The Pipe Bursting Experiment

Back in the 1980s I was contacted by the owner of an apartment complex over in “Apartment City”, the area along Riverside Drive east of I-35 in Austin. The city was requiring them to upsize the wastewater, as it wasn’t adequately handling the amount of flows that the apartment was generating. Evidently a few years before, when the project was built there had been a sizing miscalculation. With it being a nice property with beautifully landscaped yards they wanted the disruption to be held to a minimum. I made some phone calls and found a company in Louisiana that was … Continue reading The Pipe Bursting Experiment

GK, My Accountant With A Drinking Problem

Gk was my accountant for several years. I’ve mentioned him in a couple of my previous stories. I always called him Worley, his last name. GK was so fast on a desk calculator, you’d think the keys were going to fly off. By the time I got to know him, he was pretty much an old drunk. He would shake a lot. But when he would sit down and had a pen in his hand that man had the nicest handwriting of any person I’ve ever known. He had gone to a business school when he was young. He could … Continue reading GK, My Accountant With A Drinking Problem

The Nichols Brothers and how the magic of Facebook helped to write their full story

Back in the 70s we had a band of brothers that came to work for us. They were hardworking, honest to a fault it seems like and a little bit crazy. When I say “honest to a fault”, I mean that they gave you a better days work than maybe they should have, as in it seemed like they were killing themselves to be sure you knew they were earning their pay. Larry, Richard and Conner were their names. Larry was a little older than me, Richard was about my age and Conner was a bit younger. It was easy … Continue reading The Nichols Brothers and how the magic of Facebook helped to write their full story

Then & Now

I graduated from high school in May 1970. By the fall of 70 I went to work in the underground utility industry. I believe I was earning around $3.00 per hour. Considering the minimum wage back then was$1.60, I was doing pretty well. A top operator was paid $3.75 per hour. By late spring of 1972, I had learned enough about the business, plus what I had picked up being around trucks and machinery my whole life, I subcontracted my first water line installation project in Burnet, Texas. I had a crew of 4 or 5 people including myself. I … Continue reading Then & Now

Hauling A Parsons Ladder Trencher

Back in 1970, not too long after I graduated from high school, I was driving a truck for Nelson Lewis, hauling equipment. I remember being dispatched to Devine, Texas to haul a Parsons Trencher from there over to Port Lavaca. It was a trip of around 200 miles, maybe more with weaving my way down through the many little south Texas towns. This was before any big highways were built. Those towns were connected with Farm to Market Roads and a few State Highways. I got to Devine late in the afternoon one day, loaded the machine and chained it … Continue reading Hauling A Parsons Ladder Trencher

I Could Never Pass Up Tools Laying In The Road

It always amazed me how often I used to find tools, like wrenches, hammers, screw drivers and the like laying on the road when I was traveling from place to place. I always accused my careless mechanic Paul of being the one that lost most of them. Almost any day I could drive out of the yard and find something Paul had left laying under the hood or on the bumper that would fall off. Of course he wasn’t too worried about it as long as I had charge accounts at all the parts houses in Austin. Paul’s carelessness fed … Continue reading I Could Never Pass Up Tools Laying In The Road

Just One More Accident

I had a new gold and beige colored crew cab Chevrolet. It was a beautiful truck. It had everything imaginable on it. This was in the mid 1980s. It still had paper tags on it. I pulled up in front and center at Holt Caterpillar in Austin one morning. Just as I reached the front door I heard a crash. I looked around to see a one ton welders truck had backed into the drivers door. As I got closer I saw that he had a pair of fork lift forks on the bed of his truck. They extended over … Continue reading Just One More Accident

The Day The Dollar General Truck Caused Chaos

Once when we were working on the Inks Dam anchoring project there were many obstacles to overcome everyday. There was one day when the stars aligned and it appeared we would have a banner day of pouring concrete. We ordered up 2 huge concrete pump trucks that were capable of sending concrete all the way across the length of the dam. They came out of San Antonio, at a hefty price for mobilization. We had a huge team of finishers that we had hired out of Austin to help place and finish the concrete. The concrete was batched out of … Continue reading The Day The Dollar General Truck Caused Chaos

My Dallas Hotel Room For The Night

It was about this time a year in 1988. There were several of us in the underground utility business from Texas that belonged to an Association of Utility Contractors would meet in Washington DC in June. Among other things we would attend a Congressional Breakfast. It was a time where you could eat and visit with various politicians from around the country and let them know what we needed them to be working on. I was the Texas Chapter President for a couple of years, so it was a big deal to go to Washington DC. I had business in … Continue reading My Dallas Hotel Room For The Night

The Devastation Caused By Zebra Mussels

Seeing a recent kvue article (link below) about the growing Zebra Mussel problem in several area lakes brought back memories from the winter of 2011-2012 when our company was awarded a large contract to clean up a water line up on the northern border of Texas at Lake Texoma. That was the first recognized Zebra Mussel infestation to reach Texas. Our contract was comprised of building appurtenances that allowed a huge rubber pig (a large cylindrical apparatus with an abrasive coating) that could be inserted in the lake end of an eleven mile six foot diameter water line. This would … Continue reading The Devastation Caused By Zebra Mussels