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Saturday, July 23, 2011

I can do more than paint....

So last Friday we had a little meeting about this week at work.  The make ready team (2 of use, Gale and I) was going to be pulled off the make ready rotation to help with work orders.  We'd gotten to around 90 to a 100 and we needed to get them knocked down.  The maintenance team kind of snickered.  We are make ready after all, not maintenance, so they didn't expect us to do too much.  I'm not a big fan of doing work orders, I'd rather be in an unoccupied apartment doing my painting and drywall, but hey, if you gotta do it, you gotta do it.

Well Monday came and at the end of the day Gale and I had accomplished 10 work orders apiece.  The maintenance team was stunned.  Our boss (our manager not the maintenance lead) then makes a comment to the lead of maintenance, "how is it that the make ready crew has run circles around your maintenance men?"  It was a foreboding of things to come.  Granted, I was working on some pretty simple problems, but they soon found that my skill set goes beyond painting and drywall.  Gale left for the next two days and I kept plugging away.  I had a couple of drywall work orders so that takes some time, but at the end of Friday Morning, when we were released to make readies,  I'd accomplished around 34 workorders on my own, Gale had done around 20, and again, the maintenance team was taken aback.  The lead maintenance was very appreciative, he kept telling us on Friday how thankful he was for our help, of course we've become pretty good friends as well, so that helps.  And I think maintenance found out we can be just as much a part of their team.  Make ready has typically been the step child of the apartment complex which is fine with us, we may be quiet, but hey we just played with the big boys and beat them.  No longer am I just the "painter" now!  I should say that I was given the offer a couple of weeks ago to move to maintenance, mostly because I'm on time every day and I am a quick learner (and until this week they didn't know I knew half the stuff  I did!)  I turned it down for two reasons.  First, I didn't want to go on call.  I like to work and then get off and go home to Ginger.  Work is not my life anymore.  It is necessary, for sure, but not my reason for existence.  And second, Ginger.  Because she is bipolar, it is important for me to be here on the weekends and even at night when I get home, for her.  There wouldn't have been a pay raise, though I'd have moved up prestige wise.  Don't need the attention though.  It just seems to me I had a choice of career advancement at the sacrifice of family time and that wasn't a sacrifice I was willing to make.  We have our happy, comfortable, simple life.  We have our little routines and there is alot of laughter and love at night.  The funny thing is, several years ago I'd of jumped on that opportunity because that is what "they" wanted.  I would have wanted to please my boss, or fellow employees, instead of asking myself what I wanted.  I love what I do.  So I gave myself permission to ask myself what I wanted first.  In the context of codependency you have to understand that this is huge.  I asked myself what was best, as a whole, for me and for Ginger and I.  It was a no brainer.  It's funny really.  I have people who tell me I can get a better paying job, or get a job closer, or blah blah blah.  Do you really want to be a painter, they say, I mean, you have a skill set that you can do this, or that, or this.  This is what I say:

I am where God wants me right now.  I love painting and drywalling and the job is new each week with new challenges and short term goals.  I'm not stuck in an office, I can move around, enjoy the air and outside.  I can go into a trashed apartment and when I walk out of it at the end of the week it looks transformed.  God is my provider, in the money department.  We make enough to pay our bills, save some, and play some.  Granted, we can't jet to Paris each week, but I don't need that.  Plus, as our savings builds you really think hard about spending it so I think God has been teaching us about being wise stewards.  And lastly, if I have to be a painter (until I become a well known artist and Ginger and I have a little shop of our own!) and yet with that comes this simple life having a loving, loyal wife, a faithful, providing God, and a supportive and loving family, well, I'll paint away!  After all, it is God who guides our steps and frankly, I don't want it any other way...


