I Love It When It All Comes Together


In the still of the morning air a breeze would stir letting you know fall is trying to be here, but can’t quite get it’s act together yet. All is quiet except for the cars racing down the feeder road in a grand hurry to get somewhere ten seconds in front of the other guy. And then, this is a big and then too, the first concrete truck arrives, ready to begin the pour. I was taken back, back to when I was doing predawn concrete pours with my dad, back in the day so to say, and I was reminded how exciting pour days really are.  I realized then I was home again, being involved in construction, knowing that this was the job I had been waiting for, knowing that I had missed being away. One day I need to take some time and tell that story, but not today, today is about present time, and how one more step in this process has been completed. So, yes, I’m very excited it is done, that the day is done, and tomorrow we press forward just a little bit more with progress. Right now I need a nap, so I will post more tonight.

Get Ready! Get Set! Let’s Gooooooooo!


Most people would frown upon having to be at work before the ass-crack of dawn, but not me. This is my time, this is the time I know that all the people working 9-5 during the week are still curled up in their beds, dreading leaving the comforts they have been enjoying all night long. But that’s not me, I’m the person who roams my house at 3:30 a.m. because I’m plain done sleeping. Regardless if I must go to work or not, I’m up, I’ve always been like this, it’s just the way I’m wired I guess. As I roamed the job site I’m at this morning, in the calm of the morning, still dark, it gave me time to review this past week. As I have mentioned, I have started back to work luckily. With my back to it, I feel the sun beginning to break through the treeline, beginning to become visible over the horizon, peeking through the trees, over the buildings, and of course the power lines which litter the view in any direction one looks. Of course, me being me, me being the one who still likes to meet the sunrise which greets me good morning, needs to grab a picture.


I have missed very few sunrises in my lifetime, and I have a feeling that won’t change. As I took the second picture I could hear my mother whispering in my ear not to look directly into the sun, then I clicked the picture. What can one more picture with me looking directly into a sunrise hurt, right? As I walked the job site, earbuds in, metal cranked up, I saw the overall picture with the changes that had occurred after my departure the evening before. In many ways, I felt a sigh of relief come over me, because it meant that quite possibly that there would have to be very little ass scrambling happening since there is a great deal which must happen today, as smooth as humanly possible, so concrete can be poured first thing Monday morning. I had said I would get into my new job after a few days, lucky you, today is that day, however, there still isn’t much to say, because I’m in training, I’m studying, I’m learning, and luckily for me, remembering things I never even knew that I knew. Don’t get me wrong, I’m learning more that my memory has served me, but combining the two elements has been making my transition easier for me. Whether or not that serves true with my new boss I can’t say, I probably have been frustrating the shit out if him with all of my questions, he has allot on his plate, which he just chews up, only spitting back the plate.


Hopefully I don’t say all of this wrong, but I will try to explain my new job and the eventual role I will be in. I found quickly that much to do with the commercial construction is about a person’s title, not necessarily one’s actual experience. But then you could have my boss, who comes with many, many years of experience, but still has a title. His experience shows through and is reflected in how he works. He offers perfection, and demands one put out their own perfection, he commands this without asking, which is a great way to learn for me personally, to be mentored in a fashion that is well above “industry standard”. He is a rare breed and he makes coming to work interesting. There are many hours of the day that I spend in what I will call ” observation, collection, and absorption”, because that is part of how I learn. What better way to learn, right or wrong, good or bad, people working at their specific trade. Again, luckily for me, I spent many years working for and with my dad, before he retired, as a residential concrete contractor. To my advantage, for a great deal of what is going on right now, I know what they are doing and the concept of what they are trying to accomplish with concrete. I remember the early days when I was part of the crew, the labor, which is how my own dad taught, which was hands on. One does not know the skill of a shovel in the right hands, one cannot respect a person which the shovel if you have never done what he had done. I spent many years with a shovel in my hands, setting forms, moving concrete, and helping turn a once vacant lot into a home for a family to live. Of course, later in life, after the Air Force, my role did change in the family business, where I had the opportunity to get my feet wet on the management and supervisory side of the concrete contractor business. Those lessons, not what I have learned in school, are lessons that serve me well now, because I am being refreshed in how psychology and the stroking of egos is just as important as raising hell when something is all fucked up. I have missed the construction industry since I’ve been out of it, its great to be given the opportunities to get back in the saddle again.


