Moving Mountains – Kelsey A.

Hello everyone, I, Kelsey have returned to the world of Word Press. This past class (April 12) I was project manager in tandem with Nettie, mostly because we were the first two people to arrive to class that day. So, I started off my day by making a list of objectives with Ms. Jo and Nettie. What we needed to do was cut wood for the decks, level joists for two decks, and layout flagstones.

Nettie and I assigned groups based on experience, so we split up the two people who had leveled one deck into two groups for the two other decks, and made two other groups at random for cutting wood and laying out flagstones. However, when we met the rest of the class in the airstream for a meeting, most of the class started switching groups. Three girls were absent because of band, only one person was needed to cut wood, and laying flagstones meant moving 50-150lb slabs of rock to create a trail. So, after rearranging the groups on the fly, we commenced construction.

I was working with the flagstone groups, which consisted on Ava, Maddy, Esperanza, and myself. We encountered difficulties from the start, because the rocks were tied together on a pallet with two supporting pieces of wood on either end with what I can only describe as heavy duty metal zip ties. We conquered this problem by using a hammer to pry out the nails on the supporting pieces of wood on the side of the pallet that kept the metal zip ties in place. Then we had to figure out how to best move a slab out of the pile and carry it to it’s spot.

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Some things I learned from this experience, clear your path ahead of time when carrying heavy objects, it takes four people to lift and move one stone, wear gloves to avoid scratches on your hands, and communicate with other movers. At some points in time we had to step over concrete base blocks, tools, and string to reach our final destination. We also learned that having a person on each corner of a block works much better and makes moving the slab faster and easier with four people. We realized that gloves would be a good idea after moving our first rock without gloves and gaining redness, soreness, and minor scratches on our hands. Finally, communication, such as “Hey can we move a little to the right so I don’t step in a pothole/ant pile/baseblock/screwdriver etc.” and “Move!” Whenever someone was in the way. And “I am going to drop the final edge of the block on three”.

I tried to look to see who else was working while still doing my job, however, I was quite unsuccessful at this task. Moving the slabs took a lot of energy and concentration. But I tried to look at everyone else’s productivity between rocks. For the most part, I really only acted the part of project manager when assigning groups and tasks at the beginning of the day. However, Nettie and I tried to put strong, experienced, natural leaders with each group. This way, those people could lead out in each group while Nettie and I remained in charge overall, while each still working in a group.

Overall, I think that the day was productive and successful, we still have a lot of work to do, but I am optimistic that if we work hard we can accomplish our goals. There are sixteen of us, seventeen counting Ms. Jo, and all of us are very motivated to finish this project. We are proud of our courtyard and our work, and want to be able to show off our hard work to the rest of the ARS community, even if the use is limited to the upperclassmen.

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