Friday, August 6, 2010

Different Ways of Getting the Job Done

In March, after needing one desperately for 3-4 years, we got a new roof.

For the bargain price of $6000 a nice man and his crew of migrant workers descended on our house one morning.

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I know that replacing a roof is something that you can do yourself, but our roof is just too high in the high places and too steep in the low places and so I just couldn’t let my boys up there.

The roofers worked steadily all thoughout the day.

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And at the end of the day we had a new roof, and all the mess was gone.

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(I told Russ that perhaps we should have given birth to a crew of migrant workers rather than to babies…)


This afternoon at 4:30 I gave Jason permission to stop painting and start cleaning up, even though only half of the house got a second coat of paint.

At the beginning of the summer it seemed like the perfect answer; Jason needed a way to earn more money, we needed the house painted but didn’t have the money to pay to have it done.  (Now there’s an understatement!)

It seemed like a win/win.

I am often an optimist, overestimating capability and underestimating job difficulty.

That combined with an overwhelmed and sometimes under-motivated worker left me saying more than once that next time we had better have the money to hire someone to paint the house.

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I ended up spending all of today helping with the painting, hoping against hope that we could get a second coat on all of it.  I was surprised to find that I didn’t actually mind helping, even though I had some other things that really needed to be done.

I spent a lot of time stabilizing the bottom of the ladder, thinking about what a learning experience this has been for all of us, but mostly for Jason.

Jason had experience during the school year working at a fast food place; now he has also had experience working hard physically.  Before he always had a boss to give him a schedule, this time he had to schedule his own time. 

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I loved seeing Russ come to the rescue this week when there was far too much left to do for the amount of time available.  He worked from home for the first 3 days of the week, getting up at 6am so that he could both work and help Jason move the big ladder around the house.  He had to go in to work yesterday and today, but not before getting up at 6am to work for 2 1/2 hours with Jason first, to get him through the hardest parts.  Russ has worked hard this week, and he deserves a little R&R.

I loved seeing the little kids help out when they could, and pick up the slack with chores in the house because everyone else was painting.

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Today I loved seeing my big boys work together in relative harmony—a big step for them.  I loved hearing Josh tell Jason his plan for taming the squirrels in the back yard.  (Which is a nicer plan than my plan to kill them all if they don’t stop gobbling down my bird food!)

I loved working with each of them at different times.  I like to think they looked at me differently when they saw that I was capable of working side by side with them at a hard and sweaty job.

I think that Josh will never forget that I was willing to climb the ladder all the way up to this window and put the tape & paper on it.

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I loved seeing Josh randomly go and get a hedge trimmer and start trimming the azalea bushes while he was waiting to help Jason again.  And I hope he isn’t too sunburned tomorrow!

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I’m sure that at some point when we finish up the spraying or (more likely) when we’re painting all of the trim that I had thought Jason would finish, I’ll be thinking again that next time we will pay a professional to do this job.

But this time I think there are reasons to be grateful that we didn’t.


  1. And don't forget the gourmet breakfast Russ cooked on Wed., for which i was VERY grateful at three in the afternoon, speeding down 85, not daring to stop for fear we wouldn't make it in time to meet our unloaders. I think that breakfast got me through till 9 or 10 at night when I finally had some pizza! In the end, both Eric and I decided that if we have any say, we are NEVER EVER EVER moving ourselves again. EVER. So I say bring on the professionals! Miss you guys...

  2. Kudos to you for trying things both ways and seeing the benefits of both. Kudos to your kids for stepping up to the challenge!