Ann Arkebauer Design

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THE DESIGNER AND THE CONTRACTOR

Several weeks ago, I walked into a new build, arms laden with tile samples, hardwood planks and various other bulky professional designery type tools of the trade, needed for the meeting that was about to take place between myself, the homeowners and contractors.

On hands and knees, fine tuning the newly polished concrete floors, was one of the project contractors, who I had not yet met. Well, to be honest, the sun was shining directly in my eyes, as I walked through the front door, so I couldn't really see a thing; I just heard a voice say, “you look like a designer”. I immediately laughed out loud, as I approached this voice, making a mental note that my brain needed to revisit his comment later on. With the sun no longer an obstacle, I saw that this voice had a big smile on his face as he got up from his polishing position as well as relieving me of some of the items from my arms that were at this point, precariously loosing the balancing battle. After that, we exchanged names, shook hands and had a great conversation about his company's polishing process, how the project was going for he and his crew, a little lowdown on other project details and then it was time for me to bounce into my meeting.

Okay, so that experience and simple exchange of words took no more than 10 minutes. It was a great way to start my work day and then it was over pretty quickly. There is a really good chance that I may never even see young “Jake” the polishing contractor again. But, for whatever reason, those 10 minutes has remained with me. It remained with me #1 because of what he said to me when I walked on to the site that day and it remained with me because of how simple and easy going our conversation was. Just a few respectful words between two professionals, who had never met, standing on common grounds. This is the simple ingredient of how it should be.

As a woman, walking onto a job site, the usual backdrop and scenery is Man World Galore. Consisting in Man World Galore there are anywhere from 1 to 3 boom boxes, volume cranked, emitting a concert of 1 to 3 various genres of music, which is usually also in competition with at least 1 to 3 screaming, pounding, jolting, scraping and hammering power tools. Depending on the stage that the project is in, there could be just a smattering of Man World Galore or a complete small township of Man World Galore. It's pretty sweet, and the best part of all of this is that I love being present in Man World Galore!! I have always done well working with, conversing with, listening to, learning from and just hanging around in Man World Galore. But!! There is always that tiny moment of trepidation when I walk onto that job site, as the only woman around usually, and wonder how that day's experience will go. Will I be greeted? Will I be invisible? How many hugs will I get today? (Love those). Hey, I know the best cuss words ever invented, but do I really have to play that card to get their attention? What if I strapped on a tool belt, would that earn me bonus points? Doughnuts usually work, but damn it, why does it require a dough nut?

On every project, there are great and rewarding moments, and then there are the not so good moments....that is a given. We expect them, accept them, embrace them and work out what ever it takes to move forward, eyes always on the completion. The completion, where we all take some personal ownership in the project....with pure pride and joy, when the vision becomes reality. The completion, where we worked as a team, but we always compliment others for a job well done. The completion when we recognize what great relationships and friendships have developed during our journey. The completion when we recognize how much we respect each other for a job well done and with that recognize and embrace the good hearts that existed in those who took that journey with you. With that last statement, comes the Love Story between the Designer and the Contractor. Without it.......No Love Story shall be written for that Journey. But hey, there's always another Man World Galore project to walk into....and who knows, maybe I will once again hear those unforgettable words, “you look like a designer”. (Even though I still don't totally know what it means................I'm guessing it was probably the great boots I had on that day).

Signing off for now...

Be true.

Ann ArkebauerComment