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Live, laugh, love

So has anyone noticed it is a little hot?  Okay, maybe like majorly hot.  Heat wave hot.  I know, we live in Texas, however, this is hot even for us.  I get asked all the time whether I worked in the heat today.  Well, yes, eventually I do have to venture out into it, but at least I work mostly in the AC (if the AC is working in the apartment), and I can always walk to the office and stand in the AC and cool off.  If the AC is not working in the apartment, the secret is getting it painted before 1 pm.  By then the humidity is jacked up enough to cause you to sweat profusely.  Of course my secret is plenty of water and gatorade.  Typically in a day it is not uncommon to go through a gallon of water and gatorade.  May seem like alot, but hey, I haven't had any problems this summer with the brutal heat, so I must be doing something right!  Plus, for some reason, I'm wired for the heat so to speak.  Don't get me wrong, I don't relish running around in 105 heat index heat, but I'm also smart enough not to run around the apartment complex like a mad man at 3pm either. 

I've made a new friend in the past week.  Actually it started off innocently enough last Sunday when I noticed my neighbor was painting some shelves when I got back from my leadership meeting.  I walked into the apartment and told Ginger I was going to go down and see if he needed any help.  Kissed my lovely wife and proceeded down.  Usually one of two things happens, they either want help or they want to do it themselves, especially if you don't know them.  Well, I walked down, we knew each other already by seeing each other in the morning, and told him hey, I paint for a living, need some help with that?  With an enthusiastic yes, and I do mean enthusiastic, he took me up on my offer.  So I went and got my brush (yes, I'm one of those painters that has certain tools that I use, you get comfortable, you know how they work) and we proceeded to get those shelves painted!  It was a perfect opportunity for us to begin talking as well.  Of course Ginger had already talked with him and his wife earlier, so they already had a little 411 on me already.  We both love God, which came out rather quickly, and we are both, well, artsy.  His artsy is more visible than my artsy but it also gave us more to talk about, and I was able to share a snap shot of my life and he his.  My artwork has taken me into the world of tattoo's so he asked if I was ever going to get one.  Never say never, but I've always said I'd only get one if I designed it myself, and I haven't been in that scene in a while.  (Mom is rejoicing!)   I'm pretty open now with my testimony, chalk it up to giving a mini testimony every week, so he definitely got to hear how God has moved in my life.   I had to go upstairs for something and I told Ginger I was having fun and Ginger asks, "How did he meet his wife?"  Um, I don't know.  Thought never crossed my mind to ask.  I know what kind of books he likes, art he likes, you know guy stuff.  So I had a mission now.  I went back down and told him, hey my wife wants to know how you and your wife met?  He laughed and said his wife was the same way.  He'd meet someone and not ask all the detail questions that wives apparently want to know.  We got a big chuckle out of this.  Wives want the details especially relationship wise.   It's okay, Ginger tells me all the time she's happy I'm a boy.  Heck, I'm glad I'm a boy and she's a girl, or there are some serious matters to discuss!  I digress, as usual.  We got the job done and from what I hear the shelves are looking good.  It was nice to be able to help someone out and get to know the neighbors. 

Tonight is Ginger and I's date night.  We do this weekly and for us it is an important and relaxing time to just spend with each other and have some fun.  Tonight we are going to see some of our best friends Amanda and Brandon and little Chloe!!!!  She is a doll.  It's going to be fun to spend time with our close friends and just laugh.  Brandon and I talking about Amanda and Ginger and vice versa!  All of this while being in the same room and carrying on our own conversations!  It's a sight!  Until we stop talking to listen to the girls!  Of course, tonight will be all about little Chloe and how things are going.  Fun times! 

Ginger and I are doing wonderful and more in love than ever.  Ginger has been working out alot and eating healthy and the results are showing.  I'm very proud of her.  I can't believe how beautiful a wife I have, both inside and out.  I am truly blessed and thankful that I have such a gorgeous, beautiful, loyal, God loving wife.  So there ya have it, life continues to happen on this roller coaster of my life and I am holding my hands in the air, screaming like a banshee, and having the time of my life.


