Murhpy’s Law

“What can go wrong, will go wrong” (paraphrased).

Do you remember learning about Murphy’s Law in science class? I do.

I also remember telling myself that I didn’t need to learn about it because I wasn’t going to ever be a scientist. And today I’m not a scientist, but Murphy’s Law seems to really like me – too much actually.

Right now, I am running a construction project with a really tight schedule which makes every single day almost worth gold to me. Last Friday, I had a large pour scheduled to complete my underground walls. Once we had everything setup, the weather decided that I was getting ahead of myself and instead of a concrete pour on Friday, I had rain pouring down. So the only thing left to do was reschedule the pour for this morning.

Last night scared me. At 2am, I woke up to rain pattering against my window. Grabbing my iPhone, I searched the weather for San Diego and saw that the rain was supposed to stop at 5am. Relieved, I fell back asleep.

When I rolled up to my job site this morning, the concrete pump was set up, and my crew was double checking elevations and forms. At 8am sharp, the first concrete truck arrived and backed up to the pump. The operator fired up the pump, but when he attempted to prime the pump, no concrete came through.

The pump was clogged.

I thought to myself, “this sucks but no reason to panic because concrete pumps do occasionally clog”. But as the minutes continued to drag on, it began getting a little stressful. The pump operator had shut off the pump and was pullinghis piping apart looking for the clog – all the while concrete trucks were showing up and my crew was standing idle.

All I could do was put the rest of the concrete on hold, and see how soon another pump could arrive.With a public works project, all of my guys were making prevailing wage, and when you’re paying guys over $50/hr, you want some productivity.

At 9am, we had to reject the first two concrete trucks because the concrete was no longer good to pour. Having to reject unused concrete because of it’s age, is literally like flushing $2K down the toilet. It just hurts. A few minutes later, the pump guy gave us the all clear sign, and we backed fresh trucks up to the pump.

And then the pump clogged again.

Now I was stressed. I had the choice of waiting for the replacement pump to arrive in an hour or I could push the pour another day. I decided to push the pour. Even if I was able to start pouring at 10am with a new pump, I would end up pouring until 9 or 10 at night which meant tons of overtime as well as issues with concrete curing because of the cold.

Not only did I lose an entire day on my project, but somebody has to pay for 4-loads of unused concrete, an idle (clogged) pump, and a crew on standby for 2-hours. It’s not the day you want when you’re trying to be productive.

After just blogging about how great of a roll I was on, now the project acts as if it’s on an Indian burial ground – I must have jinxed myself.

Murphy must have realized that I didn’t think he was important, and so today he came back to haunt me.


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