I am into woodworking on various fronts, and here is one of my machine delivery stories (from the summer of 2000, so some of the references are dated):
For those of you scoring at home, I ordered a few machines from Hammer awhile back. They have arrived ....
After a 12-week wait, the word came - the Hammers were en route. Great! Arrangements were for the two crates to be placed on my driveway - 2,300 pounds worth. ABF was the carrier, and the online tracking they provide is pretty good, so I was able to follow the progress, right up until they arrived in town and I got a call from local ABF - wrong address on the shipment. No worries, no ones fault, it was my work address (which I and Felder have been using) vs. home. Corrected the address for ABF, then they asked if I had a loading dock at home. Uh oh. The proverbial ball has been dropped folks, and is about to roll aimlessly around the parking lot.
ABF cannot deliver to "my driveway" without real special arrangements ahead of time. Not sure who missed that "minor" part of the plan, but the nut of it is that the machines are at ABF on a Friday and they say "next Thursday at the earliest, but we'll know more on Monday". Uh oh. Ever try to pick up a ball and kick it instead? Onward it rolls.
I call late Monday morning, and I have apparently taken the same clerk I spoke with Friday by such surprise you would have thought I was a member of an elite counterintelligence organization sent out to confuse the populace. She has no idea what I'm talking about, and makes little attempt to hide the fact. See the ball roll. Roll ball, roll.
After a quick refresher for her benefit, I get an "oh ... um, yeah ... haven't even LOOKED at that one yet - we're looking at late this week or early next week ...". I'm beginning to think "Thursday at the earliest" is now a standard reply along the lines of "the check's in the mail". Her lack of confidence combined with a healthy dose of indifference is just shy of awe-inspiring. Ferchrissakes. Where's my blood pressure medicine? Tums will have to do.
So, a quick call to the rental place, reschedule three meetings, grab the CB, roll up my sleeves and drop my pants enough to show a crack and I'm off to ABF in the feared Mitsubishi Fuso 14' Liftgate. Arrive at ABF and it's not what I expect - the Hammers are still on a trailer, and the infamous "Joe" - who is the only worker in the "warehouse" such as it is, is "running late getting into work". It's one-farking-pee-em. I grab an application for Joe's job.
Now I'm pretty much hosed and p**sed, which is a lovely combination of which we've all had the pleasure, I'm sure. I'm at ABF with a truck and pallet jack, but the crates are on an ABF trailer truck and it's me and the clerk looking at each other like we've just seen an alien space landing. Complete, open-mouthed zeroes for both of us. Not a word passes as time goes by at a snails pace and we stand there, listening to the clock tick.
As if to prove God has compassion to go with his sense of humor, the clouds part, the rain stops, and out of nowhere appears what ends up being the nicest, friendliest truck driver on the planet. Wish I caught his name. He not only offers to help out, he's an experienced forklift guy from way back and gets the crates off the trailer and situated for placement on my truck. OK, this is looking slightly up. Ah but wait - surprise #8 is that the A3-41 is (logically) skidded from the 7' side, which means the forklift cannot lift it and get it on the 2.12 meter-wide Mitsubishi (that's 6-11.5' for you Imperialists). Did I mention being hosed and p**sed?
But, "Charlie" has the shmartz to place another perpendicular skid underneath the works and manages to drag/coax/cajole/wish that baby onto my truck, lengthwise. Barely. Now he ups the B3 and uses that to push the A3-41 further back on the truck. The loaded crates leave the following:
* Room for my pallet jack with two inches to spare;
* "Charlie" feeling pretty proud;
* Me, with a puckered sphincter, wondering how the hell I'll get them off the truck;
Some last minute unloading advice from "Charlie" - the old "I've seen THIS done ... or you could try THIS ..." - he then goes on to relate McIver-like tales of getting large things off small trucks. Brings goosebumps, and I'm proud to be a 'Merican, salute "Charlie" and wonder where I can rent a helicopter and some dynamite. All the while "Charlie" has that amused, glad-I'm-not-you-or-your-buddy look, to which I counter with the I-know-exactly-what-I'm-doing look. He wins, and I am not a close second place.
