I Got a Guy

Up on the roof we're all ears.

A roofer has a unique perspective on a job site. Oftentimes people on the ground forget you are there. Masons, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, and sometimes the dreaded homeowners. Not all are dreaded, though; some are nice to you, even offer water, engage in conversation. Those are the ones that get the extra service. I call early spring “the owners are coming” time. Summer homeowners arrive early to spruce up the property, check on the construction project, get the odds and ends done so that renters or guests can enjoy their stay. If their project is held up, they can get ornery wondering why things haven’t gone as planned. Ten-degree weather for two weeks in February may have had something to do with it.

So it was one spring. I was perched near the chimney. A car pulls up. The owners are here. As they walk up the path I can hear the conversation....

“Oh God, this is so frustrating! It’s just a leaky pipe! All the plumbers on the Island are too busy! I don’t get it,” the wife says.

“It’ll be okay, honey. I’ll go check in with Mike, maybe he can help us out.”

Mike is the mason. We call him Mikey the mason.

The husband walks around the house to where Mikey is doing a nice dry-stack stonewall. I mean, really nice work. Mikey’s good.

“Mike, how’s it going? The wall looks great!” the husband says.

“How ya doin’, buddy? Wassssss up?”

“I’m doing good, we just got in,” the husband says.

Mikey is that way, casual with customers. We have talked about it before on coffee breaks. Oftentimes on jobs most of the contractors are year-rounders and the conversations can get as deep as they can be lighthearted. A lot is shared, more than you might think, especially when conversation turns to homeowner interaction. “If they don’t like it, screw ’em,” Mikey might say, and the other workers, sitting on mini coolers or a pile of shingles, a log, all laugh.

“Pissaa! You fly in on your plane?” Mikey asks the husband in this case. Clearly, he has vetted this guy and found him to be of the proper ilk to be at ease, casual, funny, and a fine mason.

He can be the opposite. On one job I was on with him the lady came out of the house and expressed displeasure. Mikey says, “Okay, lady, the last time you built a chimney, how did you do it?” That prett