The Cross House
It’s fun working with Justin. He has a feature which is rare in a contractor but hugely appreciated by me: Almost nothing fazes him. Over the years I have worked with many contractors and plumbers and electricians, etc., and a common dynamic is an unwillingness to take on…the unexpected. But with Justin? Kinda no matter what I throw at him his default response is: OK. Sure!
Justin has been busy of late and it has been difficult luring him back to the Cross House. Today though, after much begging by me, he said he could give me a day. Whoee!
I had three priorities:
- Clean up the backyard. I think maintaining a clean yard during a long-term renovation project is essential in keeping the neighbors happy. So, no toilets sitting around in the backyard for years, no mounds of trash, no cement mixers gathering rust, and so on. Keep it tidy! But…but…late last year my backyard suddenly accumulated several piles of lumber (neat piles!) and another pile of metal (also a neat!), and, ah, other stuff. This was fine for awhile but as the weeks turned into months and then more months my alarm level rose and rose and rose. But today, Justin, with a smile on his face, and sweat dripping down his brow, worked in tandem with me to clean the place up! VICTORY!
- Take down the Christmas lights! It is quite shocking to report that in May, yes, May, the 3-story Christmas tree of lights was still hanging from the tower. I know! Today though, I arrived at the house at 10AM and was astounded to see the lights gone! I knew Justin would be alone, so how was this possible? He wasn’t around to ask, as he was, I surmised, making a dump run (as the backyard was already tidier). My assumption proved correct. Upon his return I asked: HOW did you get the lights down alone? (In order for the very long strings of lights to not tangle, it requires one person at the top of the tower, and another person at ground level.) Justin casually replied that he came up with a new method, which worked perfectly. After listening to the how of such an accomplishment, I was silenced by awe and respect. And I also knew: THIS was a man I would treat to lunch!
- Erect the scaffolding. Again, Justin with smiling willingness worked with me to build the scaffolding tower. We were both mostly in direct sun and sweating profusely. But we also told stories, made jokes, and, well, had a kinda fun time even though the work was hard and (for me) kinda terrifying (heights don’t faze Justin in the least. I suspect he was a dirigible in a previous incarnation). It only took a few hours but around 2PM the tower was finished and stiff and SO not wobbly (I require scaffolding towers to feel solid solid solid). Justin and I stood at the tippy top, soaking wet, and just smiled. We. Had. Done It.
In sum, today was a ton of hard, sweaty work.
But a lot got done.
And by working with Justin, the work was, as usual, more fun than one might reasonably expect.