Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ode to the Site Guy

Yesterday, I made a site visit to a remodeling project I'm working on. It struck me how carpenters, electricians, plumbers, cabinetmakers and other craftspersons get little appreciation and a lot of grief from clients and architects. We all have nightmare stories about construction site incompetence. My favorite concerns the heating system installer who, after two years of fiddling with the furnace and not getting it to work properly told the client, "This is caused by your karma. You need to do a past life regression." For the most part, however, on site guys and women do a great job that often serves people for generations.

While you are sitting in your well-lit, temperature-controlled work space, the On Site Guy is standing in mud and cold wind wrestling to get foundation form boards into precise alignment. He's lifting a heavy ridge beam toward the burning sun, fitting a sewer drain in some dank, spider-filled crawl space... He's rebuilding a cabinet for the third time because the client changed her mind. He's standing in the living room watching his profit being eaten up by an architect and interior design debating the difference between three shades of white. 

In the end (most of the time), the building stands. The roof sheds rain. The windows open and close. The toilet flushes and the lights switch on. Things work so well most of the time that we have more faith in the kitchen faucet than we do in God and gold. Every time we move open the faucet lever we have complete faith that water will pour out. Can you say that about your idea of the divine or your money?

So when you open and close your front door today, plug in you mobile phone charger, pull milk from your refrigerator, hand pant in you closet... appreciate the anonymous people who installed them, checked that they work, and made your day a little bit better.

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