Wait… Who is the boss?

I owned some rental properties in the past and often worked alongside the contractors I hired. Partly because I am cheap but also because I wanted to learn some of the trades. Wiring, woodworking, drywall, painting. It’s fulfilling to sit back and admire what I have created. Wave an arm and say, “I did that.” I never had that feeling in my pre-retirement work life.
One fall I hired an older man to renovate a 100, year-old house. Harold asked if I wanted to work as his helper or if I would pay to hire someone. I was happy to be allowed to help and we agreed to meet the following morning to start work. First let me say, I live 2 hours away from the property and so I arrived at 10 a.m. on my first day. I had a 7:30 dentist appointment and then a 2-hour drive. Even though I was paying the bills, it became quite clear that I was the helper and Harold was the Boss. When I arrived, Harold looked at his watch and said, “We start at 8 o’clock.” Now don’t get me wrong. I was asked my opinion when it came to paint colours, type of tile and picking out flooring and fixtures. But I was the person who hauled things. Harold showed up with a truck full of 2×4’s and I hauled them inside and stacked them where Harold directed me. I hauled out all of the debris and garbage to the dumpster. I was also the coffee guy. I admit to wasting time on those coffee trips just to make my break last a bit longer. Harold was a very interesting old guy and I really enjoyed spending time with him. I remember one day when I went into great detail about a problem I had with one of my children. When I thought he wasn’t listening anymore I asked his opinion in the matter. All he said was this. “Small kids, small problems. Big kids, big problems.” Quite profound that. But I guess what I learned from Harold was this… I doesn’t matter who pays the bills. The guy with the experience is the foreman. And, your kids will always cause you grief.

2 thoughts on “Wait… Who is the boss?

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