Thursday, January 26, 2012

Appreciation for the Radio

There are days on my projects when I have tradesmen and contractors working on various scopes of the renovation work.  On these days I'm engulfed by the sounds typical on any construction site; hammers pounding nails, saws cutting material, drills boring holes, and maybe operators with noisy equipment working on the exterior.

However, there are also plenty of days when I'm working alone like a one man band.  After years of building I easily gravitate toward the Whatever It Takes mindset.  I never hesitate to grab my tools and get to work when I need to.  The scopes I've completed for each of my Pig's Ears has varied.  Sometimes I do a lot of framing, sometimes I do just a little.  And that's how it's also been for the landscaping, insulation, drywall, siding, exterior trim, demolition, flooring, concrete work, and masonry; my involvement has fluctuated with each house.  I've painting everything on some houses, but other times I've dished the work off to a painter or subcontractor.  The same goes for the work up on the roof.  I really enjoy laying shingles, but every time I start carrying them up to the ridge or tearing old ones off I hear the voice in my head saying, 'This is the last time.'  I've plumbed an entire house by myself and done the majority of the electrical (under the guidance of a licensed electrician.)  Now I've never done the HVAC work or tried to stretch out carpet; those have consistently been areas that I've handled by writing a check.  I've done all my own door and window work and all the fine carpentry.  I did a few of my own garage doors years ago, but now I find someone to do that too.  And finally, more times than not, I've bought and placed the appliances where they belonged in the kitchen. 

With all that said, when I'm working alone on the job I prefer to have a radio on and most of the time it's tuned in to sports talk.  One of my favorites is Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio featuring Mike Greenburg and Mike Golic.  I'm also a big fan of The Dan Patrick Show (see Tebow). After DP I'll tune in to The Jim Rome Show aka The Jungle.  Finally, I usually switch over to National Public Radio (NPR) during the mid afternoon.

I've listened to some of these radio hosts for years and over time I've grown to feel as if I know them.  In a small way, they've filled the void that exists by not having co-workers.  Furthermore, when something good happens in their careers or their families I know about it and am happy for them and when they share some bad news I empathize.  I talk about them to my wife when I get home the same way I'd tell her about someone in the office or another person on my crew.  And, like a spouse gradually gets to know co-workers my wife has learned about these sports talk guys through me.  I can't tell you the number of times she's interrupted me for quick clarification at the beginning of a Mike and Mike story with something like, "Now are you talking about the little guy or the one who used to play football?"  By way of the public air waves they've been a part of most of the Pig's Ears I've rehabbed.

Listening to the sports talk has become a part of what I do.  I don't always have it and when it's not available I find myself missing it.  So, if you work in circumstances that surround you with co-workers, enjoy and get to know them.  However, if you're working alone like me and you feel the need for some company, don't forget about the radio.

On one project I sanded and refinished the wood floors myself.  I enjoyed doing it, learned some things, but since then I've found a contractor that specialized in this type of work to handle this for me. 

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