“When the tree fell in the woods and the lumberjack didn’t hear about it…. whatever.”
(My manager, making a fine point about project tracking near the end of a long meeting in a hot, poorly-ventilated conference room. )
I’m still here; just taking a break from posting. I should have said something; the silence worried my friend Forrest enough to call the house. He and I lost a mutual Internet friend once; and the Internet doesn’t send out death notices. You’re just left to wonder, with rising alarm, why your friend stopped answering email.
Anyway, I told Forrest what had distracted me: a video project. Video can be tedious and a lot of fun at the same time. At any rate, it eats afternoons in the blink of an eye.
I had considered studying TV production in college; probably would have made a living at it. But knowing me I’d have spent the 35 years that followed with my eyes glued to an editing console, occasionally wondering why I had no social life.
Word of my video activities pleased Forrest, who was happy to find me “puttering” on an intriguing project. But the “p” word didn’t go down well with me.
No, I told myself, you’re way too young to be “puttering.” But I looked in the mirror, and it disagreed.
So I have decided that puttering is not an age-based activity, and that the mirror lies. Such is the intellectual flexibility of twenty-first century man — or at least, this one.
Other operations are ongoing. After years of procrastination, we hired a contractor to put new siding on our home., and new windows The house is twenty-two years old. It has withstood time and the elements with some competence; but the original siding was little more than paper mache with attitude. Water had penetrated to the interior plyboard in spots; parts of the trim were rotting. And all the windows on the south wall were in bad shape.
None of the established contractors I called seemed to want the job. So I found an unestablished contractor: Dave.
Dave works so far beneath the radar that he lacks a web page, email or even a land line. But he is legit, and he built a house for my wife’s friend LaVa, who doesn’t suffer fools – or anything else – gladly. LaVa recommended Dave highly.
And Dave’s been great. He’s fine with my naive questions and is happy to explain things twice, or even three times. He told me how he would handle the job, answered my concerns, and is doing everything that we agreed on. Frankly, Dave is happy to do just about anything, whether we agreed on it or not; he’s on time-and-materials, not a fixed bid. Build a pyramid out back? Sure, why not?
I expected to hire a contractor, then sit back and let him do all the running-around. But it was not to be. You see, Dave is low-overhead. He doesn’t front the money for the materials and labor. He didn’t want to spend time pushing the building permit through the much-feared Santa Cruz Planning Department, which he’d never worked with.
So it’s my job to do all that. I set up an account at the lumber yard, which Dave can draw on for materials. I dealt with the planning department and got the permits. I arranged the inspections. And I handle payday: every Friday at noon I drive home, receive time cards from this week’s crew, including Dave, and write out the paychecks on the dining room table. And every day I come home and see how the work has progressed, and I sometimes have questions.
At least I know how much money I’m spending, and how much is left to spend. Dave promised a good deal, and the numbers say that he’s going to deliver it. Meanwhile my yard is home to a small, temporary industrial facility of scaffolds, power cords, workbenches, and lumber piles. There’s even a porta-john.
So I’ve had things on my mind lately. And, as my boss might say, the tree fell in the woods and you lumberjacks never heard it about so…
Anyway, more stuff in the near future. Take care, and thanks for checking back.