P.S. I have gotten sooooooooooooo many comments on my short hair!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A week in the life of a painter

So work this week was like riding the pipeline down a monster wave, the waves just inches away from wiping you completely out.  Maybe I exaggerate a little, but hey, I love how that sentence sounds.  Work this week was a ride, a hot ride at that.  It didn't start out that way, the waves were small, and it looked like it would be just any normal week.  We only had 4 make ready's to do for the week, so nothing seemed out of the ordinary.  Had some drywall issues in the first apartment so I began with that.  Took the day to finish it, and paint it and off to apartment number two.  It is amazing what state people leave apartments in.  In this particular one I had to do what we call a trash out.  All the trash left behind (including furniture) has to be removed before I can begin the paint process.  So a couple of hours later (you read that right) I was off to painting.  I was still on schedule and on Tuesday things were looking well.

Then Wednesday hit.  And the waves were monsters.  I got in on Wednesday and apartment number 3 needed to be done (trash out, paint, make ready, clean, and carpet clean) by Friday morning.  Apartment number one needed to be carpet cleaned by 4 on Thursday.  So let's do the math as I walked into apartment number 3 and saw the trash out that needed to be done.  A couch, a love seat, a big screen TV, a matress, a head board and a bag of trash.  Add to this trash out that I had to get two, two bedroom apartments painted, two carpet cleanings done and had to help get a air conditioner on the roof (more on that process in a minute) and I was feeling the pressure.  Time management is key because there is no overtime.  So I had 16 hours to complete the tasks above.  I never look at it and say it can't be done, I look at it and say how can I accomplish this.  So here is a time line of sorts of how the next two days went:

8:30 to 9:  Pick up grounds (trash around apartments)
9 to 10:30 Remove all the furniture in apartment 3 (by myself I might add.  Removing couches are actually pretty easy one man if they are not sleepers, this wasn't and the TV rolled, so that made it simpler)
10:30 to 11:  Move my paint supplies from Apartment 2 to Apartment 3 and set up.
11 to 1:  Paint like a mad man.  By 1 I had the kitchen, bath, hallway with closets and one bedroom done.  No small feat, but there are tricks to the trade, and I was pulling many things out of my toolbox.....
1 to 2 is lunch, and I needed it!  Turkey Sandwich and Chips!
2 to 2:30 help with getting an air conditioner on the roof (again, more on that in a minute)
2:30 to 4 finish painting apartment (next bedroom, dining room and living room)
4 to 5 carpet clean apartment number 1
5 to 5:30 clean up

By Wednesday night I'd accomplished half of what I needed.  You can imagine that by now I am sore.  You learn to push your body, ignore aches and pains, and push through to accomplish what you need.

On Thursday, the waves were still big, and then I get into apartment 4 and I have a two bedroom, two bath.  Okay Lord, I said, gotta have your help.  Here is the timeline:

8:30 to 9 pick up grounds.
9-1 paint the apartment.  Living room, dining room, kitchen, hallway, bath #1, bedroom #1.  At this particular time I employed my MP3 player.  I knew I would need it.  It's a blend of Christian and Secular Rock and Dance, it has all upbeat, bass type songs to keep me alert and dancing and painting at the same time.  Oh yeah, I dance in the apartment.  Guitar solos, drum beating, singing into the paint pole like a microphone, it'd make a great youtube video.
1-2 lunch!!!!!  Turkey and Chips again!
2-3 finish bedroom 2 and bathroom 2.  Thank goodness it wasn't an absolute wreck and the trash out was already done!
3-5 carpet clean apartment 2 and apartment 3 and set up machine in apartment 4.
5-5:30 clean up.

So by Thursday night the goal was accomplished with an added carpet clean.  God had provided the necessary strength and endurance.  I was wiped out, literally, but I was looking good.  I try to have all my painting done by Thurday so I can get a jump on the next week if needed and Friday is carpet clean day anyway, but I had 3 out of the way.

