Quality Can Be Expensive
I’m not sure that this construction is going to work out. I’m not sure that I don’t want to take my hammer and go home. Sometimes it feels like I am the only player on my team and maybe I should just forfeit. Don’t get me wrong, you can’t be the middle brother of five boys and not enjoy a little confrontation every once in a while.
I think I have written that my current employer is the grandson/son of my first employers. That statement is only partially true. What I have left out was that I worked summers during my high school years for my father’s concrete company. I’m not sure getting a check for work done and then giving it back for room and s a real job. OK, I didn’t give all of it back, but it was a better deal for my parents than it was for me. (I couldn’t get my kids to fall for that. I will keep trying.) While my friends were sleeping late and going to the lake, I was getting up at 6:00 AM to push wheel barrels of concrete all day.
I guess I did more things than that. I learned to drive tractors, dump trucks, eat lunch out that you pack yourself in paper bags and stuff like that. But, the most important thing I learned was the job needed to be perfect when we were finished.
My current employers father also believed the job needed to be perfect. That’s the school I came from.
Today’s tradesmen do not believe things need to be perfect. At least, not most of them.
Happily, I turned a new house over to new homeowners this past week. The homeowners had some concerns about the quality of the painting in their new home. Paint was left on the windows, paint dripped on the new wood floors, doors painted unevenly, things like that. I asked the painting contractor to come back and touch up the house.
Me: Hey Painter, (not his real name) I need you touch up the house for the Y____g’s. Painter: We did already, my son said it was perfect. Me: I think it is far from perfect. The doors look bad; there’s paint is on the wood floors. Painter: Oh! You want it perfect perfect!
I know, you think you just found an error in my typing. You are wrong. This guy evidently thinks there is a level above perfect called perfect perfect.
Me: Perfect perfect? Painter: Yeah, really good quality! Me: OK, I want it perfect perfect. Painter: Perfect perfect costs more money. Me: I’ll bet I know of about 100 painters that would be happy to touch up the house. I think it might be a good idea if you make the homeowners happy.
Employees of the same painting contractor (including the son) did a repaint of an occupied house that was finished before I was employed. I thought I might want to check on their progress.
I drove up on the house to find one painter asleep on the grass outside. The front door was wide open to the elements. A large painters tarp was rolled up and laying in the grass. I walked in the open door, to find the job was not complete. I could not find the contractor’s son. I went back outside and yelled, “Hey Sleeping Painter!” (OK, I used some of my best construction language, but you don’t need to know about that.) The tarp started to move. It seems the contractor’s son did not want to nap on the damp grass and the tarp kept the sun out of his eyes. Being the son of the boss has its privileges Not to my dad, but other people’s dads.
It’s Memorial Day weekend. I’m not sure I enjoy this weekend. I have too many people to think about and wish they were here. I hope you guys take the time to remember, the men and women that served this country with their lives. Thank the ones that came home alive.
I wonder if I could write this crap in another country.
Alex, we love you and miss you. The twins are great and more like you than I would have believed. Oh yeah, Girl Twin won all four running events at Field Day at school this year. Man, that girl can run. Boy Twin placed in everything and won the 440 yd race. He’s a dog soldier, like his dad. I hope you were watching.
Our crazy lives!