I am coming at it at an angle because the log is holding it up. I decided extracting the complete root would be too problematic. I settled for mellowing it. Once the area was 'reasonably' level, I deliberated over how to extract the log. I figure, if the Egyptions could manipulate solid blocks of stone bigger than any one room in my house into extreme positions, I, with my modern tools and ingenuity, could levitate one cement, sidewalk section high enough to extract the log holding it up. I had another log, a shovel, and the determination to make a fulcrum and lever. I have heard that if one has a big enough level and a fulcrum one could move the world.

          My shovel broke. I am now faced with the dilemma of moving a stone and accepting the fact that the maxims in my paradigm may not be complete.

            I took some solace from the fact the Egyptians did not work alone. I enlisted the help of my neighbor. He, and his son, and his son's friend and I, like a scene from King of the Hill, stood around the cement section, puzzling, bantering, and drinking. We decided on an action. We lifted the stone, someone kicked the log away and on three we dropped the section back into place. It did not fall 'right' back into place. OMG, why don't I ever just leave things well enough alone, I lamented. It was now higher than it was previously. It needed to shift over about two inches to the right to fit where it did, and all we have left is our brains, our beer, and a pick axe. Unlike Minecraft, using a pick axe, even on a thin cement sidewalk section, is a pain in, neck. Hitting stone vibrates through the arms and muscles, and sparks are flying, and bits of debris fly up into your face and we all took turns beating this stone into submission. In our breathlessness, we discussed other options for its eventual surrender.

                 I decided to bring my truck into play. I am now fairly confident that drinking and power tools are not how the pyramids got made. The weight of my truck did not push the section back into place. Neither did all of us jumping in unison like the drunken fools we appeared to be. We tried prying it back up with the pick axe. The slab cracked down the middle, but still we didn't lift it, or move it over to any measurable degree. I positioned my truck and jury rigged a strap to the corner jutting out, thinking I will just tow it into place, and ended up lifting the stone and breaking it in half along the crack established earlier. We surrendered, flipped the section over and decide, maybe we will work some more clearing the root completely. The upturned section may be easier to move back into place. I have thought of just getting a sledge hammer and busting it up and starting over, but not sure how to make a curved mold, but I have no doubt, I start hitting that with a sledge hammer the only think I am going to get is a headache.

                  Maybe I need to drink with my neighbors and think this along further. Sigh.