Saturday, October 07, 2006


Well, this certainly isn't the way to keep anyone interested. A post every couple of months?

I do intend to update more frequently, but things have been a bit crazy for awhile, and I'm not sure when it'll change. I'm looking for help.

My biggest, best, indeed my favorite clients are renovating their home. It involves a great deal of trim work, doors, casings, architectural millwork, etc. - the kind of work I don't do very often, but it makes perfect sense for me to do it in this case. I've done all the other woodwork in the home, the clients are particularly special in that they really insist on the type of care I tend to take in my choices of material and finish, and by having me do the work, it will all blend together beautifully.
It's a big job, and I went ahead and lined up a few extra guys to help me through it, and warned my assistant that it was coming.
Well, those 'extra guys' all ended up with other commitments/priorities, and my assistant's life has become particularly complex, at just the wrong time. I love this guy - he's intelligent, he's good at things I hate to do, he's just a good man in general, and he works very well in times of peace. But, I'm discovering that he's more of a Peyton Manning/A-Rod type of talent - in the clutch, his life is just not set up to leap into action and do whatever it takes, like a Tom Brady or a Derek Jeter.

So, like many small business owners, I'm running around, shoring up holes, putting out fires, keeping things moving, and doing the work I thought I'd have three guys to do. For the most part, it's working - the work is coming, it looks fantastic, the renovation is moving and will look beautiful, I'm at least maintaining the quality control that can vanish in moments like this. But, I'm working 14 hours a day, I'm falling behind, the contractor is getting mighty antsy, and I'm exhausted, I'm shredded. My mind is mush, my feet are killing me, my back feels like a bag of broken glass. Plus I have three other jobs going and a backlog of work several months long - falling behind is a very dangerous and slippery slope.

I've got a handful of characters doing a day here and there, one guy on weekends, one guy after 6 two days a week, and I'm interviewing various others for hire. It'll be fine in the end, I expect to have found some help and settled it all out by the end of the month, but until then, I'm pretty much camped out at the shop late into the nights, groaning and babbling my way through.

The craziest part of it all? I still love to do this, and I've got to be honest - I guess I still get off on these moments, those pressure situations where it's 11PM, I've been moving since 7AM, I'm half blind and trying to split a pencil line on the bandsaw or lay down a nice coat of shellac, listening to Marvin Gaye's crooning. The only thing I'd wish for these days is the certainty that someone will be showing up in the morning to help.

Come by sometime - you can't miss me, I'm the guy in the tattered superhero cape, pretending he's 25 years old and can do the work of ten men.


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