Monday, April 21, 2014

Passing A Torch

As we go through the construction process, we are enjoying getting to know Luis and Brandon, the guys whose hard work is making the project move along. We have known Luis for a few years, as he has worked on other projects with us, but Brandon is younger and new to us. Both guys work hard from early morning to late afternoon - they put our more leisurely schedules to shame.

Luis is a single Dad, so he works through lunch each day in order to be home when his three children get home from school. That's Luis above with his crowbar, taking apart our master bathroom. He's the guy in charge.

Brandon, on the other hand, does take a break at lunch and he is one of the few workers we have had in the house who has a true appreciation for the beautiful situation of the house. He pulls over a deck chair at noon, props his feet up on his cooler, and eats his lunch while enjoying the view. We are tickled by his enthusiasm for our neighborhood.

Ron is our contractor, for whom these guys work - we've known him through three previous projects, since the time he worked for a builder named Alex when Ron was learning the ropes of the construction business. Now, Ron has his own thriving business. We have great faith in him and we actually delay our projects until he has time to work with us.

This noon at lunch, we sat in the living room and listened to Luis working away on the bath while Brandon enjoyed his break, and we were struck by the continuity of these guys and their skills. From Alex, who taught Ron, from Ron who taught Luis, and now from Luis, who is teaching Brandon, come building skills, passing from one man to the next through the past 20 or 25 years. This model of apprenticeship is clearly an important one in this profession; the daily watching and seeing how seemingly impossible things are accomplished and the cumulative learning of skills and strategies.

We can imagine that there will be a day when Luis starts his own business, as will Brandon one day. There is a rather beautiful passing of the torch of skill and opportunity going on here before our very eyes.


Blogger Diane said...

Wonderful to have trusted workers, to know their work, and to see them pass along their experience and knowledge. It's a gift I think we too often overlook. Thanks for sharing their stories.

Monday, April 21, 2014  
Blogger Dagny said...

What I also learned about continuity at my old job -- a guy will work his way up until he is one of the folks named on the business's license. With a certain number of years of field experience and a certain number of years of being named on a license, one is then able to get one 's own license without taking the test. I worked with guys who had been in the business for one year to up to over 3o years. And because we sometimes had to sub out work, I got to know some of the folks in other trades. They were all artisans.

Monday, April 21, 2014  
Blogger Greg said...

Hard work rewarded. Sounds like the American dream lives.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Diane, I think so, too - we value "head work" more than "hand work," but hand work is very complex and involved.

Dagny, these guys are like that - artisans who amaze me with their skills.

Greg, I think it does! Yaaay!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014  
Blogger Katie Zeller said...

We haven't hired any workers here in France, but we did in Andorra - they were very interesting... and entertaining LOL Esp. after they had a bit of wine for lunch (Europe, remember) and sang bawdy songs in the afternoon.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Katie, these guys are so sweet that I doubt if they sing bawdy songs, even at home after a hard day's work, but they do have good senses of humor. They love the look of surprise on my face when they cut huge holes in my walls or completely remove a closet while I'm out getting them coffee.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014  

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