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Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2006
Had a little onsite meeting this morning with a lad who’s into his first real estate investment. As in, “I already got a nice house but I bought this here one ‘cause it was a steal and I can re-sell it easy, then come to find out it needed more updating than I thought, and now I’m runnin’ outta gas renovating it, so could you come?”

He leads me into a family room where he has already put up new sheetrock and primed the walls. “All I need you to do is put crown mould up in this room, and trim out that window over there. Can you do it? How much?”

It’s 6 pieces of crown mould. Maybe another 6 pieces of window casing. Oh yeah. I can do it. Take me longer to drag the tools out of the truck than to actually do it.

“Sure. And since you’re a buddy (and he is, one of the legion of casuals I have who clank elbows and longnecks at the Watering Hole) it’ll be a hunski.”

“A hundred? That all? Shucks I’d have to pay ye more than that, Outfoxed.”

“Trust me, you won’t want to when I’m up outta here in two hours. I ain’t gonna rob ye. Hardest part of this gig for me is staying awake long enough to do it.”

His eyes got big. “Two hours? Hell I was on the internet for two hours last night tryin’ to figger out how to do it myself! That crown mould, cut it upside down? Backwards? Shoot, I had to turn off the computer afore I hurt myself thinking about it.”

You really do cut it upside down, and backwards. The internet had it right on that part.

But I’ve been cutting crown mould since long before there was such a thing as the internet. Charging somebody 50 clams an hour to do what I can sleepwalk through seems harsh, I guess, and the window casing doesn’t exactly add anything to the challenge. But after all, I do have to schlep several heavy tools out there, and buttress a mighty tool belt around myself, and pay for a myriad of little things that go on behind the scenes to make all this possible.

Hell, if I didn’t like the guy it’d be $200, easy.

But I always like the sweetness of the words he said next, nearly babbling in his haste.

“I’ll be here at 8 tomorrow with $150 cash in hand, okay?”

Oh yes. That’ll be quite okay. See you at eight.

I love my job. This stuff happens all the time.

And then he wants me to build a deck off the back of the house. Yawn.

I saw this yesterday in the midst of all of my hyper-browsing for the perfect boat plan to build over the winter. Maybe as a warm up, I could knock out one of these for Maggie. And, you know, my first grandchild who‘s due this July.

Next it’ll be making alphabet blocks and toy trains out of wood. I’ll never get Ally into a little house of our own at this rate. I get distracted too easily by fun things.

God I’m getting old. This is the kind of stuff that kindly grandfathers do in their retirement, out in the backyard shop wearing flannels and smoking a briar pipe. Listening to talk radio and feeding the birds.

I better go take a nap before all this activity wears me out.

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