WOMEN in CONSTRUCTION

Non-Pro. In 35 years of construction – for myself without gain – I permit myself to comment on how the cards are dealt to women who with their own two hands do – framing, roofing, flooring, tiling, drywall, other carpentry, electrical (simple) and plumbing (simple) as well as grading and other road work, building horse fences and clearing land. And have to deal with big companies (or local contractors) for other work. Interesting stories. The very first thing I learned in all those years is, that if you need a contractor and you are a woman, most never show up. That’s a given. If some do show up, they often are either impolite or patronizing. Or – what happened more often than not – they do sloppy work. And many times I have to fix it myself after having paid them. I had incidences that contractors brought along a wife in their truck. Give me a break ! Or they try to come on to you, like happened with a big gas company in Alberta. As a friend told me “the electrician did some work in the house, suddenly he disappeared, I found him in the attic – naked “ Ha, ha ! From a more practical point of view: I also invented over time several useful techniques on how to make it easier to deal with the heavy stuff – like mounting a drywall sheet. Or using my 3/4 ton truck to help with getting the wooden walls into my big riding arena, 4in lag screws. Luckily, today there are thousands of websites on construction details and techniques, some are very good and most are professional, and lots are where women show what they can do. Good for you. Food for thought: “most important tools ? measuring tape/laser, and level” – of course some think it is the hammer and they treat everything like a nail, but that ain’t so. Never use nails, always use screws. Stuff can be undone when needed. Last not least: “if you cannot do it right, don’t do it at all.”

TALKERS vs DOERS

Talkers – politicians, bureaucrats, managers giving orders, committees (“committees are notoriously known for not accomplishing anything”). Generally speaking, people on power trips who shy from being held responsible. Or, who enjoy ‘talking’ about all the impossibly difficult chores they have done – although it was others who worked hard and have done them, with their own two hands. Like: “I built a house, or a road or a bridge”.

When I say: “I renovated buildings including roofing, drywall, framing, flooring, tiles, and also grading roads and building wall for my own buildings, or building miles of fences for my horses”. That means, I did this using my own two hands and ‘elbow grease’, and if needed my trusted old 4-wheel drive truck. That also means that I did my own hunting in winter. Alone, or going out with my horse.

During my twenty six year in Alberta doing town and country construction for myself, I met a number of very impressive ladies. They worked hard. Ranching women. I never forget the lady to whom I had rented my land for grazing their cows, heifers and some young bulls. She arrived with a large truck/trailer which incidentally broke down in my yard upon arrival. Her partner, an Alberta cowboy, stood by while the lady went under her truck fixing it. As a women I find that rather impressive. I am like wise impressed by anything I can not do, such as using a big chainsaw, climbing up a big tree and start cutting from the top. That guy can impress me. And of course the many friends helping me with any technical construction work that I cannot do or are qualified to do.

But people who talk, talk, talk, not doing anything, just working with their mouth, no, does not fly with me. The downside is, of course, that rush decisions doing something have cost me a bundle. So, there you go: Talker vs. Doer.