6/25/22 (12:59)
  • Driving on the freeway the other day on the way to a job and saw some trouble up ahead. Slowed down and pulled over since it looked there was a recent crash. Jogged over and they were just pulling out one kid (age 8?) from the window. I checked on him and everything seemed okay, just a couple scratches from glass on his hands. Other kid (age 10?) was on the shoulder crying, but he looked okay. Holding his stomach, probably from the seat belt pinching him. The first guy there asked me if I was from around here and I said yes so he gave me his phone and I told the operator where we were so she dispatched CHP. Ran back towards my car to get my first aid kit. I also got the bag of garbage out of the first lane and threw it onto the shoulder - this is apparently what caused the accident...she swerved out of the way of the bag at highway speed and rolled the car over in the process. Gave the mom and smaller kid some band-aids and helped him put it on his fingers. Talked with them a bit and told them they were really lucky and everything would be okay. CHP got there pretty fast and I left once they arrived. Glad it turned out better this time around.

  • 6/24/22 (16:16)

  • Back to a normal level of busy so that's nice. More around the bend, but nothing as crazy as the last couple months. Having a deadline for all those jobs was really the difficult part. When you're working for a homeowner and they just want it done there is more flexibility than working for an agent and homeowner who are expecting it done by a certain date in order to get the house on the market.
  • Edwin is back working with us. After I let him go I asked if he wanted to work with me while he looked for a new job and he said no. (I think out of pride). But later on he said he would like to work this month while he finds a job. I said okay, but 1. he has to pay back what he owes Carlos and me and 2. it would only be for June. His work has been a lot better the last couple weeks so hopefully he's learned how to work and will keep up the effort. Most recently he's said he wants to keep working for me if I will let him. I told him it comes down to him doing a good job. He said he'll give his best effort. So, long story short, he's back on the crew for now and his debts are paid. Showing up and caring about the job you do gets you like 80% of the way there.
  • One thing I've struggled with is how pay raises should work. Do people earn raises just because the cost of living is going up? That makes sense to me. That's historically been about 2% a year if you believe the official numbers. So, what about beyond that? If one guy tries hard and is able to do tile and electrical and plumbing fairly well should he make more than the guy who tries equally hard, but can only do paint and drywall? I can certainly charge more for the first guy. How about if one guy has two kids and the other guy doesn't have any? I think the communist point of view is that everyone is equally deserving despite their abilities so all those guys should get the same wage. I guess I'm too much of capitalist, though, because I think the more you produce the more you get. That's how it works for me as the owner and that's how I think it should work for the employees. In the end, though, this means that low IQ/skill people will invariably get paid less and that just is what it is. I think everyone who contributes to society in a consistent and valuable way should be assured a wage that will take care of all their needs. I think we're advanced enough to be able to make that pledge. The problem is when people take that as "I exist therefore I deserve all these things (and the list of things always seems to grow - food, healthcare, shelter, internet, cell phone, transit, etc.).
  • So, for Edwin, if he continues to put forth the effort then he'll get COLA increases in wage, but probably not much more. He just hasn't been able to learn how to do more complicated stuff. If he studied youtube videos in his spare time then maybe he'd advance, but I don't think he's doing any of that. There's a ceiling for him unless he changes his approach. He'll make a living, but he'll always have to work and probably will never buy a house in this market. Nothing wrong with any of that, imo, but it's the reality of things.
  • Looking into IRA contributions for the guys so we'll see how that goes.

  • 6/7/22 (21:57)

  • Today was as shitty as yesterday. Don't really see an end in sight in terms of getting a hold on the amount of work we have. I could work 12 hours a day for 6 days a week and still wouldn't catch up...I know because that's what I've been doing. Put some feelers out to see if anyone knows anyone looking for work and nothing real promising so far.

  • 6/6/22 (21:37)

