Who Said Winter Is For Sitting Around Doing Nothing?

Hello and welcome. This is a rant that may annoy some people. Just warning you. Indeed, I myself get annoyed whenever I hear someone else ranting about how winter is all about staying at home and getting fat. Especially in my kind of arena where we use tools, drive trucks and know how to build stuff with our hands, it seems people secretly love winter because it’s an excuse to be lazy.

Another reason is because many trades and manly businesses are seasonal. For example, landscaping usually slows down in the winter and this is understandable, but this still isn’t an excuse for all landscapers to get fat and lazy until the sun comes out.

If there’s a project you’re waiting to start because it’s still winter… THEN GET UP AND DO IT! Don’t let winter be an excuse not to work, even if your business is seasonal. Grow some hair on your chest and do it in the cold! What’s stopping you? Snow? Ha! Snow didn’t stop the Vikings! You can do it…

So remember this rant next time you hear one of your beer buddies say that they can’t get around to some task because winter’s coming. Prove that you’re more of a man than them and say, “Ha, coward. You gonna let the cold hold you back? I bet you’re never gonna get around to it if you use winter as an excuse.”

This rant, of course, is not meant for people who are sick over the winter. If you’re sick, you should stay warm and get better. I rant about that topic, too, and you can read that if you click here.

So until next time, stay busy and stay manly!

Converting a Tow Truck into a Monster Truck

Never before in my life have I wished I had photos more than now. I was visiting a dear friend from childhood in Saskatoon, SK, CA this weekend when we went to a BBQ on a private property out in the boonies and, lo and behold, a redneck in overalls was converting a tow truck into a monster truck! Now I know you probably don’t believe me, especially because I don’t have photos, but… just keep reading because this is crazy!

Why Would You Want a Monster Tow Truck?

On a normal day that would be a very good question in need of a detailed explanation. But on that day in Saskatoon it was very, very far from a normal day. I asked the redneck in Saskatoon this same question and he said, “So I can make a party out of tearing my house down!” That’s right. He wants his monster truck to have extreme torque and ultimate power with a high quality towing hitch on the back so he can wrap a chain around his house and pull it down. He said his demolition party won’t be till next year when his new house is finished being built so I might go and take pictures this time!

Now I’m just imagining all the other things you could do with a monster tow truck…

  1. You could tear down walls.
  2. You could make an event of doing jumps while towing another car behind you.
  3. You could win a car show.
  4. You could be the strangest dude in your neighborhood.
  5. You could tow trees, airplanes, and anything overly heavy that normal tow trucks can’t haul.

I was also wondering what local tow truck Saskatoon companies are going to think when they see this contraption rolling down the street. If I saw this out of context I might just go crazy. In a world where most things are predictable and we drive around on the road not being too surprised, a monster tow truck would certainly make any day special, no matter how boring the rest of it had been. I wonder if anyone else in the world has done this before.

Seriously, the whole body of the monster truck comes from an old 2001 tow truck and it sits high off the ground with giant wheels just like you’d expect. After thinking about it long enough, I came to the conclusion that maybe something like this could only happen in Saskatoon. It seems like the perfect place for it, especially because the roisterer who’s building it is a millionaire in his 50s with all the spare time in the world and he’s the perfect man for the job. He’s worked as an auto body mechanic for most of his life and got rich via his grandparent’s will after they passed. Perhaps there’s better things to spend money on, let alone time, but if he makes a YouTube video out of it then it’s something that could entertain a lot of people and provide a weird service to the world in a way.

Now imagine you need roadside assistance in Saskatoon so you call up a local towing company. You wait for the operator to arrive and suddenly your eyes are bulging out of your head as you gaze upon a monster of a creation. Frankenstein on wheels comes roaring towards you and the operator tips his hat from his high cab. I think I might need to see a therapist after witnessing such a thing!

Well, that was my adventurous, strange post for the day. If you want to read more you can read my last post or are go watch a monster truck show in your local town. After writing all this I’m definitely going to watch some monster truck videos on the internet with some drinks tonight. Thanks for visiting!

