Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Wheel Barrow Tests...

Since our pool looks like this all the time now, with floatie-floaties all over the place, and exercise dumbbells floating around amongst the floatie-floaties, it gets kinda hard to get out and keep working on the deck and surrounds...

But alas, I must, so I hired a local kid to come by and do basic labor for me- to accomplish two things.

One, to get the icky stuff done. Back-filling trenches and raking out the newly covered trench, digging post-holes, mixing cement in a wheelbarrow, weed-whacking, pruning, planting a couple of trees (digging the holes) and spreading mulch around.

All of these things I don't mind doing, and doing fast, mind you, but with the pool just a few feet away... you see?

So a kid to do the icky bit and a kid to show up and make me feel guilty if I didn't get out of the pool and work too.

That was the thought I had when I told the kid I was giving a ride to that I had a few days of labor work for him if he wanted it.

Now... I'm not one of those people who needs to judge others nor do I rate myself above anybody. I mean, we're all people. Some of us just do lowly things and some of us are doctors and carpenters...

But when you have a kid in your control (like being the boss of) for a few days, you want to impart some positive thing his or her way. You know... be a good role model and all! It's nice to give a young one the value of your experience and share what you've learned along the way...

EXCEPT WHEN THE KID fails the wheelbarrow test.

Most people have never heard of the wheelbarrow test, so I'll share. When hiring a kid to do labor in construction, we always ask them to fill up a wheelbarrow with heavy stuff, rocks or dirt, and tell them to move it to somewhere else.

You stand there with arms folded so they know you are watching and you wait.

This makes them a wee bit nervous, and a nervous kid is one you keep from power saws- far away until you are sure they aren't going to really cut one off...

If the kid doesn't put the wheelbarrow as close to the heavy stuff as he can, you shake your head and look dismayed. If he then figures out the problem and moves the barrow closer, you nod in approval. The kicker is in which way he points the barrow. If he points it the way he came in, you know he is a below average worker kid- not a keeper- maybe useful for a few days to get him some beer and cigarette money and you some dirt moved and holes dug (with lots of verbal prodding on your part).

But if the kid points the barrow IN THE DIRECTION HE WILL GO AFTER THE BARROW IS LOADED AND HEAVY, then you know you got a reasonably smart kid who thinks for himself, plans ahead, and doesn't need to be babysat all friggin' day long.

Well, my kid put the barrow too far from the work, had to be told to move it closer to save time and trips with the shovel (it was like watching a kid try to walk with an egg on a spoon), and then I stood dismayed as he tried to turn an overly full barrow around in soft dirt which, of course, resulted in him spilling the dirt as the barrow fell over...

Oh lordy...

The trouble with kids like that is that you know what you're going to get. They're insecure in a boyish way so they want to impress you with their physical prowess...

"I used to bench press 200 pounds."

"Used to?"

"Yeah, last year before I started smoking again."

Oh lordy.

"How long you been smoking, kid?"

"About eight years."

"Eight years? How old are you?"

"Seventeen. I'll be eighteen next month."

Oh lordy.

"But I'll be quitting soon. I don't want my baby to see me smoke. It might want to start too when it gets older like I did."

"Baby? You have a baby?"

"No. Not yet. On the way, though. I'm getting married when I turn eighteen. Want to come to the wedding? It'll be just over there (points to the campground at the lake).

"Maybe. So you knocked up some girl and now her father's got a shotgun to your head?"

"No. I want to get married. The Lord says (mumbles something that sounds like a quote from the bible, not sure which one)...

Oh lordy.

And so went the last three mornings. By noon I was tired of the kid, and by one I sent him home.

Some gems I remember--

"My mother used to weigh 300 pounds."

"She lost weight?"

"Yeah, ten pounds."

Oh lordy.

"My step-father likes beer. Do you like beer?"

"I like beer but I gave it up until I hit the 250 mark."

"Oh, you should just drink more beer. My step-father put on, like, fifty pounds drinking beer."

"I meant I can't drink another beer until I'm UNDER 250. It's a diet thing."

"Just quit eating and drink beer!"

"Good thinking."

Oh lordy.

"I invented a toy out of pvc pipe."

"You did?"

"Yeah, you pull this thing back and push it and it shoots stuff out of the front."

"You invented the potato gun, then?"

"Umm, no. I never shot potatoes. My mom doesn't like me shooting at her food."

Oh lordy.

"DO you believe in evolution?"

"I don't believe in it. I know the evidence for evolution is so large it takes many different scientific fields to study it all."

"So you believe in it?"

"Yeah, kid. I believe it to be the prevailing explanation."

"That's what they want you to believe. You know, they've been teaching you since you were in kindergarten. THAT'S why you believe in evolution and not the Lord. You've been brainwashed."

"They also taught me that 2 plus 2 equals 4 since I was in kindergarten."

"See! How do you know it equals four?"

Oh lordy. Is it time to swim yet?


Anonymous said...

I didn't report on my blog the fact that I was asked to train a new 18 year old wannabe meter reader for 2 days last week. I was too frustrated at the experience to bother but you summed it up very well.

LIT said he was good potential. Oh lordy!

The kid said he was fit and could easily do a days work. Oh lordy.

And on and on it went.

writtenwyrdd said...

I see your work days as more of a social experiment, or perhaps a research project for a novel about people with questionable dental hygiene and who were failed by the education system.

Cheesy said...

You said it best! Oh lordy~

Jean said...

and, he's reproducing. oh, lordy!

kario said...

My head hurts. How did you stand it for four days?

By the way, did all the grunt work get done?