Just because you're covered up with your day job (the construction
industry is booming around these parts to the point of ridiculousness)
doesn't mean you can't attempt to kill yourself doing a little
moonlighting for SWMBO.
Finally managed to get the bottom cabinets/drawers doors and counter
tops at SWMBO's lake house "refreshed":
For those paying attention, "refreshing" this sixty year old kitchen is
something I started last summer but finally got around to mostly
finishing (except the floor, obviously) two weeks ago ... in three days
between real work.
Getting too damned old for this ...
Hey, that old country cabin is starting to look down right civilized! Good
work as usual Karl. I trust that the kitchen will soon be capable of
I know the feeling. I have had to do a number of jobs over the last three
months that really show my age. Amazingly, each job resulted in some shin
injuries. That is right, I banged my shins up real good. I have big
bandages to cover the wounds. And the strange thing is I was only aware of
half of the injuries until later. When an open, oozing wound suddenly
appeared. And this is on top of the usual aches and pains. I have never
had anything like this happen before. <grumble, grumble, bitch, bitch>
On Friday, November 14, 2014 8:39:19 AM UTC-6, Swingman wrote:
Yup. I am thinking that may be the case here soon for me at Kathy's house.
Been a while since I did anything meaningful there, and I think she is re
ady for a lot of changes in the house.
Strangely, the huge demand for construction repair/remodel/build hasn't hit
here. We rumbled along for a long time when everyone else had quit, but n
ow are barely creaking along. My Houston based sister was in town recently
and we were talking about the industry and she told me that everywhere in
Houston they are begging for workers of all kinds. Here? Plenty of guys.
In fact, many more than we need. Not a lot of work, and waaaaay too many h
ombres, so pricing is about at what I paid 3 - 4 years ago on both sides of
a deal. I am paying the same I paid for labor, and getting paid the same
for the jobs. Margins are pretty dang thin.
As far as Houston goes, I think two things have happened. Houston based la
bor placement and construction companies have put everyone they can out in
the oil patch. They are building temp quarters, small hotels, small restau
rants, mobile home parks, and working in a vast array of jobs that support
the Eagle Ford Shale business. I have always thought that Houston overall
has had more skilled craft workers than we have here, and our surplus of mo
derately "workers" with mostly residential only construction make slim pick
ings for someone wanting individuals that can work on more than houses.
The second and huge factor would be that the folks I know that have worked
in Houston proper and its surrounding areas hate it. Not find it distastef
ul, they hate it. All for the same reason, the traffic. One of the electr
icians I work with hit it on the head. He starts out in the morning to mak
e a drive to his first job that should take about 25 minutes. He allows an
hour. If things go well he is in good shape. A traffic hickey, and he mi
ght be a bit late. If he is late getting finished with his service call, t
hen that adds to his scheduling problems. And if he finishes his work and
is now late getting to the next job from more traffic, he is late all day l
ong. He had told me that he usually just cancels his last appts after lunc
h if he can see it going that way as he knows when evening traffic starts h
e is screwed. He couldn't ever find a way to stack in 3 - 4 appts a day al
l day, every day.
And so came out the same story from one of the plumbers I work with. And e
ven more so, one of my roofing subs. It killed him to have his boys stuck
in traffic with him (while the pay meter was running) and unable to get to
a second job during the day. The roofer told me that he would work anywher
e BUT Houston as he was tired of two hours a day in traffic that he couldn'
t work, and more if it went wrong. Here in San Antonio with a "metro area"
of 1.9 million people, we can still get just about anywhere in the city, i
ncluding across town in 20 minutes or so. During the day, we take it for g
ranted that there won't be any traffic snarls except in very specific place
s. Those are rush hour events that happen every day and are usually an hou
r long or more to work through, so I plan my day for estimates/repairs arou
nd those particular traffic patterns.
The cost of gas, labor in the truck sleeping while their pay is running, th
e impossibility of getting any specialized repair parts needed during the d
ay, the inability to finish one job and easily go to the next during the da
y in a timely manner, and coordinating all the guys on the job that face al
l of the above are the reason I didn't move there to work in the late 70s a
nd early 80s. I was working there then and did so for about 2 years. Like
d the pay, loved Houston, hated the hassle of trying to work there as I was
working on restaurant installs so I had to drive from one restaurant to an
other during the day. All my boss did was scream at me for being late.
When I returned to work there a bit in the early 90s, I noticed a different
stripe of worker there, an attitude that seems to be there today. The "cr
aftsmen" (ahem...) seem to think they are doing you a favor by simply showi
ng up. After years of facing that attitude, my sister's friends have confi
rmed to me that they are indeed thankful when the craft people show up, and
now stunned if they are on time. Not so here. For the most part, if some
one takes off work to meet me and I am late to the estimate they may just g
o back to work and I won't hear from them. I was stunned when my sister's
neighbors told me with bated breath that they had a "contractor coming by"
one day so they took off work! The whole farking day! Never happen here.
I like the ease of convenience of getting around here as well as having dev
eloped my "team" of other middle aged, tired guys that I see on all my jobs
. I have all the normal annoying problems with my labor but my core group
is solid. So with labor and materials under control, my job can be pretty
straightforward. My only problem is finding general labor, or semi skilled
labor as many legal aliens have gone back to Mexico and the oil patch has
swallowed up a bunch of those guys.
Karl, what did you make the rails and stiles out of? Is that poplar?
Assuming that is a floating panel in the door, is that plywood?
Further assuming that the panel is floating, did you caulk the fronts betwe
en the rails/stiles/panel (leaving the back open) before you painted?
I got a real kick out of the existing construction, too. Built in place, o
n site. When was the last time I saw that... dunno. That was part of my J
edi training back in the 70s and that was about the time they stopped "buil
t in place" cabinetry.
Loved the pics, they tell a good story. Great job as usual, what a nice fa
On 11/14/2014 12:52 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I think Houston's biggest traffic causing problem is that ther is no
zoning in Houston. The traffic has to go in every direction to get to
and from work. There is no flow.
I live real close to Cinco Ranch west of Houston the whole area really
has no traffic issues, zoning is strictly enforced.
On 11/14/2014 12:52 PM, email@example.com wrote:
MDF ... paint grade, as es todo el mundo.
Hell no! "it's only a f'in lake house"! ;)
Actuall, just farking did another one, much closer to home, and almost
identical, 1975ish construction ... getting a lot of too damned much of
If I don't move there to die, will sell it and it will be a tear down
... what you make on the grapes, you lose on the bananas.
The second and huge factor would be that the folks I know that have
worked in Houston proper and its surrounding areas hate it. Not find
it distasteful, they hate it. All for the same reason, the traffic.
One of the electricians I work with hit it on the head. He starts out
in the morning to make a drive to his first job that should take about
25 minutes. He allows an hour. If things go well he is in good
shape. A traffic hickey, and he might be a bit late. If he is late
getting finished with his service call, then that adds to his
scheduling problems. And if he finishes his work and is now late
getting to the next job from more traffic, he is late all day long.
He had told me that he usually just cancels his last appts after lunch
if he can see it going that way as he knows when evening traffic
starts he is screwed. He couldn't ever find a way to stack in 3 - 4
appts a day all day, every day.
First time I was in Houston was the early '70s.
At 02:00 AM, the traffic sucked.
Sounds like 40 years later, not much has changed.
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