Towing an Auto Detailing Trailer to a Car Show

In a few weeks I have the privilege of bringing a few cars of mine to the local car show here in town. I’m so excited. After years of construction, saving money and customizing my rides, my cars are finally recognized and I’m so excited to show off what I’ve done to them. To celebrate I will also be hiring a mobile auto detailing company and they will be towing a trailer to the event to offer professional car cleaning in the parking lot for everyone there, including visitors who don’t have a car on the show. I’m so excited about this and ca’t wait.

If you’re new here then check out my old blog posts.

PS.Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted I’ve been really busy with switching up some revenue streams with work and I plan to write on this more in the near future so stay tuned!

Should You Keep Working When You’re Sick?

Answering this question ethically requires paying respect to context, because the answer will vary as we move from context to context. For example getting a dozen other people sick just so you can work an eight hour shift at retail serving french fries is a lot different than working at home where you don’t have the risk of getting others sick, especially if the one person serving french fries has six kids to feed.

When posing this question, you may want to ask yourself, would you go to a wedding, a place where there might be elderly people and children, if you were very sick? Would your answer change if this was the first wedding you would ever go to and you’ve always wanted to go to a wedding? Plus one of the people getting married is an old friend from high school?

We all have this passed down tradition that hot soup is good for you when you’re sick. But do we ask why? I believe it’s because your body doesn’t want to have to digest and process a bunch of meat and other tough foods when it’s trying to heal and needs all the energy it can get fighting off an illness. Soup is good because it gives you nutrients without needing a lot of digestion power. This is proof that you’re body wants to heal and REST when you’re sick. Therefore, overall, you might want to rest instead of working because this is known to make you heal faster. You probably have evidence of this in your own life.

So in the long run, wouldn’t you be able to work more hours if you rested? You could work poorly when you’re sick and be sick longer, or rest when you’re sick and get back to fully working well sooner. When taking the time to rest, I find, you tend to be a bit excited to get back to work and you may go through a long focused episode of work, work, work because you feel the obligation to make up for lost time.

For the guy who gets work at home… What about him? Should he work? Well, as evidence that you work poorly when you’re sick, I’ll tell you that I’m writing this while I’m sick; and though it may not be work because it’s a hobby, I’m finding it takes a lot longer than usual to put words together and create rhythmic sentences that read well. I can usually write a lot faster and with less effort when I’m at my best. But since I can still get some stuff done while I’m lounging in a chair at home, I might as well. Though I must admit I would not recommend working when you’re sick, even when you’re at home, because I SHOULD BE RESTING RIGHT NOW!

I continue to work when I don’t feel overwhelmed by my sickness because I’m passionate about my hobby and am so grateful to have the chance to do this. I have so much respect for my time on earth that I want to do something productive with it even when my body is telling me no. Maybe you have a goal you’re working to accomplish and you don’t want stop working because you have a habit built into your blood that tells you to work no matter what. Suffer through the pain for a better tomorrow, it tells you. Or maybe you work a job you hate and the flue’s telling you that this is a great excuse for lounging at home playing video games all day. In that case maybe you really do deserve or a break, but–now this is a bit off topic–I’d tell you to see the free time as an opportunity to search for better work. If you’re lounging on the couch by the TV and reading this, you could scroll through some local listings and see what jobs are listed. Maybe I’ll write a post about how to find a job you love later. I digress.

So the answer to if you should work when you’re sick is really up to you. Ask yourself: Do you really want to get an old lady sick by accident? Do you feel like you can somehow never get someone sick by accident no matter how tiny particles from your mouth can be to the eye? These are ethical question you should consider if you’re not a psychopath. Or perhaps the ethics are backwards because you’re working with a bunch of construction junkies like I did all my life and they’d laugh at you if they knew you were in the bathtub all day watching Flintstones because you had a wee bit of pain in you’re throat. Poor boy. See how the context can flip things around on you?

