Sledgehammers and Chainsaws


I had a list of things to do this afternoon. My calendar is full of items that I want to get done. As I sat down at my desk to get going on things, my landlord came walking in.

My landlord is an elderly fellow who loves to come around and visit with the tenants. He was in the construction business and even built the units that we rent here at 6604 82 Ave.

On a day like today, when I know that there are only a few days before everyone stops and takes a well deserved break for the holidays, I wasn’t too keen on taking an early break from my work.

I sure am glad that I did. The stories this guy has are priceless, the experience he has in building homes and commercial buildings for over 40 years is endless.

It is always interesting to find out what the price of land or houses were back 60 years ago. What the wage was that he received for mixing and installing cement for basements ($27/day).


The fun stories were of how he had a specific way of doing things and if you didn’t listen to instruction, that was it.
He mentioned a story of when he told his carpenter to install a small counter top with a drawer underneath at 32”, not the standard 36” as the customer was a shorter lady. When he came back the next day and the countertop was at 36”, he asked why. The carpenter said “Countertops should be at 36”". Tom went out to his truck, grabbed his sledge hammer, walked in and smashed it apart. The next day it was installed properly at 32”.

Another time, one of his guys said he was going to use a chainsaw to cut something as he thought it would be easier to cut that way. Tom said not a chance, do it properly with a skill-saw. As he was walking away from the building, he could hear the chainsaw start up. He went right back in and grabbed the chainsaw and chucked it out of the two story window. [ I am sure he looked before he let it fly].

Tom said when he was first starting out that he put everything he had back into his company. His wife had a job cleaning and brought home $32 a week and that is what he lived off for over 2 years. It is so interesting to see what a person can do over 40 years when they are hardworking and diligent. Another testament that things don’t happen over night but take year upon year to accomplish.

He said that he made sure that the product he was delivering was a quality product. One that would stand up over the years.

He mentioned that a realtor suggested trying to go cheaper on his houses and he refused. From what he tells me, it worked for him. Tom built a ton of homes, commercial buildings and apartment buildings. Turned his company that him and his brother started into something that has provided him with a comfy retirement and a very good gift to give his children as they are taking care of the remaining buildings that he still owns.

Take the time to chat with those elderly people, especially this Christmas season. They have some good stories and promise to give you insight as well as a good laugh.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year