Friday, April 14, 2006


After more than a few mistakes, I realized that estimating was not the job for me. They weren’t terrible mistakes, such as forgetting to add in the price of the materials or something equally disastrous. It was just that I really liked my boss, Marshall. And it bothered me that my mistakes were taking money from his wallet. It became far too personal and so, after some discussion, I returned to working with my “real” tools.

This was where I felt comfortable. I discovered that I had a real talent for reading blueprints and understanding how something could be built. I could actually see the finished product in my mind and knew how to achieve it. I loved it!

I was now the foreman on all sorts of jobs, making decisions and planning daily operations, though when Alex was on the job, I deferred to him every time. We worked well together and the man who was once my nemesis was a best friend.

The Broadway stores continued to be built in far away places and we continued to do the work on them. We went to Phoenix one year and Marshall arranged for our families to join us for a portion of the time we were on the job. He rented apartments for us and we had a great summer, touring Arizona on the weekends. The weekdays were another story…a hot story!

Summer temperatures in Phoenix would climb to 110° and higher, making the windowless jobsite on West Camelback Road into an oven. And we began the work day at 3 in the morning, so as to avoid the worst of the heat in the afternoon. The afternoons were spent in the pool.

Some odd things about Phoenix in those days…swimming pools were equipped with spray nozzles set into the edge of the pool. In the evenings, a pump sprayed the pool water out into the air to cool the water off. And Phoenix homeowners built dikes around their lawns. Neighborhoods were assigned a day to flood irrigate their lawns, turning the neighborhood into a vast lake. You didn’t have to look; you could tell by the increased humidity that your neighbors had begun to flood their lawns.

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