I've always been a firm believer in the saying "You are what you're supposed to be!" What that means is no sense going around complaining that you should have stayed in school, or made that investment when it was offered, because if it were meant to be, then it would have happened...kinda like wondering if you should have taken that left instead of the right!
Now, I'm a little more relaxed in my beliefs concerning pre-ordained destiny, because this year George the bike guy, which I am definitely supposed to be, semi-morphed into George the "General Contractor!" This new title has a tendency to be a bit misleading, in that when the word "General" is used, it mostly denotes some sort of hardened leadership. That being said, I have once again, later in life, been proved so wrong as I walk around trying to ignore everyone pointing their collective fingers at me saying "there goes George, the "Private" contractor"...I've been demoted, having disgraced the very position I hoped to excel in!
I have been forced to wear many hats in this new position, most notably, the tardy clean up crew hat! What that means is after each and every contractor finishes their job, leaving excess mess behind, I am expected to get in there and clean it up before the next crew comes in, and leaves their mess behind. Who knew I needed to get the extra siding out of the way so the insulators could leave their excess insulation behind, covering the millions of roofing nails on the ground littered with the roofing shingles that no one wants, along side the rain drenched sheetrock splatted with ladle sized gobs of joint compound that I was supposed to clean up yesterday! The extra duct work that now houses that giant wasp nest shoved into the spackle buckets that inadvertantly got shoved inside the empty cardboard boxes should have been taken to the dump...who knew?
When asked why one job has not been completed so the next guy can come in and not complete their job, if they even show up when promised, all I'm able to do is weakly declare that I will make a phone call. It has become my responsibility to find out why said contactor is running around with my check in his wallet and finding easy side jobs to work, all the while blaming the weatherman having declared there was a 25% chance of rain that day!
Since I took on the job of "General Contractor" I have relegated myself to what is commonly known as "contractor's liability diet". I am bound by mere virtue of my position, and limited time to consume as much beer, pizza, and wings as is humanly possible, all the while keeping the suppliers within a 2 mile radius. Normally, this would be considered beneficial in that with the increase in empty calories, and accumulated weight gain, I would become more jolly. We all know it's a proven fact that the heavier you are, the more fun you are to be around. The down side to this theory is that my ability to move about the site, and bend down without kicking my leg out like a dog marking it's territory, has greatly decreased. Thankfully, the local hardware store still sells those broom handles with a nail at the end...pass me another slice, will ya!
The upside to this whole project, and new position is I am doing my very best to spend my money locally, and not frugally as has been sternly suggested. I go around throwing a smoking debit card around like a sideshow cowboy spinning a waxed lasso. The local beer distributor stands by the window watching for my truck, and when I pull in the lot, he runs behind the counter to hide the travel brochures that have the print of Dark Horse on them. How many dusty bottles of micro brew does it take to fly one to Cabo Wabo I wonder? I'll have to run that past Sammy Hagar as soon as the building is complete.
The local pizzeria, to the best of my knowledge, has designated one of their girls to be my pizza lady just so there's no confusion as to my order...they know just the way I like my 2 dozen hot wings. I have even learned to share with the workers on the job, as long as there's no objection to six types of meat on one slice...all that protein only serves to keep one's strength up.
I've become something of a minor celebrity at the hardware store as well. I like going there because no matter what you buy from sandpaper, to nails, to propane cyclinders, they give you a couple of those little wooden paint stirrers which we all know make for great sword fights after consuming a couple of beers!
The only place I've been made to feel unwelcome is at my local bank. Before I started the project I was treated like royalty with a bloated checkbook. Now, the tellers turn their backs on me, and have even begun charging me for deposit and withdrawal slips...is that even legal? I never knew an anemic checking account could promote such a drastic personality swing. I did notice when my builder walks in, they pour his coffee for him, and even filled out his deposit slip. That kind of treatment is now a fading memory for me, but rest assured, this 'General" shall return!
Any way, we are almost done. I've done a pretty decent job of keeping things going smoothly, but I know in my heart, this is not what I was meant to be. It's allright to try different things in life as long as you don't lose focus as to where you really belong. It won't be long till I'm in the new shop fixing bikes, and trying to figure out where all the money really went. Who knew that once the pharse "commercial building" came out of the "General's" mouth, that labor automatically doubled along with quadrupled application fees. Must not have been in what I said, but how!
I won't soon forget those who helped, and especially, those who hindered me in the last 4 months. I also won't ever forget the exact moment I decided to reach for the brass ring when most guys my age are discussing retirement...this new place will be my retirement, and no amount of discussion could possibly convey the pride I am feeling, albeit a tired pride for sure.
I can only hope that once I turn the key on the very first day, should I accidentally drop it, I don't have to look for that nail tipped broom handle that is buried somewhere in the shed, and forever buried in the memories of when I became something that I wasn't supposed to be...Goodbye "General"...hello "Bike Guy!"
"Yours not yet in debter's prison" George