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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Getting down to business

Thursday night I grabbed a $50 Lowe's gift card I got for Christmas and headed out there to pick up a few things.

Shortly after I started working at the place where, until nearly five weeks ago, I was employed for the past fifteen years, a consultant came in to do a presentation. This was at a time when big new ideas were sweeping through all the industries and new approaches to doing things were being taken everywhere. This consultant - we'll call him T.M. - was a maverick, not connected to any larger group, and his presentation was his own - well, maybe bits of it had been borrowed from this program or that program. He was charismatic, energetic, and put on a good show. My company decided to bring him on board as a sort of in-house consultant to guide us through the new philosophies of business.

He created a mandatory course that every employee of our company, from top executives to lowly new hires, had to go through. And we did. For several years he taught that course until, inevitably, the shifting tectonic plates of the business world realigned and a new order was established. Then the course was discontinued, and he was made a Vice-President and put in charge of a third of the production force.

Nothing lasts forever in business. Years later the plates shifted again, and he was out. Out of the company entirely.

I heard he was working on remodeling his house at the time. So he got himself a job working at Lowe's or Home Depot to get the sweet employee discount on purchases. Not a bad idea. Maybe something I should consider as a temporary step.

Anyway, I went to Lowe's Thursday night to pick up the things that I need to do the jobs that my insurance company is requiring before a May 31 deadline - now just two months away:

Five gallons of Barn & Fence paint (white, self-priming),

40 lbs. of concrete especially designed for walkway repairs,

80 lbs. of general-purpose concrete for repairing the concrete wall under the grapevine,

a mortar box (cheap, thin plastic), a set of trowels, and a paint roller/paint tray/replacement roller kit (too wide for the boards of the garage, so this one will probably be used for the interior painting I'll be doing this summer.) Also a paint scraper and some concrete crack sealer (for my mom's house.) All of that ate up the gift card plus more than $60. (The 40 lb. bag of walkway concrete was surprisingly expensive.)

I dropped the stuff off at the house yesterday. I pulled up in the alley behind the house and went in through the back gate so I could just haul the stuff directly into the garage. My neighbors saw me and came out to talk. Not about anything much, just to talk. It was a pleasant hour or so of Americana as we leaned on a fence and talked about the weather and whatnot (interrupted briefly by the sound of an explosion that was, I would find out later, the ceremonial "groundbreaking" [with dynamite] for a new firefighters' training center a mile or so away) until the conversation turned to taxes and I suddenly realized I had not yet paid a local tax that was due (I thought) by April 1. I ran back to my mom's house to grab the form, write a check, and get it to the Municipal Building before the close of the business day.

I was wrong. The tax is not due until April 30. Still, this little scare served to remind me that the clock is ticking, and there are several things that need to be done before certain deadlines. Time to get to work.

1 comment:

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Sounds like you have a lot of hard work ahead of you.