07/26/10 — Workin' It - Good Ole Boys Concrete

View Archive

Workin' It - Good Ole Boys Concrete

By Laura Collins
Published in News on July 26, 2010 2:06 PM

The Job: Concrete construction

The Company: Good Ole Boys Concrete Construction

The Location: Grantham

Owner Robin Anthony and I got off to a rocky start. Basically, he left me in a parking lot.

Here's what happened: All week I was trying to pin Anthony down. By Thursday evening, I finally talked to him and he said I could come out for a job Good Ole Boys Concrete Construction was doing Friday.

"Meet me at 7 a.m. at the Friendly Mart in Grantham," he said.

So I set out early Friday morning in the direction of Grantham. I called Anthony on his cell phone to make sure I was headed to the right gas station. He said he was at the one on U.S. 13 and I told him I was five minutes away.

When I pulled in, there was only one person sitting in a truck in the parking lot. So I pulled up next to him and asked if I should ride with him or follow in my car.

"You can follow me if you want, but I don't think I'm who you're looking for," he said.

"Are you Robin Anthony?"

"No, he just left."

So in a matter of a couple seconds I threw out all the advice my parents had given me about not getting in cars with strangers, and was actively petitioning strangers to let me in their cars.

I went inside the gas station and asked about Anthony again, and it was confirmed that he did, in fact, leave me at the gas station. I gave him a call to find out what happened.

"I left," he said.

"Yeah, I gathered that much, but I was only five minutes away."

He said he had to get back to the job, but someone else was on the way to pick me up. Thankfully, the pickup and arrival at the job site went off without any further problems.

Then concrete got involved.

By 7 a.m. the temperature was already approaching the 90s with the day's high expected to be over 100 degrees and the heat index expected at 110. The job for that day was filling in a 30-by-40-foot slab at a private residence in Grantham that would be used as the floor of a garage. Good Ole Boys pours about 1,000 yards of concrete each week, so the job was a relatively small one.

When the pouring started, Anthony said I could be in charge of the spout pouring the concrete onto the slab from the cement truck. I would say that Anthony was trying to get back in my good graces by letting me do that, but I don't think he realized he was in my bad graces.

Being in charge of the spout was really cool. As the cement filled the slab, Anthony and his guys were fast at work spreading it out evenly and making sure it didn't overflow. The only problem with the spout is that it occasionally spatters out the concrete, which means periodically I was getting hit in the back of the head and neck with tiny globs of concrete. The even less cool part of controlling the spout is cleaning it, which basically means shoveling and scraping out the extra concrete before it starts to dry.

My biggest compliment of the day came when Anthony suggested I use the bull float to even out the cement as it was drying.

"You gotta be a man to push and pull that thing," someone said.

"Naw, she can do it," Anthony said, and I beamed.

So I sauntered over to the bull float, which looks like a metal version of the long, flat brooms school janitors use, and then Anthony added:

"There's not a lot of room for error," he said. "You got one chance at it. You can't go back and pull nails out and move it."

I had visions of the family pulling their cars into their new garage and the cars sliding sideways across the garage floor and slamming into the wall because the floor was uneven. Not good.

I only used the bull float for about a minute before I handed it off. Anthony said I was a natural, but one of the guys was already going over what I had done, so I'm thinking "natural" might have been a stretch.

Before I knew it, the job was done and Anthony said they could walk on the slab by noon. It was amazing to see how fast it had gone from a dirt hole to the floor of a garage.

Aside from being stranded at a gas station, I considered the day a success. Anthony is an interesting combination of super-intense about his job and a jokester. It's easy to see that he and his guys make the best of the heat, do a thorough job and still take time to have some fun.