Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Promised Update

*Portions of this post appeared as a note on my personal facebook page and will look familiar to any of my friends and family who may read it here. That note did not contain the photographs presented here.

Hey everyone,
It’s been a while since my last blog and I feel like we should catch up. How are you? That’s great, or that sucks, whichever may apply. Myself? I’ve been busy. I’ve been back at work for a few months now, and as the weather warms up our productivity also picks up.
In case you’re wondering what I’ve been doing lately the answer is a little bit of everything. The company I work for has been contracted to replace all of the caulking in every window, balcony/patio door, and flashing on two 20 year old condo buildings in Victoria’s James Bay area overlooking the harbor. The first building is 9 stories tall and the second is 11 stories tall.

These are the buildings we're currently working on.
We also have to patch and repair any defects in the concrete, and then paint said concrete. Yes, it’s a big job. Our crew and equipment have become part of the scenery for visiting cruise ship passengers and will likely be there all summer long.

We can actually see the cruise ships from the upper floors of the buildings. To me, that's one of the best parts of working on this project. That's the stern of the giant Mariner Of The Seas seen just to the right of center.
One of the new experiences I’ve had on this jobsite is working on a swing stage. If you don’t know what that is, the easiest way to explain it is that it’s just like those platforms window washers use. They ride up and down the sides of buildings on a pair of cables suspended from the roof.
Looking Up...Waaayy Up!

Looking down. That's another smaller one-man stage going up the wall at top left.

Needless to say, swing stage work is not for everybody. I’m fine with heights as long as I feel that what I’m standing on is secure, but I admit there is a bit of a learning curve and I did have some shaky legs for a while there. There’s a reason it’s called a swing stage – it’s always moving! Now I’ve got my “sea-legs”, but from time to time a certain co-worker of mine likes to just do things without warning me and it still catches me off guard. There’s nothing like that split second feeling like you’re going to do a face-plant into a bay window 70-90 feet off the ground!
You folks don’t have to worry too much about me though. I do wear a proper fall safety harness and am clipped on to a safety line at all times, even when I’m climbing out of the stage and onto a balcony. Yep, you read that right. I ride up the building on the stage then climb out and over the rails and hop into people’s balconies to do work.
Learning and adapting to all of these new skills has earned me a recent pay raise and some great comments from my supervisors and that makes me feel pretty darn good.
Outside of work there really isn't much to tell you about. My lovely wife and I spend our free time jogging, cycling, visiting bookstores, watching cruise ships, or just staying in and watching movies.

A few weekends ago, we also visited the Royal BC Museum to check out the “Treasures: The World’s Cultures from the British Museum” exhibit and it was really fascinating. The carpenters and painters really did a good job in making our museum look like the British Museum. The Egyptian and Roman artifacts were particular favorites of ours. Much of what we saw we were already familiar with from books and TV shows, but to see the real things were something else. They actually had a casting of the Rosetta Stone and a real 3000 year old mummy!

Well that’s it my friends, and family, and everyone else. I’m still alive and well and I’ve just been spending my days hanging off the sides of buildings. That’s about it. Thankfully I’m a gifted enough writer to make it all sound interesting.

Take care!

The Wandering Oak


  1. oh I so could not do that, man that is a lot of caulking going on and way up there...oooh I am already dizzy ;-)

  2. OK the swing stage makes me stomach hurt and I am on terra firma!

  3. You are a brave man...your photos even made me queesy. Particularly the one photo looking down.
    I would love the view from the top though. Love looking out on water....
    Glad you're back.

  4. Ack! I've often pondered the strange bravery of people who work in high places--now I feel like I know one personally! :)
    Brave. Brave. man.

  5. First off, I have to say that I LOVE cruise ships.
    I spent over 12 years working on them as a Scuba Instructor,
    Shore Excursion Manager and an IT Officer.

    For 2 years I also worked shoreside in Miami as a database IT guy.

    During my years on ships, I have to stay that many things happened
    and that life is definately stranger than fiction on cruise ships.

    Many people have asked me to share the stories I have collected over
    the years, so I am complying with their request.

    My site is:

    If you had any stories of your own to add, please
    send them to me and I will be happy to add them.

    Sean B. Halliday


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