Bear surgery

I was doing a site survey today to see how we would move our heavy pieces into a tricky location. Planning how we will install is done prior to our initial design and build. It is nice to anticipate all challenges long before we begin a project so there are no surprises when the install happens. At the prospective worksite I was asked if we ever ran into difficulties. It made me smile and brought back memories of one particular project we did many years ago. The sign featured a giant polar bear and all went extremely smooth until it was time to load him on the trailer. I did the hookup but short-cutted the process using a bolt to join the chain instead of a proper hook. As the crane operator swung the bear towards the trailer the chain separated and the bear fell about four feet to the ground. Concrete sculptures don’t tolerate sudden jars very well. All four legs of the bear were shattered. The crane operator was devastated but it wasn't his fault. I bore the blame and that single incident taught me a valuable and never forgotten lesson. Shortcuts don’t ever pay. We had the operator finish loading the bear onto the trailer. I phoned the prosective owner and told him we had run into a small snag. Delivery would be delayed a few days. He never knew why. Later that week, after some carefully done repairs, the bear was delivered safely. We moved him down the road to a new home a number of years later without incident and it still stands proud more than a decade later albeit an inch or two shorter than when he was first built. The photo below was taken as I hooked him up for the second move. You can bet I didn’t make the same mistake as the first time.

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Dan SawatzkyComment