Saturday, March 11, 2006

Pouring the foundation

So now that I've admitted that I don't know what the heck I'm doing, I'll tell you a little bit more about myself.

My name is Liz and I'm *ahem* 36 years old. Yes, that's true....just turned 36 a few months ago and it still makes me choke just saying it out loud. Damn, I'm getting old. Anyhow, I work in the construction industry which can be really challenging at times. I mean, last time you drove by a construction site, how many women did you see out on site? Exactly. And not that I'm in the field all of the time, I spend most days crunching numbers and stuff behind a desk back at the main office. Somebody's got to make sure we don't run out of money, right? "Oh sorry, we couldn't put any carpet in your building Mr. Owner because we spent too much on those polished plaster walls you wanted in the men's room...."

I kind of fell into the whole construction thing by accident. After my somewhat turbulent college career, I ended up out on the streets with an English degree and no freaking job. The job market was the worst in years and of course, my normally very patient father must have temporarily lost his sanity because he deemed that I had to find a job by June 30th or I was going to have to move back home. "Back home" is...well, after being out on my own in a good-sized city, I realized that back home in our small town = death of my spirit. So I scrambled around and as luck would have it, a guy I was dating at the time had a stepfather who worked in the construction industry who was able to pull a few strings and before I knew it I had been launched into alien territory with no way back to the mother ship.

No one could have been more shocked than my family. I mean, for years my mom would visibly cringe when someone would ask her what I did for a living. Her daughter - the honor student with a near-genius IQ, classically trained musician, and ballet dancer - a construction worker? Egads! But now that I've been plugging away for 13 years I think she has realized that maybe I'm not going to be quitting anytime soon but I think she secretly hopes that I'll quit all this crap and go to law school or something a little more "legitimate" (a.k.a. something she can bring up at her quilting guild without making the other old ladies give her the hairy eyeball and giving little sympathetic "tsk, tsk" sounds).

My job is addictive. I can't describe the feeling of walking onto a site and seeing the steel go up and being able to visualize what the building is going to look like. What it's like to stand on top of a building when it's freezing cold outside and watching a crane set the rooftop units. How it feels to drive onsite in the early morning and see the twinkling of the temporary lights in the building and how beautiful it is. It gets my blood pumping and I just can't get away from that feeling.

But even with the rush I get from my job, my biggest and best project is my family. They are my life blood. My husband Joey and I have been married almost 10 years and I don't know how in the hell he puts up with me and my craziness. He also works in the construction industry so we really balance each other out. I firmly believe that the fact we both work in construction has helped us make it when a lot of marriages in this business crash and burn - we understand the long hours, the crazy schedules, and the politics behind it all. And we have a great time with it all, even when things get tough like me calling to yell at him because his crews haven't shown up for three days. He just loves those phone calls.

Our son, who I will call Monkey Man, just turned 4 back in November. I will be so thankful if he is a doctor or a lawyer or something like that....but of course, he says he wants to build big buildings like mommy and daddy. Dammit! Get a real job kid, like being a fireman or a Power Ranger or something other than construction. Anyhow, he is a great kid and the best thing that has ever happened to us. HDTV is a close second, but no dice. The kid rocks. What other four-year-old can I rock out to Def Leppard in the car with and can give a complete synopsis of what the song "Photograph" is about? Only my kid, baby.

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