About Wearing Industrial Breathing Masks or the Fine Line Between Hammer and Pen.


Often, I’ve thought that it you devoted your life to doing the things you love then the money would follow. Last month I wrote a test. The test was three weeks in duration. The final grade was fantastic.

Come the middle of June I’ll begin testing again. This time however there is no fail safe… nothing to fall back upon.

I quit my part-time job in March. I began working for my bother and dad shortly thereafter except for three weeks in May when I devoted my time to online endevours. These last 10 days I’ve been working 8 long hours per day as the 2 family home we own and are working on has sold before it’s completed. Now, I’ve worked many full-time jobs in the past but never had a shop to tend to and the work I was doing was not, both physically and mentally demanding. Office jobs may be mental but they certainly do not get you up and moving around.

I sat down last night and gripped my pen as a hammer; my paintbrush as a chisel and my mouse as a plaster sander.

Good Grief! My fingers are manly and calloused. My shoulders hurt incredibly as I spent four hours today sanding the bathroom ceiling, walls and baseboard, then priming them with BIN; an industrial cover-all-stinky-ass-paint-primer-sealant.

Yesterday I scraped the two bathtubs with a razor blade removing years of built up dirt, grime and cocking revealing the enamel underneath. The day before that I hauled demolition mega garbage down two flight of stairs.

My bother jovially nick-named me Clean Up Crew. I call him the Stupid Foreman. Oddly enough he is a smart foreman at his day job. We dawned industrial breathing masks this past Saturday and sanded the shit-out-of the century old hardwood floors with industrial sanders that I couldn’t fathom operating. I was the clean up crew.

We are so close to being finished. :) I haven’t written much about the renovations and sometimes I ask myself why and maybe the answer is because I like the work…

I have nothing nasty to say.

I’m payed reasonably well and can sit and take a break when needed. I get to do varying jobs apprenticing as a mason, carpenter, painter and lastly a labourer AKA Clean Up Crew. And I’m supplied with proper safety gear to wear when needed.

Burning Bush Leaves

I’ve been working outside in the garden but alas it remains too cold for planting most vegetables and herbs as the rain has been heavy. I expanded the garden plot 2 feet by 30 feet. It took me five hours of chopping grass root deep then cutting… no yanking it out then falling and hauling it away to the compost pile. Next, my mother and I dug another 8 inches down and sifted hundreds of pounds of gravel out of the soil which in turn had to be piled elsewhere. Once we ad some black earth, sheep and cow manure, compost and lastly the greenery the Doyle garden will be well on it’s way to growing.

One year has come and gone since I landed back in Saint John on May 29th, 2007.

And I’m not looking back.

Photo Credits – both captured by me last weekend. You can see the beginnings of the 2008 garden here.

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10 thoughts on “About Wearing Industrial Breathing Masks or the Fine Line Between Hammer and Pen.”

  1. I’m glad to hear that things are going good. And that you enjoy what you are doing. You deserve some contentment and even success.

  2. Wow, scrolling thru your posts I see you’re in St John. I grew up in Bathurst but live in Austin, Texas. I found you through a poetry tag.

    I wish I could draw!

    A Jannie, in passing

  3. Industrial breathing masks are not fun to wear outside in summer heat… I have one for sandblasting.

    You would probably have been very useful in the post-storm house-gutting marathon that was going on around here for the first two years. (Some of that is still being done, but more tearing down houses, sadly.)

  4. Brian – life is mozying along quite nicely right now. It’s picking up speed and that is dandy. I don’t think I’ve ever used mozy and dandy in the same paragraph before… hmmmm.

  5. Jannie – Always nice to meet an ex-pat especially a fellow Maritimer. My mother’s side of the family grew up near Tracadie specifically Six Roads which is very close to Bathust.

    Grab a pen and a good blank book and doodle. Seriously even if it doesn’t make sense and isn’t quite what you hoped you would draw… it is great stress relief and eventually those doodles will form into something tangible.

  6. candice – I can only imagine what post-storm was like in New Orleans. I’ve seen only pictures and video. Hopefully the houses being torn down are being replaced…

    So happy the mug and sunflower have homes now :)

    We haven’t had much heat here yet. It’s only reached a warm enough temperature to plant our garden this week!

  7. A lot of the tear-downs are staying empty for now… people can’t necessarily get all the money together to rebuild them.

    It is now full-on summer, with 80 degrees at night and low 90s during the day. I like the heat though. Five winters in Rochester was enough cold weather to last a lifetime. (And I hate having to wear jackets in the summer.)

  8. It costs so much to renovate. We gutted the building where needed and saved as many of the old plaster walls as possible. the building was in poor shape not too mention the 3 dumster loads of garbage we had hauled away. Add to that 30 – 35 trips to the landfill with a regular half-tonne. LOL.

    The first deal has fallen through but the house is being shown again this Saturday. We didn’t update the outside and that is the main deterant right now to buyers. We concentrated on the inside, electrical, flooring, new kitchen, bath, new hardwood where needed etc…

    Warm weather rocks. Yesterday and today were both warm. I worked out in the garden last night planting zucchini, squash and pickling cucumber.

    Those temps sound awesome. I need to get a passport and do some travelling hopefully next year.

    Ok this is long. haha


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