This episode gets poetic, then it gets funny, and then it’s all over. Thanks for listening everybody. I know that you were entertained, and I hope that you have gained insight into life in the trades. I suppose that is why I took the time to write this book / podcast … but I’ll never be sure. Peace Out.
Suddenly I saw blood spurting over the table saw, and then I felt the pain. Everybody at the hospital kept saying, ‘a man your age’. My best before date had arrived.
Now that I had a great crew, I had to keep them working, or they would leave me. But with this particular client, keeping us together at all costs was too expensive. I ignored the warning voices in my head, and now it was either get gone, or get sued.
A big ground floor addition. My first time running the whole show. My excellent crew were decades younger than me, and on this fast paced build, it became clear to me that my age had become a liability.
Another second storey addition with Stan. Only floods this time … and cops. Nothing we couldn’t handle. Except for the dirty talking women.
Dealing with the impossible demands of millennials forced me into unnecessary confrontation, and made me rethink my attitude towards this new group of inexperienced homeowners.
I was taking on bigger jobs so the time has come to find a crew of my own. Trial and error, hiring and firing the most astonishing collection of characters … and getting nowhere fast.
I worked with Stan on a second storey addition right out of the old testament – flood, fire, swarming bees, betrayal, rivalry, rage, death defying accidents. Nothing went right on this one.
My learning curve was curving nicely, and I took on clients of my own. Some were easy, some were high maintenance, and at Christmas time – they were frantic.
Stan teamed me up to frame a house with Ken, an illiterate genius carpenter with serious anger management issues. The work was high up and dangerous, and we were not prepared for the heat wave and the heat stroke that drove us off the roof.
My mentor, Stan, hired me to work with him gutting a three storey house and putting it back together again. He told me about his alcoholic parents, and I told him about being abandoned at birth.
I got my first real job as a construction worker, joining a real construction crew building a recording studio complex. New tools, new people, and a new sense of belonging.
My skills and my tool collection grew until I was known in the neighbourhood as ‘handy’. When the neighbourhood crazy lady offered to pay me to build her a fence, I jumped at the chance. Of course I should have known better … she didn’t pay me. Down the rabbit hole and into Small Claims Court!
My first attempt at home reno was when I decided to install a bathtub all by myself. I had no tools and less experience, just an inexplicable drive to do the work myself. The installation was a disaster, but I learned a lot about plumbing – and about myself.