Friday, March 18, 2011

Some Things They Don't Teach in School

The last few days I've worked really hard. I'm not whining, just stating a fact. The final stage of construction kicked off Thursday and the work that had to be done was not glamorous.
Our house is almost 30 years old and our back deck is at least 25. It wasn't built right and each time it rained, water flowed, not off the deck, but back toward the foundation.
I knew there were problems with the sills because the deck was sagging a little. I didn't know how bad it was until we began work. The frame of the deck was good so we decided to tear the the top boards off, move the frame away from the house, repair the foundation, and then reattach the deck, and replace the walking surface of the deck.
I wasn't looking forward to this part because the piers on which the front of the deck was anchored, were sunken several feet into the ground with concrete poured around the posts. Digging them up would take hours.
As I was collecting the shovels and other equipment needed to dig the piers out, my old carpenter said, "I have an idea. Why don't we use the house jacks and jack the piers out?"
Within twenty minutes, the piers were out of the ground and were were replacing sills in the foundation of the house.
My carpenter is 70 years old and quit school in about the fifth grade. Many would say he was uneducated, and they would be right -- but being uneducated does not mean he isn't smart. In fact, since we've been working together these last few weeks, I've realized that he's very smart.
There are some things they don't teach in school. Advanced problem solving is a valuable skill, and I've known a lot of educated people who couldn't solve a simple life problem with a ream of research and a team of computer programmers.
Anyhow, we should be through with the construction within the next few days and after that, Jilda and I will dive into cleaning and decorating the creative space. We're both excited.
I hope you all have a great weekend.


  1. Give me a common sense person every time! Glad it all worked out and I hope you and Jilda have a great weekend too!

  2. Hopefully he's passed his trove of knowledge and craftsmanship on to the younger generation.

  3. Sounds like you have a very knowledgeable carpenter there. Home improvement always is a pain.

  4. Rick...I never went to college and I quit HS at 16. I worked my way up to management and flourished. It was my calling. Common sense and an ability to see the big picture were my skills. Also knowing how to handle people. I ran rings around all the college educated managers I worked with. It always amazed me. This friend of yours sounds like a gem and reminds me of my Dad because he too quit school, fought the war, raised 5 kids and was a woodworker in his spare time. There was nothing he couldn't look at and make. Our home was beautiful and our yard was perfectly landscaped. Somethings just can't be taught in school is right!!

  5. There is certainly something to be said for life experience. I find that some highly educated people may have degrees behind their names but have no common sense.

  6. My goodness, your creative space is fast gathering momentum!! How exciting!!!! And yay for your brilliant carpenter - 70 years young and smart and wise and practical - more so than most people I know!!!

    Enjoy your weekend too!! Take care

  7. So true. I've known people like your carpenter. Enjoy the weekend.

  8. Sounds like something my dad would have done. He once moved an old upright piano out of his house and onto a horse trailer to take it from AZ to MO. He did it by himself using chains and a backhoe. The piano wasn't pretty when it was over, but he got the job done! :)


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