Fire up the Mitsu diesel and I'm off. I'm thinking the following as I pull out of ABF:
* Without "Charlie", this would have been a complete, total, unmitigated disaster; I am so screwed it's funny - no way these come off the truck cleanly;
* My plan of unloading by myself now seems like the plans of a six-year old who promises to take care of the new puppy - complete, utter absurdity;
* This truck handles a hell of alot better with 2300 lbs in the back;
* Won't my cousin be surprised when I pull up to work and tell him to "get in the truck or your dog gets it!"
I head straight to work to pick up my cousin, unannounced. I feel like Peter Falk walking into Alan Arkin's dentist office in "The In-Laws" - "hey buddy, got a few minutes?" (then Falk whisks Arkin off to South America - the movie is a top-10 if you've not seen it). After I stuff him into the truck with a wild tale of guns, lottery winnings and topless bars, off we go to my house.
That was the easy part.
Did I mention the liftgate is about 30" wide or so, and the smaller B3 skid is at least 4', and the A3-41 has it's 7' length staring at the gate? Can you say cantilever? I knew you could. I'm now cursing myself for putting together my fantasy football lineups during physics class.
Keeriste. We coax the B3 most of the way onto the gate, then drop a bit, coax, drop a bit, etc. until finally the tail end of the crate splinters off like that perfect endgrain dovetail you just trimmed, and the crate cantilevers like the infamous rock set up by Wiley Coyote hanging over The Roadrunner's head - there's no way it's gonna stay. Quick! Hit the DOWN button! Hey! It stayed! Getouttahere! As Bill Nye the Science Guy would say - physics RULES baby!
The B3 drops along with my blood pressure and is on the ground without a whimper. I need some Gatorade with a whiskey chaser. Wheel it home with the pallet jack and Bob's our Uncle.
Yeahbut. The A3-41 snorks at us as we try the Yuri Gellar/Spock mind-meld to move it off the truck. It doesn't budge. In fact, I swore it backed up a bit. No amount of staring and swearing gets it to move, so we devise what will come to be forever be known in the neighborhood as THE PLAN. More appropriately, THE PLANS.
Now, the best laid plans of mice and men are subject to change, right? To call this "a plan in flux" would be like calling Stonehenge temporary. I can honestly say that from the back of the truck to the liftgate - a scant 7' for the wily, cagey 7' skid - our plan changed 3,277 times. The only thing which did not change from iteration to iteration was "if this puppy starts to go, I'm gonna holler and you jump on the back of that sucker like a starving lion on fresh kill". Onlookers appear as if a tractor trailer jackknifed on I90. Did I mention I was sweating buckets?
So we manage to get that sucker to the liftgate, inch by inch. We stare again. I'm such a fan of cantilevering at this point, we're willing to risk it all and get 2/3 of that puppy hanging off the ass-end and lower bit by bit while cuz swings off the back like a deranged Spider Monkey at the zoo. Yes Regis, as screwed as that sounds, that's my final answer and I'm outta lifelines baby.
We get 'er moving, and it occurs to me we are implementing "Charlie"'s plan #14, sans the twine, mineral spirits, coke can and gunpowder. So, bolstered with the immutable fact that "Charlie has seen this work, so it must be a sound plan", we proceed. Inch out, inch down, repeat. Lather, rinse, repeat. Finally the front end is a scant 8" off the ground - at a hell of an angle mind you, but it hasn't fallen - yet - so we get the pallet jack situated. Inch down, inch out, bingo-bango we're almost home. Change the liftgate angle, uh-huh, yup ... oh yeah, just like we planned ... yup ... ok, right there! Up an inch, over an inch, clear the stud - HEY MAN! IT IS DOWN BABY! YOU DA MANG! Wheel her home, right on the mark.
Total truck rental costs: About $75. Total for refill of blood pressure medicine: $100. Total man hour costs: About $400. Two Hammers in the garage: Priceless.
Next up: The Unpacking ....