In the end, for now, I’m just the new white guy on the job site. Learning and absorbing as much as I can comprehend to build myself a knowledge base which can only benefit me as time progresses, nobody wants to have dumb employees now do they. Plus, for the second time in my life now, here is a job which involves so much more than just being a mindless zombie laboror. Eventhough I never minded the mindless monkey work because it was work and it paid the bills on time. As time progresses over the next few months I will update everyone as to how my chosen path is going. In reality, the “job” chose me, as I’m very lucky that for probably the first time in a very long time, I was in the right place at the right time to accept this outstanding opportunity. Plus, bonus here people, financially it couldn’t have been more perfect timing. I owe a debt of gratitude to the man who set it in motion and even more to the man who has given me an opportunity not to just have a job, but to have an outfuckingstanding job. Can y’all tell I’m happy? I can tell, it feels great. And now I close with a great selfie, have a great day.


Our Jobs As Teenagers


My 17 y/o daughter and I had an interesting conversation over the holiday break which sparked my daughter’s interest into looking at what other teens make per hour at their part-time jobs. I tried to explain to her that she was very lucky making $10 per hour as well as only having to work 20 hours a week. She is actually pretty damn lucky because her part-time job is working at the church daycare as a teacher’s aide. She has had this job for a little over a year and half. She has never had to work at a fast food place or a place of retail so she knows nothing about how it actually is in a real marketplace for employment. She is lucky in other ways as well, like every bit of the money she earns is only earmarked for things she wishes to spend it on. She has no bills with the exception of putting fuel in her truck. In my opinion, knowing how I grew up, she is extremely lucky she can spend her paychecks as she pleases. She is smart with her money to a degree, she always puts some away in her saving account. She has a hard time comprehending that “most” teens her age with a part-time job are only making $7.25 per hour and work in less than ideal conditions sometimes.

She says I was lucky as I explained to her what I did for money when I was a teen. I made what I thought was decent money at the time back in 1983 because that is when I really started getting paid. I worked with my dad who was a concrete contractor for many years before for basically spending money but never anything to save. I learned many skills working with him that I still value to this day. I was never afraid to bust my ass working in the Houston heat & humidity and not see a dime for my efforts. When I needed money all I had to do is ask, well, most of the time. As the summer between 8th and 9th grade approached I had already obtained my driver’s license, I already had a truck (rebuilt from parts from the junkyard where I found it), I was dating, and all I needed was a part-time job to pay for all the things I wanted to do. Back in 1983 the state minimum wage was $3.35 or something like that per hour. Where I lived teens had a limited choice to part-time employment like working at a fast food place, the theatre (an old singleplex), the car wash, a grocery store, or out on the farms and ranches. My dad offered up $700.00 per month cash (over the summer) to keep working with him and when school started back up it was going to be $350.00 a month cash. Doesn’t seem like much by todays prices, but back then the money would last me a long time. So, no, I never had to go get a minimum wage job while in high school.

The conversation evolved back to today and the struggles over the minimum wages at fast food places. This is where I was told my asshole side came out to play. My daughter wanted to agree with the fight, the fight to change paying employees at least $15.00 to flip burgers, get my order wrong, and waste my damn time. Oh, wait, the money paid isn’t supposed to reflect the quality of service you receive now is it. More money does not mean the skill level and caring just went up. I think it’s a joke. And, no, I don’t know the struggles of the people working in that industry or any other for that matter. Plus, I’m not a fast food eater, mostly because I hate paying for shitty service, shitty attitude, and shitty food. No, you may not argue that everything would be better if these poor mistreated people made more money. You’ll never be able to convince me that paying $15.00 per hour will make the fast food experience better for the customer, and if you believe that bullshit it might be time to re-evaluate your past dining experiences. People, in general, want everything handed to them while they provide little or no effort. Why no, right? Society has been moving in this direction for many years, right? We are victims of our own bullshit, right? Wrong! Get a job, work your ass off, work your way up, try harder than the next person, and stamp out your place in this fucking society as a person that has something to offer back besides an open hand waiting for something to dropped into it. What ever happened to “earning a living” or “working hard” or “getting a job”? They don’t exist, people just sit on the couch and wait for the government check.

