Seven layers, and still cold

Friday, February 6, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 1:44 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Three pairs of socks, long underwear, sweatshirts, flannel, coveralls, boots, knit hats and multiple pairs of gloves: Those guys who work construction sure know how to dress.

As this week’s temperatures remain below February’s mean — 33.7 degrees, according to the National Weather Service — those who work outdoors have to pile it on to stay warm.

“I have five or six layers on, and I’m still freezing,” Gary Grindstaff said. Grindstaff was working as a subcontractor for Coil Construction to build a strip mall at West Broadway and Broadfield Drive, on Columbia’s west side.

His coworkers, Greg Wade and Donny Smith, boasted seven layers each.

“All these layers really restrict your movement,” Wade said as he pulled on a second pair of gloves before leaving the toasty trailer where he and the other workers warm up.

Outside the trailer, project manager Randy Dennison of Coil zipped up his coveralls and secured a safety harness before heading to the roof. A coworker — already up there — asked Dennison, with a smirk, whether he had his “pantyhose” on.

“Yes, I’ve got my pantyhose,” Dennison shouted back, flashing his long underwear buried under three layers.

Across town, at the construction site of MU’s basketball arena, Gary and Bill Greer of Salem Glass in Edgar Springs took measurements for an all-glass entryway.

The brothers were not as well prepared for the chill — the three layers they each sported were not enough. “We’re from down south,” Gary Greer said. “It seemed a heck of a lot warmer down there this morning.”

Nearby, BSC steel worker Bill Groh searched the construction site’s food cart for a breakfast to warm him up.

“You never get used to the cold,” Groh said, cheeks chapped from the wind. “You’ve just got to put on your gloves and go.”

But he tried to put a cheerful spin on the cold.

“It keeps me from aging,” said Groh, whose 52-year-old face was absent of wrinkles. “It’s like the frozen cavemen that are uncovered looking the same as the day they died.”

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