Category Archives: construction

Clients Can Drive You To…


I ran out of thinset at about 4:15 yesterday afternoon while laying floor tile. The customer had left me a tub, but it was dried out. I debated on running to Depot to pick up another tub since I only had about 10 square feet left. I decided against it because I had a lot of diagnal cuts to make, so I decided to go in and finish it this morning.

I sent the customer a text about another facet of the job for Monday when I was at Depot. He called back and asked how the rest was going.

Client: “Did you tile under the cabinets?”
Me: “No. There isn’t enough tile for that. There is just enough to do the kitchen running up to the cabinets.”
Client: “Did you tile up to the door?”
Me: “The entry door? No. You asked me to tile the kitchen.”
Client: “I was hoping you’d do it like apartment #5.”
Me: “I’ve never been in apartment #5.”
Client: “You haven’t? What were you in?”
Me: “Apartment 1.”
Client: “Apartment 1 isn’t like that at all.”
Me: “No kidding. We don’t have enough tile to do to the door. Where did you buy this stuff?”
Client: “Wow. Let’s see. I think it was on clearance at Lowes for 99 cents a tile.”
Me: “Frack me.”

As it turns out, I got lucky running out of the thinset. I would have finished off the kitchen and been done with it. With the little hallway and entryway getting tile, the diagnal cuts are now unnecessary. Not that it matters, Lowes no longer has the tile.

They call it clearance for a reason.

Deck Rail

Cabin w/ new rail

New deck rail

I was back out on the river recently to finally install a deck rail on a deck I built last year. We were going to install cable rail, but I’m not an overly big fan of the stuff. For what you get, the price is absurd. In the end, I think the client agreed, once she recovered from hearing the bid. We went with conduit instead, and I really like the look.

Another Before/After

Kind of a fun, at times frustrating, project on the river that I worked off/on this summer. A couple of the pics show the box they gave me to start with and what I’m turning over to them now that I’m done with the exterior.

I really didn’t want the shed roof on this place, but an ex-boyfriend of the customer talked her into it. Damn busybody… but I guess it works. I do take full credit for the choice of cedar siding, however.

Update 11/15/12 8:01pm AST
I have one vote from a reliable industry insider in favor of the shed roof, so I will cut the ex-boyfriend some slack on this subject. All other subjects are still fair game, however.

First Frozen Pipe

It was -18F this morning, and I received my first frozen pipe call of the season at 8am. My response was “that it wasn’t cold enough yet for frozen pipes. What are you going to do when it drops to -50?”

“Well, you’re going to fix the problem long before it drops that far,” she replied.


So I spent much of the morning re-insulating the offending closet with the water lines & wrapping the pipes. I feel like I’m never going to get this siding job finished.

Blues Along The River

It was a beautiful day to be outside, building a deck, with the waters of the Chena flowing by. Even the sound of joyriders buzzing up & down the river on their airboats didn’t dampen the good mood. I had the iPod plugged into the job radio shuffling along, when the cabin owner showed up to, “Clean up around the place”.
I assumed that it was her attempt to simply help out, but all she really did was slow me down with endless questions and constant attempts at chit-chat. As it stands, most of what she cleaned up, I’ll have to go over anyway, before we spray the insulation.
Recently, she has started to make several visits to the jobsite, shared her thoughts on still being single, and often mentioning “going out to dinner”, while being vague about who she expects to join her. I’m starting to sense that she has ulterior motives to showing up at my jobsite. However, I’m quite content to remain in the role of Contractor to the Broken Hearted. The pay is better.

With the iPod on shuffle, I suppose it was only a matter of time before a song played that would get a reaction. I heard the familar guitar chords and thought, “Oh oh”. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched for a reaction from the new deck.

“I have a hard time missing you baby, with my pistol in your mouth
Mmm have a hard time missing you baby, with my pistol in your mouth…”

I saw her head flip up as she tried to gauge what she heard.

“You may be thinking ’bout going north, but your brains are staying south…”

Then, from inside the cabin I hear, “What the hell are you listening to?”
Without even looking up from my tape measure I replied, “That’s why they call it The Blues, ma’am.”

Pressed Into Service

… and we’re back to work.