I like working hard, getting things done, and having something to show for my labor. This current remodeling project at my house gives me a lot of feedback. Each day we can see the enormous progress we’ve made.
My three sons benefit greatly from working with me. I am an efficient driver of labor, and I understand how to use people effectively. My work crews get a lot done.
Far from being an easy boss. I demand competent, efficient work, and I occasionally chastise my sons for working too slowly. At the end of the day, however, they take pride in what they have done. (I do not stand for shoddy work of any kind; if it’s not done right, it’s ripped out and redone.) They also appreciate the hard cash I pay them when we quit work. I want them to experience the instant exhilaration of gaining cash through well done work just completed. That connection needs to be clearly imprinted on their brain.
Even though I’m tired at the end of the day (we worked 10 hours today), and my ribs still hurt like heck as we crawl around in the attic cutting pink board insulation to fit around all the pipes and wires, I’m still delighted. I like accomplishing things more than anything in the world. Teaching my sons the love of accomplishment through the use of hard work is very important to me.
It’s been nine days since I fell through my living room ceiling, and my ribs and side are still sore. So the doc (Ted Taylor of Gold Beach) suggested I have a CT Scan to see if I either cracked a rib or bruised my liver. Negative! But the scan coincidentally showed I have a bunch of small kidney stones in my kidney.
How lucky! I’ve passed kidney stones before, and it’s like someone shoved a screwdriver in my back and twisted it. It’s pain tantamount to giving birth. Thank God women do that!
But these days they have an utrasound machine that can target and break up the stones so you can pea them out rather than have them tear a blue streak across your kidney. Tomorrow morning I’ll get a “still x-ray” to make sure the stones are large enough to target. How lucky can you get? The chance to avoid kidney stone pain! What a great age we live in.
And my side pain? The doc says I’m probably working so hard on my remodel that I’m not giving my ribs and surrounding muscle a chance to heal. I’ll slow down in another week or two. But I’ve got a lot to do between now and then.
My daughter, Annie, will come home to Oregon in one more week. She and her Marine Corps husband, Sgt. Erik Tuttle, and two children, left North Carolina today to drive across the country. Erik will be here a week, then deploy to Iraq for his second tour, and Annie and the kids will live with us while he’s there. While here, she’ll be looking for a suitable piece of land on which to build their future homestead when Erik gets out of the Marine Corps in another year and a half.
We’re excited as heck! Sam and Robby are giving up their bedrooms at the end of the house. Sam has moved into the guest room, and Rob will move into the two-story clubhouse the boys have been building for a couple of years. Between getting ready for their arrival and the current house remodeling job we’re involved in, my house is a wreck. But what the heck! It’s a momentous occasion!
Annie has been an editor-at-large for BHM for years, having written her first article for the magazine at the age of 7. Now, at age 26, she will take over as the full-time managing editor. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to for years. She is supertalented and it will take a great deal of stress off me and Lenie. I will still guide the magazine closely, which is something I’m destined to do til I die, but I’ll be able to more easily impart my insight and technique to Annie during the next year.
We always have lots of blackberries in Oregon, but this year they’ve outdone themselves at my house. I’ve never seen such dense concentrations. Lenie has taken to making a blackberry/apple pie about every other day. Our apples this year are not so plentiful, after two bumper crop years.
You’ve always got to be careful when you work in high places, especially if you are 64 years old like I am. Yesterday, while putting rigid foam insulation between roof rafters, I stepped on the edge of a temporary plywood support, then fell through the ceiling and smashed my chest against a 2 x 4 truss brace. The brace, fortunately, prevented me from falling all the way to the floor.
I’m lucky! Initially I thought I had broken a couple of ribs. The fall had knocked the wind out of me, so I began making inarticulate gestures to my wife, Ilene, and three sons below. Lenie, who was working out the roof angle on a calculator, had not realized what had happened.
“Don’t be kidding like that,” she said as she looked up.
My sons realized immediately that I was hurt. They had been working with me and had to dodge the cascade of plywood and tools that crashed to the floor.
After a few moments of trying to explain via motions what happened, I managed to get out the hoarse words, “My ribs! I think I broke my ribs!”
Everyone went into scramble mode to try and figure how to get me down from the ceiling. But after about five minutes I caught my breath, and the pain in my chest gradually slackened, allowing me to climb down the ladder with the help of Jake.
Fifteen minutes later I was working with my boys again — for another hour. It wasn’t until later in the evening that the belated chest pain caused me to take some Tylenol.
Injuries are a hazard for do-it-yourselfers like me and others who read BHM. We try to be careful, but now and then we make a mistake. This was almost a big mistake. Had I fallen all the way to the floor, I’d be in the hospital cursing my stupidity for stepping on the edge of a piece of plywood I had already cautioned my boys about.
The reason for this “almost injury” is because for the past week my three sons and I have torn out our living room ceiling, sucked out with a vacuum or swept up all the blown-in mouse-pee-permeated attic insulation, and are in the process of installing a new product called “pink board,” which gives you insulation value without absorbing rodent pee. It’s part of a battle I’ve been fighting with mice and rats for years.
While we’re at it, we’ll extend this remodeling project to include a new floor for the living room, a few new windows, and a kitchen re-do.
Pink board (The technical name is Owens-Corning Foamular 150) is a modern age type of extruded polystyrene that boasts an R-value of 5 per inch. I’ll get up to an R-45 value on the roof, which essentially creates what is called a “warm roof.” Here’s how it works if you’re interested.
Anyway, I’m hard at work between issues doing my own do-it-yourself projects. I’m glad I dodged a serious injury, and I sure am glad I have three teenaged sons to help me out.
My brother Hugh and I have been playing a lot of golf during his current business trip. Coincidentally, Padraig Harrington, an Irishman like us (we Irish are good Americans even though we relish being Irish) wins the PGA Championship, so we decide it’s time to celebrate.
It turns out John Silveira, the Portagee senior editor for BHM, is visiting at my house and even cooking a lamb curry for supper. Well, Padraig Harrington is the cousin of Dan Harrington, who played John Silveira for the chess championship of Suffolk University, where John and I went to school together and initially met.
Dan went on to become a chess master, then the 1995 Hold ‘Em main event champion in the World Series of Poker. John became senior editor for BHM.
Coincidentally, John and my son, Jake, happen to be playing chess when I discover Padraig Harrington has just won the PGA Championship.
Golf, chess, the Harringtons, and us. It’s a small world.
My attorney brother, Hugh, who lives in Annapolis, Maryland, is visiting the magazine as a consultant the past few days. He’s helping me update some legal documents for the magazine. Although Hugh is an attorney, he writes far more clearly than most attorneys. No mumbo jumbo legalese jargon, but plain, explicit English that is legally bulletproof but easy for anyone to understand.
He happens to be visiting at a time while the Pacific Ocean is nearly flat. It’s like a pond. Very unusual for this raging ocean to be flat like a pond for two straight days.
Hugh will turn 70 years of age Monday so we’ll also have a birthday bash for him. It’s an enjoyable brotherly get-together that also takes care of some important magazine business matters.
My family finished off deadline for Issue No. 113 with a week of camping along Loon Lake near the central Oregon coast. Canoeing, fishing, swimming, and sitting by the campfire until late at night! What a relaxing time!