Monday, November 5, 2012

Craftsmen, Artist and Plumbing

The work began here...
The slow leak behind the kitchen sink went undetected for years. Then it got a bucket under it that had to be emptied for a couple years. Slowly but surely the damage to the cabinet, the hassle of the bucket and the smell of the mold and mayhem that was being created behind and below the cabinet took its toll. We had to do something, and we had to do it fast. Family from each side was coming in town for the wedding, and we were hosting.

Our home was built in the early ‘70s, and it is solid. The cabinets are well made of solid quality pine plywood. The plumbing is cast iron, galvanized and copper. The a/c is solid sheet metal duct work, and the electrical is good copper wiring. The slab is solid and has never moved an inch nor caused any problems.

The place was pretty beat up when we got it some 20 plus years ago. It was a foreclosure that had not been loved on for years. Tall grass and weeds grew thick between and around the chicken pens and t-post fencing that crisscrossed in every direction. An old dump truck sat abandoned in the front yard.

At the time, when I found the house, I was a single dad. I loved working in the yard, teaching my son to use the tools of the trades. My wife tells the story of how when she first came over to visit and pulled up into the driveway she thought to herself, "I could live here." Dreams do come true.

So a month ago I began to tear the kitchen apart. Each piece of sheetrock, each piece of old paneling revealed another item that had to be added to the list. I began to feel overwhelmed and fearful I would not have it at least usable by the time family started to arrive. Why did I start this? How am I going to fix that? Who can help me rework those? Anxious thoughts rolled around inside my head every moment.

Then I remembered to stop and pray. I have done it before on renovation projects. Lord, please help me to understand the mechanics of this or how to make that cut with the mitre saw. Then He reintroduced me to a dear friend I had not seen in years. When my friend, who is a contractor, heard I was working on the kitchen and needed help, he told me he would have his guys call me. It was only minutes before a plumber called, then an A/C contractor, an electrician and a sheetrock guy.

All of them could come right over; all of them could help right away. First of all, that is a God thing right there. They began to get the things done that I thought would never be finished. Each day another task completed. They were good, real good. To find a craftsman, any type, that can get on something right away, or even more exactly when you need them, is only possible with God.

The art of the craftsman is sometimes lost, and the importance of a trained plumber or carpenter is overlooked by society too often. Years ago my son's school took the wood shop class and turned it into a computer lab. I was mad. I went to the next school board meeting and told them about the contractors and craftsmen who got their confidence and beginnings in school shop class. I told them I thought they were making a huge mistake. It didn't matter what I said; they did what they were going to do regardless.

I am a big fan of folks who work with their hands. Yes, I know we need computer programmers, grocery store clerks and politicians. Well, maybe not politicians -- they would do a better job if they worked as plumber’s helpers for 10 years before they qualified to dish out the BS they do. Sorry to put that out on you, plumbers -- you don't deserve that either. Ah, but I digress.

The art of craftsmanship is an incredible gift. Imagine running on the top beam of the Empire State Building with a heavy tool belt around your waist. Welding hundreds of feet below the surface of the ocean. Framing a staircase in your house or any house for that matter. Painting a house, running the waterlines in a condo building or wiring a panel of breakers. 

The joy of building and the satisfaction of a project from start to finish have not gone unnoticed by the consumer. Lowes and Home Depot are in the top 10 retailers in the country. People like building, repairing and renovating.
Just about finished.
For the most part, our kitchen is done now, just hours before the family arrived. I find it hard to believe that it was what it was for so long. 

For me, again, I see where God came through. He was a huge part of each element, which assures me that He cares about everything about me. He comes through. I almost feel like I don't deserve all the blessings; ah, but He tells me different. I am thankful this season, Thanksgiving, for the blessings.

Thanks to all the hands that crafted the new kitchen for us. I am excited that the Mrs. will have a great kitchen to cook our turkey. All those who work hard, work with their hands, job well done, all. I appreciate you.