  • Zoe's birthday, but otherwise was a pretty difficult day.
  • Been swamped with more work than we can handle and it's just impossible to help everyone out. Lots of big jobs and now lots of little jobs are piling up. One of the more annoying things is when we have a big job and the people hiring us say it requires items 1-15...over the course of the next few weeks we accomplish all 15 items and then, close to completion, or after completion, they add items 16-20. It happens all the time and I don't know how to avoid it. Since we have so much work going on it creates an issue because we're supposed to be done with that job and moving onto the next one, but we can't because we're kinda locked into the old job even though the original scope has been completed. New and old customers alike don't understand how to define the total scope up front and stick to it. Part of the problem is that often there will be new decision makers entering the process as the project progresses. It depends upon the project, but let's say for a commercial or residential rental, the realtor or property manager will say we want items 1-10 completed and as we are working on items 9 and 10 the leasing manager will stop by and she adds items 11 and 12. Then the unit goes on the market and as more people come through (including the business/individual who ends up renting the place), items 13-16 will get added. So, a 10 item job turns into a 16 item job. Items 11-16 might be a lot smaller and yet somehow more annoying than all the other previous items, as well. This shit drives me nuts to no end. So inefficient.
  • Last week I told the guys we'll work Memorial Day. Edwin told me at the night before that his car isn't working so he can't work. So, the rest of the week I set him up working with his brother so he could get a ride. He had all week to get his car fixed and taken care of. He said he would work Saturday so I told him where to go Saturday. Friday night at almost 10p he tells me he can't work Saturday because his car is getting work done and someone wants to buy it. I told him he should find another job. 3 years he's been working for me, borrowing money from me all the time, ruining my tools, losing materials, etc. and I just couldn't deal with it anymore. He's a nice guy, but his work ethic is crap and he takes the job for granted so I'm done working with him. Made me sad to do it, but I think it's been a long time coming.
  • I've had to let a few people go and it's never a fun thing to do, but it's just the nature of business. It's amazing to me that showing up ready to work is so difficult for so many people.
  • I talked to Jesus about it and he told me he was upset with Edwin for not taking care of his job. He told Edwin that he has a good job and should take care of it. I don't want to toot my own horn, but I think I'm pretty easy to have as a boss. I teach things as needed. I expect you to show up and work. I almost never keep guys overtime and always pay if I do. I never make guys pay for breaking shit or messing things up. I always keep them busy, even if it means paying them to work on my house. I give no interest loans without any issue. I gave Edwin budget advice and offered to go over his budget line by line if he wanted (since he always had to borrow money). I do expect people to show up as close to 100% of the time as possible. I do expect people to stay busy (no standing around watching others work). I do expect you to follow the directions I give (especially after the 10th time).
  • So, we're super busy and we're down one man now. I also had Eli (Edwin's nephew) working for us. I told him about two weeks ago that I had at least a month's worth of work for him because he asked how much work I could give him. He doesn't have a car so I planned on having him work with people who could give him a ride, instead of plugging him in wherever it was most convenient for me. Early on I said I would also be willing to lend him some money so that he could get a car if that's something he wanted. A couple weeks later he asked how much I would lend him and I asked if he had a car in mind. He said no, but he was thinking $5-10k. I said maybe I could help with $3k. "if you make $1k/week then it would take you 10 weeks just to pay me back even if you didn't spend any money." He had been working with me about 3 weeks at this time...I just don't get it. At any rate, the next week we are working and he shows me that his phone is broken and he asks where we will work tomorrow because he doesn't think his phone will be working. I tell him which job we'll be at and I'll see you tomorrow. He never shows up. Two weeks later he texts me from a different phone number and asks if I have any work for him. I tell him no.
  • Two weeks ago I had 2 guys more than I have today. Time to hire.
  • I just don't understand.
  • I remember working at the library in college and there was a supervisor position open. A promotion from my clerk job, it paid like $0.50/hr more or something and it meant you were responsible for closing (iirc). I applied and had an interview scheduled. I slept in and totally forgot about it. Got a call from my manager and she asked what happened. I told her I forgot about it and was sorry...could I reschedule? She said no. I felt bad. Stayed at the job and a while later the position opened up again and so I got another bite at the apple. Applied, scheduled interview, got the job the second time around. It was good that she didn't let me reschedule the first time around. People don't learn unless it's painful. Or, at least, pain teaches lessons quickest.
  • Speaking of painful lessons...Did some kitchen demo taking out the tile floor in a kitchen in a vacant home. Moved the appliances out of the room and into the adjacent dining room. Turn off the valve for the ice maker line and the sink faucet. Keeps dripping a bit so I cap the valve for the sink faucet, put the ice maker hose in a bucket, and turn off the water at the main. Come back a few days later and water is everywhere in the kitchen. Turn on the fan and clean up the water. Open the hose bib and let water out. This time the hose bib is left on so the extra water (which is apparently getting by the main valve) can just leak out at the lowest point. Someone apparently sees the hose bib dripping and closes it. Come back a few days alter and water is everywhere in the kitchen again. This time I see that the adjacent laminate flooring has soaked up some of the water and is damaged beyond repair. Did it get damaged the first time and I didn't notice? No idea, but the effect is the same.
  • I had the flooring guy come by today and he says getting this flooring is a needle in a haystack. Best option is to steal some from bedroom and put it in the dining room and we'll redo the entire bedroom with best possible match. This will cost me thousands. I turned off the local valves. I capped the valve. I put the other line in a bucket. I turned off the water. The second time around I even left the hose bibb on to let all the extra water go out...none of this was sufficient and now I'll pay through the nose for it. Not worth involving insurance (basically never is).
  • What should I have done instead? Well, the first day when I left i was in a hurry to get to the dump before they closed. I should have gone all the way back to the jobsite (on a Saturday night) and replaced the valves or capped them more thoroughly. I should have worked 75 hours that week instead of 72. I don't know. It's a hard knock life I guess.
  • There's been some buzz around the question "what is a woman?" There's a documentary out, and when Ketanji Brown Jackson said she couldn't define a woman because she wasn't a Biologist it kinda put some wind in the sails of the whole issue. This is where people just can't get out of their own way. If the Left would just answer the question like normal people then it wouldn't be an issue. Instead, they insist on "being inclusive" (a good impulse) and it is to their detriment when being inclusive means not being able to answer a question that 99% of the world has no issue answering in a straightforward manner.
  • Some return to sanity from the extremes holding the two dominant political parties hostage would be nice.
  • I was driving down E. 12th street the other day and within about two minutes I came across an absolute parade of shit that you would normally only see in a post-apocalyptic film. First the usual stuff lined the streets - graffiti, burned out cars, cars on bricks because all their wheels were stolen, cars with missing engines, RVs being lived in by multiple people, RVs with makeshift plywood walls on top of the actual roof in order to create a second floor, etc. Then, as I drive down the wide 4 lane road there are 2 cars going in the opposite direction that have stopped in the middle of the road to talk to each other while blocking traffic. Then several seconds ahead there's a head on collision where people are milling about and no emergency personnel on site. Then another few blocks ahead and there's a shitty beat up truck that has lost its load of cardboard in the middle of the street. I have not embellished this at all. This was an actual drive I took down the street the other day and it was a glorious window into the realities of modern city living.
  • BTW, why are the people who salvage cardboard for $ almost always asian?

  • Tried fixing the drop down archive menu by reverting to and old copy and it didn't work. So...javascript no longer supported I guess. Tried Microsoft edge and it works. Chrome and it doesn't. Must be another "upgrade."