Roger Marolt: A little-too-odd job
Here’s a dilemma: How do you made an odd job make sense?
Dear Ask Ann,
I have a dilemma regarding my wife and friend. I will call my friend “Bill,” because that’s what he goes by, but I bet it’s really “William.” I would like to know your opinion on this, but that will be a topic for another letter, which I will send next week. I hope you got the others. I will call my wife “my wife” to protect her identity.
Anyway, I barely know where to begin — but don’t worry, I will anyway. First of all, Bill is my neighbor in the small town of Snowmass Village, Colorado. You never know what he wants when he walks in your door. He still acts like a Minnesotan even though he has lived here almost 50 years. He loves talking and beer. He is also the HOA president and I always get the feeling he is checking out our place for violations. He stole the job from me years ago, but hey, I don’t hold grudges.
I have a strategy to control conversations with him. He is a builder and so I keep a list of things that need to be done around our house and I throw projects at him before he has time to settle onto a stool at our kitchen counter. The downside is that this gets him looking around at some of my DIY improvements, which he loves to laugh at.
But this isn’t the problem for today, either. Details for that will come in yet another letter to you. I will be sending a “save the date” note beforehand, so you can set some time aside to give it your full attention. By the way, I assume you are compiling all my letters to answer in a new book. I can’t wait!
At any rate, the problem today is not that Bill takes on most of the projects. It’s that my wife enjoys doing them with him!
I noticed this a few years ago when we redid a bathroom. I thought he would take care of everything, but she jumped in and started picking out tile and fixtures and such. He encouraged her input, sharing ideas and design options of his own. Sure, they invited me to talk about these things, but to be honest, I felt like a plumber without a plunger on those occasions.
Anyway, I didn’t think too much more about this, then a couple of weeks ago Bill and his wife (name not given to protect the innocent) joined me and my wife at a mountain cabin to winterize it. One of the chores was to dig out the well.
Here is where it gets kind of weird: Both Bill and my wife seemed to enjoy the project from the start! I admit the weather was perfect out there with the stunningly beautiful mountains surrounding us. Honestly, we all enjoyed it. We also ended up repairing the chimney, getting the shower house functional, washing the windows and basically making the place look better than it has in years. It was satisfying, no doubt, but still work after all.
I tried to put this idea of “fun work” out of my mind. I suggested a bushwhacking hike through the quagmire to nowhere to match my mood. We actually stumbled upon parts from an old airplane that must have crashed there decades ago. We took a group selfie in front of some mining ruins. We found an abandoned (or forgotten) hammock in the middle of nowhere that was creepy, to say the least. It worked to take my mind off things.
I thought my wife’s enthusiasm for doing projects with Bill was behind us. Then, this past weekend, we were sitting around drinking coffee and the two of them decided it was a good morning to hook up the ice maker on our new fridge. To make a long story short, they sent me to the hardware store for parts while they “got started.”
Well, lo and behold, when I got back the kitchen was a mess, sawdust, tools and empty coffee cups everywhere. In the middle of the chaos, Bill and my wife were on the floor, one under the sink and the other behind the stove stringing a chord to pull the flexible water line through. My jaw dropped!
I think you can see where I’m heading here. Obviously Bill and my wife have no intention of ending these projects together. My question to you is this: How do we turn it into a profitable business?
Roger Marolt loves living in a small town and good neighborhood with no fences. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.