If you have the risk of getting others sick, my advice would be to always stay home. You’re not doing god’s work by giving the flue to passing lawyers on the street, no matter how satisfying that would be. Listen to you’re heart. A lot of students keep going to school when they’re sick because they’re paying a lot to be there and can’t miss information for a test. This was the case for me back in the 70s. Whenever I was able to steal notes from a friend, though, I’d always stay home. I remember no one could henpeck you if did go to school though, because there was almost an expected phenomenon in the culture that said everyone would eventually get sick anyways. It’s so hard not to in a university where football players never wash their hands.

Now for my regular readers who expect posts related to trades and construction, I’d say take the sick leave if you got it. Listen to what you’re heart is telling you. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Do what you can and get you’re body healthy again.

 

 

Don’t Do Everything Yourself Part 2 – Why I Hired Gutter Gurus Victoria

You may remember a previous post where I stressed the importance of not doing all the house renovations by yourself, and the reason was because I almost let my house slide down the side of a hill! Even if you’re a true Canadian handyman who dabbles in every construction trade, if you’re doing serious renovation work on your home and there’s no one within yelling distance to hear you and come to your aid if you get injured or screw up so bad you need a hand to hold something quickly then you’re doing it wrong!

Us old guys (you’d be surprised how old I really am, old enough to get back pain when I used a tape-measure) often forget that today the first thing a young person learns about any trade in college is SAFETY REGULATIONS!

And because many of us old guys aren’t 21st-C-savvy enough to carry a super-high-tech phone in our pocket at all times (knowing me, the damn thing would break anyways), it’s extra important that we don’t go and do something stupid when no one’s around to help us. Now I think I made that point quite clear enough, and now it’s time to get surprised because that’s not the reason I had to hire some professional auxilia the other day.

I really am older than what a lot of you might expect, and after a baseball injury with my grandson last week, I find that onetime simple tasks are now some of the hardest tasks in the world, like gutter repair for instance. If you don’t do it often, now’s the perfect time of year to get your gutters cleaned before all the bad weather comes and if you have leaks in your gutter system, now’s a good time to get those fixed, too. That’s usually what I did for myself all the years of my life, and now for the first time ever I’m finally calling someone else to do it. I didn’t even know who to call but I found a company I liked–Gutter Gurus Victoria. It was quite a depressing moment for me actually, and even my wife understands why. It’s hard for a guy who loves to never ask for help suddenly succumb to weakness.

A little off topic: I heard about an old folks home that got investigated for having a fight club for seniors. Now at first I thought this was funny but now I know why these old guys are still fighting in their senile years. Just like when you suddenly move your bedroom into a different room of the house and you find yourself walking into your old room by accident, so do old people find it hard to subconsciously forget their younger personalities. Some minds, even if their bodies are decrepit, won’t let a thing like age stop them from believing they’re hardy, tough sons-of-guns.

I suffer from this but unlike these old fighters I have come to accept this change in my life and no longer lift heavy things. My wife’s 13 years younger than me, so I let her lift the groceries. Well, so I guess there’s some good qualities to it, haha. But back to my point, DON’T DO EVERYTHING YOURSELF!

If the rule isn’t drilled in your brain deep enough, here’s a list to drill it just  a bit deeper:

  1. You’re lifting a book shelf up the stairs and no one is there to help you when you come tumbling down and break your neck.
  2. You’re working on the roof alone and no one is there to run over and help when you fall off and break your legs.
  3. You’re moving boxes down into the basement and no one is there to call an ambulance when you slip, fall down the stairs and hurt your back.
  4. You’re hanging drywall and no one is there to hold up the other end so you install the whole thing wrong.
  5. You’re installing a wall-hanging TV and no one is there to hold up the other end so it falls and the screen shatters.
  6. You’re painting and drop falls on the new fancy rug and your wife isn’t there to smack you across the face!

I might be able to think of some more but I’m sure that will suite my purpose. If for some reason you think you’re still godly enough to work alone, at least carry a phone in a protective hard case with you at all times. Don’t leave it in the truck, don’t leave it in your bag by the front door. Carry it in your damn tool belt if you have to, because some day you might need it in an emergency, when you don’t have means of moving and the closest person who could help is a kilometer away.

With all that said, don’t worry too much because bad things like this rarely happen. Have a productive day the Bob Allen way!

