Leeway

On a commercial job in Spokane, Washington, we had a man come up from California to work with us.  At that time the Union allowed one man to work in our area or on our job from out of state.  The man that we had was made our foreman/superintendent. At the time the electrical regulations in California were not as strict as the ones in Washington, and this man had done mostly residential work in California.  With all that being said, and looking back on the experience, I developed a bit of a pre-judgment about him. From my perspective he seemed a bit shy of the necessary knowledge needed for...

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Lunch Boxes (An Inexpensive Way to Eat)

When I first started working and carrying a lunch, the current available lunch carrier was either a paper bag or a metal box.  The metal boxes had a round top where a small thermos could be carried.  The thermos would hold hot or cold liquid.  (It was not wise to put both in at the same time.)   Many workmen became very imaginative about the use and design of their lunch box.  For instance one of the first innovations I saw was a change in the thermos carrying portion of a metal lunch box.  The thermos size wasn’t large enough for some guys.  They would open up the end of one...

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DIY or Hire a Contractor (That is the question)

Everybody has the right and privilege to work on their own projects.  In fact the Do-it-Yourself industry is growing.  Whether or not a person does their own work or hires it done, the job must still abide by the laws governing inspections. I have noticed that there is a great deal of difference in workmanship, usually depending on the experience factor of the person who performs the work.  There have been a few cases I have seen where a “Do-it-Yourselfer” has been so particular in his or her work that the job was as good as a contractor.  But that result is not common. On the other...

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Sometimes You Have to Fire the Customer

One time I was temporarily out of work.  There wasn’t much going on and I was sort of “on-call” for little odd jobs. I was called in to do an emergency job about 30 miles south of town.  It was a small town that had an old septic management system. The town’s sewage was piped down to a large tank outside of town.  There were two submersible pumps that would pump the sewage from the tank to a nearby, manmade, pond.  For lack of a better term, you could call it an “open septic pond.” The two submersible pumps were regulated by a set of controls that would work one pump at a time...

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Another Cookie

The Fred Myer Corporation was going to build another store at a location that already had some existing businesses and a manufactured home park.  The owners of the manufactured home park purchased property about ½ mile away and moved their tenants to the new location. The manufactured home park had about 30 homes and I wound up hooking up about 20 of them. Every electrical hook up for a manufactured home is different.  There are no two hook ups that are alike, but I was able to do about two a day.  They didn’t move all the homes at once, as a consequence I was at that site for about 3...

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Waste Not

I was working on the job one time with a bunch of painters.  One of them was from Germany, and had learned the trade there when he was a kid. His starting job in Germany was to beat on the old, empty paint cans.  The purpose of this practice was to save, grind up, and reconstitute the paint chips as usable paint.  His comment was “They don’t waste stuff in Germany.”  He added; “I saw a man there once that blew his nose into a handkerchief so that he could take it home and his wife could make use of it.  I don’t know what she did with it, but she used it.  Over here, they just...

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