He’s only 23 years old. And in a mere 16 hours over the weekend, he re-built my back deck. A 16′ x 12′, warped and sagging wooden structure is now safe, structurally sound, and renewed. Ready for finishing.
BJ, who is married to my 36 year old niece, DQ (of the “Redneck Wedding” and “Fourth and Park“) offered to work on my house as i prepare to vacate*. Since he’s a carpenter and jack of all trades, and i’ve got way more projects than time or skill, i thought it prudent to hire him…
Arriving on Saturday afternoon, he spent an hour measuring, and “cypherin’ “, writing his supply list with extreme concentration and diligence. We hopped in his 3/4 ton pick up truck, and went to the lumber yard. Inspecting every single board for “straightness”, we loaded a cart and were headed back home an hour later. My contribution? Helping load the big wood, carrying buckets of bolts, and swiping my charge card through the reader.
Other than helping unload the truck, providing an endless supply of soda and a boom box for the requisite country music soundtrack, i went back to excavating the contents of my house. He worked into the night, flood lights preventing pneumatic tool disaster and a guest appearance on “Appalachian Emergency Room“.
After 11:00 pm, he moved inside, grabbed a plate full of barbecue and a drink** and started working on installation of new faucets, while i continued to wade through mountains of junk and paperwork.
He was tucked in on my downstairs sofa by 1:00 AM, and asked for an 8:30 AM wake up call. Morning rolled around, and i sent Mr. Pickles down to rouse him***. After preparing a big lumberjack breakfast, we scooted off to the hardware store for more supplies – again, i just pushed the cart and cut the check.
Another day of carpentry. He even pushed The Boy into service – having him dig a couple of post holes to reinforce the deck. Not so much that he needed the help, i think he was looking for male company. At nearly 20 years old, The Boy is almost the same age. When i walked outside, and found them smoking, talking about hunting Caribou or some other manly gun-related thing, while listening to the Dixie Chicks on the boom box and sweating the perspiration of productive work, my heart damn near overflowed…
By Sunday night, 10 pm, the major carpentry was done. i did a little finishing work tonight, and BJ will be coming back Tuesday night to do more. From there? It just needs paint.**** This was not a slapdash patch repair, but excellent craftsmanship. Single-handed. Next week he’ll tackle bathroom refinishing, and other odds and ends.
i have always admired those having useful skills. i also admire those with a solid work ethic. BJ is all that. Maybe not the brightest guy around, and he needs Ritalin to manage his ADHD, but he’s been working construction jobs since he was 14 years old. He loves to play with his dune buggy, build demolition derby cars, go hunting and fishing and fart around with his friends.
He’s a good man. Last week, he repaired a broken sewer line for Mom. Renting a “ditch witch”, he dug out the lines, mucked through piles of raw sewage, and repaired her lines at about 1/3 of the cost quoted by plumbing contractors. He did this over three evenings, after working 8 hour days on his construction job. He is trying very hard to be the “breadwinner” for his family, so his wife can stay home with the baby.
i’ve always liked “working men”, and have generally found that it’s best not to think less of them because they don’t have college edumacashuns, wear suits, drive Lexi, visit museums or drink imported beer. At the moment, i’m not sure where i’d be if BJ hadn’t made himself available for rent. There are advantages to supporting your local Trailer Park…
Back to it…
* Tentatively scheduled to close the sale on the new place on the 19th of August. Moving day is the 25th of August. Open for visitation by potential tenants? 26 August. Did i say “yikes”?
** i may have a new favorite drink. Cherry 7-up and Windsor Canadian whiskey. Holy crap, who knew? It’s tasty! I’m going to try to make up a bucket to freeze, and turn them into cherry slushies! Right along the lines of another redneck favorite of mine: Diet Sunkist Orange with Coconut Rum…. Did i mention that i’m a total redneck?
*** The dog knows this job well – and has the “cold-nose to the butt-crack” maneuver down to a science.
**** A tasking which shall go to The Boy while he mucks around this week, waiting for his car to be repaired!