Why Construction Trades Aren’t for Everyone

A good friend of mine thought he’d become a welder until he surprised everyone and became a lawyer. When asked why he made such a dramatic shift, he said, “I enjoy welding, but not welding for 8 hours a day on projects I don’t care about.” As a lawyer he gets to work on cases he cares about, and doesn’t have to sit in a shop using tools all day.

You’d be surprised how many people come out of highschool believing they’re going to be in trades only to end up in office jobs or customer service. These people are a lot happier being as far away from trades as they can. For some of them, frankly, it’s because they have high intelligence and I may be dissing a lot of my own people here when I say their minds would be better use to the world in the office than it would be hitting nails into wood. Some trades take lots of intelligence, too, but not the kind you need to write a good book or solve a good detective case.

Some trades, like architecture, get pretty mathematical, but even that is far from the kinds of science you find in the lab. The reason why some people just can’t stand seeing themselves ever getting a job in trades is because they believe they’re worthy of something better. That and they don’t like working physical jobs. They prefer mental jobs. I know this enough to ramble about it because many of my friends went in and out of construction, and I saw some of them take off to great heights in the entertainment industry. I think we can’t blame the next hit pop star for not being a carpenter just because his daddy wanted him to be one.

If you know any young people who are considering getting into trades, you should do them a fine service and remind them of this question: “Do you really want to do this for 8 hours a day for the next 40-60 years?”

As someone who’s loved working in trades all my life as a carpenter among many other things, I don’t want to deter anyone from pursuing something they might be interested in, but I also don’t want to see kids growing up to become men they regret.

Life in the construction trades is tough. After a long day in the sun swearing every 2 words you can’t blame a fellow for drinking his sorrows away. A lot of people in trades don’t like to read. They’d rather watch sports. And you can’t blame them because after working physically to the bone, lifting, pulling, screwing and hammering, the first thing you want to do it just relax–mentally and physically.

Once again, for the young people in your life who might be considering a physically demanding life, if they can truly see themselves being happy doing the same thing everyday then the next question to ask  them is which trade is best for them. I already wrote a post about that to assist anyone in the decision. I just wanted to talk about this today because some people I know are rather ignorant toward white collar ways and thinking. They need to understand that not everyone is a tough, smoking, beer drinking tradesman who can operate a chainsaw and lift a stack of wood. So thanks for reading!

 

The Ironic Evolution of the Nail and Hammer

The hammer, a modern tool for hitting nails, has its roots in history where people often don’t like to realize, but will understand as soon as they’re reminded–and I use the word “reminded” because it’s obvious and we all inherently know it already.

Long before we had metal nails, blacksmiths needed a tool to pound out such a thing. Aye, isn’t it rather funny and ironic that the hammer was used by ancient and medieval blacksmiths to pound out nails? I was thinking about this while camping in Tofino BC the other weekend, a place where many people find intellectual inspiration, and, yes–don’t judge me–I was philosophically analyzing my understanding of the hammer, the tool I use most often around the house (not to kill my wife).

I wanted to share this self-discovery, if you can call it that, on my blog because I still think it’s rather funny. Today we use hammers to hit nails into wood, but before we had nails a rudimentary version of the early hammer was used by blacksmiths in smithing metal objects of odd sorts. And oddly enough, the very first nail was molded into place by the battering of a ye olde hammer! Remember that next time you need something to talk about with your construction buddies around the campfire.

I know my readers aren’t used to short, snappy blog posts like this, but every once in awhile I’ll find something small and unique to say, and with all that said I hope you have a wonderful day!

 

Don’t Make Summer Chores into Bummer Bores!

It’s 2018, and summer is practically here. All year you’ve been contemplating all the chores around the house you would do as soon as the weather turned around. Am I right? Now if you already have a lot of those chores done, then this blog post isn’t for you. This is here for the people who saved up so many laborious to-do tasks on their planner that they frown and want to rip out their hair whenever they look at it. In other words, their summer chores have become massive bummer bores.

