The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Road To Hell...

should be paved with the carcasses of bad monkeys. And I know plenty of candidates for the job. The phrase 'Bad Monkey' has taken on a life of it's own around our place these days. Replacing 'Ello Puppet (uttered in a really outrageous cockney accent) as the Phrase Du Jour. I live with some really weird people. Though I will admit it's pretty fucking funny to hear them, from down the hall, as one of them walks into the room and a round of 'Ello Puppet erupts between them all (including HIGHLANDER). But, I'm already digressing. I wanted to talk about 'Hell'.

For the uninitiated, 'Hell' is the pet name for my main construction project at the moment. As of 11:00 this morning, I had already made three trips to Hell (with the potential for one more before the day is out...though I'm crossing my fingers I can avoid it). Extremely bad prognosis for the day.

When I have to go to Hell, my goal is to get in and out of there as quickly as possible. Lingering often results in additional...incidents. People pop up with new problems or issues that they are sooooo glad to see you about. And it will almost always turn a ten minute trip into hours. Hours there and then hours more when you get back to the office and are continuing to work on it.

Today, hasn't been terrible, so far, but here's the haps in Hell today.

Trip #1 - 7:15AM

That's right, 7:15 AM. Most of them (the hell spawn) are still in their designer pj's stumbling to their espresso machine and not apt to bother me at that time of day. I can get in and out without nary a conversation. Early mornings are the target time to go to Hell.

I needed to pick up some keys that won't work. I emailed the resident who had the keys yesterday afternoon and told him I'd stop by and pick them up "first thing" this morning. He was to leave them on top of the mailboxes or in the electrical room. Now, I realize that "first thing" is a little vague, but I was hoping he'd realize (given our many previous conversations) that we start pretty early around here.

So, I check both the mailbox and the electrical room when I got there. Nothing. Great. Either he hasn't gotten to it (and I'll have to go back) or they've been stolen (which isn't dangerous, because the keys won't work, but is a pain in the ass because I'll have to go get more keys cut instead of taking the ones that won't work back to the hardware store to have them corrected).

But, I consider the mission at least a partial success, as I'm able to get away virtually unscathed. Even if it falls a little short of the intended goal.

Trip #2 - 8:00AM

The painter calls and says that he needs to get a second coat of paint on some doors they did yesterday and needs me to go back to Hell to unlock them. Great. Well, a second pass on picking up the keys is probably a good thing, huh?

So, I head back the 10 blocks between my office and Hell and run into Bill (Biff's replacement with Larry, Moe & Curly Construction). Bill and I had some words yesterday. He's new and hadn't seen my skates yet. I finally had to tell him to be a man and suck it up. In fact, that's pretty much exactly what I said. Anyway, I unlocked the doors for the painter, touched base with Bill and...before I could get away again...I got tagged by a resident.

"That paint on the doors doesn't match the other doors, you know."

This from the chief complainer in the building. Though how he could even tell at 8:00AM through his hungover bloodshot eyes, I don't know. But he was right. The color on the newly painted doors was a little darker. The original doors were painted over a year ago and have been exposed to sun, rain and wind. It does fade them.

"I'll double check with the painter to make sure he's got the right color, but I think it's just that the other doors are a little more weathered."

"Well, it don't match. I'm just saying it. And somebody needs to fix it."

Fine. Fucker. Guess who "somebody" is? So, now I've got to call the owner of the painting contracting company and it's one more thing on my list. So, I flee to my car and head back to the office.

Trip #3 - 9:20AM

Hey! This trip netted me the keys I tried to pick up earlier, so that was a good thing!! Not sure I'd consider 9:20AM first thing, in the business world sense of the word, but, hey, got the keys. I'm good with that.

Now, in addition to that, I was actually able to add an entirely new talent to my skill set today. I must update my resume as soon as finish posting this blog page. The painter called me to tell me he was finished and needed to leave, but that we could not close/lock the doors back up yet because of the wet paint on them. Soooooo, I needed to go down there and wait for the paint to get tacky enough that I could close them without messing up the paint job.

That's right, gang. I spent an hour and a half this morning watching paint dry. You've heard of it. But have you ever really done it? Oh, you're just not living! I sat in a chair and watched people walking outside. At one point a bird flew in the open door and exited out another door. Bill stopped in and traded war stories with me for a bit.

"So what's the worst job, besides this one, that you've worked on, SG?"

(Heh, like he'd EVER call me SG. He totally hates me. Whatever.)

And I say, "Well, we were building this school in eastern Kentucky about 14 years ago and I got a call one morning from a woman telling me that our superintendent was dead. And then she just hangs up. I go tell my boss and within about 30 minutes, the police call and tell us the same thing. Turns out it was the woman's husband that killed him, because he was mad when he found out that she was fooling around with our superintendent. They found his body in some wet cement. He was shot at the jobsite and fell dead into a concrete footer that had just been poured."

