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Wednesday, Jul. 06, 2005
The Good

I took Ally’s beloved Expedition to the repair shop yesterday for the work it has been needing for a long time. My buddy fixed a laundry list of stuff, some of which seemed like a pretty big deal to me, in 6 hours and charged me about a third of what I was expecting. He loves Ally dearly, would want to marry her in an instant should I drop dead tomorrow. And I’d probably approve the whole deal, too. Good mechanics are hard to find.

I toodled up to the state capital yesterday morning, a pleasant little 90 minute ride, to buy half a truck load of very state-of-artish power tools. I am currently awash in the sort of euphoria one can only achieve if one is a man, sitting in a garage with containers full of stuff that promise 10 minutes worth of time savings on a 4 day project and chuckling over arcane owners manuals. When I speak of accessorizing it has nothing to do with home décor and everything to do with a plunge router that will take me, like, 5 years to figure out. God those Germans can build a tool!

Upon picking Ally up at her office at 5 pm (to, you know, go pick up her repaired car) she introduced me to a new coworker by saying, with feeling, “Here’s my Man!” Always nice to be somebody’s ‘My’ anything, isn’t it.

Skipping right over the Bad, we come to:

The Ugly

In betwixt times, I stopped in at the Watering Hole for a peek at their beverage selection, a process which generally averages out at 4.2 seconds, and had a chat with one of the regulars. “Gee, I wonder how Stu is doing today?”, was her opener.

“I have no idea, tell you the truth. Was just thinking about calling him.”

“I mean, this was his first day and all . . .” and she let it kinda linger there, waiting for a response.

Now, to backtrack. Corporate partner Stu has hinted for some time about our languishing work schedule and resultant funding issues. Past entry’s have detailed the whys and wherefores, the stress. The road that led Ally and I, ultimately, to sell our house before we lost it altogether.

Part of the more recent events have brought another contractor into play, a big player here locally who made noise about hiring the both of us as either regular employees or full time subcontractors. The point guy for this firm happens to be an old friend of Stu’s. There’s been a lot of stalling and hemming around the deal on his part, and I know the gist of it. He wanted Stu as a superintendent, and was making noise to me about a management gig, but I knew. It was more a matter of getting Stu onboard and a whole lot less of settling me into some desk job.

In typical Stu fashion, he made a fair amount of noise over “Sittin’ down with the man and hashing this whole thing out over a few beers.” Which was fine by me, I was more than willing to hear the pitch, even though I already had a feeling what the results were going to be. For weeks now I’ve been asking when the meeting was going to happen. Not bidding work in anticipation of it, which of course led to ever more funding issues.

So last Thursday I walk unannounced into the Hole and find the meeting already in progress.

Beer has a funny way of amplifying things. I’ve often marveled over how I can sit dead sober at a bar, with a full-on jukebox and 50 people in war cry, and hear every word of a conversation between two patrons across the way who’ve been imbibing for the better part of two hours. Thursday was such a time. What I heard put to rest any lingering doubts about the future of the Outfoxed crew.

Funny, from that point until now Stu has yet to give me any formal announcement that he’s gainfully employed for someone else. We’ve seen each other several times since then. Had a beer together. I keep waiting for the news that I already know to be true. Then I walk into the Hole yesterday and find a regular who knows all about it, and is baiting me in a nice way to find out more. And in typical bar fashion, if one regular knows about it, the entire Eastern Seaboard knows.

I’m on my own, and that part isn’t going under the Ugly heading. It does simplify things. The coming fallout, or course, isn’t simple at all. From an overall perspective, I’m not hating anybody over this. Stu’s a grown man who can make his own decisions. We’ve had a helluva run over the past 9 years, which is an eternity for a small subcontractor business. Made a lot of money, had some very good times doing it. Made at least one fatal decision business-wise that has haunted us for the past 2 years or more.

I’ll look at it a little wistfully sometimes, that 9 years.

Then I’ll probably drop a joist on my foot and really have something to cuss at.

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