Men At Work

As I type this, I am sitting in the Milwaukee airport getting set to fly out to San Diego for the annual ESRI Users Conference. Per the usual travel snafus, my flight is delayed for 2.5 hours so I am left to connect to my phone's wifi hotspot and write this post. There are worse problems in the world, and I am blessed to be promised that my connecting flights are still intact.

Walk and post set.
Part of me writes this because I've always wanted to say I'm writing from an airport. A jet setter from Wisconsin, I am.

There's Clowns under there!
Anyways, I spent the better part of the past 2 weeks rebuilding my front walk and steps. I should qualify it and say that my son and I assisted two of my friends in the rebuild. Claude and Steve are good friends who both have mad construction skills. In the past, I've helped Steve build his deck and put in a wood floor and I've helped Claude with building an ADA accessible ramp.

They are both great at big picture and equally skilled at the small details. Add to that that that they work like dogs until the job is to the "finish point" for the day. One might even say they are obsessed.

So when the prospect came up for my rebuild, they both offered to help. Between the three of us and my son Ben with his strong back, we decided we could get it done.

Three weeks ago, Ben helped me hack out the old sidewalk. It gave us a good taste of what prison life is probably like. Breaking rocks at San Quentin had nothing on us. Hot, heavy, hard work. I was proud of Ben who worked at it without complaint.

Nearly done!
Then, last weekend on consecutive days, my buddies helped frame out and then pour the new walk. When that was done, they set four posts in concrete. This required a manual post hole digger and and interesting array of short single syllable vocabulary words. Again, gut busting hard work on a hot day and these guys did it with nary a complaint.

Yesterday we were all at it again for eight hours. This time we focused on closing off the underside of the porch - rumor has it that there was everything from a clown costume to a skeleton under the porch - and stair construction. If you haven't ever done deck/stair construction lets just say there's a lot of  the following things going on:

  • Dropping of screws at inopportune times.
  • Magically disappearing tape measures.
  • Measure, remeasure, cut, refine, and fit.
  • Grabbing the drill with the wrong bit loaded. Repeatedly.
  • Magically disappearing hammers.
  • A few near misses with various power tools and select hand digits.
And so by, 5:30 we were as done as we'd put our minds to. Exhausted, dirty and fully satisfied with all that we had set out to do. I owe these guys, to which they reminded me that I've helped them out just the same. But still, I am incredibly blessed to have friends willing to give up two weekends to help out a guy who never could have done it alone. I learn from these guys every project, and with Ben watching over and taking part in his own ways, he learned a few things too. 

So to Claude, Steve and Ben, I say, THANK YOU. You guys killed it.

Blogging off...


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