1. Your friend works at a call center. You think, with a roll of your eyes, 'Her job is so easy! All she does is answer the phone all day and transfer the calls. How hard is that?'
2. Your father comes home exhausted. You can't understand why, he's just an electrician! Despite the risks in his career, you don't think it's particularly physical. You think, 'All he does is connect wires all day, what's so physical about that?'
3. Your sister is complaining to you about her day; she's a stay at home mom of three kids under the age of ten. You work over 40 hours, have 2 kids in school, and have to drive over 30 minutes to and from work. You think, 'Why the heck is she complaining? She is so lucky she gets to stay home and play all day. I'd never complain if I got to stay home all day!'
1. She may have to answer incoming calls from irate customers. Listening to angry or irate people all day can take quite a toll on a person, especially when the nature of the call has absolutely nothing to do with them and they're helpless to resolve it.
2. Your father may have a risky job, but being an electrician is also very physical work. They sometimes have to climb limbs or telephone poles, crawl into wall areas and tight spaces, go into the bowels of a home where most people have never even been just to tie lines or replace wires. They're going up and down stairs, across long distances in the woods (to get to power lines), and trekking up hills etc. Not physical? I beg to differ.
3. Your sister may be a stay at home mom, but she never gets a break. She never gets to leave her 'job' and clear her head, she's constantly on duty - sometimes even when the children are asleep. There's a house to clean, vehicles to tend to, and more than likely a pet or two. Stay at home moms are working a full time job, all the time. They don't even have the luxury of a 30 minute car ride home to de-stress.
Now on to my story and hopefully the point of this blog:
My cousin owns a flooring company. He installs flooring of all types and also does custom work (sanding, waxing, etc). I'm sure he does other things too, but we'll just leave it at that for now. My understanding of his job was; he stands behind a machine that does all the work. I thought, how hard can that be?
Back in 2009, my husband and I bought our first home. A 3-family fixer-upper in the heart of a city. It's a very old house, built in 1875. It has a large three-bedroom apartment on the first floor and 2 one-bedroom apartments on the second floor. My husband (with some help from his brother and a few of his friends) has pretty much given the house an overhaul. Custom ceilings and trim, new walls, and other updates that has made the inside of the house look fantastic. He has truly brought back the essence of old house. While the outside, at this time, is to be desired, the inside is truly coming into it's style.
When we first moved in, the living room and bedrooms all had old carpeting. When I say 'old carpeting' I mean old, like crumbling and disgusting. With the help of his father, my husband pulled up all the carpeting, with the exception our living room. That carpet was in so-so condition, and could last a year or two. By hand, my husband scraped and washed the bedroom floors bringing them to an illustrious shine. He did a fabulous job! But we still had the upstairs apartments to do, and we had our living room to do, eventually.
He decided last week that we were going to do the floors, and that he was going to rent a floor sander to make things a little easier on himself, rather than doing everything by hand. He had been a general carpenter for over 10 years, so he knew what he was doing. I was totally behind him all the way, despite suggesting my cousin's flooring company. With money being tight and family politics (not wanting to cause any troubles should the service be or not be what we expect), we opted to do it ourselves. My thinking . . . the machine does all the work, how hard can it possibly be. We'll have all 7 rooms done in no time (7 as in our son's room, our bedroom, the upstairs bedroom, upstairs living room, our living room and back hallway).
Well, we started by going to Lowe's at 7 am to rent a floor sander and edger, but when we got there (despite my calling the night before to ask if they had a sander available, and their 'YES' response) we found out they didn't have one (the girl thought they had 2, but I guess they only had 1 and it hadn't been returned from the night before). I had called Home Depot in another town the night before also (30 minutes away from us as the local HD didn't have a tool rental area), and they were really rude and talked down to me when I asked questions about pricing and availability, so we decided against using them (and they were $10 more a day than Lowe's).
Because Lowe's didn't have a sander, my husband and I stared at each other for a second wondering what we were going to do. Our children were already at their great-grandmother's house for the weekend so that we could do this project, and we didn't want to tuck our tails between our legs, giving up. So we drove. My husband knew of a tool rental place on Rt 44 and he figured we could try there, in hopes their pricing wouldn't be too much. While driving, we came up on a Taylor Rental. My husband was surprised because he had thought they went out of business, so he pulled over having had decent experiences with this company in the past. At last, we found a place to rent a floor sander - we would get this project done in one weekend!
We loaded up the two sanders, a orbital sander and an edger, and we headed home to begin our home update adventure. We bought masks, and tape, and plastic at Lowe's, and were prepared and ready!
About two hours into the job, my husband turned off the orbital sander and surveyed the small area he'd been working on. Unfortunately the area didn't show much improvement, and quite frankly, it looked as though nothing had been done. It was nearing noon and we only have a small portion of the edging done as well. My husband decided we needed a more heavy duty machine. He suggested we break for lunch and call the rental company for a better sander.
By 1:30 we were rearing to go again and what an improvement! Within 10 minutes we saw a huge difference. My husband decided to let me try and what a mistake! In order to get the sander to work properly, you need to not only squat (which is a huge strain on your leg muscles), you also have to lift up on the handle (which is a huge strain on your arm, stomach and back muscles).
My belief that 'all you do is walk behind the machine' went completely out the window. I was, and still am, aching in places I've never ached in my entire life. I was literally toast by 5 pm and I didn't want to continue when we finished our living room . My husband wanted to go upstairs and do the 'easy' rooms. Little to say we stopped at 10 pm on Saturday, and started once again at 7 on Sunday. We got 4 out of the 7 rooms done, and the majority of it was done by my husband all by himself because I had to pick up our children and take one of them to a classmate's birthday party.
The fruit of our labor is in the picture above . . . while you all may think it looks lovely, I will forever look at my floor and want to crawl into a corner and rock in the fetal position.