by Nancy Ranchel
I often speak about the guys – the guys who work on my house – those wonderful guys responsible for bringing my ideas to life. As I have no hand-eye coordination and no useful abilities of my own, I rely on these guys. And Arciform guys do not disappoint.
Which isn’t to say they are normal or regular or something you’d see on a network sitcom about construction guys. No, in real life, these guys are as weird as snot. Since weird is right up my alley, I make good use of having them in and around my house. It’s a chance to learn. Learn about the mind and life of construction workers.
If you are planning another project, I encourage you to do the same. Don’t “keep it professional” with these guys. Chat ‘em up. Here are some pointers.
- If they’re working outside, keep the windows open. This is a no-brainer, but don’t overlook it. The guys will soon forget you’re in the house and they’ll speak freely. They will speak about their wives and kids, Anne and Richard, politics, office gossip, everything. It’s a fantastic opportunity to pick up tidbits for use at the next Arciform party. For example, at Builders and Butchers you will meet some of these spouses. You’ll have inside info and can use it how you see fit.
- Encourage them to play music as much as possible. I work at home, so sometimes they have to turn it off while I’m on the phone, but otherwise I try to enjoy it. The guys often rotate day-by-day who gets to pick the station. You will hear all kinds of music plus talk radio, and probably sports radio. Your crew will discuss the talk radio and sing along to the regular radio. They will tell stories about what a certain song reminds them of – sometimes quite interesting stories. It’s fun and annoying and something you won’t normally hear. You might miss it when they’re gone, or maybe you won’t. But enjoy it while it lasts.
- Listen to them fight. And they will fight! The on-site lead will carefully instruct his team to do something, and will probably repeat the instructions three or four times. (At this point I am thinking to myself – for God’s sake, they’ve got it, already.) The team will agree – three of four times. They will then do the exact opposite, and the yelling will start. This is enjoyable because it’s not your business.
- Have a drink with them at the end of the week. Ask them about their weekend plans. This always gets me reminiscing about the things I did when I was young and had energy.
- Give them a hard time about their bad habits (smoking!). This is fun because they really don’t feel they can do the same with you.
- If they ask to bring family or friends over to see the project – do it! Encourage it! Then pump the friends and family for information about the guys. Embarrassing tales are the best.
All right, enough for now. What do you think – should we ask the guys what they think about the clients (me and you)? NO – we’re perfect, right? Nothing to tell. And if there is, I don’t want to hear it.
About Nancy Ranchel
Nancy is an accountant who offsets the practicality of her day job with extravagant and outrageous remodeling projects, often involving massive amounts of scrap metal. In her free time she can be found dreaming up new ways to turn her house into an art installation, digging through scrap heaps, and contemplating a world without plastic. Check out Nancy’s blog here: www.replaceinpdx.com/