The last time I did anything like that was because I had some general contractor type guys repairing the roof after it blew apart in a wind storm. It was a crisis. I ended up getting a whole new roof, getting rid of some chimney-type protrusions that didn’t go anywhere any more, getting the dry-rotted eaves replaced with new tails and tongue-in-groove boards, and rain gutters all the way around. I didn’t have rain gutters before, which may be why I had dry-rotted eaves. But the guy who did the felt and shingles was a classic artist by the name of Lyman Rankin. He used nails, not staples, and when the mom’s roof sprung a leak, I recommended him to her. The guy does magnificent roof.
The whole thing was not covered by insurance. All the insurance company did was recommend the contractor, and all the insurance company was going to pay for was the repair where the shingles had blown off. But that would have looked just gross and tacky and stupid and white-trash so I got the contractor to do the whole roof. It was worth it. And I had the sympathy of my employer while I took the time off to watch the whole process. There’s no way I’d have done all that myself, and particularly as fast as the professionals did it.
For a while I had a habit of taking Fridays off. If I was actually going anywhere I’d take a Thursday, a Friday, and a Monday, maybe. But this time I took a whole two weeks, and did not go anywhere, and did not remodel. I hosted. You see, for most of the traveling I’ve done, someone else has hosted me. But this time I’m the one who did the hosting.
I think the best way to describe it is "family." Some people think "family" is just everything, you know. I knew an old guy who I respected a great deal, and he described his priorities very simply: God, family, and job, in that order. Others have said God, country, and family, and various combinations like that. But my priorities are all screwed up. God and family tend to take care of themselves, but the career is the problem child that demands all the attention. Fifty hours a week. It’s a kind of family that you get paid to associate with. You’d never do it otherwise.
Some families you have to wonder about. Some families, half the people under 40 engage in a lot of drama. It’s like 40 is the new 18 or something. They just can’t get through a week without ending up in a hospital in front of a doctor, or in a courtroom in front of a judge. That’s expensive drama. That describes some peoples’ families. They just never got the hang of being careful, and staying out of trouble. The embarrassment, for example, of having any kind of emergency vehicle pull up in your driveway with sirens blasting and red lights flashing, should be enough to discourage any future occurrences, but I had neighbors at one time who couldn’t go a month without an ambulance or a fire truck or a sheriff pulling up in front of their house.
So with that in mind, having been asked to host, providing the opportunity for someone else to travel instead of me, I went along with it. Part of why is because school starts soon, and there were little people who had to get back home before the end of the summer. Their next opportunity to travel might not come up for a while. So I agreed, and I came up with a short list of three things I wanted for doing this.
I said I wanted to still be employed, as I was before, after they went home. I said I wanted to have the same number of cats, in pretty much the same condition, as they were before, after they went home. And I said there were to be no emergency vehicles, no fire trucks, no ambulances, no sheriffs, no highway patrol, no flashing red lights in my driveway during the time they were here.
All those conditions were met. Now there’s more, but I don’t have the time to go into it, so whenever I get back here to do another entry, it might be After-Action Review Part 2.