Let me tell you I’m exactly the kind of guy you want to listen to when it comes to this stuff, because I just looked at my to-do planner of things to get done now that summer’s here and, well, PIECES OF MY HAIR ARE ON THE FLOOR! I’m not joking, ladies and girls! I pooped up big this time, but all is good. I’m trying to stay positive, remembering my training, my many years of experience and have come up with a solid plan to knock these “bummer bores” off the list.

Now this won’t be some tough guy who gets everything done perfectly giving you the best advice in the world; this is us working together, because we’re both in the same pickle. Throughout the year I’m usually a labor intensive guy, and I don’t sit around lazily that often. Now, staring at my wall of chores, sitting around lazily with a beer petting my dog is all I want to do. The wife would hang me in my sleep if I didn’t get this list done though, so let us begin.

How do you turn your bummer bores into summer chores? The tactic I’m going to be using is a mixture between delegation and getting my butt motivated by seeing the end result. Delegation is a wonderful thing, and I already wrote a post emphasizing how it can actually save your house from sliding down a hill!

Besides this, delegation can also help get that heavy to-do list done quicker, and I’ll be using another great example to prove this. When you’re choosing which chore you want to delegate, choose the BIGGEST one. Trust me, because you’ll save more time to knock off all the small ones that way. For me this year, painting the exterior of my house is the biggest chore on my list, so I reached out to a local painting company tonight before writing this and they’re happy to come and do the work that I’m definitely not happy to do myself. It’s a win-win. Hooray!

Part of repainting a house, especially a house like mine with wood siding, is scraping off the parts of the old paint that aren’t smooth so that the new coats of paint will look even. Another big bummer bore of a preparation is putting tape on all the things you don’t want paint to get on like windows, gutters, mailboxes, etc. Now I’m a shy man and don’t like to post photos of myself where internet surfers can judge them, but you can still probably imagine how a sore retired old man like me would hate getting up on a ladder to do all that finicky shenanigans. ‘Tis exactly why I’m delegating this stuff, and I implore you do the same, kids!

I reached out to my local painters in Victoria BC because my arms start to ache just thinking about painting the whole exterior of my house all alone! And that’s just half of my strategy… I still got over twenty other bummer bores on the list, and, when I’m not dreading them, I’m imagining the scowl my wife’s gonna give me when they’re not completed before the weather turns sour again. I got to build a chicken cage, dig a hole for a pond, repair the fence and, oh, you get the point–I got to do a lot of stuff!!

Now it’s time to see the end result in order to get my old butt motivated! Imagining the end result has been a strategy that works for me when I seek the energy to do something I don’t feel like doing even though I know it’ll be mighty good for me if I do it. And I’m not the kind of spiritual guy who reads all those law of attraction books. I just know this works. Seeing the end result in your mind makes achieving it a lot easier. But like Jesus said, faith without action is dead. So I actually have TO DO the work, hence my whole bloody “to-do” list in the first place.

Now I set my alarm clock nice and early because, as a retired man, I have the whole day of tomorrow to do whatever. And now I’m envisioning exactly what I’m going to do as I write this, and I suggest you do something similar if you also have a to-do list that’s way too big. Perhaps you’re a young man and painting your house is just one of the small things you got to do. Well, good for you if that’s the case. Me, well, I got to pull one of my old “recruit yourself” techniques and, despite all my complaining, I’m pretty damn sure tomorrow’s going to be an excellent and productive day, because I see the end results!

My fence is going to be beautiful–a nice red color to match the house–and the pond will be perfect for the neighbors’ ducks, because they like to come over and say hello sometimes. The chicken cage will be perfect, a friendly home for our new friends and the dog house, oh, the dog house, it’s going to … to … be beautiful, too!

What do your end results look like? See them nice and clear and know that your bummer bores have just magically turned into motivating projects once again!

Finding the Trade that’s Right for You! (Construction & Labor)

If you’re fresh out of high school or looking for a hobby and you’re still struggling to find the trade that fits your personality and character, then I will supply a list of questions to assist. By the time you’re done reading this blog post, my hope is that you’ll either know what you want to do or you’ll now what you DON’T want to do, which is a great start!

