Posted to PolkCityProject by Del in Norcross, GA
Since my last post, much has transpired. Between sheer exhaustion and several health issues I simply haven't had the time or energy to update this. Hopefully I'll be in a better position to keep this blog current as I go forward. Where to start...
I thought that the manager of the Lakeland Lowe's store and I had an agreement on a total supply solution back in early February. When it came down to actually executing the agreement he started hemming and hawing and finally admitted that he had overstepped his authority to discount. It turned out that the 30% discount that he had proffered had been based on his anticipated successful presentation to and acceptance of the "pilot O-B program" by his upper management. All of our conversations had indicated to me that it was a done deal and not an expectation on his part.
Jim in Beverly Beach stopped by on his way home from the Orlando Home Show and we had an enjoyable visit. After he left I was fired up to get started actually building so I drove into Lakeland with the intent to do the deal. When I walked into the contractor's entrance I thought that I saw the manager ducking around a corner. He had not returned a call from the previous day which was unusual because my four or five previous calls had been received with enthusiasm. After 10 minutes of the girl on the register paging him without success I decided to go look for him. I thought that I saw him several times and began to suspect that he was intentionally avoiding me. I'm a big guy and usually wear bright shirts which makes it easy to spot me coming. When I saw him duck around the end of the appliance aisle I went back down the main aisle and hooked around into plumbing. I literally ran into him coming around the sink aisle.
By then I was more than a little irritated and his sputtering and obviously false glad-hand just about lit my fuse. I told him that I was ready to get things rolling. He started double talking, which lit me up completely and my mad face took over. Regina has seen it a couple of times when we've been out partying and encountered a boor and says it scares her. Not something that I can always control. I've never been able to suffer fools, liars, and drunks. He scored two out of three on that. I suggested that we go to his office and discuss the situation, which we did with the door open. When we got to his office I told him to cut the crap and give me the bottom line.
He fessed up that his management had been less than receptive to his presentation but that he had figured out a solution to keep me as a loyal Lowe's customer and still provide me with significant savings. I was somewhat cooler by then so I told him to lay it out. The maximum discount that he could offer in his capacity as store manager was 15% however I could gain an additional 10% by obtaining a Lowe's contractors Visa for a "WHOPPING" 25% total discount. He just had to work out how to include his discount into the Visa discount, which he was "pretty sure" that he could do. Not quite the flat 30% that he had been so proud of in previous conversations. I just looked at him for a minute, trying to decide whether a couple of nights in jail would be worth the immediate physical gratification. I decided that I'm too old and fat to repeat that experience.
I won't elaborate on my reply but I won't be buying anything for this house from Lowe's, even if it costs me twice as much somewhere else. Stupid I know, but that's just me. I spent too many years crushing weasels like him in my professional life and don't intend to start dealing with them in my retired life. I told him what I thought of him, his offer, and Lowe's in general and left the store. I have since written Lowe's a strongly worded letter recounting the entire experience but have yet to receive a reply. They probably threw it in the crank file.
When I got back to Polk City I was totally deflated, still highly irritated, and full of the need to do something productive. Stupidly, I decided to erect my construction pole instead of having a good stiff bourbon or three. I had already mounted all of the components to the pole and just needed to stand it up into the 4-foot hole that I had dig. I backed my truck up and managed to get it into the bed. That 16-foot PT 6x6 had been rained on and was full of water. I backed the truck up as close to the hole as I could get and coerced it up into a balanced position on the tailgate. I still had about 15 feet to go to the hole, but figured that I could carry it that far. One of the stupidest things that I have done in recent memory.
I got it balanced on my shoulder and heaved it up off of the tailgate. After about 6 feet my bad left knee started to buckle sideways and my muscles were shaking tremendously. I knew that if I went down on it I'd end up in a cast at the least or with a knee replacement. I rolled to the left and tried to push the 6x6 as far away from me as I could as I went down. The end of the pole hit the truck bumper and bounced on the tip of the weather mast sending it back toward me. I was concentrating so hard on protecting my knee that it slammed down on the right side of my chest, cracking 3 ribs. I didn't know that at the time though. I lay there under it for a good 10 minutes trying to assess the damage - seemed like an hour.
After I decided that I wasn't dead I tried to move the pole off of me but the stab in my chest was so great that I couldn't lift it up enough to make sure that my knee didn't suffer any more damage. I lay there for a while longer trying to summon the reserves to lift it up. What finally gave me the strength to throw it off of me was feeling several fire ant bites on my shoulder. I figured that last thing that I needed was to be covered in those hateful things. I managed to get it off of me and get into the truck. It was a long drive to the ER at Lakeland Regional, and an even longer wait.
By the time someone finally saw me I was lightheaded from trauma, pain, and lack of oxygen from shallow breathing. I later learned that I should have told them that I was simply having chest pains. They would have seen me immediately. Go figure. 12 hours later I left the hospital, left knee in a splint and chest wrapped in gauze and tape. Fortunately my sister had returned from the beach and was able to pick me up. I was full of Demerol and was in no shape to drive. Nice stuff. I won't recount the ensuing recuperative period. Sorry for this long and boring post but I felt it necessary to communicate this hard personal lesson to any O-B out there who happens to read it. This should be the first paragraph in any O-B guide:
1. Don’t take anything as gospel until it’s in writing, and then leave a good margin of skepticism.
2. Know your physical limitations.
3. SAFETY- SAFETY - SAFETY- FIRST AND FOREMOST. If it looks too heavy or difficult, it is.
4. If you're over 25, you're not 25 anymore!
My next posts will be more on target and have some pictures. I've finally finished the foundation.