Home Depot Guys


You have to be careful about Home Depot workmen, I have learnt, to my sad experience.

My first Home Depot workman was selected on the basis of pushing to the front of the line when I drove to the the unofficial day labor stand in the back of the Home Depot parking lot. 

I said, in Spanish of course, because that’s how I roll, “I need a worker for two hours. Forty dollars.” 

A lot of the men stepped back. One of them had his own truck, which he advertised as a way of ramping up the job. “Una camioneta!" It looked nice. 

If I didn’t have a boat, I would probably be there with some need for that truck, but here we are, with an impressively large object that doesn’t need a truck right now, though someday it may, and I know where to find one.

No sooner did Guy #1 get in the car but he began complaining about work. I wondered if he was clear that what I was involved with here was work. He was gunning for a paycheck that had the least amount of work associated with it and was not shy about telling me this, almost still in the Home Depot parking lot. I had an impulse to turn around and go back and get another guy. This guy was that bad. He washed the boat, barely, then went on strike. I took him to the gas station to buy beer, and that was the end of it. He was there today, still pushing to the front of the line. I said, No.

Guy #2 was so drunk he almost got me drunk when he said hello. There is a pattern here, and I am sorry for it. It is not easy to be poor with no hope of altering that fundamental condition, especially in a foreign country, and I do feel that. But Guy #2 was nice about it. He carried my mini-fridge up a dangerous set of stairs and installed it in the cabin. I was worried sick that he would just fall over. He didn’t. But I now know to vet the guys a bit. "Breathe in my face" is almost how it needs to go. 

Guy #3 is pictured above, and, man, did I luck out. Polite, agreeable, hard-working, sober even. He got up on the boat and started washing it, as planned. A certain Great One taught me things about construction that I did not know before. I am a theatre construction person, not a general construction person. In theatre, you construct the same four objects and out of clean, new wood. That is not how sailboat refit is. It is mostly a giant pile of filth that has to first be washed and then washed again before the sanding can commence. So Antonio has washed the cockpit. I was helping at the first because I did not want those cockpit drains to be all crapped out by yard waste still there under that blue rubber mat and I had no idea it was there. I was mortified. I took out a file and pulled that loam out of the precious holes. The drain plates are gone, though they were clearly there at one point. I am going to have to get some more. Once the paint is dry, the shiny new drain plates will go on, and it will look like a completely different boat. All of it.

It is fairly likely that Antonio will be there, along with South Park Marina's favorite sailboat refit painter, José, getting the cabin together. The Great One, David, had suggested the possibility of new fiberglass, and my mind has grabbed onto that idea so hard it is very likely that the sanding of the cabin will be quite severe, severe enough to take off the old, tired and, realistically, busted fiberglass and that someone — it may be me, it may be Antonio — will put new fiberglass on. 

It will be a coup to have the fiberglass.

I have all kinds of projects in mind that involve items constructed with fiberglass.

© Joann L. Farias 2023