And he's like, "Hey, I was working in that same town, I remember that story! Once, I was working in Ohio and my whole crew got locked up one night for starting a fight with the police in a titty bar. They called me at 3AM to come get 'em out of jail. I fuckin' left 'em in there. I don't need that shit, you know?"

So, now he's thinking I'm cool and all and he says, "You got any scars, SG?", as he rolls up his sleeve and shows me a really cool zig zag scar on his upper arm.

I think a minute and say, "Sure!", and I pull down my pants and show him the new scar I got from my tubal about six inches below my belly button.

Okay, I didn't, I showed him the scar in my eyebrow over my right eye and then did that whole Richard Dreyfuss thing from JAWS, where I pointed to my chest and said "Rob Andrews...he broke my heart." Okay, I didn't do that last part either.

How come there's always so many funny things that you totally just let go by? Oh, yeah, it's because you're suppressing your inner-dweeb. I remember.

Anyway, we kind of bonded and if it wasn't 10:00 in the morning, he'd have probably grabbed us a couple beers. What he did do was ask me out to lunch. But I told him I wouldn't be there that long and that I had LOTS of work to do at the office.

So, he took off and I sat there watching the paint a little longer. My mind started to wander all over the place.

Trying to figure out how to appease both of my older daughters who have conflicting concerts coming up in a couple weeks. Both want me to attend THEIRS, but obviously I can't go to both.

Thinking about shop drawings I had to finish up in my office and hoping I could get back and get them finished quickly.

Thinking about picking the kids up early on Friday and trying to decide what we could all do together for a fun afternoon.

Wondering if that bird would come back again. Or another bird.

Trying to work through the disagreement Highlander and I had yesterday.

Reminding myself not to forget to call my landlord because the heat wasn't working in our apartment. It wasn't freezing, by any means, but not knowing how cold it would get tonight, I didn't want it to be a thing.

Writing blog posts in my head. This one (oh yeah, totally got to blog about watching paint dry...totally) and one for Flashback Friday tomorrow.

Wishing I had a book, or a laptop, or something to do besides sit and watch the paint dry.

About 11:00, I locked it all up and headed back to the office. I didn't really feel all that different. But, now, when someone says, "It's like watching paint dry.", I can totally chime in with "I know EXACTLY what that's like." and mean it. How many people can do THAT?

In all honesty, the thing I like best about my job is that it's always new. Everyday, something different happens. And joke though I might (you have to, or you'll go insane), it's interesting to learn something new everyday. Even if it's only how to get some weird thing done that you know you'll never have to do again. But that's okay. That's what construction is all about. And if you're looking for a straight 8 or can't deal with something blowing up, pretty much every day, you are never gonna cut it in this business.

But I am really hoping I don't have to go back to Hell again today.


Blogger Highlander said...

It's 'poppet', not 'puppet'. And the BABIES started it. I have no idea where they got it from. But I'm always in on saying stupid shit in an outrageous Cockney accent. ;)

4/27/2006 3:39 PM  
Blogger FindingHeart said...

I spent a whole year calling a few of my students 'pigeon'. I used my terrible cockney/south Texas accent, "Hello, pigeon." I think it's acutally healthy for them to sit there scared that there teacher is really losing it mentally. LOL! (They loved it.)

Sounds like you are good at what you do. However, I bet you would have gotten a free beer if he did see the tubal scar. Ha!

4/27/2006 7:18 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

H -

Okay, well, I'll admit it sounds like 'poppet' when you all belt it out, but I thought it was 'puppet' being cockneyed to death. My bad.

Sadly, the result of me posting about it has both 'Bad Monkey' and 'Ello Poppet' going on simultaneously. I shall never survive it.

FH -

I don't think I can even imagine cockney with a south Texas twist - LOL!

And...just for the record...even though my boyfriend is likely reading this...most of the guys on a construction site will buy you a beer even if you don't pull your pants down, first. But I drink beer so rarely, that's more theory than actual experience. Though, given twenty years hanging around construction sites, I still think I'm right on it.

4/28/2006 5:19 AM  
Blogger Julia said...

I think the 'Ello Poppet is from Pirates of the Caribean.

4/28/2006 8:40 AM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

That would actually make some sense, since my older girls dig Johnny Depp and that movie. I've never seen it, myself. And I'm okay with that, I think.

4/28/2006 9:05 AM  
Blogger AaA said...

PtcC was a fun movie.

'Elloo, Poppet!

4/30/2006 7:00 PM  
Blogger Highlander said...

PtcC? How in the name of God can this be contorted into anything like "Pirates of the Caribbean"?

5/01/2006 8:09 AM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

It's the Derby Pie withdrawal, H. Cut him some slack!!

BTW, Nate, there's 3/4 of one that I baked yesterday sitting on my kitchen counter. But you'd better hurry. The kids are home this week!!

5/01/2006 9:09 AM  
Blogger AaA said...

Retro Me, Satanis!!!

Foul temptress of Baked Goods!! I abjure thee!!

Back!! Back I say!!!

5/03/2006 11:38 PM  

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