Loading Stones

TAGS: physical labor, earn money, loading stones, hard work, erik eggers

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There is no training information herein. I’m serious. None.

There is some lifting, but not the kind typically discussed on the elitefts webpages. I love strongman but I can’t load atlas stones for squat. The exercise frightens me. I can’t imagine a less advantageous position for lifting heavy objects. It’s my least favorite event to perform (fun to watch, though). I’ll flip tires all day, but the stones? I’ll pass. I like my forearms with flesh intact.

If you decide to read on, you were forewarned—this is a levity piece written by a columnist with a hell of a writer’s block. Anyway, I gave you Resistance Training for Young Girls-Building More Than Strength — give that a re-read if you need a training fix. It’s great stuff if you have a young daughter.

Are you still with me? Okay. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

We recently commissioned an interior project at our house where there was some significant stonework involved. After the work was completed we discovered we’d purchased too much stone and we were left with an extra pallet, approximately a ton of stone, sitting in the yard. We inquired with the stone store and discovered we could return the unused portion for credit. To give you an understanding of the size of the pallet, the stone was initially delivered on an eighteen-wheeler and deposited in our backyard with a tow motor forklift. The store initially delivered two loaded pallets.

My older son has a Ford F-150 Pickup truck, so we struck a deal with him. If he loaded the truck and returned the stone we’d give him the lion’s share of the credit we received from the store as payment for helping the family. Essentially, we would give him $150—spending money for college.

Hunting and Gorton Stone

The Baseball Game

It’s the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend and I’m attending my younger son’s baseball game when my cell phone rings. It’s my older son—the eighteen-year-old.

"You call me?"

“What?” I asked.

"You call me?"

“No, I didn’t call you.”

"My phone rang. You called me."

“I don’t know. I’m at your brother’s game. I must’ve butt dialed you.”

"I’m getting ready to load the stones in the truck."

“Zack, it’s 10:15. The place closes at noon. I don’t think you’re going to make it.”

To be honest, I was surprised he was actually motivated to get the job done. I figured he’d procrastinate for another week or so.

"I’m going to load up the truck right now."

He hung up the phone and I thought there's no way he's going to make it. I texted him subsequent to the call and said, “I think it’s a two to three-hour job to load the truck. You’re never going to make it.”

Earlier in the week I had manipulated some of the stones just to get a sense of their weight and how challenging this return trip was going to be. This test precipitated the offer we made to my son. I decided it was going to be a significant amount of work — better for his young man’s back (versus mine, which is held together with duct tape and chicken wire).

Fifteen minutes after I sent him the text he sent a reply. It was a picture of the stone pallet, which was already almost empty. Somehow he had the truck almost loaded aside from a few stones.

I thought, wow, he proved me wrong. He got that done. I texted him back and told him to leave about three stones behind. I thought we might be able to utilize them for some pinch grip work in the gym.

The phone rings again and it’s my son.

"Hey, I got the truck loaded but it’s so low. It’s so low."

“What do you mean?” I asked.

"The stone weighs so much the truck is really low. The bed is really low. Can I drive with it? Can I drive?"

"I don’t know. I’m not there. Can you send me a picture of it?”

LOADING STONES 2

He texted me a picture of the loaded truck and sure enough, the truck bed was pretty low and I was concerned enough that I sent him a return text that said:

“It looks really low to me and my gut says it’s too much weight and you can’t make the trip. I hate to say this but I think you should unload the truck.”

No sooner did I send the text than my phone rang again.

“Zack—I just texted you. The truck is too low and I don’t really think you should make this trip.”

"Well, I’m already on the way. I’m already driving."

“You’re already driving?”

"Yeah. I’m already on the way."

“Err, ah—alright. I guess at this point we’ll just roll the dice and see how you make out.”

I hung up the phone and returned to watching the baseball game while concurrently watching the truck's progression toward the stone company on the Find Friends iPhone App. He had about a forty-five-minute drive ahead of him and I was sweating it, hoping we weren’t going to damage the truck and have to deal with that additional expense prior to paying college tuition.

When I finally saw that he arrived safely at the stone company, I exhaled and turned to my friend in the stands, with whom I’d been sharing the story.

"He made it. Thankfully he made it.”

Just then, the phone rang again.

"Hey. I made it to the stone store and I’m not happy."

“What do you mean you’re at the stone store and you’re not happy?”

"They’re closed. They’re closed all Memorial Day weekend."

I laughed for a second in horror.

“Well, you can’t make the trip back with the loaded truck. The truck is overloaded and I don’t think it’s a good idea to push it to come all the way back. Just pick a spot in the corner of the yard and unload the truck.”

"I can’t do that. I can’t unload the truck."

“What do you mean? Just pick a spot and unload the truck.”

"They’re here. The guys are here. The people are here."

“So the people that work there are at the stone store, but it’s closed?” I said. “Listen, you have to just tell them that you are going to unload the truck there and we’ll settle up for this on Tuesday. You need to tell them that. I don’t care what they say, you’re not leaving there with the loaded truck.”

"I can’t tell them that."

“Put me on the phone with them if you have to. You are not to leave that stone store with the truck still loaded.”

Ultimately, he was able to unload the truck and he made it home unscathed.

LOADING STONES 1

After the Game

When I finally arrived home from the baseball game, my daughter came running down the stairs to greet me. She’s twelve-years-old so she still likes her father, unlike the other two.

“Hey. How was your day?” I asked.

She showed me her hands and they were all scraped up.

“What’s that from?” I asked.

“I helped Zack load the truck. He’s going to pay me $20. My back is sore too,” she said.

“Your back is sore? How did you help him? Did you just load a couple of the stones too?”

“No. I was up in the truck.”

“You were up in the truck?”

“Yes. I was up in the truck and Zack handed the stone to me.”

“So, you had to handle each and every single one of the stones?” I asked. “You had to stack all of the stones in the truck?”

“Yes. It was really hard. They were really heavy. Do you think I should’ve asked for more money?”

Yes, honey, I do. I really do.

At least I determined how he was able to load the truck so quickly. He outsourced half the job.

In Conclusion

If you’ve made it this far hopefully you experienced a few chuckles or knowing smiles along the way. Perhaps you have someone in your life with the ingenuity (i.e., the aversion toward hard work) of my son or the willingness to pitch-in and help, albeit for a small fee, displayed by my daughter.

While lifting heavy stones isn’t a normal training prescription for a little girl, it's gratifying that her physical condition allowed her to shoulder the load, emerging with only slight muscular soreness and some minor skin abrasions.

She was also able to guilt her brother into paying her an additional ten bucks.

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