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Wednesday, Dec. 05, 2001
Never underestimate the power of putting your car in the hands of an extremely competent, if somewhat overpaid mechanic. Al took the F250 under his wing over the weekend and spoke soothing words to my steed, stroked its’ nose and fed it the good oats. Then gave it new sneakers, legs and a high colonic. Which is to say tires, shocks and an oil change. Oh my, the balky mule has once again reached thoroughbred status.

My pal Fred has been helping us out during the post menopausal recovery period for corporate partner Stu. Normally a computer tech guy, Fred has been one of the downsized in this fall’s industry cutbacks. He doesn’t seem too concerned about being unemployed, but he likes to stay active and tagging along with me is the bright spot of his day. He’s also one of those jack of all trades guys who can adapt to any employment thing within hours.

I had him with me yesterday at the Church of the Holy Expansion job. We’re putting in a wood ceiling consisting of hundreds of pieces of oak plywood, set in a certain order and shape. At 45 feet in the air, it certainly looks impressive from the ground, but you really don’t want to go up there and look too close. Like a lot of things in construction, the illusion of beauty is only skin deep. Come to think of it, that goes for Hollywood actresses and romance novels, too.

Fred hopped on the scissor-lift and wafted toward the heavens to set the last of a series of panels, with me on the ground pulling off tool belt and preparing to leave. I’m sure Fred wanted to make a good impression as to his skills, because he was really getting into this gig. Warming to the task, as it were.

I picked up all the various accoutrements and tools and stowed them in the truck. I paced around and talked to the superintendent. I threw spitballs at the painter. Checked my watch. Walked back into the church to check on Fred. He was still up in the clouds wrestling with that panel.

Outfoxed: “Hey Fred. What the hell? Let’s go home!”
Fred: “It won’t fit, I tell ye! Damn cussed thing.”
Outfoxed: “It looks great from here………”

And it really did. From 45 feet, everything just sort of blends beautifully. Time was ticking away, and I had 45 minutes to make a 50 minute drive for a meeting. I looked anxiously up at Fred, a blur in the sky.

“Dammit Fred, grab that sonofabitch and ram it in the hole!”

A soft cough behind me alerted me to the fact that I was, after all, inside the Church of the Holy Expansion, and that I was not alone. The fact that it was the Reverend Dr. Mossybrooke doing the coughing confirmed that.

I’m gonna choke that Fred if he ever comes down off that lift.

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