A Load Off My Mind

20130704-122542.jpgThe best things in life are the simplest of pleasures.

A part of me remained unsettled for a very long time while my beloved white leather couch remained under a tarp on the deck outside. My home just wasn’t a home with a big chunk of my living room vibe sitting outside, open to the elements.

My solution to build a crane occupied me, and the more it weighed on me, the more I refined the plan. Eventually I realized I didn’t need to build anything – I just needed to repurpose some odds & ends in ways they were never intended.

My phone call to PS Systems, an equipment supplier to the film industry, will go down as one of the weirdest I’ve ever made.

“I’m not sending a crane over to lift a couch,” said the guy on the phone.

“No. Forget the couch. I need a light stand with a bracket on top and maybe some kind of pipe I can fit inside the bracket to use as a boom.”

“You want a boom pole?”

“No. A pipe to rig as a boom for the crane I’m building.”

“I think you need to come down and look at what we have, cuz I’m not following you.”

Later that afternoon, I had walked through the warehouse and ordered a ‘sky high’ – a heavy duty light stand that goes up 20′, a 12′ grid pipe, and a ‘goal post’ to mount on top the sky high, to hold the grid pipe in place. The whole thing cost $33 to rent.

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Next I needed to line up help.

Coincidentally, my new neighbour Cam, a Pakistani about 35 years old, invited me over for a beer. He introduced me to Teddy, an older fellow who lives on the other side of me. About half way down my bottle of beer, I mentioned my plan to hoist my couch up over my balcony – a lift of about 25′. They both agreed to help me when I got everything together.

Is there a better way to get to know one’s neighbours?

I picked the equipment up from PS yesterday. Assembled everything together in the manner I envisioned – sky high towards the rail of my balcony, grid pipe wedged between the sky high and the doorway, with a hockey puck jammed between the grid pipe and the doorway to protect the wood. I then lashed my block and tackle onto the head of the grid pipe and lowered it.

It was about 6′ too short. Wouldn’t reach the couch.

This was a problem I decided to ignore for the time being. The couch needed rigging, and I was certain a solution to the block and tackle would come to me. To this end, I cobbled pieces of cardboard and rope together. Guestimated the centre of balance for the couch from left to right and front to back. I synched the rope tight and tied a loop in that spot. The full force of the load would be on this one tiny spot. I then did the same to the left and right sides of the couch as well. They wouldn’t be used for much heavy lifting, but they would be critical for balance.

Cam helped me move the couch into position under the ‘crane’. He then went back his backyard to join his friend Paul for more beer while I attached the ropes to the couch. Paul observed that after 30 years in construction, he was certain my plan was going to fail. We should just use ladders to get the couch up to my balcony. I disagreed.

Perhaps I was too invested in this idea, or perhaps I was a fool to ignore the observations of someone so experienced. Perhaps I simply learned my lesson from Friday’s nightmare – no more letting people talk me into things that I’m not certain about. ‘Experts’ are not always what they claim to be.

I know ropes. I trust my knots. I was certain the block and tackle would make short work of that 25′ lift – if I could ever get it attached.

Thirty minutes later, I was rethreading the block and tackle with 100′ of quarter inch nylon rope I bought from Canadian Tire. I re-lashed the block and tackle to the boom, lowered it, then attached it to the couch. I was now ready to make the lift.

Problem was, my help disappeared.

Cam was still milling about, but Teddy was MIA. Paul refused because he didn’t think my crane idea would work. This is when Cam spotted Oliver, another neighbour, about 21 years old.

With the two of them up top, keeping the side ropes tight, and me on the ground, pulling on the line connected to the block & tackle, we got the couch up to the top of the balcony in two minutes! Paul watched us while drinking his beer. He never said a word.

I tied off my line, then joined the others up top, to lift the couch over the rail. From there it was an easy shot into my living room.

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Ain’t it grand when a plan comes together? I felt giddy all night long and spent it laying across my beloved white leather couch watching TV. My living room was complete.

The weight of this whole move was instantly lifted from my shoulders.

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