I sound a little bitter don’t I? Or do I? Don’t mistake my honesty about all of this for being bitter, just consider that I’m real tired of all the people who complain but are not willing to get a damn job and when they get a job for unskilled labor they complain that they are not paid enough. I can speak for where I live locally and the teens don’t want to work. The ones that do are not doing it for weekend cash they are doing it to help support their household. Those who aren’t teens, what should they be paid? Good question since working at a fast food place is still considered being unskilled labor. I don’t know anymore, it seems, at least on the surface, that the debate will continue about minimum wage, especially in the fast food industry. I guess people are no longer happy with the opportunity to merely have a job and unfortunately in our society there is an actual need for an unskilled labor force. If people want better for themselves then they need to better prepare themselves to be in a different job market that earns more money, not ask it to be handed to them like it is today in the here and now.

So, what should be the wages, the limitations, and the requirements? Hell, I’m in my mid-40s and had to have a second full-time job to make ends meet, and that is with a wife who is employed full-time. I didn’t know all I needed to do was whine a little and it would all be handed to me with no effort on my part. This is the world we live in, everything isn’t equal and nor should it be equal because we all don’t offer equal qualifications and/or work ethics. Be assured that the government will be forced to increase the minimum wage because of all the political pressure that is currently being applied. And, sadly, when the enablers get their way, we as a society, will once again take a few steps backwards. Where does the extra money come from? The consumer will be having the wage increase passed on to him/her through everything they purchase which is soon going to mean that what I make an hour won’t be enough, according to the same standards. Yea, I know, I can speak until I’m blue in the face and still get told I have absolutely no argument. Well, this has been my opinion and I think it will be a giant mistake and the people being served at the local fast food restaurant and at other places which use unskilled labor will soon be seeing a cost increase because the labor still has to be paid for by employers.

Where do we go from here? In my personal opinion, I think that this will just be another nail in the coffin for any business, large or small, here in the United States. Many places already operate on a shoestring budget just to keep the doors open and make some profit after paying the bills. Your right, fuck ’em. Why should I care what people are getting paid. Part of me thinks about the amount of blood, sweat, and tears it took me to get where I am at today. Part of me dislikes it when anything is just handed over to those who are not willing to earn it. I was raised different from that, I was raised in a manner that made me realize I needed to be able to provide something in exchange for compensation. I raise my own children the same way and not look for the free ride. Hopefully I’m alone in the way I raise my kids because if so then this next generation of people entering the workforce are truly fucked. I wonder what would be dropped in my open hand being a white male, 45, skilled, educated, and currently employed. Anything extra for me? I didn’t think so. But I already knew this fact. Anyway, as a society in the United States, we keep throwing money into the burning caldron, before long the people like myself that actually have to earn a living will be out of money and there will be no help, there will be only dust in the bankrupt coffers. Too melodramatic?

I never wanted to be a millionaire, I still don’t want to be a millionaire, and I doubt I will ever want to be a millionaire. Why? I like my life and the people in it. We work hard for what we earn and live a lifestyle which has been great for all of us, all too much money will do is corrupt what we consider to be perfect. Y’all may think one’s life revolves around money, I used to think the same way, but when you have nothing it always brings a smile to your face when you can put a little aside for a rainy day. I’m not saying the minimum wage is accurate, but I’m not the judge of that either, and it is called “minimum” for a reason. The only place people can go when they are on the bottom is up, many people acknowledge that the journey will be long and hard, others prefer to demand something without offering anything more in return. As much as we would all like to think we are worth our weight in gold, the reality is that if we were then we would no longer have value. I’ll leave it up to y’all because y’all should make your own decisions based on your individual opinions. The minimum wage is out of the hands of the “people” and will always be decided by politicians who take only their status into consideration. Fuck it, roll the dice. I hope everyone gets what they are expecting.