  1. Do you like working indoors or outdoors? This is the first question you should ask because if you’re an outdoor person then you definitely don’t want to be welding deep down in the bilges of a navy ship, and if you’re an outdoor person then you definitely don’t want to be on rooftops installing HVAC or roofing tiles. Maybe you want a balance of the two and so something like carpentry where some days you work outside and some days you work inside is perfect for you.
  2. Do you like to stay physically active, or do you feel comfortable conserving your energy for after work? If you’re someone who likes to get up and go, go, go then something physically demanding like laying concrete or chopping down trees should be more suitable than plumbing or welding where you’re more often than not sitting in one spot for long periods of time.
  3. Do you like the freedom of working alone, or do you like working with a team? This question may not pinpoint the exact trade you want, but it will give you an idea of where you may want to work. For example something like welding can be both independent or team-based. If you work in a metal shop with others, you’ll have company throughout the day. But if you’re a mobile welder you may find yourself working alone a lot, and that’s what a lot of people look forward to. Some trades require teamwork, like installing railings. Others don’t, like plumbing and electrical work.
  4. Do you want to travel with your work, or stick to your hometown? Many people come out of high school dreaming of a career where they get to travel around the world. Others simply love their city or town so much they’d never dream of leaving. If you want to stay where you are then you need to look at what kind of trades flourish in your area. For example if you live in an urban area, you can say goodbye to being a lumberjack. If you live deep in the mainland away from bodies of water, you can say goodbye to underwater welding. But something like underwater welding is perfect for someone who wishes to travel with their work. Other careers enable traveling, too, especially when you become a master at what you do and people abroad seek your services. Being a specialist race-car mechanic who can do what no others can may have you travelling to all kinds of places.

Take the time you need to make sure you answer these questions thoroughly, and you may find that something out there is just right for you! If at the end of this exercise you’re feeling unmotivated and doubtful, learn how to recruit yourself the Bob Allen way!

Not Taking Care of Tools is like Designing Technology to Break Down

Major manufacturers of cars, phones and many other devices are known to release new models of their products every year because they’re hoping customers will see the older models as obsolete and spend more money. Just think of how many times your friends or children go through new I-phones. This is called consumerism, and many products in stores are designed to malfunction over time so that you’re forced to spend more and more money down the road. This is a scary idea to wrap your head around, but it’s true. Car makers make more money by making cars that are NOT built to last, and the sad truth is that this concept can be directly related to our construction tools and the philosophy many of us have about them.

For direct contrast and comparison think of the old pioneers and settlers of America who lived 200 years ago. Did you know hours and hours of work went into the blacksmithing of a single shovel and never would you see one of these pioneers abusing a shovel because he knew he could just buy another one for $10 at the store!

Children today are so used to the idea that its no big deal if something breaks because it can be replaced so easily. In fact, they EXPECT things to break and not last long! I worry about this because today’s consumerism culture is putting a heavy strain on certain resources and also all the malfunctioned junk we replace ends up filling our landfills, which causes further problems for the third world countries that have to deal with our garbage.

Now I don’t want to make this some liberal speech about saving the planet, I just want to make a good comparison between abusing tools and today’s consumerism philosophy because I believe when you buy a tool it should stick in the family. I was raised using all the tools my grandfather used and it just disgusts me to see young men today going through 4 models of the same tool when I’m still using one that’s over 100 years old. I think if the planet could talk it would agree with me when I say today’s consumerism culture is SO WASTEFUL!

So what is my advice? I suggest that when you go to buy tools for yourself or for your children that you spend the extra money to get the best quality tool because then it’ll last forever with a warranty and you’ll end up saving more money down the road when you consider never having to replace it twenty times, and also you can feel good knowing that you’re combating this disgusting philosophy in our society that says “being wasteful is okay.”

I often think about what archaeologists must think about ancient Rome when they’re digging up ridiculous technology we consider obsolete. I think about this because it makes me laugh when I wonder about archaeologists thousands of years from now who dig up all of Canada and America’s garbage and say “Oh my gosh, these cultures were so stupid!” Frankly, I would have to agree with them.

So don’t be one of those blind consumers, and take good care of your tools! Thank you!