Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Making Alex Happy

After a less than a week, the Kinney’s shoe store was finished and we moved on to another small nail-on job. Somewhere else. In fact, there were small jobs like that all over southern California and I was soon driving the freeways in every direction as I went from project to project. Most of them lasted less than a week and Marshall always seemed to have another one for us to do as soon as we finished the last one.  

Of course I was delighted with all of the traveling and the challenge of a new project every few days. And I was learning something every day. But I was also growing frustrated as I couldn’t seem to please Alex. No matter how fast I tried to nail, he could come in to the room I was working in and push me aside, “Here! This is how you do it…” and he would quickly nail two rows faster than I could do one. And the faster I tried to be, the clumsier I became. The Plumb #2 Box Hatchet became an instrument of torture, smashing my fingers and taking bites of my skin as I tried to finger the nails into place before the descending hatchet head struck. Ow!

In fact, Alex wasn’t really happy…or so it seemed, until the walls in the room had been covered by little spots of blood from my thumb and forefinger. “Not enough blood on the walls! You’re not trying!” was his favorite expression. And then, if you did get a lot of blood on the walls, he would warn you, sternly, that the painters were going to complain, as blood was hard to cover up.

Would I ever win?

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