Friday looked to be an easy day before the coming 3 day weekend.  Haha.  I did my carpet clean then I had to help get an AC up on the roof again.  You waited patiently for this process, now here it is:

We set up two ladders side by side (we are talking two stories here, we have flat roofs).  We disconnect an old AC and rope it on all sides.  Then with one person up top lowering it with the ropes (the muscle) two people on ladders guide it down (one hand on ladder, one hand on AC).  If you are scared of heights, this is not the place you want to be.  The process taking it up is the same, though usually we are chasing the AC up because the muscle is pulling this thing up fast! 

Well, Friday one of our guys was out.  The new guy was a little shaky on the ladder so it was decided (yes, I had input) that we would try this process two man.  I'm the second strongest guy on the team (what does THAT tell you!).  Well, in a 105 heat index, we set out on our mission.  Getting it down was not a problem, the muscle had a good handle and I used my head and hand to guide.  No shaky ladders, no near disaster, everything went as smooth as it could.

Then we had to bring it up.  This, for the guy on the ladder, is the easiest.  Usually you are just chasing an AC up, nothing heavy about it.  We began getting it up and about halfway it started getting hung on the corner by the rungs.  Placement of the knot on the rope gave it a tendency to pull the bottom up.  So I'd have to, one handed, manuever it to get it to go again.  So instead of gliding, it was one rung at a time.  Heat was not our friend.  About three rungs up we were running out of gas.  I put my arm out to rest the AC from my shoulder to my arm (holding onto the second ladders outer part) and the muscle used his feet to hold the rope to rest his arms.  We were exhausted.  Finally he asked, can you climb up?  Three rungs, yes, so I straddled the roof, grabbed the knot with the muscle and pulled, only to find the AC hung on another rung.  We manuevered the AC, both of us let out a rebel yell and the thing came flying up with the last bit of strength we could muster (thank goodness for adreneline!)  Resting it up at the top, we both let go of the rope and in a rare moment of unabashed honesty I did, quite honestly, let out a few choice words.  Hey, I'm not afraid to admit that there are moments when shoot just doesn't cut it!  We left the AC there, got down and had some water.  I don't think we'll be trying this adventure again!  We are developing a winch to refine this process now.

From Wednesday to Thursday I had pushed my body.  This little episode pushed me that much further.  I was spent.  The muscle and I have the same work ethic, so we both push, and both of us looked at each other like, wow, we just did this.  We both looked like we'd just went 15 rounds, but hey, that frickin AC was up there!  We got back on the roof and carried it over to where it needed to be.  For the rest of the day I had a dry wall patch to fix and put up my paint supplies.  Easy work though I was in and out in the heat.  By 5:30 I was spent and I could feel on the way home the tiredness of the week, the soreness, the aches.  But the jobs that needed to be done were done.

Ginger was proud of me because I got home and took a shower and we went out with her mom, dad, sister, and the 3 kids.  I stayed on the whole night (what this means is that I don't shut down mentally.  I don't act tired, I engage with everyone in conversation, basically don't act like a zombie).  I played with the kids (Rebecca kept saying she was stronger than uncle Paul because she was keeping me from leaning into her hands locked together-everyone looked with mild amusement at those words, and Ginger had a smile that said, if you only knew how strong MY man was....).  We got home and I collapsed on the bed.  By 10 I was out. 

The good news is I woke up at 8, 10 hours of sleep has an amazing affect to heal your body, and I'm not feeling too bad.  Still sore, but I'm not cramping in my muscles because I drank lots and lots of water!  There you go, a day in the life of a painter.  The best thing was I got a call from the muscle.  Encouraging words, and admiration that someone gave just as much as he did.  From that to being with my wife who just looked lovingly at her husband with admiration, well, I'm pretty much the most blessed man alive at the moment.  And the kiss when I got home from work, well, I live for that kiss....


I got some new bandana's!!!!  White, black, and gray camo one and a red to orange to yellow one!  Hey it's the simple things!!!!  Haven't really been wearing bandana's lately, my Longhorn Hat is my head gear of choice right now but you can guess....I'm wearing one now.....