The Gift of Free Labor

Having recently acquired a new home I had to put some elbow grease into it to make it livable from myself, my wife, and our first child when it arrives. It isn’t quiet finished yet, but progress is being made on an almost daily basis. Although I have the good fortune having been taught a lot of different trade skills via my father and other tradesmen I have grown up with I have not mastered everything and still require some help.

I have the good fortune of having some relatives whose job is in a specialty trade. My best example would be my uncle who deals mostly HVAC, but is also a skilled plumber. He bestowed upon me as a housewarming gift of free labor fixing the small handful of things I needed done to get my heating up to snuff. The only thing I had to pay for was a couple of small valves that had to be replaced.

If you own a home or have owned one you should know how much money I just saved there. Without getting into detail it could have easily turned into a $300 dollar service bill before parts consideration.

You may be wondering what the hell I am pontificating about at this point. Well, if the title didn’t at least foreshadow it for you let me spell it out. If you happen to possesses a certain set of skills don’t be afraid to offer them as a gift to friends and loved ones. A day or weekends worth of free labor is sometime worth more than your weight in gold for someone because it doesn’t require them to hire a professional and pay a large sum of money to someone who may not be a true “professional”.

My jack of most trades carpentry skills/ standard issue grunt strength has accounted for some birthday/ house warming gifts in the past and have always been well received.


Shotty Work and Dishonesty

This weekend the fiancée and myself enjoyed a weekend away. Just a one night stay in what is normally a pretty dam good hotel chain. Clean sheets, clean towels, everything recently vacuumed, and washed down. What more can one ask for?

Later in the evening while needing to go to the bathroom my attention was drawn to a spot on the wall. The spot would be a small hole in what was a larger patch on the wall. At first I thought it was maybe just a pad batch of plaster, but then I realized where the bathroom door swing path led to. Now after the first time one would think to put a door stop in to prevent it from happening again, but I guess that would be a bridge too far. Then I started looking around the room and saw several other patch spots with shotty finishes.

I’ve seen enough quick fix patch work in my time working along side my father to fix others errors, but what really irked me was the hotels slight bit of dishonesty. Upon walking into the room it was a little stuffy so I walk over to the HVAC unit and see a sign that reads “unit controlled by wall panel”. So I search the room to find it hidden behind the desk lamp. It was one of those old General Electric mercury switch units. Finding it odd but not giving it much thought beyond that I lower the temperature and activate the fan.

About and hour later my fiancée comments that the air temperature hasn’t changed so I give the wall unit a second gander. This time I pulled the cover plate off to find that mercury tumbler but no additional control wiring. At that point I returned to the HVAC unit and pick up the sign indicating to use the wall control unit and find that the actual control panel is there.

Normally I would take some time and call out this Hotel Brand on the carpet and dress them down a little, but the summary of offenses isn’t that great. Just more disappointed in the general underhandedness.